I cannot say I have fond memories of the Huntington Townhouse – my only knowledge of it was that my prom was held there (which I didn’t attend), that the food was not very good (from what I heard) and that when I would drive passed it on Jericho Turnpike, I couldn’t imagine a more gawty place to hold a party (total personal opinion). But ever since it closed almost 3 years ago, it was kind of heartbreaking to see it deteriorate – the overgrown vegetation behind the iron gates, paint peeling, windows smashed. Like so many Long Island locations, the Townhouse did have a history – one that actually dated back to the 1930’s (and we all know I love history).
Originating as a large private home, it was purchased by restauranteur Leo Gerard, whose family had successfully operated luxury hotels in Cold Spring Harbor. Leo relocated his growing restaurant in Cold Spring Harbor to the home in Huntington Station in 1937, and 20 years later, sold the restaurant to New York caterer Thomas Manno. The restaurant was made into a catering-only facility for private parties and being one of the first on Long Island, became a popular wedding location for couples from Brooklyn to the East End. Ask any family member who grew-up on Long Island or the boroughs and they could probably tell you of a wedding or two, (or three) that they attended there. Perhaps even your own parents held their big day at the once enormously popular hall. In 1997 it was sold to Rhona Silver who intended to transform the hall into a conference center, but by 2007 she had sold it to Lowes Corporation (yea, like we need another Lowes) and it was demolished as of last week.
At it’s peak, the Townhouse held 11 catering rooms (thanks to multiple additions through the years), with capacity for up to 1500 guests, hosting upwards of 20-30 events a week on their 20 acre property – all for a completely reasonable price. It seems that the Townhouse paved the way for how Long Island weddings would be hosted for a long time. You’ll often hear that few other states do it like Long Island, which is what I find so interesting. Although brides continue to take a ‘traditional’, Long Island approach to their weddings, I find that so many would love a small, intimate, backyard-type event instead. The type of wedding that is standard everywhere else is actually hard to come by on Long Island.
Not only was the shear size and decor of the Townhouse glitzy and extravagant, but eventually, no request by a bride and groom was either (something else that had become quite popular and expected). Grand entrances to one’s reception, fireworks as a finale, ice sculptures, a pyrotechnic Viennese hour, top-shelf open bars, more food then anyone could fathom – they have all been seen and done by the Townhouse (some trends may have even started there) to thrill an area historically known for being status-concious.
Since it’s closing, nothing has come close to the Townhouse’s grand scale. If anything, we see more places emphasizing ‘one wedding at a time’. Regardless if you desire a traditional or non-traditional wedding, one thing is for sure – personal attention and details geared more towards a couple’s taste rather than to excite their guests, has become more popular. Because there may never be anything like it again (for now), I do think the Huntington Townhouse deserves a proper goodbye and thank you for all it has given the wedding industry on Long Island for almost 50 years. So long Huntington Townhouse, thanks for the memories.
(history provided by huntingtonhistory.wordpress.com)