Monday, December 28, 2009


Last week I saw this lady in the SUV holding up seven or eight cars as she waited for a parking spot by the post office. The line stretched all the way out into the street. This is inconsiderate and dangerous for the cars at the end of the line; they could be struck by vehicles whizzing along Main Street.

She finally found her spot. I figured she deserved some publicity.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

No problem

I always wear my shoes in December, at least when I go to the Brook House.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Where good things wait

for you ... at the post office

Packing it

Aren't they pretty?

Choices, choices

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hotel at SUNY: Out of the freying plan

Well! who knew that a professor could ...

What I mean is ... read all about
him in this article in the Stony Brook Press.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Can't report on the food

This used to be called The Golden Pear.
See my post of November 12, 2008

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hotel at SUNY: Complaint filed

Email just received from the Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy:

Dear SBEC Members: A complaint was filed in State Supreme Court yesterday by SBEC attorney George Locker. The associated news release attached explains the grounds of the complaint. Feel free to distribute this widely.

Each of you is entitled to file a letter requesting to be made a Party of Interest in the SEQRA review. This will ensure that you will be informed of all review proceedings, including a public hearing, should there be one. You may use the SBEC letter as a template (See below **).

Please phone your inquiries and questions to the litigation hotline; someone will get back to you as soon as possible.


And here is the Press Release that was attached:

Lawsuit Commenced Against Unlawful Hotel Project
PRESS RELEASE 14 December 2009
The Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy, Inc., Michelle Pizer, President of the Stony Brook University Environmental Club and Muriel Weyl, a distinguished resident of Stony Brook and New York City, have filed suit in State Supreme Court, Manhattan, against the State University of New York. They seek a judicial declaration that SUNY’s efforts to sublease public lands at the main entrance to Stony Brook University to build a 135-room commercial hotel is based upon special enabling legislation that expired in 1990, and thus is unlawful.

In 1986 and 1989, the New York Legislature enacted special enabling legislation that permitted SUNY to lease 11 acres of public land on the Stony Brook campus to a private developer capable of construction and operation of a conference center/hotel on the campus, primarily to facilitate educational activities. The site the legislature specified is untouched perimeter forest, lining the western side of Nicolls Rd, a heavily wooded four lane commercial highway that bisects the campus.

By its terms, the authority granted to SUNY by the special legislation expired if the Attorney General, the Director of the Budget and the Comptroller of the State of New York did not approve a lease to a private developer by August 2, 1990. We maintain that the Legislature, which specified a deadline, did not intend or authorize SUNY to enter into a sham lease with a paper company for 20 years, while no hotel was constructed. This is exactly what has occurred.

On or about December 5, 1989, SUNY as landlord entered into a ground lease with the Stony Brook Foundation Realty, Inc. as tenant. Although required by the special legislation, the Attorney General did not approve the substance of the ground lease. We maintain that the lease is therefore invalid and provides no authority.

The suit claims that SBF Realty Inc. has no experience whatsoever, and was not capable of, constructing or operating a conference center/hotel. Indeed, the enabling legislation expired and no hotel was built.

Moreover, as a check on SUNY and its proposed developer, the special legislation explicitly provided that unless the lessee of the land “…pays[s] an amount equal to and in lieu of all property taxes…” the underlying lease or contract “shall be void”.

To date no payments in lieu of taxes have been made by SBF Realty Inc.; neither has SUNY demanded it. Moreover, a million dollars in rent due to SUNY was forgiven. The plaintiffs claim that the 1989 ground lease
is null and void and the planned hotel construction has no legal authority because the statutory requirement that Realty make payments in lieu of taxes was never followed.


According to a May 5, 2009 story in the online newspaper the Stony Brook Independent, the university's new president, Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., receives an annual salary which includes $400,000 from SUNY, as well as $150,000 annually from the Stony Brook Foundation, which are opposite parties - Landlord and Tenant - to the 1989 ground lease.

