Ruth Bashinsky


The Beacon At Garvies Point: Luxury Living On Glen Cove Coast

The Beacon at Garvies Point in Glen Cove is becoming one of the North Shore’s most desirable locations to live, work and play, according to its developers, RXR Realty.

In the last 13 months, more than 65 of the 167 waterfront condominiums built have been sold ahead of the development’s scheduled opening in late 2019. The Beacon offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences ranging in size from 900 to 2,850 square feet. Residents can also enjoy a number of outdoor spaces including rooftop terraces at the penthouse level, courtyard terraces, and balconies on nearly every home, along with a
fitness center and yoga studio, club lounge, game room, party room, movie theater and an outdoor pool.

Demand has been so high that prices have gone up three times. The cost of a condo now starts at $700,0000, originally $575,000, and goes up to $2.95 million.

“We’ve increased the prices because the validation is there,” says Joseph Graziose, executive vice president of residential development and construction at RXR Realty, which developed the Ritz-Carlton Residences at North Hills. “When I talk validation, obviously our buyers have validated that this is a great project in a great location with a great developer and they are anxiously awaiting their move-ins.”

The Garvies Point development that started more than a decade ago will soon feature a wide array of amenities that include waterfront parks, esplanades, playgrounds, retail, restaurants and a ferry terminal. The Beacon is phase one of the project that also includes Harbor Landing, a 385-unit, two-building rental complex offering a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom residences.

Construction is also underway on 28 acres of public open space, which includes an educational ecology pier and restored wetlands. Before the project began, the 50-acre site on Cove Creek and adjacent to the Long Island Sound was blighted land, Graziose notes.

“It was the location of factories many, many years ago, and the property sat there for decades underdeveloped and undernourished,” he says. “We came along and put together a program. When we are all done we will end up with a 56-acre site of which over 50 percent is going to be open space with promenades, parks, walkways, dog areas.”

Graziose has a fondness for Glen Cove. He grew up there and remained there to raise his family.

“When my children were young we used to spend our days at Battery Park City and the World Trade Center area to rollerblade and picnic,” he recalls. “It gave us the environment that was water’s edge, public amenities, and a communal feel. If this existed when I was building I would have saved a lot of gas and stayed in Glen Cove…I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

The entire Garvies Point project is set to be completed over the next three to five years, says Graziose, but The Beacon will open in December 2019.

“When we are all done we will have 1,100 units where 50 percent will be for rentals and 50 percent will be for sale, and then there will be a portion of commercial and retail space,” he adds.

Buyer Rona Tison, a public relations executive, and her husband, an executive with Northwell Health, purchased a two-bedroom condo with a rooftop at The Beacon. They recently relocated from the West Coast, and what sold them after house hunting for several months, were the lifestyle amenities that “other properties did not have,” she explains.

Some of these include the waterfront, views, acres of protected preserve, ferry convenience — Tison works in Manhattan — the reputation of the developers RXR, amenities of the pool, gym, parking, storage, concierge, the design and concept of Garvies Point, and the price for the value.

“We decided it was worth the wait,” says Tison, who lived 18 years in Manhattan and 15 years in Sonoma, Calif. “Garvies Point will be a nice balance of urban living in a scenic environment that also has a sense of community.”

For more information on The Beacon at Garvies Point, visit or Debra Quinn Petkanas, Associate Real Estate Broker at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, 516-674-2000 x 140; or 516-359-3204.

En-Toto Couture: Say Yes To The Dress

From left to right: Beaded and sequin dress in three-quarter length with stunning fringed detail, Elegant midnight blue gown with intricate beading and sequin detail on chiffon, Zardosi embroidered dress with mesh and tulle design, and a Glamorous silver and gold beaded dress with trumpet bottom. Photos by Ralph DePas.

After 50 years in business, En-Toto Couture continues its tradition of bringing stunning one-of-a-kind customized special occasion gowns to the community.

“People might come in and show us a picture of a dress or something they saw on social media, and we can make it from scratch for them,” says Sunny Merker of En-Toto Couture.

