Tag Archive | "Wainscott"

Hidden Private Gardens of the East End to Open this Spring

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The view of the pool in George Biercuk and Robert Luckey's garden in Wainscott. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

The view of the pool in George Biercuk and Robert Luckey’s garden in Wainscott. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

By Tessa Raebeck

While many East End residents lamented that winter lasted far too long this year, George Biercuk of Wainscott enjoyed his garden.

“It has something in bloom all year long,” said Mr. Biercuk, who shares his garden with his partner, Robert Luckey.

“There is enough structure in the garden that it holds together as a garden even in the winter,” Mr. Biercuk said Friday. Be it freezing or beautiful out, “there is always something in bloom.”

The four-season garden is one of six being featured in the Garden Conservancy’s Suffolk County Open Day Saturday, the first of six daylong tours across the county this summer.

On Saturday, visitors can view any or all of six private gardens in Wainscott, East Hampton and Stony Brook.

On Sayre’s Path in Wainscott, the Biercuk and Luckey garden is easy to find, with bright, yellow daffodils in full bloom lining the property along the roadside.

In designing his space, Mr. Biercuk, who grew up experimenting with planting and attended a horticultural program at Southampton College, and has a self-described natural affinity for gardening, sought “a very natural garden.”

“So that it’s low in maintenance,” he said, “that I don’t have to worry about every leaf and it’s not a pristine garden, like a very formal one. Because the garden should be fun.”

The couple planned the garden slowly, improving the soil a bed at a time, planning out every curve and season.

“I started with the plants that were supposed to be dwarf so that I could get more in,” he said. “And it’s growing better than I imagined.”

Totally designed, dug and planted by Mr. Biercuk, the garden is complemented by a pond-like pool, a waterfall and stonework designed by Mr. Biercuk and implemented by Richard Cohen and Jim Kutz of Rockwater Design & Installations in Amagansett.

The entire property is an acre, but the lush foliage tricks the eye into thinking it’s a much larger estate.

Dianne Benson's home in East Hampton, part of the Suffolk County Open Days private garden tour. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

Dianne Benson’s home in East Hampton, part of the Suffolk County Open Days private garden tour. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

“I have real estate people come in here and walk around and go in the back, which is probably a half acre, maybe a touch more, and go, ‘How many acres are in the back here?’” said Mr. Biercuk. “Because of the way its planted, you cannot see the whole thing—and that’s what I wanted.”

“Whenever I go walk some place, I always take a different route and I come back a different way, because you always see things differently,” he added.

Looking out from the kitchen, Mr. Biercuk can see the waterfall flowing into his pool, flanked by evergreens and rhododendrons.

“It’s one cohesive space,” he said. And through the crisp chill of January or the sweating sun of July, it stays that way. The plants rotate, but the greenery never fades.

Day lilies and peonies pop up in June, with the day lilies running through the summer.

“I have them staggered with different bloom times, so they pop up all over the place,” he said. “I use varying foliage also, so there’s always color.”

The azaleas come in the early summer, followed by clerodendrums trichotomum in August, “which has incredible fragrance,” an essential part of any garden, he said.

“And then when the flowers are finished, it gets this wonderful berry-like substance—red and purple—like the old fashioned juices,” he said. “That lasts through the fall.”

Fuchsias Mr. Biercuk has had for 30 years get planted out again in August, brightening the backyard with vibrant oranges.

“You can go find them and put them in the ground in May and have them blooming, but I like waiting for things,” he said.

Angel wing begonias, some of them nearly 7 feet tall, are planted in the fall, as are some perennials.  Begonia Grandis, a “hardy begonia” comes into flower in late August and lasts into the fall.

In the winter, evergreens, rhododendrons, holly and pieris fill the property, as well as hamamelis, or witch hazel.

This time of year, “we’re entering into the height,” Mr. Biercuk said, adding that his favorite rhododendron, the Taurus, blooms a deep red in the springtime.

“Hopefully, they’re going to be in full glory next Saturday,” he said.

