Bay Shore Art Crawl — WOW!!!

Bay Shore Art Crawl Poster - The event's been rescheduled for May 21st.
Correction!!! Originally I managed to combine the bios of two different Jose Tutivens. My apologies to all involved! The information here has since been edited.  

THE BAY SHORE ART CRAWL HAS BEEN MOVED TO SUNDAY, 5/21, 12-5PM.

We love local art walks! Have you seen what’s been developing in Bay Shore? This event presented by the Islip Arts Council, South Shore Arts and Colored Colors is AMAZING. It has grown exponentially in the few years it’s been a thing. It’s HUGE.

The event features art displays, live creating and music, poetry, kid’s activities and discounts at local businesses. Start your day at The Agency, 61 W Main St, Bay Shore. There you can pick up an informative map, and a bracelet that will give you discounts at participating locations. Get there early to sign-up for FREE, limited seating workshops. Other goodies are promised along the way!

They are super grateful to their sponsors: Northwell Health, The Agency, Suffolk County, Suffolk County Legislator Steve J. Flotteron, Pace Real Estate, Ramsay Realtors, Chapey Funeral Home, Samson Inspection Services, Campasano Law Firm, Greenview Properties, Digho Arts and Lost Island Arts.

Special Thanks to Jose!

Folks involved also make a point to tell me that, while the whole community has really stepped up, the magic here has a lot to do with a guy named Jose Tutiven.

Jose is a NY raised Ecuadorian mixed-media painter who transformed his frustration with the arts scene into a multi faceted events curation business. In this, he has shown an unparalleled capacity to build community, help others get their work to light and generally serve as a force for deep good. A primary platform for this is Colored Colors (on Instagram @colored.colors), where he is “Creating Relationships between Creatives and the Communities through community driven events.”

I’ve never met him, but I hear from excellent sources that he is THE BEST.

“Where do we start when it comes to Jose Tutiven??” said Diane Palma of Digho Arts, “He is THE example we should all follow to be a strong cultural leader. Be true to yourself. Honor your roots. And embrace those around you in order to grow. Bringing people together while highlighting their talents has always been Jose’s driving force as he grew Colored Colors the past few years. His welcoming community and growing success is a testament to his natural leadership qualities of empowering those around him. We are lucky to call him our friend.”

This is going to be awesome.

Go check it out!

Note: Please click on images below to get the full picture. There may be some adjustments due to all the rescheduling caused by inclement weather. More information can be found and will likely continue to be updated on the Art Crawl’s Eventbrite here. Hard copy maps may also be available at The Agency in Bay Shore on the 21st. Thanks!

Bay Shore Art Crawl Map Page 6

Firefly Lights: April 2023, Part II

Photo of the exterior of The Firefly Artists

Thank you for making us the 2023 Best Art Gallery on Long Island and for all you do to support local art and artists. 

Welcome to the latest edition of Firefly Lights, all about our beautiful downtown gallery of local art and artists. In this edition, please find:

– TODAY! Kindred Spirits: An exhibition and reception celebrating teachers and students
– DEADLINE TODAY! Call to Artists: BLUE

– 4/25 Artist Talk with Renee Reichert, Illustrator of “The Cat Came Back”
– Classes on illustration with Renee Reichert and jewelry making with Rachel Kalina
– THANK YOU! A networking event celebrating folks in Human Services honoring Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds

Flyer for Kindred Spirits Art Exhibition

Art Reception: Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits are people who share common interests, values or even world views. There is a common bond that joins them together. In this case, our exhibition focuses on the bond of art.
 
We are honored to once again offer “Kindred Spirits,” an annual special exhibition of artwork by Long Island Art Educators and their present or former students. It’s beautiful.
 
Exhibition Dates: 4/3-4/28
Reception TODAY: Saturday, 4/22 3-5pm
 
Our love for students and teachers is always on view. Did you know we regularly showcase “Students of the Month,” nominated by teachers island-wide? Come see!!!
BLUE logo

DEADLINE TODAY! Call to Artists: BLUE

If you see a tree as BLUE, then make it BLUE. -Paul Gauguin.

