Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pheaturing Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant

Why hello there, welcome to another entry of the Phile which is just like any entry except it's coming from Long Freaking Island, New York! I just don't say I'm from New York... I say I'm from Long Island, New York. Actually, I was born in England but came to Long Island when I was five and spent ten years living on the Island. This month it's 30 years since I moved from Long Island and went back to England. Thirty years... that's like three decades. We went from one island to another. So, last time I went on vacation you might remember I slipped... this time I flew into Islip. So, apparently you can bring Ebola on a plane as long as it's under 3 ounces. Anyway, if you wonder where in Long Island I am, I am right down the road from the wonderful Stony Brook University, or SUNY as it's known is right here. It's a beautiful campus I have to admit. When I was a kid I used to think it was pronounced Sunny. I have to tell you though, no where sells a Stony Brook t-shirt. If I was back home in Florida and wanted a Gators t-shirt that would be easy to find.  So, I am hoping I get a bunch of Long Islanders reading this... except for people from Chaminade. Okay, I always wondered something and maybe you can answer it for me... is every girl from Rockville Centre a bitch? I'm sorry... the Mayor of Port Jeff is here so I wanna behave and watch what I say. Living here for ten years I never went to the Hamptons. What's the big deal about the Hamptons anyway? This trip to New York I want to spend it all on the Island... and not go to the City. Yes, on Long Island we call it the City. Somethings have not changed about Long Island... the Belt Parkway still sucks. If you ever come to Long Island and take the LIRR to the City, take it from me... don't change at Jamaica. Oh, the good ole Long Island Railroad... where expectations never die. I haven't taken the LIRR this trip... I haven't been drunk enough. Hey, what do you think about the new logo? Pretty cool, eh? I think so.  Okay, what is going on in the news? Internet-based commerce company Amazon.com has announced its plans to bring the magic of online shopping to the actual world, by opening a sort of physical website... which they're calling a "store" in the heart of New York City. Innovations like this really illuminate why Amazon has been running traditional brick-and-mortar book stores out of business. Amazon is opening a real store. I'm going to go, take photos of stuff I want, and then order them from Amaz... wait.  Actor George Clooney made a surprise appearance at the New York Comic Convention's Tomorrowland panel discussion over the weekend. During his time before the audience of geeks, dweebs and nerds, he offered a long-overdue apology for his participation in the worst-ever Batman film, 1997's Batman and Robin. “Yes this is my first Comic-Con,” he told the crowd . “Since my Batman, I'd been disinvited from Comic-Con. I met Adam West back there, it was like, 'Hey, I’m really sorry... sorry about the nipples on the suit.'" George Clooney showed up at Comic Con. HAHAHAHA! WHAT A NERD!!!!! Don't ask me how many comic book shops I went to on this trip. Ever been to 4th World comics? Fantastic store!  Now that the world is slowly growing increasingly tolerant of gay people and decreasingly tolerant of the Catholic Church's intolerance of gay people, an assembly of bishops at the Vatican has issued a document calling for the church to be slightly more accepting of LGBT parishioners, as well as divorced people and children who were unlucky enough to be born into a family made up of these grotesque sinners. After all, did not Jesus teach us to kind of love our neighbors with conditions specified by dogma? Catholic Church being more tolerant of gays; hopefully now other gay institutions will start being more tolerant of gays. They don't have gay people on Long Island, right? Oh, wait, Fire Island...  Robert Downey, Jr. has been confirmed as the co-star of the next Captain America sequel, and he'll most likely be filling one of the film's antagonist roles. This is apparently part of a 'civil war' over a Superhero Registration Act which Downey's Tony Stark/Iron Man supports and Steve Rogers/Captain America opposes... that's being adapted from Marvel's comic books. Downey's quixotic comments on "The Late Show with David Letterman" last week suddenly make a lot more sense now. Hey, who said since the sequel Robert Downey Jr. is joining isn’t Back To School 2, they don’t give a shit?  So, Long Island... it's weird, things have changed since I was here last. Check out this welcome to New York sign and explain it to me...