The Suffolk County Open Day of private garden tours is Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 or 4 p.m., depending on the garden. Following Suffolk County Open Days are May 17, June 21, July 12, July 19 and September 6. For prices, participating gardens and more information, call 1-888-842-2442, email opendays@gardenconservancy.org or visit gardenconservancy.org/opendays.

ARF Celebrates 40 Years of Protecting Man’s Best Friend

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ARF Trainer Matthew Posnick gets a kiss from Pretty Girl, a pit bull mix rescued from a dog fighting ring. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

ARF Trainer Matthew Posnick gets a kiss from Pretty Girl, a pit bull mix rescued from a dog-fighting ring. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

Forty years ago, Sag Harbor Village was overrun with strays, cat colonies had overtaken the East Hampton Town dump and feral dogs roamed the Northwest Woods in wild packs.

The commonplace conversion of house pets to wild animals seems unbelievable on the East End today—and that change is in large part thanks to the efforts of ARF, the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary this Saturday.

People have been encouraged to bring their dogs on leashes and their cats in carriers to the celebration, which includes dog agility courses and contests, free pet microchipping and rabies vaccines, an “Ask the Vet” booth with Dr. Sarah Alward, music, fresh food for both humans and pets, and proclamations from elected officials and the Humane Society.

“We’re celebrating 280 years in dog years,” said Executive Director Sara Davison, noting that guests can also visit the shelter and view pets for adoption.

“A lot has changed since ARF was founded and we’re very, very proud of the role we’ve played in helping to make the East End a no-kill community—and by that I mean that no animal now in most of the East End towns is euthanized for lack of space,” she said.

“Through ARF’s work of advocating for spay and neuter, the numbers of unwanted litters of kittens and puppies are way, way down and we’re able to take all the animals that are healthy or can be rehabilitated and we get them homes,” Ms. Davison added.

ARF Executive Director Sara Davison poses with cats at the Wainscott adoption center. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

ARF Executive Director Sara Davison poses with cats at the Wainscott adoption center. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

When ARF was founded in 1974, “People were abandoning animals left and right…. There were huge tracts of woodlands where there were feral dogs, a lot of suffering, a lot of animals abandoned—and that’s all changed,” she said.

In 1973, the late Cleveland Amory, an American author who devoted his life to promoting animal rights, brought three local women together for a meeting at what was then the Paradise Restaurant in Sag Harbor.

Mr. Amory contacted the women—Barbara Posener, Sony Schotland and Dorothy Wahl—because of their respective contributions to animal welfare on the East End.

The late Ms. Posener had made flyers calling on summer residents to leave their house, not their dog, when they left the area in the fall. Ms. Wahl had reached out to Mr. Amory to notify him of someone who was illegally selling leopards and other wildlife. Mr. Amory approached Ms. Schotland, the owner of a shop on Main Street at the time, because she had raised money to buy a fence for the Hampton Animal Shelter, a shelter on Brick Kiln Road with a bad reputation.

“I constantly tried to help them, but it was to no avail,” she recounted.

After Ms. Schotland raised funds for a fence, the shelter owner took the money but applied it elsewhere, she said, rather than using it to enclose the cats and dogs in her care. Claiming to take in strays, the shelter actually perpetuated the problem, said Ms. Schotland, as its animals would wander from Brick Kiln Road into Sag Harbor.

“The warden in Southampton told me, ‘I have never been to any place where I pick up so many strays, I pick up an average of 30 strays a month out of just Sag Harbor,” Ms. Schotland said.

Mr. Amory, “the god of the animal world in those days,” according to Ms. Schotland, brought the women together, approaching the shelter to offer their help.

When the group’s offer was rejected, ARF was born.

“If she had not rejected us, ARF would never have been,” Ms. Schotland said.

The trio founded the new shelter “with little more than a passion for animal welfare, a backyard and indomitable determination,” according to ARF board president Lisa McCarthy.

“We had no clue what to do and it felt like having an elephant by the tail, but then, little by little, it worked,” Ms. Schotland said.

