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Huntington Station Plaza Dedicated

The plaza in Huntington Station.

The plaza in Huntington Station.

The Town of Huntington dedicated and officially opened the new pedestrian plaza at New York Avenue and Olive Street on May 22, with Supervisor Frank P. Petrone and Council Members Mark Cuthbertson and Susan A. Berland joining community residents and other stakeholders in celebrating the latest advance in Huntington Station’s revitalization.

“This is the culmination of many years of planning and community input,” Supervisor Petrone told the audience. “This is truly what we can say is a community inspired revitalization project.”

“In spite of the challenges in Huntington Station, the work continues, and this plaza, and the sculpture, and what is here, signifies a commitment,” Councilman Cuthbertson said, “In our case, it is a commitment in stone to a revitalization process that is ongoing.”

“Today is a positive, great day, and let us continue going forward,” Councilwoman Berland said. Referring to the sculpture that is central to the plaza, she said, “It gives you that positive framework that is going to be the key for a great revitalization in Huntington Station.”

Planning for the plaza began a number of years ago, when the Town of Huntington Economic Development Corporation began soliciting ideas for Huntington Station revitalization. Many people responded that the intersection of New York Avenue and Olive Street was a blighted area that needed to be addressed, and the concept of a pedestrian plaza was raised.

With a HUD Economic Development Initiative grant secured by Rep. Steve Israel, the EDC hired a local architect, Eduardo Lacroze, and engineer Thomas Mazzola to assist the planning process. The EDC held two plaza design meetings to solicit concepts. Participants favored four different renditions. Lacroze combined two of the concepts into one to create the resulting design.

Construction funds for the plaza came from the Town’s Open Space Fund Neighborhood Enhancements fund that also funded the streetscaping improvements along New York Avenue to Pulaski Road. The $2.5 million in Town Open Space funds was supplemented by $100,000 from Suffolk County’s Downtown Revitalization Grant program to cover artist materials and brick pavers.

Central to the Plaza, and to community enjoyment of it, is the sculpture, Generations, by artist Madeline Wiener. Wiener was selected in a competition run by the Town’s Public Art Advisory Committee.  In 2011, the committee issued a Request for Qualifications. Wiener was selected after a review of the 54 submissions.

An Artist Selection Panel unanimously recommended Wiener based on her extensive experience, the quality of her past work, and the appropriateness of her “bench people” concept for this project location. That recommendation that was enthusiastically endorsed by the Town’s Public Art Advisory Committee and the EDC before being approved by the Town Board.

Generations is a four-piece limestone sculpture — guitar player, grandmother & child, guitar case, and drum. It is the latest in a series of the artist’s “bench people:” figurative sculptures that the public can also sit on. Generations draws upon the importance of music in the community as well as a strong cross-cultural and multi-generational emphasis on families.

While she lives in Denver now, Wiener grew up in the Bronx and has friends and relatives on Long Island. In creating Generations, she participated in a series of interviews with a wide variety of different Huntington Station residents and community leaders.

“I saw before me generations that have grown up here. I learned about the history of the generations who developed Huntington Station,” Wiener said during her remarks at the dedication ceremony. Noting how absorbed she became in the process, she added, “This is really, deeply, a very personal commission, more than any others. This is about my soul, my family’s soul and the soul of Huntington Station.”

As the plaza was under construction, the Huntington Station BID asked for a Norway spruce to be planted. The tree will be used as the official holiday tree for Huntington Station, and will be site of Huntington Station’s first tree lighting in December.



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12 comments to Huntington Station Plaza Dedicated

  • I am thrilled with the reception of Generations, almost as much as I was thrilled to create it. I was utterly impressed with the wonderful turnout of citizens and officials, friends and family. I truly hope everyone enjoys this installation and sees the entire plaza as one step toward the well-deserved revitalization of Huntington Station.

  • chickadee

    I can’t believe that it took years of planning!!!

  • marita

    Though I am happy for the change and it does look nice, I am also sadden that this is our place for the station’s tree lighting, right in front of one of the town’s notorious slumlord’s of Huntington Station, building. He is one of the reasons that H/S is the way it is now. I guess he will have the best seat at the lighting, looking out his building or one of windows from the apartments above his store. Very sad.

  • Beck

    Marita, do you even know who owns the building? I’ll put money on it you don’t.

    • Hunt.Sta. Resident

      Dear Beck, per town records that property is one of ninety owed by companies own by Donald Pius. He gets $2.1 million of your tax dollars in section 8 payments a known item to those paying attention. Not to mention the building behind is illegal and allegedly houses women of the evening. Solution is to get friends of Pius, Frank Petrone removed from office. Then maybe HS could be cleaned up.

  • marita

    Regardless who owns the building it’s in front of a pawn shop, and I still stand by my words that notorious slumlord helped ruin H/S

  • notorious

    Frank Petrone destroyed this town. No offense to the artist but this is lipstick on a pig. They should have used a local artist and these types of additions “art” do not belong until all other structures in the area are cleaned up. Some are forgetting that empty lot cost us MILLIONS to remove, it used to be the old Tilden Brake’s and at one point the empty graffiti laden building had squatters living in, the whole area is and was horribly run down. If you can’t draw any economic developments and get a business in to rebuild what is the point in having a plaza in the first place?

    • Vernon

      Completely agree. We can build all the statues and plazas in the world, but without removing the slumlords, illegals, and crap human element, and correcting this enormous problem asap, Hunt Station will always be blighted, rundown, crime-ridden, and ramshodden with crappy people. Heck, just look at the strip shopping center adjacent to the razed building. Plus, no offense to the sculptor, but it is a very odd looking statue… like a big blob of concrete. The area is still an eyesore. Amazing that the town spent so much money on this without solving the overlying issue of housing and demographics. That is the elephant in the room, which the town refuses to address and solve. Its obvious what the town needs to do if it is to have any hope, and Petrone avoids it. Hunt Station will always be the way it is unless this is improved and corrected. If the people that a town attracts stink, and the town allows them to thrive, the town will always stink. This project, while well-intended, is the cart before the horse.

      • P.V.

        We need less criticism, complaining, and bickering.
        We need solutions. How would you suggest we “get rid of” the people who live there?! SOLUTIONS. We need

  • Cesar Robles

    Expensive and ugly sculpture = bad combination.

    Would you go sit in that plaza with your kids, in front of pawn shop, crime filled housing project, and a Walgreens? Not exactly a destination, or smart use of our tax dollars.

    I drive by that spot every day, and cant help but notice the muck all around it. I think we are all a bunch of suckers.

  • Resident of the Station

    Kind of like building a pretty gazebo overlooking the Gowanus Canal, calling a press conference announcing its the first step in revitalization of the region (before the water and the general area is cleaned up!), and expecting people to go sit in it because its a pretty gazebo. And then spending more money for signs that read “Please hold your nose”.

  • There's a method....

    I just shake my head in utter incredulity. Talk about putting the cart before the horse! The entire area is a dump, and, as someone said earlier, putting lipstick on a pig isn’t ever going to change the fact that it’s still a pig! Also, you really mean to tell me there were 54 applicants vying for the job of creating artwork for this, uh, space, and THIS is what they chose??? Please. All I can take from this disaster is that Petrone is very good at one thing — wasting other people’s money!

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