This juried exhibition celebrates the color blue, whether used as seen in nature, or following Gauguin’s inspiration.

Artists are invited to submit artwork that primarily features shades of blue (50% or more of the image). Maximum outside frame size is 24 inches. All original media are acceptable, such as drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, mixed media, sculpture, collage, fabric work, glasswork, jewelry and digital media.

Submission Deadline: 4/22/23
Exhibition Dates: 5/1/23-5/31/23
Reception: Saturday, 5/6 3-5pm
For Details and Application: Visit our website
 
Be sure to submit a .jpeg image of the work you are submitting with the completed application. Works must be delivered and picked up in person.
Acceptance notice will be EMAILED on 4/24.
 Contact: events@thefireflyartists.com
Image of the cover of "The Cat Came Back" provided by Renee Reichert

Arstist Talk: Making "The Cat Came Back"

Join us for this free event. Award-winning artist and illustrator Renee Reichert will discuss the making of “The Cat Came Back”
 
What: The Making of The Cat Came Back with Renee Reichert
When: 4/25/23, 6pm
Cost: FREE – No registration required
 
THEN, in May, Renee will offer a two-part class exploring the fine art of illustration, which ranges considerably as there are so many ways to put pictures to words. Participants will then create their own works of art:
 
What: Introduction to Illustration
When: May 6 and 13 from 9:30-11am
Cost: $100, materials provided by student
To Register: Contact Renee at reneereichert@icloud.com
The Wood and Watch logo
Photo of Rachel Kalina doing a jewelry making demonstration

Jewelry Making Classes!

Firefly Rachel Morgan Kalina has been creating The Wood & Watch jewelry since 2007. She’s taught at The Art League of Long Island, Firefly, Socrates Sculpture Park, and elsewhere. With offerings ranging from simple, one-afternoon experiences to in-depth training, Rachel prides herself on providing encouragement and individualized attention.

Check these out and then email her to set a date!

Metal Stamping
Customize a pendant with words by hammering steel letters onto metal. One-and-a-half hours/one session $75

Beginner Metalsmithing
Create a pendant or earrings in copper or brass with a jeweler’s saw. (There are no torches in this class) Four hours/two sessions $215

Basic Soldering: Stacking Rings or Stud Earrings
Use a torch to make minimalist sterling silver stacking rings or stud earrings. Three hours/one session $170

Advanced Soldering and Stone Setting
Take your silversmithing to the next level by building a ring or pendant from scratch. Discover how to set a gemstone in a bezel. (“Beginner Metalsmithing” class with Rachel or previous experience required.) Ten hours/multiple sessionsv$400

All Classes include supplies and tool usage. Students must be at least age 18 (no exceptions).

Contact: thewoodandwatch@gmail.com | @thewoodandwatch

Flyer for Open Doors Reception

THANK YOU! Open Doors Reception: Jeff Reynolds

Thank you to all who came to this Synchronicity mixer, celebrating community and the healing power of art while connecting with folks in Health and Human Services. It was a wonderful gathering of folks who work in this field, and a number of folks who deeply appreciate them.  Our guest of honor was Dr. Jeff Reynolds of the Family and Children’s Association.

You can read an article Firefly Katheryn Laible wrote with Jeff here.
Photo of the exterior of The Firefly Artists

About the Firefly Artists

Come to our beautiful new location, The Old Hardware Store at 90 Main Street, in Northport!
 
***NEW HOURS***
Mon-Wed 11am-6pm  
Thurs-Sat 11am-9pm  
Sun 11am-5pm
 
The Firefly was established in 2011 to create a gallery setting for local artists. The goal was to create a space where artists could meet, collaborate, and sell their beautiful creations.
 
Over more than a decade, We have had the great privilege to display a stunning variety of work by well over 400 artists through our Main Street locations and pop-up galleries. We boast extraordinary talent, while maintaining a very down to earth and supportive atmosphere that is unique to Long Island.
 
In 2020 we expanded our offerings to create the Darcy Arts Center, featuring special exhibitions and classes in addition to the rich selection of works by our resident artists. While we are adjusting to our new space, we are thrilled to be able to continue these expanded offerings, right in the center of everything! 
 