Patty, the dressmaker and salesperson who has been creating custom-made designs that are very much in demand since 1908, is an integral part of the En-Toto Couture design team.

“It is not only beaded dresses we create,” says Merker, “but any type of funky-looking dress, lace dress, or something made of chiffon.”

Floor-length dresses are classic and always popular, but Merker has been seeing the high-low style and cocktail dresses as some of the latest trends.  

Some of the designers’ creations they carry include Paula Varsalona, Tina di Martina, Fouy Chov, Jovani, Mon Cheri, and Ideas by Barbara, in addition to their, Enhances collection, a line that showcases their intricate beading.

“Every bead on our dresses is sewn by hand,” says Merker, who uses a centuries-old hand embroidered technique called, Zardosi, popular in India, Iran, and Pakistan. The ornate designs use gold and silver thread, pearls, and precious stones.

“You may think that designing a dress takes only five hours when it really takes 50 hours,” says Merker. “It’s very labor intensive, but all worth when I see how happy my client is.”

Earlier this month, En-Toto Couture had a trunk show showcasing its latest custom-beaded gowns and other collections, which they plan on doing monthly.

En-Toto Couture is located at 13 Glen Cove Rd., Greenvale. They can be reached at or 516-829-8503.

Cultural Arts Playhouse: For The Love of Theatre

Cultural Arts Playhouse performs their production of Hair.

“Quiet on the set” is a rare occurrence for those teaching children theatre, but for Bruce Grossman, founder/president of the Cultural Arts Playhouse in Syosset, that is par for the course.

His theater and acting academy has been training children, teens and young adults in musical theater, acting, and dance for the last quarter century.

“We offer a noncompetitive environment where all of our kids have the opportunity to shine and participate,” says Grossman, adding that the company has a zero tolerance for bullying. “Our approach is to develop confidence and self-esteem centered around positive reinforcement.”

“Being part of a theater group teaches acceptance and tolerance and being patient of others,” he says. “We have an incredible team of directors, teachers, music teachers, choreographers, artists and builders.”

Students at CAP may participate in a show or take part in the class curriculum that gives them training in speech, diction, exercises, dance, improvisation, monologues, audition techniques, scene study, and voice.

“We have had thousands of children of all ages participate in our classes or our shows,” he says.

Many have landed roles on Broadway, and in national tours, regional theater, movies, HBO specials, commercials, and voice-overs, says Grossman.

One Long Islander who is a CAP alumnus is actress Jamie Lynn-Sigler, who played Meadow Soprano on the popular HBO drama, The Sopranos.

“Jamie was our first famous student,” he says. “She was with us since she was a little girl.”

The spacious state-of-the-art theater is home to all their mainstage productions. Playing in October is All Shook Up; November is Next To Normal and December is The Nutcracker. The academy also has a satellite location in Wantagh.

During some productions, it isn’t unusual to see Grossman onstage and in character. Earlier this month, he played the Reverend Shaw Moore in the academy’s sold-out performance of Footloose. And in January 2019 he will return to the stage playing Daddy Warbucks in the musical Annie.  

“I like to set an example for the kids,” says Grossman. “Our goal is to entertain Long Island with professional quality entertainment 52 weeks a year, and we love doing it.”

Cultural Arts Playhouse is located at 170 Michael Dr. in Syosset. They can be reached at or 516-694-3330. Tickets range from $20-$27. Group rates and fundraising available.

A World of Pink: Nonprofit Donates Prosthetics to Breast Cancer Survivors

Christine Guarino, founder of A World of Pink, hugs a survivor, who walked in their annual fashion show. photo by Rob Rich/ © 2016 516-676-3939

In 2016, Shawand Marquez’s world fell apart. First, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then her mother passed away a day before Marquez’s double mastectomy. Marquez’s wedding was a month later.

