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There’s Still a Great Variety of Items at Buckingham Village

Buckingham’s Variety Store is reinvented as Buckingham Village

Something old has become something new as Buckingham’s Variety Store has reinvented itself into Buckingham Village. It is located at 36 Audrey Avenue in downtown Oyster Bay. Walter Imperatore, of Renaissance Property Associates, LLC, who manages the Oyster Bay real estate for owner Charles Wang said, “It is a new concept for the store. It’s been an idea in the back of our minds for a while. Recently, it seemed to us that there were a lot of little businesses that wanted to open up locally. Think Long Island First was the first. They were recently joined by Chef Fran’s Kitchenware. Now we have these different store owners with their own products sharing space.”

He said there are a lot of places doing it, but under the radar. J.C. Penney is doing it. Go into a bookstore and you see a Starbucks. Walmart is including Kentucky Fried Chicken, a bank and an eyeglass place. “It’s not far-fetched that we are doing a hamlet version here,” said Mr. Imperatore.

The site already includes Hope for Long Island, run by the North Shore Community Church that sells gently used clothing and knick knacks.

“We can fit a lot into that store and still have a reasonable amount of the original ‘variety’ of things people look for. I think we have a lot of those fun things that say we want to have fun.” he said.

They still have the basic items Buckingham’s Variety Store was known for, but he added, “We can’t have things that will sit around for four or five years.

“But who would know that lampshades sell so well. I can’t figure out why some things sell as well as they do. Are they having parties and putting the lampshades on their heads? We’ll have to begin putting them in the party section soon!”

“And don’t forget the candies and the cards,” he added. The two offer the most amazing selections. “It’s like being a kid in a candy store. Remember Turkish Taffy? And they have the old licorice, and other amazing stuff.

“And the greeting cards are fun. They are not like the standard card. These are fun and different cards.

“I always like that about the store,” he said thoughtfully.

Local Managers

The store is run weekdays by Jamie Dick, in-house manager, who is daughter of the late Dr. James Dick; and by weekend managers Claire and Chris Bellerjeau.

Ms. Dick said she hired Brian Thompson to work with her in the store. “His mother and my sister Margaret (Pookie) were great friends growing up. I met his mother, Lou-Ann Thompson, in a deli and asked what Brian was doing. He was working with my son James, and I asked Brian to work here. We’re all Oyster Bay High School graduates!”

FYI: Brian is a senior at OBHS and will go to NYIT after graduation. He was the stage manager of the OBHS production of Footloose the musical, that took place on March 30, 31 and April 1.

Another small business venue at Buckingham Village is Think Long Island First, run by Eva Rumprecht and Jolanta Zamecka. They sell lovely handmade items including pottery, woodworking, knitted and crocheted items, photographs and more.

They also are featuring Aran Island sweaters that are knitted by retired school teachers. That is very convenient for Jolanta since she is the grandmother of Stefan, 11 months old, the son of her daughter Monika Rynowiecka. Her daughter Karolina Zamecka is a young entrepreneur and owns her own business, Regal Carriage Inc., that rents out horse-drawn carriages for special occasions.

Happy with the Hamlet

Mr. Imperatore is happy to see the hamlet turning a corner. “Walk around,” he said, “and you will see less empty stores.” Last year they added new tenants with Sweet Tomato; the Spotted Owl; and after Bonnie Boisits left Chase Edwards Gallery and went to work in Sag Harbor - that location at 15 East Main Street became Grayson Castles.

Soon the building behind the Oyster Bay Railroad Preview Center at 102 Audrey Avenue (north) will be occupied. It is entered via the small parking lot next to Town Hall West, and is nestled in a courtyard-like area. It will be a second location for John Castles of Grayson Castles – John will have a studio there, where he can do his creative work.

“If you go into Grayson Castles at 15 East Main, you will see old things, and things that look old but are created by John. My daughter is an Alice in Wonderland fan and I found a large size Alice in Wonderland watch there. If he doesn’t have it, he will find it or make it for you.

“I’ll give you a dollar if you don’t see something you like,” said Walter.

“Overall, it’s really nice. It’s been a bit of a trip to see how things are turning out, especially with the different events happening. I had a blast at the Chocolate Fair’s Wine and Chocolate event at The Homestead. There were also events at the local dance studios. There were over 40 participants involved in organizing the events at different locations.”

There’s a lot new in this little old hamlet!

News

This year you can expect to see the Freedom Schooner Amistad, Connecticut’s flagship, tied up on the Western Waterfront Pier at the Oyster Festival on Oct. 18 and 19. The ship is a Baltimore Clipper that is 129 feet in length and weighs 96 tons. Its home port is New Haven, Conn.

The tall ship visits ports worldwide, as an ambassador for friendship. It serves as a floating classroom, icon and monument to many souls that were broken or lost as the result of the transatlantic slave trade.

The original Amistad, which means friendship in Spanish, was made famous in 1839 when 53 African captives (men, women and children) transported from Havana revolted against their captors. The captives gained control of the ship under the leadership of Sengbe Pieh, later known as Joseph Cinque, who commanded the ship’s navigator to return them to Sierra Leone. Instead, the ship headed north, landing in Long Island, and was taken into custody by the United States Navy.

Diamond Fitness held its grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 6. Members of the Historic Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce came out to meet Wendy Goldstein, her staff and her re-invented gym at 138 South St.

Goldstein said she was touched by the warmth of the people who came into the gym to welcome her, even before the official opening. “People came in to say hello, saying they had heard that the gym had changed hands. It warms my heart,” she said.

Goldstein attended a chamber meeting and is now a member. Nassau County Legislator Donald McKenzie helped Goldstein cut the red ribbon as chamber members Walter Imperatore and Michele Browner cheered the opening along with staff members and friends.


Sports

Football season is here and the Oyster Bay-Bayville Generals  held their opening day games on Sept. 14. Here are the results:

5 & 6 Peanuts:

The Peanuts opened the season vs. the Seaford Broncos and came out on the losing end of a hard fought game. The Lil Generals opened the game on offense and quarterback Rodney Hill, Jr. marched the offense down the field and completed the drive with a touchdown pass to Francesco Allocca. Yes, the Peanuts have a potent air attack with Hill Jr. going two for two for 26 yards. The defense played strong with Allocca leading the team in tackles with help on the defensive line from first-year players Dean Wolfe and Anthony Pelchuck.  

Former football coach and NFL player Bill Curry recently brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and history to a wide audience of student-athletes and coaches at Hofstra University for a lesson on diversity, tolerance and respect in high school athletics.

 

Director of the NYS PHSAA Sportsmanship Committee and Manhasset High School Athletic Director Jim Amen Jr. established the summit and invited Curry as keynote speaker.

Amen Jr. and Section VIII Executive Director Nina Van Erk introduced Curry to a crowd representing more than 37 local high schools.


Calendar

Plein Art Exhibit

Wednesday, Oct. 1

College Discussion

Monday, Oct. 6

Collecting Manuscripts

Thursday, Oct. 9



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