Every time you purchase something from The Firefly Artists you support at least one local artist. Come, experience our beautiful gallery, and bring home that perfect thing to brighten your world or someone else’s!

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and check our website for all the latest updates!

Thank you for your support!

 

 

Shop Local! Northport…

Main St, Northport

Shop Downtown! Shop Northport! An old photo by Katheryn Laible  Much has changed. Much is still the same…

Downtown Northport is basically a 1/4 mile of historic village that starts with lovely restaurants and a world-class theater, and ends with a waterfront park featuring landmark gazebos, and a beautiful playground. In between reside a whole host of lovely spots.
 
Here’s a starter guide, including links to websites and a little bit of what makes these places cool. Like so many small business, our neighbor shops do SO MUCH for our communities ALL THE TIME.
 
They donate to local events, local charities and individual causes. They sponsor sports teams and often roll up their sleeves to offer their time and energy as well. They give local artists a chance and give of themselves every day to labors of love that are often each themselves delighful galleries of unique gifts, sustenance and experience…
 
These particular shops helped us out when we took on the Northport Leg Lamp lighting at the last possible second, and realized even later that we needed fund professional lighting. I hardly had time to even pass by all the folks I wanted to ask. The care and generosity of those I did encounter was incredible. I also managed a fantastic bit of holiday shopping in delightful atmospheres, finding quality presents for not nearly as much as you might think.

A Sampling of Northport Treasures

Shipwreck Diner: (46 Main Street) First of all, this trolly car of a breakfast joint embedded in Main Street is iconic and delicious. Second of all, every time we turn around they’re doing something wonderful for their neighbors.

The John W. Engeman Theater (250 Main Street) is a premier year-round professional theater that casts its actors directly from the Broadway talent pool. The venue features stadium-style seating, state-of-the-art lighting and sound, and a “Lobby Bar and Lounge.” Since 2007, they have produced 80 Main Stage Productions of some of Broadway’s finest musicals and plays, and have proudly opened their doors for numerous special events and fundraisers for various organizations.
 

Skippers: (34 Main Street) Family owned and operated since 1978, Skippers has long been a staple of the Nothport Community. Recently remodeled, they offer waterfront dining featuring inspiring Northport Harbor views. It’s a memorable dining experience of coastal Long Island dishes with chef-driven cuisine and a modern design.

Jackie Shawn Salon: (110 Main Street) Come, de-stress and beautify. The feel of the place is a step out of time. The skill with hair and makeup is here and now. The people are lovely.

Jones Drug Store (100 Main Street) has served Northport for over a century! In addition all your pharmaceutical needs they have a lovely gift shop that, among other thing, includes gorgeous Northport-themed shirts and hats. There are authentic model boats and nautical gifts, flags, hand painted bird houses, and much more.

Northport Historical Society (215 Main Street) is housed in an old Carnegie Library. They offer incredible programming and are where you can find and purchase amazing old photos.

Coquus Book Store (MOVING to 90C Washington Dr. in Centerport this May!) This is the perfect place to shop for your favorite chef!

Changing Tides Consignment: (Formerly Helgas, 139 Main Street) Happy Retirement Helga! Welcome Denise! Read about the carefully planned changes at Northport’s treasured thrift shop here.

Harbor View Jewelers: (260 Main Street) A 4th generation jeweler with an excellent reputation for honesty, integrity, and the finest customer service in the industry. They love to work one-on-one to meet your individual style and develop your ideas into the perfect, treasured piece of jewelry.

Harbor House Restaurant: (78 Main Street) Northport’s newest restaurant in a cozy historical venue. It’s a modern seafood restaurant with warm atmosphere and outdoor dining in season. The friendly, attentive staff offers chef inspired seasonal fare, always fresh, and a variety of seafood, homemade ravioli, burgers and many specials to choose from.

Main Street Café: (47 Main Street) Come taste Long Island’s best burger, as chosen by readers of Newsday! Its owner for 16 years, Darin Parker, is so community oriented she was selected by the Times Beacon Record News Media as a Person of the Year. In addition to providing the Leg Lamp for the years Carl’s Candy hosted the event, Darin served as the first vice president of the Northport Chamber of Commerce as well as a fundraising organizer, and she hosts trips to Broadway shows for Northport Village residents. She is also a major supporter of events and foundations including St. Baldrick’s, Relay for Life, Adopt a Family and Strides for Cancer.