Marquez’s doctor recommended A World of Pink, a Long Island health facility that helps women recovering from breast cancer get the help they need. Christine Guarino, its lead mastectomy fitter, met with Marquez and fitted her with a prosthetic and a bra to wear at Marquez’s wedding.

“Christine was there for me every step of the way,” says Marquez, 38. “I wore the prosthetics and the bra, and it felt so good. I was able to walk down the aisle feeling confident.”

Marquez, who had all her expenses taken care of, is one of the 5,000 women that the nonprofit has supported since Guarino a former dental hygienist who became a certified mastectomy fitter purchased All Island Prosthetics and invested $1 million of her own money into the organization. She  founded the group in 2016.

“I had an amazing dream … that I could help women all over the world,” says Guarino. “If you come in my door and your insurance company doesn’t cover something and you need it, you are getting it through my [nonprofit]. That is why people donate and give to the World of Pink Foundation and help raise money, because they see the results.”

Most insurance companies cover at least part of the cost of breast prosthesis, a specially designed artificial breast form that fits into a bra pocket. If a woman does not have insurance or only a percentage is covered and it is still a hardship for them to pay the difference, the World of Pink Foundation steps in.

This fall, Guarino is launching a new first-of-its-kind prosthetic. And this month brings the grand opening of her new 2,000-square-foot Melville location that will offer educational seminars, fundraising events and personalized fittings by appointment.

“My goal was to open the first aftercare center of its kind for women everywhere,” she says.  “It’s like Victoria’s Secret on steroids. It’s beautiful.”

A World of Pink’s annual fashion gala is on Oct. 29. Tickets are $125. For more information visit or

Lloyd Harbor Locale: A Stately Victorian In All Its Splendor

The elegant house at 405 West Neck Road in Lloyd Harbor, originally a Dutch farmhouse built in 1830, was transformed into a Victorian.

Once owned by the Axe family, who also owned Tarrytown Castle, the home features exquisite details on the exterior and interior, bringing us back to a time when men wore top hats and women corsets and rode in horse-drawn carriages. Today, that very same home is on the market for $1,495,000.

Set on 2.1 acres, the 12-room house includes seven bedrooms, three full and two half baths, great room with fireplace, study, gourmet eat-in-kitchen with breakfast area, master suite with bath and partial basement. There is also a private driveway and two-car garage with brick patio and brick deck.

“It’s a romantic house with high ceilings, big rooms, plenty of natural light,” says Peggy Moriarty of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, the realtor representing the home. “It’s located in the historic district in Lloyd Harbor.”

The homeowners who have been living in the house for the last 40 years made some significant improvements over the years, says Moriarty. Within the last year,  they replaced the slate mansard roof with hand-cut Vermont slate and put a new roof on the garage. They also regraded and regraveled the bluestone on the driveway, converted from oil to a natural gas heating system and installed three-zone air conditioning.

Additional improvements include a gut renovation on three full bathrooms that all have radiant heat floors. The half bath on the ground level was also redone. A great room was also added onto the home with a fireplace that has a separate heating and air-conditioning system.

All the more room for the next owners.

For more information contact Peggy Moriarty at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty; office 631-692-6770; mobile 516-769-2843 or

Sid Jacobson JCC: A Center That Inspires

The rain couldn’t keep away hundreds who came out to support the 2017 Sid Jacobson JCC’s annual Stronger Than Cancer 5K benefiting their Nancy Marx Cancer Wellness Center. This year’s race will be held on Sunday, October 7.

The Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in East Hills epitomizes what community is all about.

The center founded in 1960 to offer early childhood and adult programs has grown to become a thriving multipurpose programming facility answering the needs of every age and population.

“We are not a religious institution,” says Executive Director David Black. “we operate out of Jewish values and are open to the entire community. Our function is to enable life to flourish. We are connecting, giving back and creating connections.”

The center has a program for young people on the autism spectrum, those recovering from opioid addiction, people with Alzheimer’s, those with young-onset dementia, an early childhood center, and a cancer wellness program that is part of a consortium of hospitals treating patients with cancer and staffed with certified trainers and social workers.

