WLIW21’s new production celebrates the Town of Huntington
Encore Presentation Monday September 13 at 7:00 p.m
Features Host/Narrator Bernadette Castro, Patti LuPone, Ralph Macchio, The Lockhorns’ Bunny Hoest, and other past and present residents
There is no place like Huntington. With its harbor villages and picturesque towns it has long been a haven for residents and tourists, ripe with glorious beaches, abundant fishing and a sense of place that embraces both the quintessential Main Street and the height of sophisticated culture. WLIW21’s new production, Hometown Huntington celebrates the Town of Huntington, then and now, by giving voice to the shared memories of one Suffolk County community via interviews with past and present residents, including Tony Award-winning singer/actress and Northport native Patti LuPone, actor and Dix Hills native Ralph Macchio, and Huntington resident Bunny Hoest, creator of the syndicated comic The Lockhorns. Hometown Huntington is hosted and narrated by former New York State Parks Commissioner and former New York State Historic Preservation Officer Bernadette Castro, a Lloyd Harbor resident.
Nestled on Long Island’s North Shore, over 190,000 people call the Town of Huntington’s 93 square miles home, from the Villages of Northport, Asharoken, Lloyd Harbor, and Huntington Bay to the Town’s many hamlets – Cold Spring Harbor, Elwood, Huntington, Huntington Station, South Huntington, Melville, East Northport, Halesite, Dix Hills, Centerport, Greenlawn, and Fort Salonga – and five harbors: Cold Spring Harbor, Northport, Huntington Harbor, Centerport, and Lloyd Harbor. Hometown Huntington acknowledges the area’s rich history – The Battle of Long Island, African-American writer and former slave Jupiter Hammon, poet Walt Whitman, William K. Vanderbilt II’s summer mansion, Eagle’s Nest – but focuses more on the regular people who shaped the Town and made it the special place it still is today, from the farmer to the ship builder, the revolutionary to the rum-runner. “Remembering My Hometown…” moments throughout the film feature viewer-contributed stories and photos.
“Hometown Huntington perfectly captures the spirit of WLIW’s ‘21 Weeks of Summer’ initiative,” said Executive Producer and WLIW21 Acting General Manager John Servidio. “It’s a feel-good program that celebrates one of our local community’s accomplishments and offerings, including beaches, harbors and great entertainment.”
Hometown Huntington begins with “The Way It Was,” a look at Huntington’s founding families, including the Primes and the Sammis, Knutson’s Shipyard, Cold Spring Harbor’s whaling history, and Finnegan’s, long considered the “Cheers” of Huntington. Pamela Prime, Vera Sammis Murphy, Tim Finnegan, and Dan, Lillian and TK Knutson all share family stories; Jack Abrams, curator for the Huntington School Museum, recalls what caused the Town’s first gridlock incident back in 1947; and Huntington Town Historian Robert Hughes discusses the dramatic population increase from 1950 to 1960.
The second part of the film, “Happy Days,” spotlights the cherished storybook childhoods and close-knit communities of post-World War II suburbia, from clamming on the beach to sledding behind the Old First Church. Residents remember Huntington Village’s first toy shop, Kiddie City; “Freddie the Shoemaker,” now enjoying his 80th year in business; the joy of a burger served hot off the train at Hamburger Choo-Choo; clothing stores like Ingerman’s and Marshs; Gunther’s Tap Room in Northport, frequented by Jack Kerouac; and many others. Len Totora (deceased February, 2010) recalls opening L&L Camera in 1956 and what’s kept him in business so many years, and Hoest reveals Huntington’s influence on The Lockhorns, the comic which brings the Town’s people and places to more than 200 million readers worldwide every week.
Hometown Huntington’s final part, “Home Sweet Home,” recounts fond memories of school, church and family life, and closes with Huntington’s cultural scene and today’s thriving downtown. Voted the Best Downtown for the fourth consecutive year in Long Island Press’s annual “Best of L.I.” poll, Huntington is loaded with popular attractions like independent film house the Cinema Arts Centre and long-running family businesses, including Finnegan’s Restaurant and Tap Room, the Book Revue, and Reinwald’s Bakery. Hometown Huntington visits them all and interviews the owners to learn the secrets of their success: friendliness, excellence, customer loyalty, community pride, and longevity – all traits Joye Brown pointed to in a recent Newsday column about what makes Huntington’s downtown so popular.
Hometown Huntington continues WLIW21’s ongoing commitment to locally-focused programming, including the award-winning New York The Way it Was series, the New York War Stories project, Shoreline Sonata: A Long Island Love Story, Going Green Long Island, The Jews of New York, Visions® of New York City, and Leaving Long Island.
Bernadette Castro, host/narrator
Former NYS Parks Commissioner and Former NYS Historic Preservation Officer
Former Principal of Jack Abrams Intermediate School
Curator for the Huntington School Museum
Lloyd Harbor resident
Social Worker, Huntington Hospital
Executive Director, Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum
Lifelong Huntington Resident
Grandson of Finnegan’s Restaurant and Tap Room (Huntington, since 1913) Founder
Manager/Bartender Finnegan’s Restaurant and Tap Room
Creator of the syndicated comic The Lockhorns and Huntington resident
Huntington Town Historian
Co-Owner of the Book Revue
Daughter of Thomas Knutson
Manager, Knutson Yard Haven Marina and grandson of Thomas Knutson
Grandson of Thomas Knutson
Tony Award-winning singer/actor and Northport native
Actor and Dix Hills native
Vera Sammis Murphy
Daughter of Byron Sammis
Author and Huntington native
Owner, Reinwald’s Bakery
Dr. Al Sforza
Author, Portrait of a Small Town
Music Producer and Cold Spring Harbor resident
Co-Director/Founder at the Cinema Arts Centre
Co-Director/Founder at the Cinema Arts Centre
Co-Director at the Cinema Arts Centre
Northport architect and friend of Jack Kerouac
Len Totora (deceased, February 2010)
Owner, L&L Camera (Huntington, since 1956) and Huntington native
Emma Foster Watkins
Lorraine M. Cortina
Ruth Schier Hackstaff
A production of WLIW21 for WNET.ORG. Executive Producer: John Servidio. Producer/Writer: Theresa Statz-Smith. Editor/Producer: Charlotte Coté.