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Editorial: Vandalism Doesn’t Hurt Octagon Hotel’s Future

Just two weeks after the Enterprise Pilot printed a community appeal story about the historic Octagon Hotel it was vandalized. Funding was needed for an architectural review of the basement restoration, a process that would add to the building’s desirability for future preservation funds.

The damage occurred Friday night, July 31, or early Saturday morning.

Either ignorant or indifferent to the efforts being made within the community, trespassers broke glass windows, smashed doors and portions of walls and strew garbage and debris on the site. They also used spray paint to mark their presence. Identifying “tags” were left. Tags - sometimes are the mark of gangs, sometimes just the marks of children with adolescent egos, which can possibly be used to identify Friday night’s intruders. Anyone with information or knowledge of these tags should contact Michael Bartlett of the Nassau County Arson and Bomb Squad at 573-5550.

Lou Baldino, architect for the Octagon Hotel project, confirmed that they built a fire on one of the corners on the outside. “Nothing that happened did a great deal of damage to the building. The graffiti has been there a while - on the inside of the building. The new graffiti is on the windows.”

Mr. Baldino said the vandalism will not hold up the project. “The owners, the town and the associations involved think there will be a decision within a week. The owners are very eager to begin the construction; they are not the ones holding things up.

“The final decision is about the basement, to see if it will be restored or rebuilt. The homeowners are ready to go!” said Mr. Baldino.

We are glad that the violence exerted on the historic building will not cause any additional pain to the project. It is sad to see graffiti coming back into the community. It is something that comes in waves.

A town spokesperson said, “The Department of Planning and Development is aware of the problem and Commissioner Fredrich Ippolito has reached out to the owners of the property and they are discussing how the building will be secured against future vandalism. There will be a meeting later this week to discuss where they are going to go from here. Attending the meeting will be all of those interested in preserving the historic building, which includes Save the Jewel By the Bay, the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum and the Oyster Bay Main Street Association and others.”

We are saddened at the acts of vandalism and hope any evidence of it will be swiftly removed. Sometimes all we can do is wipe away the work of the vandals to take away what seems to be their motivation: advertising themselves. Hopefully they can find a more positive way to make their presence known in a community.