Salted on the Harbor: (70 Main Street) Proprietor & Sommelier Lindsay Ostrander has been in the restaurant industry since she was 14 years old. Wanting  “Northport to be a stamp on the map for restaurants too,” she and her family designed Salted to round out what they felt was missing in Northport Village. Their Chef Anthony has a resume with some of the best locations around, such as Park Place, Nisen Sushi, Matteo’s, just to name a few.  With a little help from their friend Doug Brickell, of the famed Cork & Kerry, their beverage savant, they bring to you carefully crafted cocktails & spirits, as well as craft beer and amazing wines chosen by the Owner/Sommelier, who for the past decade has also happened to own:

The Wine Cellar on Main: (70 Main Street) Sommelier chosen wines by the glass & bottle, local craft beer, tapas & dine in menus from sister location SALTED. on the Harbor and Maroni Cuisine (currently on Wednesdays and Thursdays). The bar is also a fine art gallery. There is Live Music Thursday- Sunday- Follow them on instagram and facebook for their weekly line up!

Artisan House: (80 Main Street) This treasure trove of unique gifts is celebrating 50 years in Northport, and one year with their new owners, Ron and Randi. They have baby items, jewelry, glassware, candles, souvenirs, nautical gifts, windchimes and more. They’re also one of the few places on Main Street that routinely stay open late!

Indigo room: (146 Main Street) Proprietor Kim is a deeply spiritual artist and a curator….the place is just…so…cool….Come, find a bit of poetry, a zen garden, perhaps a bit of indigo ink….Sage and holi sticks, beautiful, clever things she’s found, created and been  inspired by…the place is a treasure for the body mind and soul…

Nest on Main (135 Main Street) is a home decor marketplace that features many talented local artisans and creative entrepreneurs, including interior design experts who are delighted to help you feather your nest. Learn about them on their website, take one of their wonderful workshops, or just come on in and delight in their many and varied offerings.

The Window Shop Jewelers (104 Main Street) is dedicated to fulfilling customers’ dreams and to providing objects of consummate beauty and lasting value. Shop here for fine jewelry or timepieces, famous collections, exciting new designers and lines waiting to be discovered. Proprietor Jean McNeill and staff personally guide visitors through a breadth of selections…karat gold and sterling…diamonds, precious and semiprecious stones, pearls, vintage and contemporary pieces and more…jewelry for virtually every occasion…and every price point.

Bohemiac Boutique: (54 Woodbine Ave) She started as an Instagram sensation, now she’s got a beautiful brick and mortar location selling her clothing and accessories right on Woodbine. It’s so Northport, in a low key chic kind of way with a little bit of an edge…perfect for mother-daughter and best friend shopping. Plus, her Christmas Tree is amazing.

Gunthers: (81 Main Street) Northport’s iconic watering hole, famed for being one of the places Jack Kerouac never wrote a word. Check out the website for their music lineup.

Hengstenberg’s Florist (39 Main Street) has been serving the Gold Coast North Shore for over 30 years, with a commitment to bringing their customers exceptional floral arrangements, award-winning designs and unsurpassed service.

Hydrangea Home (67 Main Street) is an artful lifestyle shoppe with a casual, laid-back aesthetic that features fragrance, bath and body, florals, art and photography, jewelry and home decor. It all began in 1995 out of the converted garage of Dawn Mohrmann, whose husband and 4 kids first supported the endeavor by helping out at home. Now, the grown children each contribute to its handmade products in the shoppe while Fred handles all of the assembling, building, etc. In addition to so many pieces literally made “in-house” there are many others they just couldn’t resist sourced from other small businesses, local and around the world.

The Jewelry Collection (75 Main Street) offers a unique and beautiful collection of gifts ranging from candy to jewelry to home decor. There are items for babies and men, too! The stock is always changing and equipped to help you find something for everyone at any occasion.