On October 14, 2009 President Stanley announced that an agreement had been reached with Harbor Construction Management LLC of Port Jefferson NY to construct a 135-room commercial hotel. Harbor is owned by a former trustee of SBF. Because the President has a fiduciary duty to SUNY, and not to SBF, his participation in the real estate transaction is forbidden as an impermissible conflict of interest.

Our lawsuit seeks a halt to the hotel project and the return of the land to SUNY. It follows weeks of fruitless negotiation by students, professors, community organizations, residents, and local legislators with President Stanley’s office to find a more appropriate site for the hotel with less environmental impact and consistent with the educational mission of the university. SUNY needs to seek authorization of a new ground lease from the New York Legislature. President Stanley’s intransigence leaves us no alternative but to seek relief from the courts.

For more information, telephone our special litigation hotline:


The Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy, Inc. (SBEC) is a community based, non-profit corporation with a mission to help preserve, protect and enhance the unique environmental heritage of the greater Stony Brook area. SBEC is governed by an elected Board of Directors that includes community leaders, scientists, educators, environmental consultants, university alumni and students.


**This is the format to follow to become a Party of Interest:

December 4, 2009
Ms. Barbara Chernow
Vice President for Facilities and Services
221 Administration Building
State University of New York
Stony Brook NY 11794-1002
Re: SEQRA Review of Proposed Campus Hotel

Dear Ms. Chernow:
This is to request that [the Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy] be designated as a Party of Interest pertaining to all matters related to the SEQRA review for the proposed campus hotel.
[The Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy] wish[es] to be informed of the time and place of the public hearing to discuss the SEQRA review. Clearly the public hearing should be held here and not in Albany.
[The Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy] also wish[es] to be assured that the proceedings of the SEQRA public hearing, including submitted documents, will be incorporated into the final review.


[Malcolm J. Bowman]

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Very very

Very high tide combined with rain on December 5th. Pictures taken along Shore Road, mid afternoon. The water is nibbling at the road.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hotel at SUNY: Village Times reports

The December 10 issue of The Village Times has a story (page A5) on the Town Hall meeting.

The civility of that meeting was mentioned in an editorial in the same issue (page A14). Same page contained another letter.

The University has set up a
website devoted to the hotel issue.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New shingles

All Souls Episcopal Church in Stony Brook

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hotel at SUNY: Legal points brought up

Friday's Town Hall on the hotel issue (see my posts of 11/23, 11/30 and 12/2) was the subject of an email Sunday from the Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy:

Dear SBEC Members:
Thanks to all who attended the Town Hall meeting on Friday. Over 150 people from both the university and community attended; so many the venue had to be shifted to the SAC auditorium. The meeting ran one hour over the allotted time. Many ideas were eloquently expressed on both sides of the issue, mainly against locating the hotel at the designated site. The Setauket Fire Department talked about increased stress from an extra facility in their territory. Craig Lehmann from the Health Sciences Center talked about how important the hospital is to the community (nobody disputes that). A letter was read from the Veteran's Home about the need for respect (they have it) and access to accommodations by visiting families.
I began and ended my presentation claiming that it is a violation of New York State Environmental Conservation Law and Regulations to remove ANY FOLIAGE before the SEQRA review is completed, even for foundation test hole borings. This claim is based on New York State Environmental Conservation Law, Section § 8-0109.
Item 6 states (see <>)
6. To the extent as may be prescribed by the commissioner pursuant to
section 8-0113, the environmental impact statement prepared pursuant to
subdivision two of this section together with the comments of public and
federal agencies and members of the public, shall be filed with the
commissioner, made available to the public, and, unless impracticable,
posted on a publicly-available Internet website prior to acting on the
proposal which is the subject of the environmental impact statement.
Section §617.3 General rules of SEQRA regulations (see <>) states
(a) No agency involved in an action may undertake, fund or approve the action until it has complied with the provisions of SEQR. A project sponsor may not commence any physical alteration related to an action until the provisions of SEQR have been complied with. The only exception to this is provided under paragraphs 617.5(c)(18), (21) and (28) of this Part. An involved agency may not issue its findings and decision on an action if it knows any other involved agency has determined that the action may have a significant adverse impact on the environment until a final EIS has been filed. The only exception to this is provided under subparagraph 617.9(a)(5)(i) of this Part.
We will be reminding university counsel of these statutes and regulations.
SBEC has formally requested to be listed as a Party of Interest to the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (see attachment). This means SBEC must be informed of all reports and dates of public meetings, etc. This letter was hand delivered to VP Barbara Chernow by me at the Town Hall meeting.
What next? If you still have not written a letter to President Stanley and VP Barbara Chernow, do so now. It is important to keep a continuous stream of viewpoints pouring into administration.
Stay tuned,
Malcolm Bowman.
See the December 4 Newsday story by Olivia Winslow "Eco-concerns raised at Stony Brook hotel plan meeting".

