A section of the Harborfront Park Master Plan depicts the Village Center as it interacts with the Park. Indicated to the left is the historic Chandlery building, a former ship’s store dating back to 1898. Behind it is located the Park’s play and picnic area, complete with ship hack, Penelope Porpoise, and a family of friendly turtles. Traffic entering from East Broadway may travel around a planted turnabout or advance to Centennial Park. The landscaped entrance adjacent to Village Center includes the footprint of the Willse/Bayles house; a water element beside a green space; and an expansive outdoor plaza composed of selected pavers. The courtyard to the east of Village Center is portrayed in its winter format, showing the ice skating rink.
Harborfront Park is the result of an ongoing ambitious effort by the Village of Port Jefferson to develop a multi-purpose Park facility on the site of a former shipyard and Mobil Oil terminal at the head of the Port Jefferson Harbor. The 5.1 acre property was purchased by the Village in 1997 with a specific goal: To create a park and give people access to the waterfront. The master plan for this project was published in October 2000 and since then the Village has been engaged in a step by step approach to implement this plan.
The initial phase of the work to create Harborfront Park was completed in December 2001 when the Chandlery Waterfront Playground and Picnic Area was completed at the western end of the park. Here, visitors may enjoy a picnic lunch while children in summer enjoy the cool mist from the frog spray feature.
The Promenade along the shoreline was completed in September 2004 along with a new bulkhead, rip rap protection and landscaping. The Promenade has interesting features which complement the setting and the environment. The walkway itself was made from a mixture of sand and gravel, in shades of tan, blue and pink, echoing the color striations in the larger boulders. As you walk on the Promenade, there is a subtle, beachy feeling underfoot. The hand railing on the northwest corner, along the waterway, is made of stainless steel, and is designed to minimize obstructions of the magnificent Harbor view.
The landscaping makes use of a variety of sea grasses and Ragusa roses that might have been naturally growing along the harbor banks. The south side of the Promenade consists of a low, grassy dune. There are specially designed lights among the glacial boulders on the north side which were taken from LI sand mining sites. These bulkhead lights are shaped like bollards, or large, bulbous, metallic stakes where ships once tied their ropes when they came into port. Within the rocky seat wall, there are low lights that illuminate the meandering pathway, and there are also tall pole lights that cast an ambient glow over the entire Promenade. The Great Lawn area was completed as part of the final stage of construction, and includes more landscaping, paths and seating.
The historic Chandlery Building has undergone exterior reconstruction, to stabilize the structure and repair the cracks in the walls, repaint the bricks and repair the leaking roof. This work was completed in November 2006 and will be followed with replacement of all the windows and doors. The ground floor of the Chandlery is slated for future use to house the Children’s Maritime Museum.The Landmark Sculpture, overlooking the Harbor, was unveiled in October 2004, with 3 of the 4 sculptors present. The art work depicts four rugged seamen, carrying the bones of a ship, high overhead. The artists received pictures of actual Port Jefferson harbormen, from the Greater Port Jefferson Historical Society; As a result, the clothing is historically accurate and the features are amalgam. This sculpture is a fitting tribute to the ship builders of our community, who worked along this waterfront.
The seasonal outdoor ice skating rink adjacent to the east side of the Village Center was opened for the first season in December 2005 and proved to be a complete success. The 50’ x 100’ ice rink gives residents and visitors an excellent opportunity to make use of the park in the off-season winter months, thus encouraging multi-season use of the park facility. Group lessons, private instruction and parties are available at a nominal fee.
Today, the Harborfrolnt Park has become a waterfront jewel of the Village for all to enjoy!