Sweet Arts: (105 Main Street) With an old fashioned candy store up front and a party space in the back, this crafty establishment is one of Northport’s newest family-oriented treasures. They offer birthday parties, creative space, a lovely candy shop and even a you and me group intended to support caretakers as much as their kids. Check their website for event dates.

Maroni Cuisine: (18 Woodbine Avenue) First of all, the meatballs are legendary…but it’s more than that. Their about page will tell you “Love Wins”…that “Maroni cuisine is so unique it is difficult to describe but a pleasure to experience”…that eat in or take out, they aim to make you feel at home, that “We offer no formal menu. We break the rules.” It is absolutely delicious…

Einstein’s Attic: (79 Main Street) A longtime Northport treasure of a toy shop, Einstein’s Attic is “a specialty store where imagination can take you anywhere.” Proprietor Lori Badanes is always on the hunt to expand and offer her tremendous selection of amazing toys for children of all ages – including LOTS of very cool educational toys. She is also always willing to do something new and creative with the community.

Elements of Home (91 Main Street) offers an eclectic mix of out of the ordinary gift ideas, along with new ideas in home decor. Their ever-changing merchandise will meet your needs and desires for each season, as well as those special occasions to be celebrated throughout the year.

Heartichoke: (145 Main Street) Often described as “absolutely magical” and an “earthy delight,” here you can find gifts, crystals, incense, candles, home, garden, jewelry, and accessories.

Penny & Cooper: (154 Main Street) Inspired by the power of scent to create a mood, evoke a memory or relax us, mother-daughter team Donna and Katie established this bath, body home store in 2017. They handcraft their products in small batches with love & care, using only high-quality and natural ingredients. They move with the season, celebrate our village and create a wonderful atmosphere.

Martoni Italian Eatery (245 Main Street) offers warm grilled panini sandwiches, signature salads, italian gelato, espresso, and cappuccino, as well as imported goods direct from Italy, such as olive oils, balsamic oils, pasta, olives, mushrooms, and much mo.

How blessed are we to have these folks?  Go! Keep them in business for decades to come. It’s totally worth it!

Shop Local - Island Wide

Please pop in and buy from these folks. Then, as you go along, make notice the sponsor listings of other events and such that you see. Make time to visit those places. Thank them for making our communities special by supporting their work, too. It feels good!
 
You might also like to check out this: Our readers’ choices of favorite shops across Long Island. We always welcome updates!

April is Autism Awareness Month – Were you aware of Northport’s Mikey Brannigan?

April is Autism Awareness Month – Were you aware of Northport’s Mikey Brannigan? I sure wasn’t!!!

Photo of Mikey Brannigan and Sonja Robinson above provided by Fritz Garrecht

 

I like to think I’ve got a pretty good handle on the inspiring people of Long Island, especially in the Huntington area. I literally make it my business to know these things.

The best part about that? Realizing, no matter how hard I try, I will never begin to grasp it all.

First I learned "The Little Prince" was Written in Asharoken

For one. I was recently amazed to learn that “The Little Prince” (which I was blessed to be introduced to when a dear child handed it to me in grave seriousness many years ago), was written in Northport’s close neighbor, Asharoken. On one hand, given the gorgeous statue in the Northport-East Northport Library, I’m kind of surprised I didn’t learn earlier. However, on the other hand, given that the whole library there is an incredible, artistic ode to literature and more, I can see why I perhaps thought he was just one more aspect of that celebration.

BTW, they just celebrated the 80th birthday of that classic tale written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry at the Northport Historical Society. I strongly recommend you check out all the other amazing things they have going on there!!!

Then I Learned About Mikey Brannigan - WOW!

The other gem – a “Pink Diamond” that was recently held up to sparkle at me is much more current. Frankly, my missing it surprises me even more: Mikey Brannigan.

Did you know that the first Paralympic athlete to ever break a 4-minute mile, and who has in fact run two miles in under nine minutes was born and raised in Northport? Yessir!

New York State record holder Mikey Brannigan graduated from Northport High School in 2015 a local hero and, despite the huge setback that was COVID, has great hopes for the future.

