Long Island Hospitality: Making L.I. A Top Travel Destination Is A Year-Round Job

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Islanders may not give tourism here much thought—unless they want someone to blame for summer traffic on the South Fork—but it plays a vital part in our regional economy. Those employed within the Long Island hotels and hospitality industry fervently want it to have a bigger role here year-round. Creating a great destination miles from the Manhattan skyline in a place not universally known for having great hotels, luxury resorts or secluded getaways is a daunting proposition, but dozens have unarguably succeeded on the Island despite the challenges. Their stories reveal a lot about the possibilities and the pitfalls of hosting travelers here.Since Kristen Jarnagin became president and CEO of the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau last year, she’s heard these narratives firsthand. With a staff of 14 people and a budget of $3 million, she runs the “official tourism promotion agency” for our travel and tourism industry.“I hear a lot of things from our hoteliers,” Jarnagin said. “We are really lacking in product on Long Island. To me, it is completely unfathomable that we don’t have a convention center. Look at our proximity to New York City. We have some of the world’s best research, health care and education facilities—those are your three top core industries for having meetings and there’s nowhere to do it.”Related: 15 Reasons Why There’s No Place Like Long IslandJarnagin, who left the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association to come here in 2015, is tasked with promoting this region as “a world-class destination for tourism, meetings and conventions, trade shows, sporting events and related activities.” For comparison’s sake, she noted that Arizona’s state tourism budget topped $26 million, while Phoenix and Scottsdale had separate budgets in the $20-million range. In her former state, only Flagstaff, with a population of 120,000 people and one downtown, had a tourism budget equal to Long Island’s.Earlier this summer, the Long Island agency redesigned its website and launched a new marketing campaign targeting domestic and international audiences. To draw history buffs, the visitors bureau ran TV commercials plugging the “Washington Spy Trail” along Route 25A with spots airing during AMC’s series Turn, which portrays the travails of the Culper spy ring that aided Gen. George Washington when the British occupied the Island.“New York is the ultimate international travel destination in the world,” Jarnagin told the Press. “Yet we seem so disconnected [from it].”She says her goal is to “brand” Long Island.“My job is to give people a positive perception of Long Island,” explained Jarnagin. “I try to get them here. It’s really up to the communities and the hotels to promote themselves.”Related: How L.I.’s Culper Spy Ring Helped Washington Beat the BritishNo one can deny the market potential for Long Island. In 2015, travelers reportedly spent more than $5.5 billion here, supporting almost 77,000 jobs. Tourism contributed $676 million in state and local taxes, while sales, property and hotel-bed taxes generated more than $372 million in local tax revenue.According to a 2015 study, “The Economic Impact of Tourism in New York,” conducted by Tourism Economics, a company run by Oxford Economics in Philadelphia, the average household in our region would have had to pay an extra $720 to maintain the same level of government revenue if tourism-generated state and local taxes were eliminated from the equation. Next to New York City, which gets 65 percent of visitors’ spending in the state, Long Island ranks second, with 9 percent, followed by Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes at 5 percent. As for Niagara Falls, one of New York’s most famous natural attractions, it gets only 4 percent of the money travelers spend in the Empire State.Jarnagin wants to get people to come to Long Island from far-away places because they’ll stay here longer and spend more money.“The day trippers spend $60 a day, the person who comes overnight spends over $250, and the international visitor spends twice as much and stays twice as long,” she said. “We’re trying to put Long Island on the international stage.”Viana Hotel and Spa in WestburyOne of the more unusual hospitality venues is the four-star Viana Hotel and Spa in Westbury, an upscale, solar-powered, eco-friendly facility that is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. One claim to fame is that it hosted Long Island’s first same-sex wedding in 2011. Its Marco Polo Restaurant offers a fusion menu of Asian and Italian dishes.