Members and friends,
This morning our speaker was Paul Pontieri, Mayor of Patchogue. Mayor Pontieri has been pressing the issues that will improve the quality of life and the vibrancy of this very old and historical village on the South Shore of Long Island. But before I tell you what the village is doing at the present, I think what Paul said about ethnicity of the village now, and that of the past is worth pondering.
Paul reminded us that the Italians that were a major part of the population of the past, were equally disparaged as are today’s new arrivals, mostly Hispanic. The names of those Italians which we think of as our respected elders in Patchogue and other places on Long Island, were no less foreign to others as our new immigrants. They were poor, different looking, and struggling to be part of America. Putting that fact in perspective helps us be tolerant. As my friend David Ochoa said after the meeting, “All these people want is to get in the game.” They will get in the game, and we will be proud of many of them too.
Paul spoke about the problems of Patchogue in terms of opportunities. He quoted a fellow mayor and friend David Kapell. David stated when you approach problems you often uncover wonderful opportunities (not a direct quote). Right now Patchogue wants to expand it’s sewer plant to accommodate some changes in Patchogue. There is a joint dormitory planned for Briarcliff’s and St. Joseph’s Colleges, and there is a plan to increase downtown housing. There is a plan to better utilize the waterfront on the Patchogue River.
Earlier this year we had village trustee, Victor Yannacone come to LIMBA and speak about the refurbishment of the Patchogue Theater. Mayor Pontieri spoke about the theater too and mentioned that the theater made a new contract with Gateway Theater. The Mayors presentation was about the village reinventing itself. With some nostalgia we say good-bye to the old and familiar and welcome the new. At the same time the village is preserving it’s most architecturally sound buildings, such as the theater.
After we adjourned the meeting there was an unusual number of people that stayed longer and wanted to speak to the mayor. He graciously obliged.
Next week we will have Smithtown Supervisor, Patrick Vechio speak at LIMBA. Please plan om joining us.
Meanwhile have a great weekend,