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The best new seats in Greenport, donated by PORT and the Menhaden. (Courtesy photo)

Public space has become a lifeline for businesses emerging from the COVID-19 shutdown. Usually-busy streets have been transformed into open-air dining rooms, parking spots into ‘parklets’ and public parks a haven for those looking to venture out safely.

Now, a team of restaurant owners have made a simple gesture to enliven one of Greenport’s most underrated spots.

Earlier this month the owners of The Menhaden Hotel and PORT Waterfront Bar & Grill kicked off the Fourth of July holiday weekend with a donation of a dozen Adirondack chairs for Glass Beach.

Located in the heart of Greenport, Glass Beach, located behind each of the businesses, offers views of Mitchell Park Marina, North Ferry and Peconic Bay. The owners hope the donation will help encourage public use of the village-owned beach in the age of social distancing.

The donation coincides with recent efforts to expand outdoor public space throughout the village. Since Phase Two of reopening, which permits outdoor dining, began last month, several ‘parklets’ have been installed along Front and Main streets, giving restaurants and retailers additional room to expand onto the street.

Village officials have also placed picnic tables in Mitchell Park and closed a portion of Front Street to increase public space.

“The objective is to continue to build upon the successful concepts being implemented in order to secure a safe and prosperous summer and fall season,” said Kristen Pennessi, co-owner of The Menhaden hotel.

Ali Bevilacqua, who co-owns PORT Waterfront, said the village has supported residents, businesses and visitors amid the pandemic.

“This was an opportunity to provide something in return and to enhance the public use of this underutilized asset,” she said.