“During the week it is primarily a corporate hotel, but on the weekends it is primarily a social hotel for wedding groups and events,” said Alan Mindel, the owner. The Viana also hosts the majority of pop bands playing in the area.“The majority are good citizens,” Mindel said, refusing to say whether any unruly musicians had ever thrown a TV out the window. “If I’m doing my job properly, neither you nor the New York Post ever hears about it!”He admits that the Viana’s Nassau market is “a different world” from the Hamptons or Manhattan but it does well.“It is an oasis—a suburban hotel with a full spa,” he said. The Viana gets a lot of repeat guests, drawing some travelers from Europe and Asia as well as locally. It is the first and so far only LEED-certified hotel on Long Island, a goal of Mindel’s because utility costs are so high in this region. It’s also designed to be a feng-shui friendly property. His core customers come from the area’s wedding halls and country clubs, and he reaches others through social media.“Google has done a lot for the industry,” Mindel said. “Years ago, print media was important, but that’s not the case today.”Hotel Indigo in RiverheadOut in Riverhead on Main Street is the Hotel Indigo, a modern boutique style facility with a bistro restaurant and a bar, plus a terrace with an outside fireplace, which makes its claim as an ideal travel destination because it’s at “the crossroads of the North Fork and the Hamptons.” It’s a short drive from the vineyards, the Splish Splash Waterpark in Calverton and the Tanger Outlets. Visitors are encouraged to bring their pets, too.Related: 43 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids On Long IslandRob Salvatico and his dad Albert Salvatico bought the venue in 2004 and eventually transformed it. Most recently a Best Western, the place first took shape as a Holiday Inn when it opened in 1972.“The décor had barely changed since 1972 when we got there!” said Rob Salvatico with a laugh. He believes Riverhead’s central location has been a boon, because it’s the last available commerce hub on the Island, following Garden City, Melville and Hauppauge.“What does Riverhead have that none of those other commerce hubs have?” he asked rhetorically. “We have the destination appeal of serving Long Island wine country, which has been undergoing unprecedented growth, and the Hamptons.” As Salvatico sees it, “This is a high-barrier entry market with a lot of potential upside.”Related: Long Island Wineries and Vineyards GuideTo market the Indigo, he said, “We spend upwards of $80,000 a year on social media, no exaggeration.” He sees the target audience as some 15 million tri-state residents in the greater metropolitan area.“I’ve been quoted 9,000 times saying, ‘I don’t really market the hotel, I market the region. And I market the hotel as your authentic guide to the region.’ That’s the whole Indigo program,” explained Salvatico.The Baker House 1650 in East HamptonFurther out in East Hampton is an historic getaway, The Baker House 1650, an upscale English manor-style bed-and-breakfast with luxury accommodations including fireplaces and whirlpool baths in most rooms and suites. Its gardens include 200-year-old wisteria and gingko trees that date back centuries. The house was first built in 1648 by a sea captain named Daniel Howe, who sold it to Thomas Baker, one of East Hampton’s original founders. At one point it was known as Baker’s Tavern, serving also as a town meeting hall, a community center and a place for religious services. Its present transformation began in 1911, when its owner James Harper Pool hired Joseph Greenleaf Thorp, a prominent architect with ties to the English Arts and Crafts movement, to turn it into an expansive English manor.For the last 12 years, Antonella Bertello-Rosen has been running the hotel with her husband Bob Rosen, a surgeon.“I wish the season were longer than it is,” she said. “We’re very busy June, July, August, September, maybe a little bit in October, and then it really starts dropping down incrementally. January is probably our worst month. Some people like to be here for the holidays, but the only way we survive the winter, basically, is by taking deposits for the following season.”Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Fire IslandMost of their marketing is done by word of mouth, since they only have a total of seven rooms to fill. Recently, Bertello-Rosen has been encouraged by the growing number of off-season happenings in the area, such as the Hamptons International Film Festival and Long Island Restaurant Week on the East End, which bring in more visitors. About 25 percent of her guests are international travelers, predominantly from Britain and Germany.