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Huntington POV: Preserve History, Preserve Hotel Huntington.

Hotel Huntington Bank

My name is Gerard Seitz and my wife and I have been residents of Halesite for 15 years now. We own a property listed on the National Historic Register. We moved here because we were enamored with the areas’ rich history, along with its cosmopolitan flair. We are attempting to restore our home to its former glory by ourselves with no help or funding from outside sources. We moved here, because Huntington has far more historical properties than any other township in Suffolk County.

I am appalled at hearing Town Hall is willing to tear down a historic structure, so integral to Huntington’s past to put up a TD Bank with a 3 lane DRIVE-THRU at the entrance to OUR historic Town of Huntington. This is at the corner of Fairview Street and New York Avenue. Not only is this jewel the southernmost gateway to our historic village, it deserves to be restored to its former elegance.

The beautiful Hotel Huntington

The hotel’s architect was a son of Huntington, August H. Galow. He designed the Henry Perkins Hotel in Riverhead and also the building, now home to the Suffolk County Historical Society, also on the Nat’l Register. Galow was a graduate of huntington high school in 1912. He attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and continued his studies at Columbia’s School of Architecture. Incidentally, Leroy Grumman also graduated the year before him from Huntington High in 1911. They literally were walking the halls together.

This was one of the first projects of the newly formed Huntington Chamber of Commerce in 1926 to firmly establish Huntington’s place as a sophisticated town. They took great pride in relying on local talent, which is why Galow was chosen. The hotel directors read like a history lesson of Huntington: Sammis, Conklin, Baylis, Toaz and even Daniel Gale himself. The Long Islander said at the time: “here men of varying viewpoints and opinions have been able to sink their personal ambitions and desires in the one great object of obtaining what the community as a whole has needed.” The opening of the hotel in 1929 was hailed as “one of the greatest progressive steps in the history of Huntington” and was recognized as one of the finest hotels on Long Island east of Brooklyn.

Elegant entrance

I’d like to know where’s the Huntington Historical Society’s outrage? Hotel Huntingon sits diagonally across from the Society’s David Conklin Farmhouse. Laughably, the bank is conducting its own traffic study. Anyone who has driven through this intersection realizes the traffic from lunchtime through school closing and evening rush hour backs up in ALL directions. One doesn’t need to be a traffic engineer, to dictate just plain old common sense. This is a terrible idea which must be stopped and will destroy the character of downtown Huntington. A downtown which Town Hall wants to make more walkable.

A much better place for a DRIVE-THRU bank would be at the abandoned Tilden Brake building on New York Avenue and Olive Street in Huntington Station, less than one mile away. This is a HUGE intersection which could handle the traffic, and the property is in dire need of improvement.

It is ridiculous that we are listening to Preservation experts, paid for by the bank, to tell us what to do with OUR heritage. I am incensed at seeing the systematic destruction of HISTORIC Huntington by our Town Board. Let’s make a difference by contacting our elected officials to let them know how you feel about knocking down historic buildings and replacing them with unattractive, generic buildings not in character with OUR historic town.

Don’t sell-out our history for a TD drive-thru bank. Would you knock down and destroy any of Leroy Grumman’s inventions, another son of Huntington, a pioneer of aviation?

**click photos to enlarge

Gerard Seitz is a contributor to the Village Tattler’s Huntington POV. The VT welcomes perspectives from all area residents. Huntington POV does not reflect the views of the Village Tattler, rather the individuals who submitted them. Click here for more about the rules and process for submitting an article or other media for publication.

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9 comments to Huntington POV: Preserve History, Preserve Hotel Huntington.

  • mcrocker

    Lots of people talk out of their hat….

    On the surface, I agree that there are several banks in town, but no one builds a bank to lose money. Competition is a good thing. Banks install vaults and numerous protection devices costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Bank builds are custom, expensive and require the property owner to ask for and often receive 50 year leases. Can you name any other quality tenant that might sign for a 50 year lease in Huntington town proper for a platypus property like the old hotel? Banks employ skilled workers. Banks lend money to town businesses. As part of their sales and marketing initiatives, banks sponsor teams, charities, local community events. Bankers eat expensive corporate lunches in town with town business folk seeking loans. They provide merchant services to town businesses. How much do you want to bet that the bank will sponsor the Conklin house across the street, the community garden and whatever else is asked of them? Do you think the bank will allow town folk to park in the lot at night? Ever use the chase parking lot or the BOA lot at night? Ever hear them complain? Its a win win. Additional FREE night & weekend parking, tax revenue, stability. If TD moves in, plan on them going through an onerous site plan review. It will force them to jump through hoops regarding lighting, parking, safety, ADA compliance, epa ground checks, sewer, septic, etc. etc. etc. if the bank wants the location, they will go through the process, spend tons of dough and upgrade an underutilized piece of property. check out the other td’s in the area. are they eyesores or traffic menaces?

  • Jill

    VT: Your site is encouraging cyberbullying. Not only by allowing people to attack non-elected officials by name, but also by your less than ‘gracious’ response to HS Resident. You are in a position where you should and MUST hold yourself to higher journalistic standards…any journalistic standards would be nice! People DON’T want to use their real names here because of the hostile environment that you are now helping to foster.

    I’m truly shocked that your editor would pick on a member of your audience in such personal, hostile, and extremely unprofessional manner. It is in everyone’s best interest to lower the temperature.

  • Risa

    Mr. Seitz. Thank you for a swell article. Interesting, provocative and informative. I wonder if your head swirled as did mine when you read the litany of angry responses. I don’t get why a heartfelt suggestion instigates a venomous rather than rational response. It is possible to disagree with civility, no? Those frequent contributors to VT and they know who their anonymous selves are ought to go back and read their responses to varying issues over the months. Take a thorough and honest inventory of how you convey YOUR messages. It’s a new year. Challenge yourselves to: lose your anonymity; bet you it would prompt you to chose your words with more care and with more decency.

  • Gerard J. Seitz

    I didn’t respond because I didn’t want to get into any pissing wars. When you write an editorial in a newspaper you don’t know who reads it, they CAN’T respond (to you) and you don’t have to defend your position. In fact my position IS this article. These are MY feelings. I do APPLAUD what Rosey and Eric are doing/have done and let people question the status quo and the crap that hasn’t been questioned since I have lived here. Since the “supposed” making of JAI into a 6th Grade Center, I HAVE been paying attention. I HAVE been speaking my mind. I have been using ALL my talents, energy and advertising and PR skills to that avail. Hopefully I can make this a better place by being AWARE. This is where the Tatler has HELPED TREMENDOUSLY, but only if you are paying attention. In fact I KNOW MANY who are now paying attention and exposing light on many facets of the town doings. I COMMEND Rosey and Eric efforts

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