“The hospitals know that their patients don’t want to recover in a hospital setting but, want to recover in a life-affirming setting and this is what we are providing,” says Black.

The center that Black describes as “exploding with activities and members” is already growing out of its 100,000-square-foot space and is in the midst of a new capital campaign to expand its space and modernize the campus at the Bernice Jacobson Day School and Camp.

“We went from a JCC without walls at the beginning in 1960 to a JCC with walls in 1988 to a JCC beyond walls in 2018,” says Black.

The Sid Jacobson JCC has a community theater program, a cultural center that features prominent speakers and authors, and an annual film festival. There is also an aquatic and health and wellness center.

“On Sundays there is something called Shooting Stars,” he says. “Volunteers teach teens who are on the spectrum basketball, and the teens get community service. Our 4-year-olds will go sing to the seniors on Shabbat. Our teens will take the music of the ’40s and ’50s and put the tunes on iPods because people with dementia relate to the music they had in their era.”
Black adds enthusiastically, “My program guide alone is close to 60 pages.”

The center also has a vibrant volunteer community with more than 400 people volunteering through 35 partners across Long Island. It has a center for Israel, the only one that exists on Long Island, according to Black, with a staff of Israelis who work in different area synagogues, day schools, and JCCs. The five camps available include a special needs which gives those young people who might not survive in an inclusive environment an exclusive environment and a chance to thrive, explains Black, adding, “It is a beautiful thing to see.”

For more information on the Sid Jacobson JCC visit

Eclectic Estate: Glen Cove Home Revels In Old-World Charm

On a sweltering summer day with temperatures soaring well into the 90s and local weather reports of a heat wave, Jovon Tomaselli sits in his library enjoying the views of his majestic gardens. On days like this, he does not mind very much at all that he doesn’t have central air-conditioning.

“The house is made from brick and plaster, they didn’t use sheetrock back then,” laughs Tomaselli. “We have window units. The house keeps everything cool.”

An old-fashioned way of living for some, but for Tomaselli and his wife, Sanam, that’s all part of the charm when you are living in a historic mansion that dates back to 1888.

The home that was once the estate of John Coles Tappan, a prominent business leader has been a labor of love for the couple, who share an appreciation for old-world style. For the last few years, they have spent time restoring the home’s integrity while adding their own personal touches along the way.

“I love that time that takes us way back,” says Sanam. “We have preserved the whole look of the house because you cannot find houses like this anymore. We really wanted to make this house a home.”

And so they did.

Each level of the four-story Victorian Colonial set on 1.5 acres features a different aesthetic with ceilings that soar 12 feet high and architectural details that for many homes on Long Island are now a thing of the past. The main floor boasts a formal living room, gourmet-style kitchen with the original pantry, a billiards room, library and dining room, aka the “tea room,” or “the ladies parlor,” as Sanam calls it.

There’s also an outdoor patio and music room filled with antiques, including an original telephone booth and birdcage. Three bedrooms and a master suite are located on the upper level. The third story features an attic with three additional rooms used for storage and a full basement that Jovon explains “is as long as the house, 100 feet.”

Most of the renovations were done on the home’s interior, says Jovon. That included securing the foundation, restoring the outdoor porches, replacing some of the windows and updating the kitchen with modern amenities.

The gardens are so spectacular that Jovon, a professional photographer, remembers the days when they were often used as a backdrop for photo shoots.

“In 2004, we took more than 300 family portraits here,” he says. “It was before the digital era.”

It is still a tranquil place that brings great enjoyment to the couple.

“It’s really a beautiful haven for us,” says Jovon. “We like to sit outside on the patio and listen to music and look at the pond. It’s our meditation.”

Sanam, who works as a banker, describes her style as eclectic. An admirer of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, she draws inspiration from them and the beauty that surrounds her.

“I love the color yellow,” she says. “I love butterflies. I love rabbits, and I love sunflowers.”

