Port Side Rentals provides alternative way to cruise Greenport

06/28/2011 10:11 AM |

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Bruce Garritano with some of the scooters and bicycles he rents at Port Side Rentals on Front Street in Greenport.

As Greenporters get ready to adjust to new parking rules, there’s one businessman in the village who’s smiling, convinced his shop can help visitors stay out of their cars.

Bruce Garritano opened Port Side Rentals on Front Street last summer, offering bicycle and electric scooter rentals to people of all ages and levels of experience.

“Everybody likes the novelty,” said the former realtor, restaurateur and motel operator. “I’ve done many things in my life, but this is the most fun.”

Mr. Garritano brought the idea to the Greenport Planning Board last year, but by the time he got his business up and running, most of the season had passed. Since he reopened in May, he says the response has been very positive.

Port Side Rentals has six scooters for rent now and six more on order that Mr. Garritano hopes will arrive soon at his store on the north side of Front Street, just east of Miche Bacher’s Sacred Sweets bakery.

Riders take the electric scooters out to Adams Street, where Mr. Garritano and assistant Sylvia Marmo give a quick lesson in how to use them, ensuring that customers are familiar with their three speeds and brakes before they hit the road.

Mr. Garritano says his customers are more cautious on scooters and bikes than they would be in a car. And, he says, the experience is more “interactive,” since they get to take in more than they would from a speedy vehicle. For this reason, he says, his business can give visitors to the village an enhanced experience while reducing their carbon footprint.

The electric scooters take about four hours to charge. Given Greenport’s relatively inexpensive electricity, that’s not a lot of overhead, Mr. Garritano said. They can travel about 40 miles between charges, he said. Should a rider run them beyond the limit, the scooters do have pedal power, Ms. Marmo added.

Renters pays $50 for a four-hour rental and Mr. Garriatno offers discounts for those who want more than a single shift as well for groups. And if it’s your birthday, your rental is free.

Of course, renters are required by New York State law to use helmets and only one person is allowed on each scooter.

So far, riders have taken the scooters to Shelter Island, the wineries and, of course, all over Greenport Village. It’s not unusual for people to rent the scooters for four hours and then call asking to keep them out for another four hours, Mr. Garritano said.

For the less adventurous, Mr. Garritano, who said he’s looking to expand his business by bringing it to other East End communities, also has dozens of bicycles for rent at $35 a day.

Post Side Rentals is open seven days a week through the end of October from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Rentals can be arranged either in person at the Front Street stand or by calling 477-6585.

[email protected]