A highlight for Brightwaters, the small village located within the hamlet of Bay Shore, comes every August at Wohseepee Park during the annual Ice Cream Social.
The Symphonic Band of Bay Shore-Brightwaters plays a patriotic tune and Joseph McNulty, village mayor for the past 16 years, wears a straw hat and waxes poetic about the “Crown Jewel of the Great South Bay.”
“The mayor has coined that phrase for Brightwaters,” said Donna Periconi, president of the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Chamber of Commerce. “Under his watch, it has retained this illustrious title.”
In honor of his dedication to the Brightwaters and Bay Shore community, McNulty, the longest running mayor in the village’s history, will be honored at this year’s Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner, hosted by the chamber on May 24.
Periconi called Brightwaters a village with an “old-fashioned feel,” and said McNulty does his part to keep it that way. McNulty said he’s been lucky to be at the head of such a picturesque community and that one of his proudest accomplishments is planting more than 1,500 new trees in the past 10 years.
“I’m more of a caretaker,” said McNulty, 77. “I received a beautiful village, and I try to keep it that way.”
But there have been more difficult elements to his tenure that he has handled with aplomb, Periconi said. He has reduced the village’s debt from about $1.75 million when he came into office to nothing, he said, and has not raised taxes in 12 years.
“It was a struggle,” he said. “But the people of our community understood and they wanted us to do what we had to do.”
Periconi added that McNulty, who owns Hendrickson Fuels in Bay Shore, and is a father of six, grandfather of 15 and great grandfather of one, is a warm person with a “strong moral compass.” He is also a regular fixture at the 9:30 a.m. mass at St. Patrick Church, where he is an usher.
“Everyone in the community knows him,” Periconi said. “And everyone is proud to know him.”
Pictured: Brightwaters Mayor Joseph A. McNulty