A collector too — she and Jovon enjoy collecting teacups and picking up souvenirs from their travels to display — doesn’t take herself too seriously.

“I don’t follow the rules,” she points out. “I break the rules nicely.”

Novelist Jodi Picoult Brings ‘A Spark Of Light’ to Long Island

Best-selling author Jodi Picoult will be at the Landmark on Main in Port Washington, sharing her latest book, A Spark of Light. Long Island LitFest is presenting this October event.

Interviewed by phone at her New Hampshire home, Picoult, admitted she can be a workaholic and laughed when asked if she gets cranky when she doesn’t write for a few days. She talked about how much she adores her fans, how she can sometimes be brought to tears while writing her novels, and how you will never see her in a Starbucks typing on a laptop.

At the Landmark event, Picoult will be signing copies of her 25th book and will give her fans an opportunity to take a photo with her. Long Island native and critically acclaimed author Meg Wolitzer, whose latest novel is called The Female Persuasion, will be part of the festivities too.

The Press spoke with the widely popular author as she was gearing up for the book tour that kicks off this month and will take her all over the United States, Canada and the UK.

Did you ever imagine reaching this level of success? No. No one did. I would have been delighted to write books and have my mother and her friends read my books. I never expected to be successful this way.

I need to ask about your fans. You have such a huge following. My fans are awesome and they are devoted. They will pick up a book with my name on the cover without even knowing what it is about. A lot of writers don’t have that freedom. My books are about really tough topics. My readers are really willing to go wherever my brain is going at that particular moment and that is a freedom that is a delight that I never lose sight of.

Your novels address some difficult issues: teen suicide, gun violence, race. Can you tell us about that? A lot of people don’t want to talk about tough topics. It is uncomfortable. Fiction is a terrific vehicle for a contentious issue because when you pick up a book of fiction … you think you are reading about made-up characters and made-up situations and you are — but if I did my job right, by the time you finish the book you are asking yourself a lot of really hard questions and hopefully you are willing to have a conversation with someone about that difficult topic. That is really all I can hope for when I am writing a book.

Are you drawing from any of your own experiences? Where do you get your inspiration and ideas? I don’t really draw from my life. I have a really charmed and wonderful life. I am grateful I don’t live the life of my characters. I draw my inspiration from things I don’t understand and questions I am not able to answer. The act of writing the book for me should be the act of reading the book for the reader.

Is there any particular book you wrote that was more difficult to write than others? Small Great Things was hard for me on a personal level because I was learning a lot of things about myself that I did not find very complimentary. I thought I was a really good person. I thought I was not racist and I definitely had not acknowledged my privilege as a white person until I began to do the research for that book. I live my life very differently now because of the way that book really opened my eyes. On a professional level, A Spark of Light nearly killed me (she laughs). It was my idea to write the book backwards, but oh, my god, was that hard.

How was it growing up in Nesconset? Do you ever visit? I had a great time in suburbia and a great childhood and I’m very grateful for that. I don’t come back very often because my parents moved. If I come back it is usually for a book tour.

Landmark on Main Street, 232 Main St., Port Washington, or $35. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2.

Spectrum Designs: Business On A Mission

Seventy-one percent of the company's employees are on the autism spectrum.

One mother’s mission to ensure her son with autism would have a promising future has been accomplished beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.

After the loss of her husband in 2010, Stella Spanakos wondered, “Should I wallow in self pity, or should I find the strength to make my husband’s life, and our struggle raising a child with autism, mean something?” She founded Spectrum Designs, a custom apparel business where her son Nicholas works with other young people facing similar challenges. The company is now a model social enterprise offering authentic vocational experiences to individuals on the autism spectrum.

“Stella’s story is very inspiring,” says Lee Anne Vetrone, development manager at Spectrum Designs Foundation. “Along with her cofounders, Nicole Sugrue and Patrick Bardsley, she created a business model that will positively impact the lives of individuals with autism and their families for years.”

