Walt Whitman Shops celebrated its renovation and expansion Thursday with the unveiling of a statue of the poet and and a host of school, town, county and state representatives on hand for the ribbon cutting.
Town Board member Susan Berland praised the Huntington Station mall's new look and the benefits "residents get from the mall, including employment opportunities and taxes."
Noting the arrival of such upscale stores as Brooks Brothers, she joked, "Take that, Nassau County!"
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said he and his wife occasionally shopped at the mall and called it "an economic engine" for the area.
Sculptor John Giannotti, who created the Whitman statue, was on hand as the statue was unveiled and noted that it is positioned to point in the direction of the nearby Walt Whitman Birthplace.
The Walt Whitman High School Chorale performed under the direction of Steven Altinel before the ribboncutting.
The expansion of the regional mall, which began in 2012, added 70,000 square foot of space, more than 30 new retailers and change in the mix of merchandise. In the process, the center shed its old name, Walt Whitman Mall, for its new one. The most striking change in appearance is visible on the western side of the mall, facing out onto Route 110, where a long gray wall of concrete has been replaced by numerous restaurants and shops. That also means some retailers open out onto the lot rather than the center of the mall.
The mall has scheduled sales, music, and shows through the next few days, including cooking demonstrations at LeCreuset, informal modeling and wardrobe seminars, beauty advice, music by the Como Brothers at Macy's, and prizes awarded every hour by numerous retailers.