This Guy is Golden

Mikey’s been compared to Forrest Gump, but faster and perhaps even wiser despite having an IQ below 75. He has won the Paralympic Gold, broken three T-20 world records, was named the Sports Illustrated High School Athlete of the Month in 2015, and in 2017 he was named Team USA’s Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year.

He is charming, ever uplifting, and currently taking college-level public speaking classes and more in addition to his rigorous work schedule.

The Mikey Mile and More to Come...

There is movement to name the route he regularly took around Crab Meadow the “Mikey Mile,” and to reengage the Village of Northport – especially its young people — in this man’s remarkable story.

His coach and caretaker Sonja Robinson is a precious gem herself. She has been compared to Helen Keller’s Anne Sullivan. In this case though, it’s running rather than running water that she uses as her medium to reach Mikey, and to guide him in realizing his fantastic potential.

There is so much to talk about regarding them, about running, about coaching, about our society, about life as a special needs individual both in sports and academia … I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface, there is so much to learn! I look forward to sharing more…

…Soon…

Pal-O-Mine Stable Spirits Art Show & Auction Fundraiser

Pal-O-Mine Logo
Pal-O-Mine Stable Spirits Art Show and Auction: A fun way to support an amazing healing organization!
 
Read this article we wrote with Pal-O-Mine, visit their website to learn even more, and then join them for a fabulous evening as they transform their barn into an art gallery and creative space. Guests will enjoy art by local artists along with wines paired with delicious small bites. Attendees will participate in the creation of a themed mural to be hung in the on-site Occupational Therapy in Motion and Speech Language Pathology in Motion Location.
 
What: Pal-O-Mine Stable Spirits Art Show & Auction
Where: 829 Old Nichols Rd, Islandia
When: May 4th, 5:30-8:30pm
Details: $60 tax deductible ticket includes 4 wine tastings, paired small bites, door prize ticket, interactive mural painting with Splashes of Hope
Contact: 631-348-1389, www.pal-o-mine.org
 
Please note: Tickets MUST be purchased in advance and will NOT be available at the door.

Complete Streets Summit – Let’s Do This!!!

Presser for the 2023 Complete Streets Summit. Photo by Katheryn Laible

Complete Streets Summit

The 2023 Complete Streets Summit recently convened by Vision Long Island was powerful and informative. This is an important annual event that brings local stakeholders together to address the tragic reality that Long Island has the deadliest roads in New York State, and to recognize the incredible potential we have to not only make our streets safer, but to make them healthier and more pleasant for our people, our environment, and our economy.

For the last 25 years, Vision has brought together folks who are passionate about community service; who care about better understanding their context, and who are willing to work together with others to make a positive difference in our built environment. At their events, there are always those who have taken great joy in being involved for years, and people whose faces are alight to be experiencing this group for the first time.

A big challenge Vision has is getting people to be quiet while the program is in progress. This is not due to lack of interest. In fact, the murmur often relates to the content. It happens because the relationships nurtured here are deep and valued. Folks are so happy to see each other, to catch up and to see how best to connect.

Those engaged cover fairly diverse sectors, perspectives, and walks of life. What they tend to share are fundamental values and care for this Island we call home.

Photo of presentation at the Complete Streets Summit. Vision Director of Operations Tawaun Whitty is speaking

The Tragedy is Real

I have always cared passionately about safe, inviting streets that are designed to serve human beings and that respect their broader environment. This year, though, the event hit closer to home.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Benjamin Daggart, a 16-year-old who went to my kids’ school, Benjamin suffered for two weeks before passing away after being struck down on South Oyster Bay Rd. while riding his bicycle to work at 10:45 on a Sunday morning.

He was not the only person I heard of lately who got hit, nor the only one who suffered for weeks before dying.

Surely. we can do better.

Benjamin was not the only person I heard of lately who got hit, nor the only one who suffered for weeks before dying. Surely. we can do better.

It's About Basic Quality of Life

At the event, I ran into Jorge Martinez, a longtime trustee of the Village of Freeport, business owner, and friend of Vision LI, who now serves an organization called The Age Friendly Center of Excellence. You can see a great interview of their leadership team with Vision Long Island here.

