How downtown Smithtown changed since the recession

Smithtown before and after.

Smithtown before and after.

Google's new historic street views have created a chance to see just how much the local landscape has changed in the past seven years. At its simplest, the feature is a cool way to waste time online. But being able to see photos from 2007 to the present gives users snapshots of what happened to Long Island communities during the U.S. financial collapse and the ensuing Great Recession.


Many Long Island downtowns have gone through major changes. Some restaurants and shops held on, but others closed, either replaced by new enterprises or leaving vacant spaces. To illustrate the changes, here are more than a dozen Google street view images of downtown Smithtown showing places as they looked in 2008 and again in late 2013. Grab the slider in the middle of each photo to see these changes.


A caution: These changes shown below shouldn't be interpreted as a direct result of the recession. However, seeing what has happened shows how much change occurred during a tumultuous economic time.


During the next few weeks we plan to highlight other downtowns in the same way. If you'd like to suggest your area for an upcoming gallery, email henry.powderly@newsday.com


Marluca Insurance

The building at 127 East Main St. was empty at the start of the recession, but by 2013 Marluca Insurance had moved in. East Coast Physical Therapy briefly had an office in the western wing of the building.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Javier's Cafe

These days, Javier's Cafe is packing the house each weekend as diners flock to this breakfast restaurant run by a former chef at the popular Maureen's Kitchen. In 2008, the building was briefly empty before Portuguese barbecue restaurant Luso moved in. By 2013, Luso had moved westward to the former Sizzler/Sertino's building.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Luso

When the Google photo car passed by in 2008, the last Sizzler steak house on Long Island was still operating in this one-story building on the edge of the downtown. When Sizzler closed in 2010, Sertino's Cafe operated a sandwich, coffee, and ice cream shop there until closing in October 2012. By 2013, Luso had moved it, opting for the bigger space.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Nassau Suffolk Lumber and Supply Corp.

Perhaps downtown Smithtown's biggest eyesore, this former building supply business has seen little change on the surface during the past seven years. While several of the structures behind the main building were partially torn down in 2009, the site has mostly decayed over the years. However, a plan to convert the site into about 60 apartments was approved in November 2013.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Chop Shop Bar and Grill

In 2009, the Chop Shop moved into the spot formerly occupied by the Horse & Jockey Bar & Grill.

Photo credit: Google

1974 2014

Central Insurance Agency

The name above the door isn't all that's changed at 93 East Main St. In 2012, Central Insurance Agency replaced Rogers Tuxedos, and the facade was redone in brick. Since 2008, Main Street meats moved from the space next door to a strip mall across the street. Cupcake Couture briefly took over that space but closed in October 2013.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Divine Consign Fashions

Formerly occupied by window treatment store, The Sophisticated Window, the space at 37 West Main St. is now a consignment shop. On the other hand, the photography and medical supply businesses on either side are still there.

Photo credit: Google.

before after

Campaign headquarters

The longtime home of an Oxford Learning operation that close in 2011 sat vacant until it became campaign headquarters for Smithtown Town Councilman Robert Creighton in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Smithtown Supervisor Pat Vecchio in 2013.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Crazy Crepe Cafe

Once occupied by Genghis Khan, the only Korean barbecue place on East Main Street, 71 East Main St. now dishes out a different delicacy. Crazy Crepe Cafe took over the space in April 2013, selling a mix of savory and dessert crepes.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Cyrus Place

For a while it looked like a proper fish and chips spot was coming to Smithtown, but the business, which took over the former Nick and Pedro's space, never opened. Meanwhile, Photo Shop vacated the space next door in 2012 and was replaced by Aroma Smoke Shop.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Little Dreamers

Little Dreamers, an arts and crafts store for kids, moved to 85 West Main St. after the Piano Studio relocated to a different storefront on East Main Street.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Horizons Center

Long occupied by a golf shop, the Town of Smithtown in 2012 took over the space to set up its Horizons Counseling and Education Center, which helps those seeking recovery for drug and alcohol addictions.

Photo credit: Google

before after

10 Step's Nails

Nothing too dramatic, but since 2008 The Piano Studio replaced the former R&G Brenner law offices.

Photo credit: Google

before after

59 East Main St.

This space, a former location of a Rockaway Bedding store, was empty before the recession hit. Since then, all that seems to have changed is the placement of the "for rent" sign.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Army Career Center

Often the target of animal activists, the Pick of the Litter pet store closed in 2012 after a fire that killed five puppies damaged the building and the apartments upstairs. The Army recruiting office eventually took over the space and rehabbed it.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Carpetland

This longtime fixture on West Main Street vacated in 2013. Carpetland had been in business since 1955.

Photo credit: Google

before after

State Farm Insurance

Since 2008, this State Farm Insurance office has moved to the other side of the building, replacing a REMAX office. Gold & Silver Buyers has moved into State Farm's former space.

Photo credit: Google

before after

U.S. Marines Career Center

Since 2008, the Marines recruiting center has taken on more space, while the former Town and Country Real Estate home was replaced by a psychic.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Nino's Delicatessen

The loss of Sub Side stung for many Smithtown locals who loved this longtime deli on West Main Street. However, newcomer Nino's Delicatessen rehabbed the building in 2012 and now runs a well-stocked Italian deli in its place.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Phountain

Add downtown Smithtown to the places on Long Island where alkaline water is sold. Phountain, with shops in Port Jefferson, West Islip and Massapequa, took over the space in 2013 after Cactus Salon & Spa moved to a larger storefront.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Ultimate Tae Kwon Do

The Verizon Zoom store and its neighbor, The Palace, a party store, have moved out since 2008, and the Ultimate Tae Kwon Do Center has moved in.

Photo credit: Google

1974 2014

Liberty Tattoo Company

Here's another block of West Main where more than a few things have changed. The former Stained Glass studio closed and sat empty for a few years before Liberty Tattoo Company moved in and changed the storefront. Meanwhile, popular pub, Napper Tandy's, took over more space after Ultimate Tae Kwon Do moved to a new home down the road.

Photo credit: Google

before after

Thai House

When the Google car drove by Thai House in 2008 its grand opening banners were hanging. Since then, all that's changed is the sign and the awning.

Photo credit: Google

before after
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