“We try to advertise abroad as much as we can for the international guests,” she said. “They seem to be more willing to come during the off-season. You still have a lot of the really good restaurants open, many of the stores are still open, and all of the museums are open… We are relatively close—even in summer with the traffic—to the Parrish Museum and The Watermill Center, which is amazing, and Guild Hall, which is literally across the street from us. They do performances all the time.”The Chequit Inn on Shelter IslandOut on Shelter Island is The Chequit Inn, an upscale Victorian-style bed-and-breakfast with 37 rooms (19 in the main house and 17 in a separate structure), plus an inviting front porch and a seasonal American eatery called the Red Maple. Originally built in 1872 as a religious retreat, it’s got a colorful history, once hosting Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe, although not necessarily at the same time. Its owners, Kevin O’Shea and David Bowd, having made their reputation with their Salt House Inn in Provincetown, bought the place in 2013, spent a year renovating it, and officially opened The Chequit in 2015, when it drew raves in Travel & Leisure and Vogue magazine as one of the top summer inns.“What I felt was really missing on Shelter Island was a great hospitality experience,” Bowd told the Press. One day he took the ferry to the island, drove up the hill, and spotted the old hotel.“It was early in the evening, and it was really tired and run down,” he recalled. But he loved the building. “A hotel for me is all about a whole, encompassing, welcoming experiencing. The Chequit was the opposite of that when I first went there,” he said. “But I loved its history, and I loved its character.”Related: Slavery and Salvation: Long Island’s Underground RailroadShelter Island is not as well-known as other East End locales, but Bowd appreciates its special appeal.“It’s a really beautiful island, and you can only get to it on a ferry,” he said, noting that it’s accessible by Hampton Jitney from Manhattan to Greenport and then a five-minute walk from the dock.“It’s a real get-away, a fairly isolated experience over the Hamptons’ experience,” he continued. “On Shelter Island you can commune with nature year ’round. In the winter, there’s nowhere more beautiful than Shelter Island.”The Chequit draws about 20 percent of its guests from overseas, mostly through social media and word of mouth from repeat customers. He notes that Europeans who want to come to New York City in the summer wind up spending three or four days in Manhattan and coming out to Shelter Island “for a few days so they can lie on the beach and relax.”Still, he concedes that after July and August, the traffic dies down considerably. “We’re always trying to win new guests coming to the island,” Bowd said, “and to constantly educate people that this is a beautiful place, and you can get a great hotel experience outside Manhattan.”As he puts it, “It’s far enough away so that it’s isolated, and it’s close enough that it’s connected.”The American Hotel in Sag HarborJust a ferry ride away in Sag Harbor is The American Hotel, a three-story landmark built in 1846 on the town’s Main Street. It draws guests from Manhattan who take the Hampton Jitney to stay in one of the eight double rooms, and locals who flock to the bar and restaurant. The present owner, Ted Conklin, bought the former boardinghouse in 1972 and turned it around after decades of neglect. He literally had to shovel coal dust out of the basement one bucket at a time. Now the cellar holds thousands of bottles of fine wine. In 1981 the hotel won Wine Spectator’s Grand Award for the restaurant’s superb wine list, and it’s never looked back.Related: Long Island Craft Beer GuideOne of its legendary evenings saw Billy Joel and Bono hanging out together on the couch by the backgammon board. Another saw Jimmy Buffett take a stroll from the barroom to entertain diners on the porch. For years, the place has been a haven for artists and writers in the Hamptons. Perhaps that’s why it’s always gotten good press. Peter Applebome in The New York Times once referred to it as “sort of the Hamptons’ answer to Rick’s Café Americain in Casablanca.” As it boasts on its website, “discerning world travelers agree that The American Hotel is in a class of its own.”Garden City HotelAlso in a class by itself is the luxurious Garden City Hotel, 15 miles from Manhattan and a few minutes’ walk from the Long Island Rail Road. This Nassau venue stands as one of the most modern-looking hospitality venues on the Island. It’s hard to believe it dates back to 1874, when it opened to much fanfare, but of course it’s been transformed almost half a dozen times over the years—the 1901 version was torn down in 1973—and it got its latest upgrade in 2014, when Marcello Pozzi, a renowned Italian designer, finished redecorating all the guest rooms and suites, adding WiFi and flat-screen TVs as well as a sophisticated decor. Its executive