Huntington Art Center: A Best Kept Secret Moves Into the Light!

A photo of Wendy Curtis in her beautiful new Wall St., Huntington Shop

Photo of Wendy Curtis in the new home of the Huntington Art Center by Katheryn Laible

The Huntington Art Center recently celebrated a ribbon cutting for their beautiful new space on Wall Street in Huntington. Now, it is easy to find their quality framing, printing and design services, as well as a curated collection of local and national fine art.

At a time when I felt like I knew every corner of The Village, discovering the Huntington Art Center was delightful. I was just starting out as a fine art photographer, and looking at frames and art in ways I never had before. They say when the student is ready the teacher appears, right? I guess that’s why, after a lifetime of wandering the streets of Huntington, it was then I found the then-tucked away shop that had served the Village of Huntington since 1957.

Wendy was thoughtful and enlightening. I had so many questions! I’m not sure when I found out she was a regular reader of the newsletter – or if maybe that same day I discovered her was the first time she found me, too. I also had no idea that she was a major creative spirit behind Huntington’s Art Walks.

What I did know, instantly, was that this place was grounded in love of art and craftsmanship. It was a beautiful shop, for the frames alone, but it was also …. An art gallery…. Almost like a secret gallery…

Just knowing it existed made me smile.

Now! Now, I am grinning ear to ear because now this frame shop is where it should be: Right on Wall Street in Huntington where anyone can see it. Inside is a gorgeous selection of frames as well as local and national art; a beautiful gallery that can frame whatever you need.  

It’s got the work of dear Firefly Constance Sloggatt-Wolf in there, for one – Big pieces that she can’t usually fit at the Firefly!

I love it so much…

Go see!!!

It’s beautiful…

A Local Independent Bookstore Closes, Three New Ones Open!

Photo of former local independent bookstore Book Revue storefront.

“At the End of a Chapter, Turning the Page: Thank you for 44 Years” by Katheryn Laible

As I look at the list of favorite shops that you dear readers have suggested, there is one entry I still can’t quite bring myself to remove: The once deep and starstruck haven that was Book Revue. My heart still aches at how quickly it emptied. It hurt even more to be right out front as someone began to pull the “Thank You for 44 Years of Business” sign from the window.

There is good news, tho! While Huntington’s incredible, beloved, local independent bookstore is now but a memory, former staff member Mallory Braun is determined to write “The Next Chapter.”

With passionate fanfare, she and so many lovers of this amazing, some would say sacred, place have rallied to make it happen. Even Kurt Vonnegut and Henry Miller – knowingly or not! – have been involved!

 

The Next Chapter

I have never met Mallory but hear VERY good things. That she managed to raise the $250,000 needed to follow in the Klein Brothers’ footsteps is a Christmas present from and for the whole Town. Passing the $200,000 mark on Richard Klein’s birthday was another poetic gift. They had wonderful raffle prizes and a kickin’ band at the very cool Industry Makers the night I got to contribute my little bit. While I deeply appreciated the loud, live music, I sure wish I could have heard what the band’s name was!!!

Proverbial sugar plums dance through my head as I dream of Mallory boldly carrying that glorious banner forward. It’s hard to wait, tho! It doesn’t feel quite like Christmas without Book Revue and I’m eager to see how this manifests. Fortunately, my grieving impatience eases a bit as I smile to see another haven for bibliophiles, this one a used bookstore, pop up in East Northport!

 

 
The Dog-Eared Bard’s Book Shop

The Dog-Eared Bard’s Book Shop  was created by folks who have been running literary events throughout the Island for over a decade. Among activities, they publish a “Bard’s Annual” poetry collection for which they’ve fittingly hosted events at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. I look forward to sharing the next time they seek submissions. They are now hosting “First Friday Poetry Readings.” On January 7th they will feature Robert Savino. I believe they also offer literary alternatives to the Superbowl.

If your own shelves are running over, please know they gladly welcome donations of used books!

This is NOT Book Revue. It does seem to be something wonderful in its own right, tho, and also elicits faded memories of the earliest stacks of that legendary store… It would have sufficed for now….

But then..Lo! What did my wondering eyes behold, but a third new independent bookstore!!!

 

 
Theodore’s Bookshop

The kids and I recently popped into the barely-a-month-old “Theodore’s Bookshop on Audrey Avenue in Oyster Bay. Founded by former US Congressman and Huntington Town Councilman Steve Israel, the shop pays deep homage to the former President and local resident Theodore Roosevelt, as well as to Steve’s love for history and current affairs. Here, he can bring all sides together with pop culture, classic literature, children’s books and other standard bookshop fare. There’s also a healthy dose of folks we’ve dearly missed since Book Revue closed. It seems to work!

Said Steve, “I served 16 years in Congress and it was a place where people would draw battle lines. I got tired of that. I wanted to create a place that would be of value to the community. We have books that are conservative. We have books that are progressive. We have books in the middle. I just wanted to create a platform for respectful discourse and the pursuit of curiosity, and a place that is just serving the community in which I live.”

You can see the rest of my mini-interview with Steve Israel and a few images from his shop below.

 

There Will Only Ever Be One, But Still…

It’s still not Book Revue, but it’s a unique and lovely assortment Steve and his new “family of book lovers” are crafting that does pay deep homage to that bit of history, too. I look forward to seeing how the Dog-Eared Bard grows in it’s own way. I still can’t wait for Mallory to get rolling, and know that I’m still coming to terms with the fact that her endeavor — no matter how wonderful —  will never be Book Revue, either. 

Still, the idea has been planted that maybe…just maybe…some great spirits never really die, but live on in all so inspired.

At least that seems to be the case for three new unique and personal local independent bookstores on Long Island.

More or less just in time for the holidays.

I am grateful. Thanks!

Election Day Guidance from the Huntington League of Women Voters

To vote in the upcoming elections, you much get registered THIS WEEK! We are grateful to guest blogger, Judie Gorenstein of the Huntington League of Women Voters for this Election Day FAQ:Last month, we shared items we found on Gratitude and Kindness. Now, we touch on acts that naturally follow: Giving and Hope.

Continue reading

Jayette Lansbury: Tireless Champion for People who are Impacted by Mental Illness and for Compassionate Criminal Justice Reform

Photo of Jayette Lansbury

Jayette Lansbury is a staunch advocate for individuals with mental illness and their caregivers, as well as for reform within the criminal justice system. She intended to become a defense attorney, but was sidelined by illness in her family. Then, she had a son with significant mental health challenges.

Continue reading