In the beginning, the founders boarded animals in their homes, in the back of Ms. Schotland’s shop, and at local animal hospitals, vets and friends’ places.

It is it’s required that found animals first be taken to a designated shelter, Southampton Animal Shelter in Southampton or the East Hampton Veterinary Group in East Hampton, to be held for a period of time, so there is a standard place for an owner to look for their pet.

In the early 1980s, ARF, still a fledgling organization, brought a four-month old black lab, “adorable” according to Ms. Schotland, to Southampton Town as mandated.

“That was terrible,” she recalled. “By the next weekend, when the people came back to look for it, it had been destroyed, it had been euthanized.”

Following the incident, Ms. Schotland, Helena Curtis and ARF successfully lobbied the town to increase the mandatory holding time for stray dogs from five to 10 days.

As ARF’s reputation grew through such efforts, bigger names signed on.

ARF Trainer Matthew Posnick plays with Pretty Girl. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

ARF Trainer Matthew Posnick plays with Pretty Girl. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

“Little by little, we formed a board and we got more organized,” Ms. Schotland said.

With help from philanthropists Edward and Susan Yawney, ARF celebrated its 10th anniversary with the purchase of 22 acres on Daniels Hole Road in Wainscott.

Today, ARF has 27 professional employees, hundreds of volunteers and an annual budget of $2.5 million—and plenty of stories supporting its initial mission to protect homeless and abandoned cats and dogs.

“They all have a story,” said Jamie Berger, director of marketing and communications. “Some we know, some we don’t.”

A year ago, a pit bull mix was found lying close to death on the floor of a dog-fighting ring in North Hempstead.

“She’s pretty well chewed up from what they did to her,” said Matthew Posnick, ARF’s trainer who is in the process of rehabilitating the dog, now affectionately called Pretty Girl.

ARF Trainer Matthew Posnick shows the scars on Pretty Girl's face from her days in a North Hempstead dog-fighting ring. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

ARF Trainer Matthew Posnick shows the scars on Pretty Girl’s face from her days in a North Hempstead dog-fighting ring. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Within about 10 weeks, Pretty Girl was out of a muzzle and socializing with other dogs. She was on the pier at HarborFest, playing with dogs and kids and although she isn’t up for adoption quite yet, the shelter is hopeful she will be ready for a home soon.

“Of all the things I’ve done here in four years, I’m most proud of that,” Mr. Posnick said, as Pretty Girl licked his face. “She’s a really happy dog.”

Nancy Butts, who has worked at ARF for 21 years—topped only by Debbie Downes’s 28 years—was never allowed to have an animal growing up.

“My father used to say to me, when you get married you can have all the dogs you want,” said Ms. Butts, who now has four. “I got married on a Saturday and got an animal on a Monday.”

Snuggled below her desk was Patrick, a Pomeranian who looks like a puppy but is actually 7. Rescued from a puppy mill in Ohio, Patrick is patiently awaiting a home.

With an extremely high release rate—the rate of how many animals come into the shelter versus how many leave alive—ARF has adopted out 20,000 animals to date.

Longtime ARF employee Nancy Butts with Patrick, a seven-year-old Pomeranian rescued from a puppy mill. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Longtime ARF employee Nancy Butts with Patrick, a seven-year-old Pomeranian rescued from a puppy mill. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Ms. McCarthy’s personal goal is to adopt out 2,000 animals yearly by 2017.

“We’re very proud of the community,” Ms. Davison said. “We’re thankful for the support that we’ve gotten through the years from the community, and it’s enabled us to create one of the leading shelters in our country.”

“Not every shelter can afford to do the kinds of surgeries and rehabilitative care that we provide, but once we admit an animal into our doors, we really make a pledge to them that we’re going to do everything we can to get them healthy and get them adopted,” she added.

ARF’s 40th Anniversary Celebration is Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the ARF Adoption Center, 90 Daniels Hole Road in Wainscott. For more information or to RSVP, email tdix@arfhamptons.org or call 537-0400.

