Destination Northport: ‘The World’s Biggest Small Town’

There are many soon-to-open hotels, popular theaters, galleries, shops and restaurants. There’s a waterfront, plenty of picnic spots, wineries, and heart-warming places. A Long Islander might drive for hours to such a destination in one of the Forks, or perhaps even New England. But all of these are available at nearby Northport.

“North of 25A is like a little cocoon. When people come here, they are very surprised to see a beautiful place with harbors, shops and parks,” said Dorothy, secretary of records for the Northport Chamber of Commerce. Walsh said. , a former local business owner.

“Most of the shops fill up as soon as they open,” she said of the village’s main street, which is estimated to be a mile long.

Modern Northport continues to grow as a destination. Yet traditions run deep in this former agricultural and shipbuilding center, where innovation serves to inspire and nurture communities. Northport is on the World Atlas list of New York’s most beautiful small towns, alongside the likes of Saratoga Springs, Sag Harbor and Rhinebeck.

All of these are good for your business.

This was evident when the village’s main street was bustling on a recent Friday night, one of the first real summer nights of the season. Children were enjoying frozen treats, and families were out walking their dogs. Lines were forming at restaurants, and city-goers were looking to grab a bite to eat before opening hours at the John W. Engemann Theater, which was lined with Broadway performers.

The theater is across the street from the Northport Hotel and is now accepting reservations for an opening date of August 1 or earlier. Both the theater and his 26-room boutique hotel are owned by Richard Dolce and Kevin O’Neill.

The hotel already has a waiting list for July, according to its website. O’Neill predicts that the venue, which will include a steakhouse as well as a theater, will be a big boon for Northport.

Kevin O’Neill is co-owner of the Northport Hotel and the John W. Engemann Theater.Photo credit: Judy Walker

“We are creating an economic ripple effect to revitalize the downtown economy,” he said, noting that neighboring business owners are “cleaning the building.”

Others share that sentiment too.

“The new Northport Hotel is a great asset not only to the village, but also to the surrounding community, which has long missed the opportunity to enjoy a stay,” said Kristen Reynolds, President and CEO of Discover Long Island.

“For every $100 a visitor spends on a hotel, an average of $221 is spent in the local community. This enhances the heart of Main Street, providing Northport with its historic charm, unique shops, delicious dining, and world-class facilities. entertainment to a new audience,” she said. Added.

Janet Hooft, president of the Northport Chamber of Commerce, said of Main Street’s abundance of merchandise, “it’s been growing steadily and incrementally.”

In Northport, Lee Stuart, owner of Gold Coast Cigars, which he runs with his son Glenn, said “things have already changed in the growing community.”

Stuart, who owns another store in East Northport, said word of mouth spread due to COVID-19.

“Northport didn’t close,” he said. Visitors “found a huge number of boaters coming from across Long Island Sound at the time.”

Glenn Stewart runs Gold Coast Cigars with his father, Lee Stewart.Photo credit: Judy Walker

People wanted to “get out of town and find Northport where they could do day trips,” he added. “They could sit outside on the patio and enjoy a cigar.”

STEVE SQUITIRO and ANDREW AFFA opened Arlo Kitchen & Bar in December.Photo credit: Judy Walker

Steve Squitiro and Andrew Affa of Standard Hospitality Group chose 25A outside Northport for their newest venture, Arlo Kitchen & Bar. Standard Hospitality also owns The Peermont in Babylon, Mission Tacos in Huntington and The Standard at North Shore Synagogue in Syossett.

Arlo is located on a “remote and hidden” hill and “it’s on a corner so there’s no visibility,” Scutillo said. “The location made me nervous.” But he was determined to wow the area with his Arlo’s level of detail. The restaurant and its menu, which opened in December, are highly rated judging by food lovers at the Tri-State Restaurant Club. He said the area couldn’t be more welcoming.

“Northport is such a great community,” Squitilo said. “There are very successful people living here. I’m sure there will be a lot of great people coming here,” he said, appreciating being on the village’s doorstep on Fort Salonga Road. I added that there is.

Although not on Main Street, Del Vino Vineyards is also popular. This winery has a tasting his room, outdoor seating, and a private room for events, and has proven appealing to those who don’t want to drive to East His End for a vineyard experience.

keep tradition

What was once is now replaced with new, and Firefly Artists Gallery managing partner Katie Livel remembers well where it was and where it disappeared.

“The restaurants, art galleries and shops are great,” she said, while the village “has a blacksmith shop that was a treasure and everyone misses the hardware store and the quarters.”

KATIE LAIBLE is the Managing Partner of The Firefly Artists gallery.Photo credit: Judy Walker

Firefly is now located in the same building that once housed the Northport Hardware Company. There was little space in her gallery for the month when she was approached about hosting a quirky but beloved Northport tradition, Leg Lamp Lighting.

Leible says it all started when hardware store owners found a lamp with a leg-like base — an “old gag gift.” The owners “decided to put a lamp in the shop window and paid tribute to it. The next year they dragged eight out of ten from the Gunther taproom next door and saluted together.”

The tradition has started to grow, Leible said, adding that “communities are starting to take notice and children are getting involved.”

Each year the tradition grew in popularity with the addition of kicklines and students from local dance schools. But without the hardware store, the future of leg lamp lighting was uncertain. Ms. Livel said the owner of a Shipwreck Diner near her approached her and said she “needed to bring this tradition back to her hometown,” and she offered the community hot chocolate and cookies. promised to provide.

The community raised approximately $1,500. “Almost all the shopkeepers we met last week got together,” said Leible. These funds allowed the community to get her AV company to do the lighting and pay the staff for the small business’s Saturday event.

This event is part of the Northport Experience, which also includes other popular events such as the Great Cow Harbor 10K Run, outdoor concerts, parades and farmers markets. The community is focused on respecting the pastimes it cherishes, but also welcomes new events. For example, on June 17, Northport will host the first Pride in the Park.

It’s all part of Northport’s fabric.

Looking ahead, Ms. Leible wonders whether the recent LIPA settlement will have any impact on the community, adding that she would like to “do something about taxes across Long Island.”

On the other hand, she appreciates being in an arts-appreciating community, a walkable family-friendly community, and other factors that draw people to Northport.

“Generally speaking, people like to live here,” says Hooft. “This is a lovely place and good for all ages.”

“This is the biggest small town in the world,” said Libre.

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