It hasn't sucked me dry yet and I have been here since Saturday.  As I mentioned Stony Brook University is just down the road. I couldn't find a SUNY t-shirt, but I did find an inspirational poster. And you know how much I love those.

Our campus signs don't have to be grammatically correct. Haha.  So, I was wondering what I should do tonight and I found this flyer...

Mineola... that's by me in Clermont, right? Oh, wait, we have two n's in our town. Oh, wait, the show is in February. Shit. Oh, and Gabe Kaplan is dead I think.  Before I continue I have to mention the dismal Giants/Eagles game the other night. Those Eagles fans are so mean. Check this out...

Yes, we get it. I think I cursed the Giants by coming here.  One thing I love to do in my spare time is to look up certain words on Twitter and see what people are talking about. A few of those words I look up is Long Island and this is what I recently found...

I really don't know want to think. Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson which is... Right. Down. The. Road, here is...

Man, this chair movies side to side easily... I almost went flying off it. Anyway, today's Top Phive List is different. Here to present it is singer, patriot, renaissance man and Long Islander... Laird Jim!

The Top Phive Things I, Laird, Love About Long Island.
5. In order to take a 30 minute trip ANYWHERE, you're forced to leave yourself 90 minutes (if you want to be on time).
4. The good news is... you've got a house by the water. The bad news is... you've got a house by the water.
3. We used to be known for Billy Joel and the Baldwin Brothers... Now, it's Joey Buttafuoco and Lindsay Lohan.
2. Everybody remembers Debbie Gibson and Taylor Dayne growing up and having roots here. Nobody remembers Foghat, Mountain and Blue Oyster Cult cutting their teeth here.
Annnnnnd... number one of the top phive things I love about Long Island is...
1. Beautiful women with the I.Q. of a chimp with Downs Syndrome. Later, Phuckerz...

By the way, that photo was taken in the Amityville house. Okay, so, in the last few weeks I have asked you to send me a picture of something typical Long Island and I said I would post it. So, here is the first one out of three...

The Port Jeff ferry. Of course I had to pick this one. So, I lived on Long Island for ten years and haven't been back here in ten years or so, and coming here again I realized I didn't know as much about Long Island as I thought, so for the next few days I thought I would have a brand new feature called...

There's a famous story about how Englishman Richard Smith jumped on a bull, Whisper, and traced out the boundaries of Smithtown. It makes for a wonderful tale. It's also not true. But the legend lives on, and a 14-foot-tall bull, which was placed atop a concrete pedestal in 1941 at the intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Route 25A, remains the iconic symbol of the Suffolk County town.

Okay, you know what time it is. Here he is again, kids.

I've never had much use for jealousy as an emotion. It makes no sense to me. I never get jealous of others, myself.... I mean, c'mon... we're talking about ME here... LOL. If someone I am with desires someone else, so be it. Go... be with somebody else... I've got a half dozen more that look just like you. And as far as being jealous over someone else's life... or their car... or any of their possessions? Again... what the Hell do I care? I live the life most only DREAM of. Someone once said to me... "Laird, you live the life of ten men, ten very interesting men. Who wouldn't envy a guy like you?" This is precisely why I never feel jealousy. Most who know me well, understand that even though I come across as an arrogant jerk... I'm really just a down to earth man. If someone admires something of mine... more often than not, I give it to them... as a gift. I've done this with jewelry, with toys as a child, with clothes I was wearing... I even gave a car to a friend in need once because he said he liked it. My point being... getting jealous over ANYTHING in this world, be they people... a life style... or possessions... is just plain dumb. You have what you have... they have what they have... Worry about what's on YOUR plate... NOT what's on the other guy's plate. If someone is staring at a woman I am with... so friggin' what! That just means his eyes are functional and he recognizes beauty when he sees it. I never understand the whole "what the fuck are YOU looking at?" thought process when it comes to guys who notice another guy checking out their woman.... I laugh at this every time. Truth be told... as long as he's not trying to slam dunk an olive into her cleavage... I could fucking care less. I'm actually flattered when they stare at her... my thoughts are... "Yep... she IS gorgeous... and she's leaving with ME."