suites have kitchenettes and living areas, and its penthouse suites come with private outdoor patios, along with views of the New York City skyline. Besides a 25,000-square-foot event space, there’s an indoor pool, sauna, fitness center, the Polo Steakhouse, a patio bar and lounge. The hotel also provides pet walking and feeding services.Related: The Complete Guide to Long Island Colleges and UniversitiesAs the hotel boasts on its website, its clientele includes “the wealthy, the celebrated and the politically powerful.” Indeed, then-presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie stayed there in 1959. They’re just two of the luminaries who’ve given the hotel its cache over the years. Since the days of the original founder, A.T. Stewart, the Garden City Hotel has tried to uphold his dream to run “an oasis hotel as a country retreat far from the city but close enough for jazz,” as current owner Morris Moinian of the Fortuna Realty Group put it at the venue’s 140th anniversary ceremony. Even though it’s ensconced in suburban Long Island, this world-class hotel regards itself as a destination property within reach both of Manhattan and some of the best beaches in the Northeast.The Harbor Rose in Cold Spring HarborA much quainter and more intimate space in Nassau County is The Harbor Rose, an elegant bed and breakfast in a former rectory for St. John’s Church dating back to 1849. Overlooking inner Cold Spring Harbor, it’s within walking distance of Cold Spring Laboratory, three miles from The Paramount Theater in Huntington Village and five miles from Teddy Roosevelt’s landmark home, Sagamore Hill, to name two other local attractions. The place boasts two comfortably furnished rooms, each with fireplaces and balconies.“I feel like an ambassador to the community,” said Deirdre Ventura, who bought the place in 2007 but just got her business permit from the Town of Huntington almost a year ago. “We get a lot of international visitors.”Related: Long Island’s Teddy Roosevelt: King of the HillOne of Kristen Jarnagin’s many tasks at the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau is to remind Long Islanders to welcome travelers from near and far because it’s in their own best long-term interests.“I know that visitors can be annoying,” Jarnagin said. “They clog up the freeways. They take your favorite seat at the restaurant. But they’re taxed at every turn: where they sleep, where they shop, where they eat. It’s one of the highest-taxed industries in the country, and those taxes hit our bottom line. They’re bringing in new dollars, not shifting dollars around the Island.”Another goal of hers is to extend the travel season and make Long Island a year-round destination. Right now, summer is the peak period when rates are the highest and most of the travelers coming here are more affluent. But Jarnagin is aiming for a different audience between Labor Day and Memorial Day.“What we plan to do is shift our marketing strategy during the slow seasons to our residents on Long Island,” she said. With that in mind, she wants to play on local attitudes: “We’re not going to fight that traffic, we’re not going to pay those rates. We’re going to wait until all those tourists leave, and then we’ll go out and enjoy all the amenities in our own backyard when the time is right because we don’t care about winter—we’re tough.”In the cold snowy months ahead, Long Island’s hotel operators hope she’s right—and that many more Long Islanders will come out in droves to spend the night under their roofs instead of their own homes. After all, if they wait until summer, it’s going to be too late, because the best places are booked well in advance.And that’s how the Long Island hotels and hospitality industry stays in business.Featured Art: Long Island Hospitality: Long Island is home to some unbelievable hotels; this collage includes scenes from Hotel Indigo, The Garden City Hotel, The Baker House 1650 and The Harbor Rose. (Photos from respective hotels’ official websites)last_img read more

KPK to appeal verdict clearing Banten governor’s brother of money laundering charges