“You know,” he said, “being suitable for all ages isn’t just about the elderly, though that’s really important. It’s about our kids and their families, too.”

“Nassau County, in fact, is great in many ways,” he continued, “It hits six of the eight requirements for being considered an age-friendly community. The two it fails at are big ones, though.”

“Let me guess,” I responded, “Walkability/Transportation and Affordable Housing.”

He smiled grimly and nodded.

These are indeed key details.

“Nassau County, in fact, is great in many ways. It hits four of the six requirements for being considered an age-friendly community. The two it fails at are big ones, though”

Walkability/Transportation and Affordable Housing.

People Are Doing Something. Help Them.

I am grateful the folks of Vision persist at working with anyone who will engage to figure out how to solve our biggest challenges as a region, while operating fundamentally at the community level. I’m even more grateful that, each time around, more people seem on hand to listen hard, make connections and report on progress.

Ever human-focused, Vision’s work is incredibly down to Earth. Federal and state funding and other initiative are great, and they are a force at that level, but those regional solutions are really only as good as the local stakeholders who help shape and apply them. Our local elected officials live and raise their families here, care for their parents here, and more often than not work in the private sector here as well. It is these folks who know our communities and who roll up their sleeves and work with local civic groups to make things happen. Here.

We used to be grateful to have a roomful of people who cared. For years now, they have had roomfuls of people who are experienced and have real progress to share.

Stakeholders armed with markers and aerial views of well known streets considering the traffic engineering

Progress is Happening. More is Needed. Opportunities Abound.

Just imagine: Hopping on a bicycle and safely riding to the beach. Imagine not having to drive somewhere to bicycle safely. Imagine being able to get where you need to go without having to get in your car.

It’s possible. For many, often in the most dangerous places of all, it’s a necessity.

There was rich technical data offered by Elissa Kyle of Vision Long Island and Robert Nalewajk of GPI. There were resources available, and models to learn from.

Folks had much to report, including Daniel Flanzig of Flanzig & Flanzig LLC, Rosemary Mascali of US Green Building Council and Carter Strickland of the Trust for Public Land. It was noted that many walking audits have occurred. People from all walks of life came to testify how important safe streets are to them and what they’re prepared to do about it.

Over the last 20 years, about 40 projects have been undertaken. Legislation has been passed and funding has been dedicated, including at the State and Federal levels. There were over 150 stakeholders present at this Complete Streets Summit, including 18 elected leaders. Thoughts on how best to do things continue to evolve, as more and more models are springing up that are local and inspiring.

This is progress, but it is not enough.

Still, it is refreshingly cross-political, multi-perspective and thoughtful.

Dan Burden with Vision Assistant Director Tawaun Whitty

The Return of Johnny Appleseed

This year, we even got a visit from the Johnny Appleseed of Walkability himself, Dan Burden. Dan was one of Vision’s first inspirations and seemed honestly excited about the progress we’ve made in the 20 years since he last worked here seriously. He was impressed by the quality of those gathered. This is good, because making things better requires a great cross-section of stakeholders as isolated successes only go so far when the challenges are systemic and mounting.

We need this. People overwhelmingly want this. Let’s do it already.

Dan is over 80 years old, now, not that you’d know it to look at him. His presentations are based on lots of data, cutting edge engineering, and interesting models. Some of what he explains is counter intuitive in the best of ways. It’s very technical and deeply researched. At core, though, it’s simple.

Dan’s message is grounded in human values. As he was quoted in Newsday, “If we built what we value — we care about kids, we care about ourselves and our elders — then we will start making the right decisions.”

We reflected on those values, and considered the data. We then applied that information to real-world examples and thought about how we might make those places healthier.

In the end, folks stood together and brought it all home.

It was a hopeful day. I am grateful.

Thanks.

Here is the Presser from the Vision Long Island Complete Streets Summit

The run-up in LI Business News

Coverage in Newsday

At core, it’s simple. Dan’s message is grounded in human values. As he was quoted in Newsday, “If we built what we value — we care about kids, we care about ourselves and our  elders — then we will start making the right decisions.”

 

Let’s do this.