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I saw Santa!

Here he comes trotting down Main Street, Stony Brook, at 2:00 today.

He had a police escort so I guess there were a lot of expensive presents with him in the carriage. He turned to wave but I didn't catch that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Public Forum on the Hotel Issue this Friday

There will be a town hall meeting on the question of the proposed Hilton hotel on the campus of Stony Brook University this Friday, December 4 at 12:30 pm in room 302 of the Student Activities Center.

There will also be a live feed of the event at Thinksb

SUMMARY of the situation to date (Dec. 5, 2009)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hotel at SUNY: the proposed site

The curving line from top to bottom is Nichols Road, a very busy highway that has been kept wooded and non-commercial ... up till now. This plan for a hotel at this spot is a huge environmetal blunder and one hopes the perpetrators of the ill-advised project can be made to see reason. On the left is the main campus. On the right is the Health Sciences Center.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Symphony in grey

Color drains out of the natural world as the days grow shorter. Goldenrod holds up grey fluff where yellow flowers were. Almost everything is grey. This pointed rock is the spot where I took pictures of four young barn swallows on July 7th.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Food pantries

CRDLI (Community Resources Database of Long Island) has long lists of food pantries and soup kitchens and how to donate to them. The need is great.

Another list concentrating on the Coram/Patchogue/Middle Island area, and specifying eligibility.

Smithtown Emergency Food Pantry

Interfaith Nutrition Network
INN sites

Monday, November 23, 2009

Alas, a forest slated for destruction

Stony Brook University has announced plans to build a Hilton Hotel on the campus. Of all the spots they could choose (and there are several good alternate locations) they decided to destroy the eleven acres of mature woodland at the main entrance. I join my voice with the many whose alarm is flooding the new President and the local newspaper with letters. The Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy is very active in this campaign. Here are some of the letters to the newspaper (They start with the 6th letter down):

Newsday article

Letter to The Statesman

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I've been meaning for months to take pictures of the sunflowers growing in front of the library at SCC Ammerman. They were great--but they wouldn't wait for me. They bloomed, made seeds, were partially harvested, and now they are in their bedraggled dotage. Don't you think they still have character?

Friday, November 20, 2009

How many?

How many DOT guys does it take to remove a sign?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Swans, swans, and more swans

In the water

On the shore

Not afraid of humans

Or each other

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.

The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
(The Wild Swans at Coole (1919), by William Butler Yeats)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Setauket Grist Mill

Another nice feature of Melville Park: a replica of an original grist mill. Looks pretty authentic, doesn't it? The original mill was built in 1664. It was rebuilt in 1669. A third mill was built with the help of Donald A. Spetta in 1937 and that is the mill that stands there now. The roof was re-shingled about ten years ago.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Isn't it cute?

The boxy Scion. Brilliantly practical/ugly. My bike would fit in the back: more cycling freedom. I went into the showroom on an impulse the other day and sat in one and brought home a brochure. Hmmm ...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Old beech tree in Melville Park

Enlarge the picture and you can just make out some names and initials romantically etched. Wonder if they are still joined in life today?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


June 28

November 3

Less pretty now, but more useful to the birds, and that is its purpose in life after all.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


If you have to be a pest, be a beautiful one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Little red toes

Spotted today on the prickly pear cactus on Trustees Road. Here's how they looked in the spring (June 29)