State Education Aid Increases by $1.1 Billion

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced Monday that the 2014-15 state budget will increase state aid to education by $1.1 billion to more than $22 billion.

“The State Legislature has improved the governor’s 2014 state budget proposal by increasing school aid from a proposed 3.9 percent to 5.3 percent across the state,” said Assemblyman Thiele. “Suffolk County’s share of aid also would increase by 5.3 percent. Suffolk had gotten its fair share of this year’s school aid increase.”

A major part of the school aid increase was the reduction of the Gap Elimination Adjustment by $602 million. The GEA was originally enacted to close a state budget deficit back in 2008-09.

Mr. Thiele said the final state budget also includes the governor’s $2 Billion Smart School Bond initiative to improve classroom technology and construct pre-kindergarten classroom space. He expressed support for the governor’s Smart School Bond Act, which must be approved by voters in November.

“The focus on improving quality education is a goal I fully support,” said Mr. Thiele. “This state aid proposal accomplishes that goal for Long Island and New York State.”

“Superintendents in my district conveyed that their priority for this year’s budget was the reduction of the GEA—a budget-balancing fiasco imposed by the Democrats in 2010 when they controlled all three branches of government.” said Senator Kenneth P. LaValle. “This year, we were successful in restoring $602 Million of the GEA money to local school districts. The state’s commitment to education is now well over $22 billion. This budget meets the needs of New York State’s children while at the same time providing property tax relief to residents who help underwrite the costs. I am pleased to have obtained increases for each school district in my area.”

Under the state budget, the Sag Harbor School District will receive $1,637,585, a 5.92-percent increase in state aid. The Bridgehampton School District will receive $656,377, a 10.9-percent increase. The East Hampton School District is set to receive $2.76 million in state aid, a 4.15-percent increase, and the Southampton School District will get $2.6 million, a 9.9-percent increase.

Treasurer Sues Bridgehampton Fire District for $40 Million in Federal Court

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Attorneys for Charles Butler, the longtime treasurer and former secretary of the Bridgehampton Fire District, filed a federal lawsuit this week seeking up to $40 million in damages for what they say was a concerted effort by the district’s fire commissioners to punish him and damage his reputation over his objection to the sale of fire district property.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court by Lawrence Kelly of Bayport. Thomas Horn of Sag Harbor is also representing Mr. Butler.

On Wednesday, Mr. Horn said Mr. Butler’s troubles began last summer when he objected to the district’s decision to sell a 6,000-square-foot parcel bordering Wainscott Pond on Main Street in Wainscott for $940,000 to the billionaire Ronald Lauder, who has extensive land holdings around the pond. Mr. Horn said the board’s then chairman, Steven Halsey, wanted to sell the land to Mr. Lauder, while Mr. Butler opposed it, telling the commissioners during an open meeting that other bidders had offered as much as $70,000 more for the property.

What followed, according to Mr. Horn, was an effort, led by Mr. Halsey, to get rid of Mr. Butler by raising suspicions of financial wrongdoing on his part. Included in that campaign was an advertisement placed in The Southampton Press and East Hampton Star before a district election in December raising questions about Mr. Butler’s performance and outlining plans to save the district money by eliminating many of his paid job duties, he said.

“It’s clearly obvious that he had offended their plans to make sure Mr. Lauder got the property,” Mr. Horn said. “That’s a freedom of speech thing pure and simple.”

In December, voters approved the land sale but they elected Bruce Dombkowski, a write-in candidate, over Mr. Halsey and turned down a proposal to eliminate the elected treasurer’s position.

In January, Mr. Horn said, the fire commissioners did not reappoint Mr. Butler as secretary and illegally eliminated his salary as treasurer. He had been paid $60,000 plus benefits for both jobs.

Brad Pinsky, the fire district’s attorney, had a different take. After being hired last summer. Mr. Pinsky said he compiled 18 pages of “criticisms and strong concerns about the performance of the treasurer” during a financial review of the district.