first_imgKPK prosecutors indicted Wawan for accepting Rp 58 billion in bribes pertaining to health equipment procurement for hospitals in Banten and community health centers (Puskesmas) in Tangerang in the 2012 fiscal year. The bribery cases were found to have caused Rp 94.31 billion in state losses.For his crimes, the court also ordered Wawan to pay a fine of Rp 200 million (US$13,679) and Rp 58 billion in restitution. He was found guilty of violating articles 3 and 18 of the 2001 Corruption Law, which prohibit individual acts of self-gain that cause state losses.The conviction was the third for Wawan, who previously had been sentenced to seven years in prison in 2014 for his involvement in bribery pertaining to a regional election dispute in Lebak regency. Two years later, the judges gave him an additional year of prison in a separate corruption case pertaining to health equipment procurement in Banten.He is currently also on trial for allegedly bribing Wahid Husen, the former head of Sukamiskin Penitentiary in Bandung, West Java, in exchange for luxurious facilities while serving his prison time there. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is set to file an appeal against the sentence handed down to graft convict Tubagus “Wawan” Chaeri Wardana after the Jakarta Corruption Court found him guilty of bribery but cleared him of his money laundering charges.Wawan, the younger brother of former Banten governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah, was sentenced last week by the court to four years in prison for accepting bribes related to several state projects in the province. However, the bench declared him not guilty on two money laundering charges he faced for allegedly laundering about Rp 1.9 trillion reportedly obtained from illicit activities.KPK spokesperson Ali Fikri said the not guilty verdict for money laundering was the main reason for the appeal, adding that the antigraft commission felt the ruling “has not fulfilled the public’s sense of justice”. “We will elaborate on the full reasons in the appeal dossier, which we will immediately submit to the Jakarta High Court through the Central Jakarta District Court,” Ali said in a statement on Wednesday.The sentence Wawan received was lighter than the six years of prison sought by the prosecutors. Read also: Disgraced Banten governor’s younger brother convicted of corruptionDuring the verdict hearing last week, Wawan’s lawyer said he would also consider appealing the sentence.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Townsville suburbs where property prices are rising

first_img Townsville dubbed a regional real estate hotspot Explore Property agent Giovanni Spinella, who is marketing a property at 10 Ashman Court in Alligator Creek, said he thought the increased development in the area could be a reason for higher demand. “Buyer inquiry has been good in the area (Alligator Creek) and houses that have previously not had much attention are now receiving quite a lot of interest,” Mr Spinella said. Alligator Creek property prices have risen by 11.5% in the past three months. This home at 10 Ashman Court is for sale in the suburb.THE latest data by CoreLogic has revealed the ten Townsville suburbs where property prices have risen most in the three months to June. Prices for houses in Alligator Creek have increased most in the period, rising 11.5 per cent. The median price to buy a house in the suburb is now $493,000.READ MORE Property prices expected to increase by 10% Vincent was the second suburb with the highest increase in price over the three months to June, with prices rising 9.3 per cent. Currajong and Blackriver also had an increase in price of more than 7 per cent. center_img “I think the Elliot Springs development has also helped the area, as well as the shops popping up there and the new 24-hour McDonalds that is being built.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020“Generally, the market has improved and we’re definitely noticing that in our office in terms of listings and the amount of contracts being signed.” Where prices have risen in the 3-months to Junelast_img read more

Shooting Stars Technical Adviser Explains Why 3SC Was Relegated From The NPFL

first_imgRelatedFallen Nigerian League Giants Pick Edith Agoye As New CoachOctober 26, 2017In “Nigeria”Okunowo Drums Up Government Support For 3SCMarch 14, 2018In “Nigeria”3SC Handed Tough NNL Abridged League DrawJanuary 9, 2018In “Nigeria” The Technical Adviser of Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC), Fatai Amoo has explained that “the so called big players” were responsible for 3SC’s relegation from the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).Shooting Stars finished 17th on the NPFL table to claim the last relegation spot with 50 points as they lost away at Niger Tornadoes in the last game of the season.Speaking to reporters, Amoo said: “It was a very poor season for us but we have to take the positives and think of the future,”“They can’t fight because they’ve already fought themselves by embarking on a stupid strike. And when you don’t train, what you have is what you can give.”“And now they have seen the result of what they have caused. The so-called old players in the team have decided to take the team to relegation,”The Oluyole Warriors have won the Nigerian Premier League five times but have failed to work their way back among Nigeria’s football elites in recent years.Amoo continued: “I don’t think maladministration was responsible for Shooting Stars’ relegation, but the management should look into the area of players playing in the last three to four seasons,”“And I think the so called big players have decided to take the team to relegation.”last_img read more

