05/04/17 5:55am
05/04/2017 5:55 AM

It’s Thursday night in Greenport Village and something that could be mistaken for a sea monster is lying on the Railroad Dock behind the East End Seaport Museum.

The crimson beast was pulled, fighting and squealing, from the 45-degree water and laid on the dock, where it eventually turned white and met its demise.

It’s squid season in Greenport Harbor. READ

09/20/14 2:21pm
09/20/2014 2:21 PM
Congressman Tim Bishop cuts the ribbon at Widow's Hole Oysters on Saturday morning. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Congressman Tim Bishop cuts the ribbon at Widow’s Hole Oysters on Saturday morning. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

It was a fitting day for a commercial dock to open up in Greenport, albeit a rare occasion these days.

Widow’s Hole Oysters cut the ribbon at its new 140-foot dock on Saturday morning on the opening morning of the village’s annual Maritime Festival, celebrating the company’s expansion after the project was delayed due to opposition from neighbors and a clerical error by the village.

Mike and Isabel Osinski had proposed the new dock as well as expanding part of their operation in a creek on the west side of their property that abuts Fourth Street homes. The company owners ultimately scaled back the expansion to please neighbors who voiced opposition to the plan. However, plans to build the dock heading into Greenport Harbor, on the east side, were stalled after the Greenport Village board said a clerical error required a second public hearing on the plan.

Eventually, the Osinskis filed suit against the village over an “arbitrary and capricious” amendment it made when issuing the company’s tidal wetlands permit. Last month, a state Supreme Court judge ruled in the company’s favor.

Mr. Osinski had some choice words for those who opposed the expansion, as well as the village, though summed it up on Saturday morning by saying, ”It was an ordeal.”

While the celebration for Widow’s Hole fit in with the theme of the day in Greenport, dockbuilder John Costello of Costello Marine said opening a new commercial dock isn’t something that happens too frequently anymore in the village, which originally grew due to its commercial fishing success in the mid-1800s.

In fact, Mr. Costello — who’s been building docks for 51 years — couldn’t recall the last time he built a working commercial dock in Greenport, noting that most of his work in the village comes through repairs.

“We’ve seen them disappear as more condos took the prime real estate,” he said.

The dock was completed on Thursday and took about five weeks from start to finish.

As supporters of Widow’s Hole hoisted a “Working Waterfront Greenport” sign, Congressman Tim Bishop was on hand to cut the ribbon at the new dock after helping Widow’s Hole secure permits from the Army Corps of Engineers needed to get the expansion up and running.

Mr. Osinski said that in addition to growing in Greenport Harbor, Widow’s Hole is now leasing 10 acres near Gardiner’s Island from Suffolk County, and the added dock space and stronger winches will permit the company to keep up with growing demand for local oysters in New York City.

“I’d like to grow the oysters to three years old, but the demand is too much. Everybody wants them,” he said.

Widow's Hole Oysters' new dock opened up this past week in Greenport. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Widow’s Hole Oysters’ new dock opened up this past week in Greenport. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

09/18/14 8:30am
09/18/2014 8:30 AM
Patrick O’Halloran (left) and Garrett Moore met for the first time Tuesday evening in the Mitchell Park marina, hours after a joint effort to rescue six boaters and bring an out-of-control cigarette boat to a halt in the waters of Greenport Harbor. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Patrick O’Halloran (left) and Garrett Moore met for the first time Tuesday evening in the Mitchell Park marina, hours after a joint effort to rescue six boaters and bring an out-of-control cigarette boat to a halt in the waters of Greenport Harbor. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

No, a scene from a dramatic action movie wasn’t being filmed in Greenport Harbor on Monday. What happened was this: After six people were flung from a speeding powerboat that had turned sideways, two strangers who live on opposite sides of the bay played integral roles in rescuing the victims and ensuring safety in the harbor by bringing the runaway boat to a halt.  (more…)

03/09/13 1:00pm
03/09/2013 1:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | The Peconic Water Sports company plans to offer a number of aquatic recreational opportunities, such as wakeboarding, out of Greenport beginning this summer.

Joey Flotteron of Greenport began working for Global Boarding in Sag Harbor when he was 17. Robb Reid, the company’s owner, taught him how to coach watersports.