The need is great. In the U.S., only 14 percent of adults with autism held paid jobs in their communities, according to a 2017 Drexel University Autism Institute report. Each year, 50,000 teens with autism age out of school-based services.

Spectrum’s work environment is designed to help employees excel. Seventy-five percent of its workforce is on the autism spectrum. There are 35 people on staff, 21 of whom have developmental disabilities.

The company generated more than $2 million in sales this year. Clients include Google, Facebook, and Uber.

“Providing meaningful work opportunities leads to greater independence, an improved quality of life and a future filled with hope,” says Vetrone.

The business, which started with one machine in a barn on Spanakos’ Plandome Manor property, is now located in a new 7,500-square-foot facility in Port Washington that houses its custom screen printing, embroidery, and digital printing services. It also houses Spectrum Suds, a boutique laundromat offering 48-hour turnaround, and Spectrum Bakes, creating gourmet, small-batch granola treats for corporate events, party favors and personalized gifts.

Joe Penzel, 26, has worked at Spectrum Designs since 2013.

“I like to clean the screens,” says Penzel. “I also like to sort the shirts.”

Last year, Spectrum completed its largest order: more than 5,000 two-in-one jackets for Metro-North Railroad, imprinted with the agency’s logo.

In turn, the company became a go-to source for large municipal contracts in both imprinting and logistics.

“We receive inquiries every day from around the country and the world,” says Vetrone.

For more information visit

Long Island Fashion Expo: Fall Fashion Frenzy

Models strut down the runway at the Long Island Fashion Expo 2017. (Photo by Smiley Guirand Photography)

Now that summer has come to a screeching halt, New York City is buzzing again preparing for New York Fashion Week.

Here on Long Island, the fashion buzz has caught on about the September 15 Long Island Fashion Expo, curated by Fashion 4 Purpose, with a guest appearance by Jonathan Fernandez from the VH1 reality series Love & Hip Hop NY. Carmen Colon, the organization’s founder, started Fashion 4 Purpose as a platform for aspiring designers, models, makeup artists, hair stylists and boutique owners to showcase their talent.

“Our Fashion Expo is where designers and business owners meet,” says Colon, who started her organization in 2011. “Each year we are growing, and Long Island has been very supportive. We have an audience of more than 200 and it’s all by word of mouth, social media and our supporters.”

Going into its fifth year, the event will take place at Simplay in Hauppauge featuring designers CJackson Long Island (formal wear); Kro Sha (crocheted designs); Tameless Moons (organic clothing); Reel2Reel Kustoms (custom apparel); Xclusive (boutique) and Mishu Designs NY (wearable couture).

Cofounder Rashad Lawson of Reel2Reel Kustoms, who hand-designs fashion-forward clothing and accessories that he sells at his Riverhead store, will be showcasing his new luggage and backpack collection for Fall 2018.

“These bags are military grade and made of high-grade special canvas material. They are decorative and multipurpose,” says Lawson, who aspires to be the next J. Crew. “We have something for everyone. It doesn’t matter race, color, creed.”

Cynthia Jackson, the woman behind C. Jackson Long Island, will also be making her debut. Jackson, who has worked as a med tech for nearly 20 years, wanted to carry on her mother’s legacy after her passing.

“My mother was a seamstress,” she says. “I took what she taught me and tried to see if I could start my own business.”

It worked.

Jackson will be showing her designs at Long Island Fashion Expo and will also be a featured designer at New York Fashion Week.

“Carmen and Fashion 4 Purpose have paved the way for me so people can see what I do. I never believed something like this could happen to me. I am nervous but excited.”

Aside from all the glamour and glitz, the show will have a second purpose: raising awareness of mental illness at a critical time, when suicide rates are skyrocketing, as with the recent deaths of fashion icon Kate Spade and celebrity chef/television personality Anthony Bourdain. A portion of the proceeds will go towards The Association for Mental Health and Wellness.

Tickets start at $30. To purchase visit

A model at the Long Island Fashion Expo poses in one of the hottest looks for the season. (Photo by Smiley Guirand Photography)