Long Islanders who had bridal showers, birthday parties and other celebrations planned at Manor East Caterers in Massapequa were attempting to make the best of a bad situation Friday, a day after the catering hall unexpectedly closed its doors due to eviction.
About 50 Manor East customers showed up at the offices of Assemb. Joseph Saladino (R-Massapequa) Friday afternoon, where the Long Island Caterers Association, LI Hospitality Group and Saladino's office offered to help move planned events to other catering halls and possibly transfer deposits.
A hotline for customers took 30 calls -- a figure that will likely grow, said Brian Rosenberg, LI Hospitality Group president.
Rich Bivona, a spokesman for Manor East, told customers at the gathering he would be staying in Massapequa to help. He declined to comment on what caused Manor East's closure.
Court records show that 201 Jerusalem Ave. Massapequa LLC, which owns the Manor East estate, filed for bankruptcy four times since 2008. The latest case, in 2012, was dismissed.
Movers were seen emptying the Manor East building of furniture Thursday afternoon, according to local news reports.
In Saladino's office, Manor East clients were prioritized by event date. The first order of business was to try to secure a new location. Negotiations over transferring deposits would come later, Rosenberg said.
Terry Ann Mammarella of West Babylon was in tears as she attempted to figure out how she could save her daughter Samantha's Sweet 16 party -- initially slated for Saturday.
Although Mammarella was able to secure Chateau La Mer in Lindenhurst for the party, she wasn't sure how she could afford it. She had already paid $4,000 to Manor East earlier in the week, and although the catering hall had told Mammarella Friday it would try to transfer her payment to Chateau La Mer, she anticipated the new venue would cost more.
"The worst part is they broke my daughter's heart," she said. "She kept asking me, 'Why would they do that mommy?' She was so excited, and now she's just been crying."