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Down To The Very Thread

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

When a bride comes in, they can either peruse through one of the 85 dresses Vastra has in-house or work with the owner Poonam Jain (Prachi’s mother) to come up with a one-of-a-kind design. Brides can choose every single detail, including the color, fabric, beading and pattern.

“It helps the bride have a say in the dress down to the very thread. Brides can take control of the whole process,” says Prachi. “They love the hand-embroidery because it gives them a lot more control over the dress. When you pick something up at the store, you have to deal with the designs, but with a hand-crafted custom dress, you can choose every layer of the embroidery.”

The dress design is then sent to Vastra’s 30 person factory in New Delhi where it takes anywhere from three to six months to complete. During that time, brides can Skype to check up on the progress of their dress.

Brides make up 70 percent of Vastra’s clientele and while for a long time they were strictly of Indian or South Asian origin, there’s been a huge increase recently in American brides.

“We have a lot more brides who are marrying into Indian families,” says Prachi. “A lot of them know what they want, but if they don’t we guide them as to what they should wear and the customs and rituals.”

Brides often opt for Indian dresses such as lehengas or saris for the day of the wedding and anarkalis and patialas for other ceremonies. Bridesmaids are often outfitted in salwars. Because an Indian wedding typically consists of several ceremonies over a few days, a bride will often leave Vastra with three dresses for herself, plus one or two for each of her bridesmaids (the average is 11 dresses per bridal party). Bridesmaids’ dresses generally range from $250 to $800 each and the bride’s dresses can range from $1,500 and up.

But for Poonam, the brides and their families are more than just customers, they become friends. Since opening her store in 1989, Poonam has formed a close bond with many of her clients who have come back time and time again, attending their weddings, sweet 16s and other functions.

“The customers don’t just come in and go out, but we get to know them one on one. We develop a strong relationship with the client because we spend a lot of time with them,” says Prachi. “They’re not just customers but friends.”

Vastra is located at 17 E. Old Country Rd, Hicksville in the Delco Plaza Shopping Center. For more information visit www.vastrahicksville.com or call 516-433-7724.

News

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Spooktacular Halloween

October 17

Fall Festival

October 18

Veterans Casework Seminar

October 21



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com