Patchogue Village, a good model for Long Beach to Follow?

For the times they are a-changin’

                     -Bob Dylan

Newsday is running an article on the amazing revitalization of Patchogue village, a once beaten down and vacant downtown (read –Patchogue Village sees dramatic gains in development a decade after Swezey’s closed).

I haven’t been to Patchogue in a couple years, but was able to see something exciting happening when I was there. Something, I wish would happen right here in Long Beach. I am glad to read how all these revitalization efforts in Patchogue are working, but all this comes with some courage:

“Patchogue has always survived because it adapted to things,” Pontieri said. “This community was ready for leadership that wasn’t afraid of change.”

Growth, change and support from those who live there and run the damn place; that’s what is doing it. The concept of the suburb are dying. Unfortunately many in Nassau County just don’t get it, as I see gated communities going up all over Garden City and elsewhere on Long Island. All these bring traffic. Shopping centers disconnect communities and bring more traffic. None of these new developments are walkable or allow you to ride a bike even if you wanted to.  Do you know that new gated community where Roosevelt Racetrack once  was is right across the street from a movie theater, restaurants and stores? It’s terrible how it was developed. Those who live there have no choice, but to get in their cars to get anywhere.  Unless they want to jump over a wall. Doesn’t anybody want fresh air or exercise anymore? Many people, especially the younger generation, do not want this type of closed-off lifestyle anymore. They feel disconnected. That is why areas such as Brooklyn and even upstate like the Hudson Valley are embracing the concept of the downtown. We need to change, otherwise Long Island is going to be the following: A place for rich people with pockets of poor who serve the rich people. Large shopping centers, traffic, parking woes, no more culture, chain restaurants, no more sense of community or sense of being is not where I would want to live.


Not that we have it so bad here in Long Beach, but both our downtowns could use a tremendous facelift and revitalization. I love the idea of bringing a place to belong to an area. This attracts art, culture, amazing businesses, people and $$$. Right now, a quick walk around our downtowns, particularly on Park Avenue, is a scary one at night. It just seems so dead and desolate.

“You can’t have an economy that stagnates. You can’t have an economy that has no growth,” said Suffolk County Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue), a village resident who maintains his district office there. ” . . . Otherwise, what happens is you lose your young people and your workforce. What we’ve done here in Patchogue is we’ve found a new growth model that works.

And look, they even had a failing theater, which now revitalized and better than ever:

[Patchogue Mayor Paul V.] Pontieri said the arts are a key component of Patchogue’s turnaround. Venues such as Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts attract customers who patronize village restaurants and shops, he said.

The village-owned theater opened in 1998 after a $3.35 million renovation of the old Patchogue Theater, which had closed a decade earlier. It now attracts about 150,000 people a year to live shows and concerts, “putting a tremendous number of people on Main Street,” Pontieri said.

I refuse to read the comments on Newsday relating to the article because I am sure most of them are from people who fear change, still think Red Hook Brooklyn is a ghetto and big box stores are the future. These people need to wake up and smell the coffee, for the times they are a -changin.

For me personally, I would love for our downtowns to be redeveloped this way: Walkable, sustainable and alive.  Check the full article at Newsday: Patchogue Village sees dramatic gains in development a decade after Swezey’s closed.

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16 thoughts on “Patchogue Village, a good model for Long Beach to Follow?”

  1. Thank you for your passionate and courageous commentary Anthony. I have a lot of ideas for the walbaums Rite Aid center.
    And before laying anything new out, we must acknowledge that those two organizations provide beneficial services and jobs to neighbors in the North Park community. Then we mist accept question if having a structure set back with a poorly patrolled and poorly lit parking lot is acceptable to reduce crime. No other location in long beach has parking in front, most places are up to park aves curb and provide outside seating and window shopping ..soo can the site introduce a love arts venue for all of our communities to unite in at this center…now that I think of it… I despise the title “Shopping Center” how about Crystal’s cultural center.?. Just to boot.

  2. Planning and leadership. Planning and leadership. Long Beach has 10 times the assets and potential of Patchogue. Just need two things.

  3. Some years back I suggested that West End stores and shops stay open late 3 or 4 nights a week. After all there are a lot of people there what with all the restaurants.
    Nothing ever came of it.

    Wouldn’t this work not only in WE but all over town?

    Especially if the movie theater ever reopens.

    But what do I know?