“I’ve been riding these bays my whole life,” said Mr. Flotteron, now 23. “Growing up, I used to watch my dad water ski. As soon as I was old enough to, I started trying.”

Taking the skills he developed, he has now launched Peconic Water Sports LLC, the North Fork’s first water sports company, which will moor its boats at Preston’s Dock overlooking Greenport Harbor.

“A big part of this is that there’s a market over here we weren’t touching,” Mr. Flotteron said. “My hope is that there’s enough room for both of us to operate.”

His former boss agrees.

“It’s only going to help the East End out here; it will help all of us,” said Mr. Reid, who sees water sports growing in popularity.

Mr. Flotteron said he spent about eight months working on Wall Street before deciding an office wasn’t where he belonged.

“I knew it wasn’t for me,” he said. “It was sort of an epiphany.”

Whenever he had free time he’d be out on the water. “There is absolutely nothing better than that for me,” Mr. Flotteron said.

Peconic Water Sports will offer lessons in tubing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, wake surfing, knee boarding and more. Lessons start at $295 for the one hour, or $495 for two hours, for a boat carrying up to six people. Additional hours are $245. He will also offer a five-day RIDE camp for youths age 7 to 15 for $1,100 per person.

“It sort of teaches kids confidence building and persistence,” said Mr. Flotteron.

His old boss said he knows his stuff.

“He learned from some of the very best wakeboarders on the East Coast,” Mr. Reid said. “He’s right up there in the top ranks of coaches.”

Safety will be a priority, Mr. Flotteron said, with instructors focusing on proper form and equipment handling. Peconic Water Sports will also offer lessons how to safely operate a boat safely. He and his other two coaches are all first aid and CPR certified.

Mr. Flotteron said that when he injured his back performing tricks last summer he gained firsthand knowledge of the importance of safety.

“Growing up we didn’t have anyone to teach us,” he said. “Changing that and giving a people a place to learn safely — there’s none of that over here — is what we are hoping to become.”

His landlord sees promise in the new business.

“He’s a really, really smart and very responsible young man and I think that if anyone is going to do well at that business it would be him,” said Andrew Rowsom, vice-president of Preston’s. “I think it will bring a little bit of activity to the waterfront that we really haven’t seen at all.”

“I’m very comfortable out here. I have very good experience on the water out here so it seems and feels like good fit,” said Mr. Flotteron.

Information on Peconic Water Sports is available at peconicwatersports.com.

[email protected]

09/22/12 5:05pm
09/22/2012 5:05 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOS | A performance by a troupe of pirates was one of the highlights of the first day of Greenport’s Maritime Festival.

Hundreds of people flocked to Greenport for the first full day of the annual Maritime Festival. After the kick-off parade and the traditional blessing of the waters, visitors enjoyed tours of the U.S. Coast Guard barque Eagle and the privateer Lynx, a display of classic, ice and small boats, a pirate show and children’s activities.

The festival continues on Sunday with a dory race, a snapper fishing contest and the popular chowder contest.

[nggallery id=383]

09/16/12 4:00pm
09/16/2012 4:00 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Crew members on the 125-foot Milk & Honey charter boat said they visited Greenport this month because they’d heard about the village’s quaintness and believed it would be a good place to wind down from the busy season.

This has been the year of big boats in Greenport Harbor. Very big boats.

At the beginning of summer six of the country’s largest sailing vessels tied up for the Tall Ships of America Challenge. Since then, a number of mega-yachts have found berths at Mitchell Park Marina.

Village administrator Dave Abatelli said more boats 90 feet or longer docked in Greenport this season than in previous years. And big boats mean big bucks for the village.

So far, the village has collected nearly $73,000 in docking fees from about 25 different yachts at the municipal pier.

“It has definitely been the best season in recent years,” Mr. Abatelli said. “We even had to turn away some big boats.”

Mr. Abatelli attributes Greenport’s success to marina manager Jeff Goubeaud, who advertised in various boating magazines and spread the word about Mitchell Park Marina while vacationing in Florida earlier this year.

Mr. Abatelli said some of the village’s luck stemmed from the fact that Sag Harbor’s private docks filled up fast this summer. The difference in permit fees between Greenport and Sag Harbor’s docks helped, too, he said.