The attorney, who said he will not represent the district in the lawsuit but be a witness on its behalf, said that while Mr. Butler has charged he was fired from his position as secretary, in reality he had stopped attending meetings or performing the duties of either of his two jobs in September.

He said Mr. Butler inappropriately solicited higher prices for the property that was being put up for sale after the district had received Mr. Lauder’s bid.

Mr. Pinsky also said district officials had found purchase orders for supplies presigned by merchants and alleged that Mr. Butler had used district money to purchase goods for his construction company.

“I brought these concerns to the full board in August. We could have made them public then, but we didn’t,” he said. “It had nothing to do with any real estate sale.”

“We have tried very hard to negotiate an end to this. We have offered to sit down together and find a way to work together, and we offered, for lack of a better word, a divorce if the relationship is something that can’t be repaired,” said Mr. Horn. “But they want their pound of flesh.”

Southampton School District Earns Safe Routes to School Funding

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced Friday that the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has agreed to amend the State Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) to include intersection improvements near Southampton Elementary and Intermediate schools. The proposed project will cost $498,374.

The project would be funded by the federal Safe Routes to School program. The intent of the Safe Routes to School program is to enable and encourage children to walk or bicycle to school; help children adopt a more healthy and active lifestyle by making bicycling and walking a safer and more appealing transportation alternative; and facilitate the planning, development and implementation of transportation project that will improve safety while reducing traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.

Split East Hampton Town Board Adopts Airport Capital Improvement Plan

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The East Hampton Town Board adopted a capital improvement plan for the East Hampton Airport during a work session Tuesday — a roadmap for $5.26 million in repairs and improvements consultants suggest be made to airport facilities over the course of the next five years.

Originally, the capital improvement plan (CIP) — unveiled just before a November 21 public hearing on the proposals — called for $10.45 million in airport repairs and projects over a five-year period. The adopted CIP was cut to $5.26 million with 15 proposed projects removed from the plan as they were not a part of the town board approved Airport Master Plan or Airport Layout Plan, both of which were vetted through environmental review.

The CIP was approved by the outgoing Republican majority of the town board. Airport liaison Dominick Stanzione, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley voted in support of the plan, with Democrats Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc voting against adopting the CIP.

East Hampton Airport manager Jim Brundige said the CIP is meant to highlight what projects are necessary at the airport. Quigley also noted that approving the CIP does not mean the board is approving any of the projects laid out in plan, or how has made a decision about how they will be funded. Rather she called the approval a “first step” in moving towards improvements at the airport first identified in the town’s airport master plan.

However, both Overby and Van Scoyoc expressed concerns about a footnote in the document that references Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding. The CIP, according to testimony given by town aviation consultant Dennis Yap at the November 21 public hearing on the plan, will be submitted to the FAA. Van Scoyoc said he was concerned submitting the plan to the FAA was the first step towards securing additional grants from that agency for airport projects.

“It’s not a necessary step for us to send it to the FAA unless we are pursuing funding from the FAA,” he said.

For several years now, a number of residents and members of the Quiet Skies Coalition have encouraged the town board not to accept FAA funding as they believe when grant assurances expire in December of 2014 the town has the ability to gain greater control of the airport, including the potential to impose curfews or restrict certain aircraft.

Arrest Made in Alleged Sexual Assault in Wainscott

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By Kathryn G. Menu

A Rockville Centre teen, Joseph Cardinali, was arrested by East Hampton Town Police on Sunday, November 17 and charged with aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, a felony, and assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor.

According to East Hampton Town Police, around 5:11 p.m. they responded to the Wainscott address of Phoenix House, a non-profit provider of substance abuse services, following a report of a victim of violence.

An 18-year-old male victim was transported to Southampton Hospital where he was admitted and underwent surgery, said police. Police said investigation indicates a wooden broom handle was used by Cardinali, 16, to penetrate the rectum of the victim.

Cardinali was subsequently arrested and charged.

An investigation is ongoing. Police ask anyone with information that may assist in this investigation contact the East Hampton Town Police Department at 537-7575. All calls will be kept confidential.