Okay, today's pheatured guest is the mayor of the incorporated village of Port Jefferson... or as I like to call it Port Jeff. I am so honored she took time out of her busy schedule to be on the Phile. Please welcome... Mayor Margot Garant.

Me: Hello, Major, welcome to the Phile! How are you?

Mayor Garant: I am good.

Me: You're my first Mayor I have ever interviewed... Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer never replied to my requests. Anyway, should I call you Mayor, Madam Mayor, Mayor Margot? How should I address you?

Mayor Garant: Mayor Garant.

Me: I have to tell you I am excited to be interviewing you. I grew up in Port Jefferson from about 1977 til 1984 when we move back to England. I now live outside Orlando, Florida. I went to Junior High School in Port Jeff when it was in a separate building from Earl L. Vandermeulen. What is in that old school building now?

Mayor Garant: It is still owned by the school district and a Boces School that teaches life skills. We still use the tin can in the gym for athletics.

Me: We first moved to Shoreham from England before we moved to Port Jeff. Port Jeff is so much nicer, don't you agree?

Mayor Garant: Totally agree.

Me: My dad was the lead singer from Foghat and recorded a bunch of albums at Boogie Hotel Studios on Main Street. You heard of Foghat, right?

Mayor Garant: Yes, and I was at one of their concerts at the High School and caught the drum stick which I still have. I have a huge fan! My favorite song is “Fool for the City”.

Me: Cool. I was at that show as well. Did you know Foghat was a big part of Port Jeff history? On the "Boogie Motel" album cover there's a bus that says "PT JEFF" on it.

Mayor Garant: Didn’t know that… can you send me a picture of that?

Me: Yeah, and I have a picture of it here as well...

Me: Can you see it on the green bus? So, Port Jeff means soooo much to me, Mayor Garant. I work at Disney World and I have Port Jefferson, New York on my name tag, not London, England where I was actually born. So, where you you born? St. Charles Hospital? My sister was born there.

Mayor Garant: I like that your tag mentions Port Jeff. I was born in Falls River, Massachusetts and came here in 4th grade.

Me: How long have you been in politics? Did you always want to be in politics growing up?

Mayor Garant: Since 2009… me and my “clean sweep” team. I never thought I would go into politics but I don’t consider this politics. I’m just want to improve the quality of life in the Village that I love and am passionate about.

Me: How did you first start out? Was it in school?

Mayor Garant: I was very popular in school as class president and always a leader.

Me: I take it you live in Port Jeff now, but have you always lived around there?

Mayor Garant: I do live in Port Jefferson now and moved here in the 4th grade.

Me: We lived in Belle Terre when I loved there. Are you the Mayor of Belle Terre as well? What about Port Jeff Station? That's really on the other side of the tracks, isn't it?

Mayor Garant: Belle Terre has their own mayor and Port Jeff Station is part of the Town of Brookhaven and not a Village. Yes, Port Jeff Station is on the “other side of the tracks”, but we don’t say that… LOL!

Me: I have lots of fond memories of Port Jeff, especially playing in Rocketship Park. That's not the official name of it though, is it?

Mayor Garant: The official name is Kip Lee Park, but the Village affectionately refers to it as Rocketship Park.

Me: I went by there the last few days and the Rocket Ship is gone. There was recently a fundraiser to save the park, am I right? Was it going to go away?

Mayor Garant: The fundraiser is going on now to renovate the equipment.

Me: Port Jeff is known as you know for it's smoke stacks. I have a picture of them here...

