What was your favorite pastime growing up in Patchogue?
I grew up on Cedar Avenue in Patchogue with access to the pool, park and the town. My father owned a luncheonette next to the outside theater back in the ’50s. The best part about growing up was growing up in Patchogue; there was always something to do. We’re a community of families. I still see friends that I hung out with in junior high.
At what point did you realize Patchogue was special?
My wife and I bought a house outside of Patchogue up in Middle Island, and the first month that I was there, I realized, after getting a cup of coffee and a newspaper, I had nowhere to go and read it. You don’t have the dock, you don’t have the parks, you don’t have a downtown, and it just reminded me how much I love the community that I was born and raised in. We came back to Patchogue and have been in the same house for more than 40 years.
If I asked you 15-20 years ago what you wanted to do, would this have been it?
Smartest thing I did was come back to Patchogue, but I never had any grand desire to be a mayor or in government.
What advice would you give to a student about to enter the “real world?”
Make a decision; don’t be afraid to make one. There’s only three types of decisions—right decisions, wrong decisions and no decisions. The only one that will ever get you in trouble is the no-decision because you can’t do anything about it. Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Some things work; some things don’t.
What future goals do you have for Patchogue?
As goes the downtown goes the residential, as goes the residential goes the downtown. We never make a decision without considering both, and I live by that. Our growth is organic, and as we look down the road, by building the amount of residential units that we have, we’ve stabilized our residential market. We’re focused on true infrastructure and not kicking the can down the road. We’ve also always had a discussion about a hotel, and we look forward to the completion of the Shore Front Park and a park at Swan Lake.
If you had to eat and drink at one restaurant in Patchogue for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
The most consistent place, and it goes back to friendship and time, is the Oar. The environment to the food is consistent, but with that being said, sit me down in any restaurant in town, and I’m not going to push a plate away.
What’s your single, most favorite accomplishment thus far in Patchogue?
To see Main Street vibrant again and to see the activity come back.