Southampton Town Council: It’s Bender & Glinka, Unofficially

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Southampton Town Council candidates Brad Bender, Frank Zappone, Stan Glinka and Jeff Mansfield

Southampton Town Council candidates Brad Bender, Frank Zappone, Stan Glinka and Jeff Mansfield

By Kathryn G. Menu

While the results have yet to be made official by the Suffolk County Board of Elections (BOE), according to Southampton Town Democratic Party chairman Gordon Herr, it appears that Independence Party member Brad Bender and Republican Stan Glinka have held on to their Election Day leads and will join the Southampton Town Board in January.

On Wednesday morning, an official with Suffolk County BOE chairman Anita Katz’s office declined comment on the race stating official results would not be available until later this week.

However, Herr said the counting of 879 absentee ballots was completed last Wednesday and that Bender and Glinka have secured seats on the town board.

Bender and Glinka bested Bridgehampton resident Jeff Mansfield and Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone in the town board race.

“I am so very thankful to my friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, everyone who was so generous and encouraging during the campaign,” said Glinka, the town board race’s top vote getter, in a statement on Wednesday. “But more importantly I am thankful to the voters of this great town, my hometown of Southampton, for endorsing me with their vote. I look forward to continuing to listen to all the people and to working on finding balanced solutions to many crucial issues at hand.”

“As I committed to be your full time representative, I am currently winding down my workload and finishing off projects that are in progress,” said Bender, who is in the construction field. “I am excited about this next chapter in my life as a public servant. Working for you the taxpayers to solve problems and protect our community.”

“Grading” Sag Harbor Teachers: Administrators Discuss Goals Updates at Board of Education Meeting

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External Auditor Alexandria Battaglia, CPA, addresses the Sag Harbor Board of Education Monday night.

External Auditor Alexandria Battaglia, CPA, addresses the Sag Harbor Board of Education Monday night.

By Tessa Raebeck

“This has been a week of very special teams,” said Dr. Bonuso, interim superintendent for the Sag Harbor School District, congratulating the champion Lady Whalers field hockey team and the community team that helped pass the district’s two bond propositions.

Passing the bond was a key component of the district goals for the 2013/2014 school year, which Dr. Bonuso presented to a small group of people gathered Monday for the Board of Education (BOE) meeting.

Dr. Bonuso discussed the headway made on the first three of the district’s nine goals. He said progress was made on the first goal, improving academic achievement, through the resubmission and implementation of Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR), an evaluation system required by the state since 2012. It rates teachers as highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective, based on a 100-point scale. Half of the review relies on administrative observations, 10 percent on an “evidence binder” of components like electronic posting and 40 percent on test scores. For teachers whose students are not yet being tested regularly, that portion is determined by a project the district assigns in order to produce a score. Pierson Middle/High School Principal Jeff Nichols said the majority of Sag Harbor teachers were graded “effective.”

“We need to take a second look at this emphasis on testing, the over testing,” said Dr. Bonuso. “We need to take a second look at whether or not we have the materials and modules – let alone the mindset – to approach this in a manner where people are feeling good about what’s happening instead of anxious and discouraged.”

Susan Hewett, a parent, asked the board how teachers are rewarded or reprimanded based on their APPR performance. Dr. Bonuso replied teachers are not rewarded, but if they are determined to be “developing” or worse for two years, “we can literally remove them…even if they are tenured.”

If a teacher is rated “ineffective,” the superintendent said, “We don’t have to go through all the gyrations and all the bureaucracy that in the past we had to in order to remove you.”

The administrators reported on the progress of the newly formed shared decision-making teams, a component of the second goal: to build partnerships with the community. Two teams have met, one for the elementary school and one for Pierson. The district-wide team is looking for two replacements for members who left the committee prior to the first meeting.

Board member Mary Anne Miller questioned the inclusion of the middle and high schools in the same team, which BOE Vice President Chris Tice agreed should be revisited.