Me: Years ago I heard a rumor that the power plant was gonna close down and the stacks would be gone. Was that just a rumor?

Mayor Garant: No, it’s actually an ongoing fight to have the plant repowered, however, if it is not repowered, the stacks will be removed as it is part of an old system.

Me: That sucks. That plant gives power to the Island, right?

Mayor Garant: Yes, it does.

Me: And of course there's the Port Jeff ferry which I showed a picture of earlier. I am sure there's different ferry's then it was when I lived there. I remember there was just one ferry. How many ferry's are there now, and what are their names?

Mayor Garant: It is the same ferry….the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company. The ferry names are the PT Barnum, Park City and the Grand Republic.

Me: When I lived there there wasn't a McDonald's as anything like that couldn't exist, but there is now. Was it a big deal when they announced it was coming there and when it opened?

Mayor Garant: Yes, and we changed the code to prevent other “formula fast food” establishments and we do not allow drive thrus.

Me: I'm exited there's a Port Jeff Brewing Company in Port Jeff. Tomorrow I am gonna be interviewing brewmaster Mike Philbrick. Is there anything I should ask him?

Mayor Garant: I love P.J. Brewing. Ask him how he got his start.

Me: Have you drank there? What's your favorite beer from there, Mayor Garant?

Mayor Garant: Yes, I love the pumpkin ale…which he is probably sold out of.

Me: He wasn't yesterday. I have to mention something serious... two years ago now Hurricane Sandy struck New York, and New Jersey. How much damage to Port Jeff did it do?

Mayor Garant: We were very lucky and didn’t have much damage compared to Irene. We were just able to open our East Beach after a long process.

Me: I know how hurricanes are living in Florida... Hurricane Francis wiped out our apartment in '04. Anyway, I read some amazing things about you during that time, Mayor, that you pretty much were on top of everything, and communicating and doing an amazing job. Was that the hardest thing you had to deal with as mayor?

Mayor Garant: No, it hasn’t been the hardest thing. I started doing a video broadcast for our resident base to communicate what is going on in the village be it emergency or day to day operations.

Me: Hey, I heard Port Jeff now puts on a Dickens Festival in the summer. Is that true?

Mayor Garant: Dickens Festival takes place the first weekend in December and this year is the 19th annual. We have this Festival to help our merchants and it is a huge sales weekend for them while our residents and visitors enjoy the weekend festivities and events of the festival.

Me: I need to come up for it sometime. So, I have a 'band' called Strawberry Blondes Forever and on our album "How Do You Know My Name" I wrote a song called "Party at the Pink House" about the infamous Pink House... or mansion as it really is. Do you know the story about that Pink House?

Mayor Garant: Oh yes… and unfortunately the Contessa passed away this year and I did attend her funeral. I’m hoping the family keeps the house but I remember the film She Devil which filmed in the house.

Me: There was a rumor Foghat all lived there, and teenagers used to hang outside waiting for the band to come out. Anyway, on our next album coming out next year there's gonna be a song called "Port Jeff", which I want to be the theme song for Port Jeff. Port Jeff doesn't have a theme song, does it? It will now.

Mayor Garant: Not yet… looking forward to hearing it.

Me: Port Jeff is definitely one of my favorite places on the planet. It's a great town, isn't it?

Mayor Garant: Awesome!

Me: Okay, I know you're really busy, and I appreciate it soooo much you took time out to be on the Phile for it's first Long Island entry. Port Jeff has a website, what is it?

Mayor Garant: Portjeff.com.  

Me: Thanks again, Mayor Garant, keep up the good work and please come back to the Phile again soon. Visit me in Orlando!

Mayor Garant: My pleasure.

There, that about does it for this first entry from Long Island. Thanks to Laird Jim and of course Mayor Margot Garant. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Port Jeff Brewing Company Brewmaster Mike Philbrick.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

No comments: