A ceremony was held at the newly renovated Locust Valley Train Station on Wednesday, April 19, which underwent an impressive restoration, thanks to the initiative of the Matinecock Neighborhood Association (MNA). The historic station first opened on April 19, 1869 and was last rebuilt in 1906. The restoration project began last fall, a joint undertaking of the MNA and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), and its completion was celebrated by representatives of both organizations, town officials and residents, as well as local restaurants that provided food samplings and live music.
“This is a very special occasion for us here in Locust Valley,” said Kaye Weninger, president of the MNA, noting that she is “that girl in town who goes around and makes things happen.”
She said that when she became president of the MNA, she decided that she wanted to try to rebuild the station because the history is so important. As a result, she said, Kathy Goodman, MNA vice president, called the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and got in touch with Hector Garcia, who, after months of discussions, finally confirmed last summer that the LIRR was going to move forward with the renovations. These include new electrical and plumbing, new pine beams, new windows and doors, LED lighting inside and out, a handicap restroom, 20 new columns outside and new indoor benches and air conditioning. The result is a beautiful, comfortable place for commuters to wait for the train.
Weninger said originally, Matinecock had a post office and a bank, and the town did not exist. Locust Valley was built around the train station when it opened.
“We now have a beautiful business district and it’s very important that we support our local people,” said Weninger, also thanking the engineer and all of the people who worked on the project.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilwoman Michelle Johnson were on hand to commemorate the event.
“We are so happy, pleased and privileged to be part of the renaissance here in Locust Valley and Matinecock,” said Saladino. “Folks from these communities and the greater Locust Valley area will utilize this station and be reminded of the incredible history of our community. The Town of Oyster Bay has been here since 1653 and at 148 years, this station has been the beacon, not only for transportation, but for the economics and moving community.”
He joked, “You gotta feel good when we’re praising the Long Island Rail Road—that doesn’t happen every day.”
Beloved Teddy Roosevelt impersonator James Foote said a few words in character of the former president, who was a regular commuter from Oyster Bay to Manhattan when he was police commissioner of New York.
“The railroad has always been vital, not just to this village’s economy, but to the nation’s economy and I heartily thank the Long Island Rail Road for the work on restoring this station,” said Foote.
“I’m blown away by this turn out. The pride that you obviously have in this station is something to behold and we’re glad to be a part of it, glad that we can improve the experience for you,” said Patrick Nowakowski, president of the LIRR. “At different times at the railroad, we certainly have our struggles and it’s something we constantly work to improve upon. When we can do things like this and make the service better to the people who use us, we’re real proud of it and glad we can do it for you and with you. I’m shocked and amazed that we have had this many people this interested and this committed to seeing something done.”