The third goal is to ensure sound fiscal operation and facilities management. The district added experienced security personnel and hours at both school, enhanced systems at school entryways and held its first lockdown drill of the year last week. External auditor Alexandria Battaglia said Monday the district is in good financial health, with an unassigned fund balance of about $1.4 million.

In other school news, BOE member David Diskin again asked the board to discuss starting to video record their meetings. Board President Theresa Samot said it was a good idea to look at further.

The next BOE meeting will be held December 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pierson Library.

With Something for Every Budget, In Home Helps Sag Harbor Shoppers Tackle Holiday Shopping

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David Brogna and John Scocco show their wares at In Home

David Brogna and John Scocco show their wares at In Home

By Tessa Raebeck; photography by Michael Heller

As Sag Harbor residents begin checking items off their holiday shopping lists, In Home is hosting a storewide clearance sale to ease the process, offering great deals on everything from sofas to stocking stuffers. With up to 70 percent off selected items, the sale includes regular clearance items, as well as closeouts from brand name manufacturers like Calvin Klein, Dansk and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.

Since 1996, In Home co-owners John Scocco and David Brogna have filled their Main Street shop with a carefully curated collection of furnishings for every room, occasion and budget. Brogna, an award winning Home Products Development Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), has an eye for design and a background as a buyer for companies like Macy’s. Scocco complements Brogna’s expertise with his own background in interior design and as an industrial film production manager. Together, they have built a longstanding store dedicated to both local and seasonal markets.

“We do have higher priced items,” said Scocco of In Home’s selection. “But most people don’t want to spend a lot of money these days, so we try to gear things for those shoppers.”

Brogna and Scocco have stocked their shelves with fun gift items under $25 or $50, “things that people would just come in and just want to pick up,” said Scocco.

One such item is the Corkcicle, a popular gift In Home was asked to restock after selling out last summer. For $23, the corkcicle is a long tube that resembles an icicle with a cork on top of it. After being chilled in a freezer, the corkcicle is inserted into a bottle of white or rosé wine. Unlike ice, the corkcicle won’t melt or water down your wine; instead, the bottle is both chilled and aerated upon pouring.

Another fun gift that was a hit this summer is the citrus sprayer, on sale at In Home for $15. After cutting the tip off of a lemon or lime, the citrus sprayer, which resembles the top of a spray perfume bottle, is placed on top of the fruit, allowing its owner to spray a mist of the juice directly from the lemon or lime.

“It’s really amazing,” says Scocco. “It really, really works.”

For under $20, In Home has a variety of other gift items from companies like Kate Spade and RSVP, including soap sets, candle sets, picture frames, personal care items and other home accessories. $10 can get you a chrome rabbit that doubles as a ring holder or a snow globe that’s also a ring game for children, as well as a variety of other “little fun stuff.”

“Of course, we do have a lot of other high end, more special items as well,”
said Scocco. “But our focus primarily is on the less expensive items.”

Brogna and Scocco are committed to keeping the shop stocked with reasonably priced gift items for the holidays, but they also hope to clear out the larger home furnishings in order to make room for next season’s stock.

“There’s a wide assortment of things,” said Scocco. “Some people feel intimidated, people that don’t really know us hear ‘Oh, that store’s really expensive…’ We do have a wide range and our pricing is really very, very fair and very well priced.”

The In Home team hopes to sell all the clearance furniture by January. Regularly priced at $1,980, a Stratton leather chair by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, modern with a dark, lightly distressed wooden frame and creamy stone leather seat, is on sale for $899. A soft, 100% Egyptian cotton king-sized blanket from Sferra’s home collection regularly priced at $250 is half off at $125. Framed mythological star maps of the astrological night sky, 23” by 23”, are marked down from $190 to $99. Also on sale are sofas, coffee tables, end tables, throw pillows and virtually anything else you need to decorate your home.

“There’s so much you can get overwhelmed with all the product that we have in our space,” Scocco said with excitement.

In Home is located at 132 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 725-7900 or visit inhomesagharbor.com.