Stanley Cup Final 2019: Bruins’ Bruce Cassidy blasts ‘black eye’ officiating after controversial no-call

first_imgIn the first incident, upon video review of a shot, it certainly appeared David Pastrnak pushed the puck over the line past Blues goalie Jordan Binnington with 13 minutes left in the third period.Is that puck across the line? I know the play was whistled dead. I’m just asking. #StanleyCupFinals pic.twitter.com/aaRiaboA3s— Thomas Lott (@tlott33) June 7, 2019But the play was ruled as already being dead due to a whistle being blown.In real time, however, it’s very hard to tell which came first, the puck crossing the line, or the whistle.Minutes later, the Blues got a goal moments after what appeared to be a trip by Tyler Bozak on Noel Acciari.On the play in question, it even appeared Bozak thought he was going to be called for a penalty.It may have been because he was complaining about the possibility of a flop, but he certainly stopped what he was doing after Acciari fell to the ice.Bozak upends Noel Acciari#STLBlues #NHLBruins #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/LSA8Ghk1ra— Lucas 🔁 Luke (@LucasOrLukeIDC) June 7, 2019But, the Blues got the puck and eventually put it in the back of the net to go up 2-0.It was not a great five minutes for Boston in Game 5. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was heated after the game.“Those are the hits they want to get out of the game, correct?” Cassidy told reporters. “That’s what I hear a lot about. Clearly, they missed a couple tonight. It’s a fast game. I sat here two days ago or whatever it was and said I believe these officials are at this level because they’ve earned the right to be here. You should be getting the best.”But, I mean, the narrative changed after Game 3. There’s a complaint or whatever put forth by the opposition. It just seems to have changed everything. The no-call on Acciari … their player is on his way to the box. It’s right in front of the official. It’s a slew foot. Our guy’s gone. The spotter took him out of the game for a possible concussion. I mean, it’s blatant. It had a big effect on the game. This has happened.”I’m a fan of the game. It’s the National Hockey League’s getting a black eye with their officiating in these playoffs, and there’s another one that’s going to be talked about. I thought it was a great hockey game. That call, probably … there’s time, but it really made it difficult for us to get the win tonight. So I’m disappointed. So I guess to answer your original question, it was egregious. But we’re moving on. We’re getting ready for Game 6.”Blues coach Craig Berube did not agree that calls were favoring his team.”I don’t agree with it, but it doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’m not here to judge the officials and calls that could have been or couldn’t have. They go both ways. There were calls the other way that could have been called and they weren’t.”Bozak wasn’t convinced he should have gotten a penalty but he wasn’t complaining about the call either.“It was just a puck battle, I don’t know,” he said. “I saw the puck there and went for it. He was down. I don’t know really know what happened to be honest with you. Yeah, we’ll take it.”The NHL told reporters after the game, the non-call on the Bozak play was a judgment call.”We don’t make comments on judgment calls within games,” NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom said. “There are hundreds of judgment calls in every game. The official on the play, he viewed it and he didn’t view it as a penalty at the time.”Cassidy though didn’t want to just complain about the loss.He was happy with the way his team responded. The final period of Game 5 was filled with controversy.First, there was a goal that looked to be over the line that didn’t count and then there was a non-call on a possible penalty that gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead. “Listen we thought we got screwed but you’ve gotta keep playing and we did,” he said. “We scored the next goal and gave ourselves the chance to win. We tried to rally around that. But moving forward there wasn’t a whole lot of, you’re in the moment of course you’re upset but I think players once they get back on the ice they’re not too concerned about that. So that’s the way it finished.”I thought we responded well. We pushed to score, we did. We pushed again, we gave up some odd-man rushes as a result. Tuukka made the next save to keep us in; unfortunately, we couldn’t get it by him in the end.”With reporting by Sporting News’ Jackie Spiegel in Boston.last_img read more