  4. Don’t worry, the “rich people” are leaving long island as fast as they can, NY and NJ have the highest outflow rate of higher income residents in the US. Read the article – the entire renaissance seems to be centered around apartments and “affordable” housing. In other words, subsidized housing. Developers build apartments with the guarantee of full occupancy via renters, many of whom will be subsidized by the government. Who pays for it, someone else is funding this “renaissance”. Pull the plug on the affordable housing subsidies and the entire scheme falls apart. Socialism always looks good initially – until you run out of other people’s money to pay for it. Section8 is destroying suburban long island – the middle class leaves and those who can afford it move into ever smaller enclaves to escape the social impacts that having welfare dependent neighbors brings – look at the rising heroin problem in LB, and all across the south shore.

  5. Long Beach has become a great town to go to if you want the beach and nail salons!!! There is no formula here in Long Beach only disjointed effort. I am not sure who the city planner is at this point but there needs to be some continuity. There are sooo many things that I could say about the state of long beach and what it looks like. I think we need to wait for all of the construction to be done and then take some responsibility for ourselves and the town. We all need this place to look inviting. My wife and I have gone back and forth so many times as to leave or stay in long beach. The hope of what may come is what keeps us here! Don’t let us down.

  6. I have no idea what our city planner actually does since it is not evident. I grew up in Northport. The downtown had become desolate, filled with empty store fronts and seedy looking buildings because 3 supermarkets anchored 3 different shopping centers. During the late 60 s and early 70s an architectural review board was formed, zoning laws were tightened, metered parking lots were scattered down Main Street and that dismal town became a year round destination, with unique restaurants, art galleries, bookstores, antique stores and an exciting feeling. One parks in a lot and walks to all those businesses. The only more expensive downtown rental space is South Hampton. They maximized the harbor and old buildings, giving it a historical feel, reminiscent of New England. This came together because the village board broadcast their plans and got the residents on board, working in a cohesive manner. Huntington did a similar turnaround. In both cases a large factor was a zoning board committed to following the master plan, irrespective which party was in place. Can we get past the patronage and divisiveness that prevails here?

  7. I recently went to check out Patchogue ..I was amazed at how vibrant it was …..I wish Island Park and Long Beach would consider such a project ….Long Beach has an asset that not many towns have THE OCEAN…Main Street was full of life ..behind all the store’s was 4 to 5 story apartments that was well designed …with great architecture….It did look a little to dense …..If Both south shore towns would consider a smaller scale ….wisely placed ….this could be the begging of our renaissance….THINK SMART GROWTH ….

  8. The rising herion problem on Long Island is because there are rich kids who can afford it. Didn’t you read that newsday article from a few weeks ago? long Island is targeted because of money, not because of section-8 housing…

    And the rich aren’t leaving, the middle class are. Towns that were once middle class (syosset, jericho, etc) are now upper middle class.

    My point is how many people, maybe not you, but many people don’t like the suburban long island lifestyle of having to drive everywhere. Pretty much why 50% of the people I know are leaving – not just because of high taxes, but lifestyle. Luckily, Long Beach offers a lot, but we can do so much better here.

    What areas have apartments being built near Downtowns? The only area I can think of is Westbury & Patchogue. Those Avalon Apartments in RVC are not smart growth. not what I am talking about. They were developed wrong.

  9. I like one person’s blog post about revitalization of downtowns by building “walkable, sustainable communities” is your dog whistle for “the government is spending my tax dollars to pay for someone else’s home thereby ruining everything”.

  10. My boss lives in Northport and I was at his place last summer. We walked through the downtown and you’re right, it is fantastic. I’d love to see a lot of the aspects from there in LB (and IP and Oside).

  11. Unfortunately, we may live in the most corrupt place on Long Island, the City Council & Zoning Board are for sale to the highest bidder. This is not recent or party affiliated, but a ongoing long time problem. The only cohesive plan in Long Beach appears to be based on lining family & friends pockets.
    What happened to William Reynolds dream of the “Riviera of the East”? with Spanish style buildings with stucco walls & pan tile roofs?
    Lost in a tidal wave of dog sh*t (pick up after your dog people) and corruption!!
    There can be little hope for Long Beach under the City Hall system, and as a long time resident I see us spiraling back to the bad old days of blight and decay.
    I dream of living in a quaint “seaside oasis” with a vibrant day & night life of pedestrian areas, eclectic eateries, artisan bakers, galleries, theatre and yes “bars/pubs” (there is room and a need for all).
    But under the current format of City Hall, can anyone honestly see that happening?

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