Sag Harbor charges boaters about $6.50 per foot per night, Mr. Abatelli said, while Greenport charges $3 to $4.50 per foot per night. The village charges more for peak times, such as weekends and holidays.

Some boaters said they chose Greenport over the Hamptons because they wanted some rest and relaxation.

William Yingling, first officer of the 125-foot Milk & Honey charter boat, said his crew decided to visit Greenport this month because they’d heard about the village’s quaintness and believed it would be a good place to wind down from the busy season.

“We wanted to find someplace quiet,” Mr. Yingling said.

Judy Borten, who owns an 83-foot yacht named Jubilee with her husband, Bill, said her family has tied up in Greenport for the past several years.

“We have very dear friends who live here,” Ms. Borten said. “I like how Greenport is the quiet side of the Hamptons.”

Mr. Abatelli believes the Peconic Bay Water Jitney, the Greenport-Sag Harbor passenger ferry now in the final weeks of its first season, also added appeal for yacht owners.

“Most of the boaters have a Sag Harbor connection and like that they can kind of just scoot over there,” he said.

As the season wraps up, Mr. Abatelli said the village is planning to upgrade the marina’s electrical system to better accommodate more yachts next summer.

[email protected]

08/03/12 5:00pm
08/03/2012 5:00 PM

Greenport Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program is slowly morphing into the municipality’s comprehensive plan, a move that has angered some residents.

During a roundtable discussion July 25 at the Third Street firehouse, about 20 people — including village administrator David Abatelli and Village Board members David Murray and Chris Kempner — heard planning consultants speak on how the proposed changes aim to improve the area’s quality of life.

While many towns and villages limit their LWRPs to how their waterfronts can be used, Greenport’s plan, first completed in 1988 in an effort to deter waterfront condominium development, may now cover the entire village.

The LWRP was last updated in 1998 and a Harbor Management Plan was added for the construction of Mitchell Park.

David Smith of VHB Engineering, Surveying & Landscape Architecture, based in Watertown, Mass., said the updated report has been nearly two years in the making.

Enhancing drainage throughout the village is one of the newest proposals in the draft.

Water running off impervious surfaces, such as rooftops, roads and parking lots, picks up pollutants on its way to nearby waterways. Through stormwater mitigation, pollutants are typically redirected and filtered through permeable surfaces.

The village is currently finalizing its strategy to comply with new federal and state mandates aimed at improving water quality in the bays and the Sound.

Under orders from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Conservation, the village must act not only to improve the quality of water that fails to meet federal clean-water standards, but also must record and report each plan developed and each step taken.

Southold Town faces the same requirement.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has designated Greenport Village as a municipal “separate storm sewer system” operator, commonly known as MS4.

The MS4 designation means the village must develop, implement and enforce a stormwater management program requiring developers to submit more stringent pollution prevention plans to ensure building projects don’t contaminate wetlands. Mr. Smith said the village’s MS4 plan will be integrated into its LWRP.

Many who attended last week’s meeting expressed their displeasure with Mr. Smith’s presentation after he failed to provide concrete details about proposed zoning changes. When residents asked for the locations of properties slated for rezoning, Mr. Smith pointed to a few areas on a map projected on a screen and said he couldn’t provide exact locations because he didn’t know which streets those properties were on.

“We have nothing to review, so how can we comment?” village resident Robert Hamilton asked.

Although the over-200-page report was posted on the village website earlier this month, residents described downloading the large document and reading through it as “laborious.” The bulk of it contains decades-old information about the original plan and the most updated information is located at the back of the document.

Michael Osinski, former Village Trustee and owner of Widow’s Hole Oyster Company, said the village should focus on presenting details about the proposed zoning changes so that resident don’t have to “pull teeth” to find information.

“Why hasn’t anyone stood up there and given us a listing of what the pending changes are?” Mr. Osinski asked. “Isn’t that the purpose of this meeting?”

Village residents Bill Swiskey and John Saladino said the last 10 to 15 pages of the report should have been created as a separate digital document so that residents could find the proposed updates. In addition, they suggested the village hold another, more formal, meeting. The village advertised the July 25 meeting as a “community conversation” and it wasn’t recorded.

Mr. Abatelli said the roundtable discussion format was decided on so that residents could express their comments freely. He said he will schedule another public meeting and will arrange for it to be recorded.

Following a 30-day written comment period, environmental studies must be completed before the Village Board can take any action on the proposed plan.

“A lot has to happen before there’s a zone change,” Mr. Abatelli said. “It’s long. It’s slow. It’s painful. And after the dust settles, not much is changed.”

In addition to proposing zoning changes, the $67,000 draft report recommends building a support facility for aquaculture, expanding McCann Campground on Moore’s Lane, enhancing Moore’s Woods and creating a trail from Long Island Sound to Peconic Bay.

Mr. Swiskey questioned why the draft proposes new development instead of focusing on enhancing the waterfront.

“What’s Moore’s Woods got to do with the waterfront?” Mr. Swiskey asked. “This sounds like somebody’s dream and everyone else’s nightmare.”

Hard copies of the report are located at Village Hall and Floyd Memorial Library. Residents can email their comments to Mr. Abatelli at [email protected].

12/02/11 2:11pm
12/02/2011 2:11 PM

JUDY AHRENS FILE PHOTO | With tall ships as backdrop, Colin Van Tuyl directs the Greenport Band in Mitchell Park during the 2004 Tall Ships of America's tour.

Tall Ships of America tour is expected to stop in Greenport this Memorial Day weekend and village officials say they are starting “from the ground-up” to prepare for the visit.

In May, the east coast sail will start in Savannah, Ga. and visit Charleston, S.C. before stopping at Greenport Harbor. The tour will then continue onto Newport, R.I. and finish in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The fleet of vessels will race against each other between ports.

This year’s event will also include a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812  between the U.S. and Great Britain.

Village Mayor David Nyce said the village is in negotiations with Tall Ships of America to determine which ships will sail in.

The village is in preliminary contract negotiations with the owners of a few class A vessels, the largest of the tall ships, and is in the process of scheduling fundraisers, he said.

“It’s a work in progress and we’re building from the ground-up, but I think it will be a wonderful kickoff for the summer season,” Mr. Nyce said.

In 2004, when Tall Ships of America last visited Greenport, the village was award a state grant to offset the cost of ship appearance fees.

Since that grant came through the “I Love New York” tourism marketing program that no longer exists, Mr. Nyce said the village is planning on securing sponsors in addition to holding fundraisers in the hope of keeping the event free to the public.

For information on sponsoring or volunteering for the event, contact the Village Clerk’s Office at (631) 477-0248, extension 206.

Here is our previous coverage of the Tall Ships of America event in July 2004:

Calm seas, smooth sailing: Mayor calls ships’ visit big success

GREENPORT—An estimated 50,000 visitors came down by the sea to see the Tall Ships during their stopover in Greenport this week. And that accounts for only those who actually boarded one or more of the ships, as opposed to those who just strolled around the village, according to Mayor Dave Kapell.

Visitors expressed awe at the site of the tall ships, especially when they lit up Greenport Harbor at night.

“I am impressed with how the village can so seamlessly accommodate crowds of this magnitude without becoming overwhelmed,” said the mayor, hailing the newly opened East Pier as a “dream come true.” Walking around the village, he said, he felt as though he had “arrived at a different place, a better place, where Greenport firmly reconnects with its rich marine-industrial tradition.”

Village stores and restaurants were packed with visitors throughout the weekend and, thanks to volunteers, village employees and Southold Police, the event went smoothly, said Mayor Kapell. He also credited the American Sail Training Association and corporate sponsors who financed various events held throughout the event.

“There was a widespread feeling on the streets of happiness bordering on euphoria,” he said.

Greenport Merchants Association president Jeff Colton called it “a proud moment for the village.” He credited the mayor, Trustee Gail Horton who heads the Lady Stirling Committee, and the staff at the East End Seaport Maritime Museum for the hard work it took to make the Tall Ships Challenge a reality.

“It was monumental effort” and they “did a fabulous job,” said Mr. Colton.

The merchants he spoke with were pleased with the numbers of shoppers who visited their stores, said Mr. Colton.

The activities that can be realized as a result of the new East Pier will have “a major beneficial impact” on efforts to retain and promote the working waterfront, said Mayor Kapell.

The Polish naval training ship Pogoria left Greenport Monday, but the other tall ships remained in the harbor until Wednesday.

[email protected]