A Long Island Thanksgiving, take a seat and dig in!
From paper turkeys to hiding coins in the mashed potatoes, you never know what’s going to happen at a Long Island Thanksgiving. Last year, Newsday asked nine families to share with us their traditions and dinner table for a YouTube 360-degree video experience. You can look around the room by dragging your mouse on your computer or tilting your mobile device right, left, up or down. And, make sure to scroll down to learn more about each family.
Note: On mobile devices, the 360-degree video experience can be viewed only in the YouTube app.
Tineo and Batista families, Copiague
The Tineo and Batista families, of Copiague, celebrate Thanksgiving with extended family and friends, bringing together about 60 people. Eddie Tineo said each person in the family is responsible for a different dish. For dinner, the family dines on a mix of traditional Thanksgiving food as well as Dominican dishes like rice and beans and a roasted pig. “My favorite thing is grouping up with everyone and being around people who love you unconditionally,” Eddie Tineo says.
Smalley family, Smithtown
The Smalley family, of Smithtown, celebrates Thanksgiving with a vegan meal and places framed pictures of turkeys on their dinner table. Before the Thanksgiving celebration, the family met and sponsored each of those turkeys at an animal sanctuary in upstate New York. “It’s more of a compassionate Thanksgiving, without any harm,” said Nancy Smalley. “[The turkeys] are unique individuals, just like any other pet.” For dinner, the family has a vegan roast made of seasoned soy protein and organic flour, with mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cauliflower, carrots, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, string bean casserole, broccoli and pumpkin pie.
Sims and Carter families, Mastic
The Sims and Carter families, of Mastic, celebrate Thanksgiving with fresh, fried turkey, stuffing and corn pudding. Wilhelmina Sims, 64, said she been getting her turkey from Zorn’s of Bethpage for the past 35 years – a family tradition that goes back to the times she helped her mother prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Sims and her family, who identify as African-American and Cherokee, include her husband and son. And they include the family dog, Max. Before dinner, the family prays in a circle for lost loved ones, while also giving thanks to the turkey for providing them with sustenance.
Reed family, Hampton Bays
When seated at the table, but before starting the meal, each member of the Reed family, of Hampton Bays, in turn say what he or she is most thankful for. Lins Reed and her family are from Laos, while her husband, Bill Reed, is a Sayville native. The family also decorates the home with pictures of leaves that Lins’ sister drew, with each writing what he or she is thankful for on a leaf. For dinner, the Reeds serve a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables, with a special mango cake from a bakery in Brooklyn for dessert.
Khan family, Albertson
The Khan family, which has roots in Kashmir, gets together every Thanksgiving with extended family from Manhattan and New Jersey, including brothers and sisters, in-laws, nieces, nephews and grandchildren. The Muslim family celebrates the holiday by having the eldest member lead an apple cider toast recounting blessings and things they are all thankful for as part of living in America. The family dines on a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings.
Hunter and Cuyjet families, Shinnecock
The Hunter and Cuyjet families, of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, celebrate Thanksgiving by bringing multiple generations of the family together, including their 99-year-old grandfather, who is the eldest in the group. Each year, the families take a group photo, and the table is set with an 18-pound turkey as the centerpiece. The group has an open-door policy for the rest of the tribe, and members often stop by to pay tribute to the eldest family member. Sienna Hunter-Cuyjet said the family always leaves an open place at the table for anyone who happens to stop by. “I really think it is the best time of year because the whole family gets together,” she said.
Wagner family, Sayville
The Wagner family, of Sayville, brings multiple generations together to celebrate Thanksgiving — from the 90-year-old grandmother to a 4-year-old grandson. Florence Wagner said this is the first year they are celebrating Thanksgiving without her mother, Mary Wagner, so the family placed a photo of her near the head of the table in remembrance. The Wagner family dined on a 20-pound stuffed turkey with a bacon lattice and a slow-cooked fresh ham, with sides of mashed turnips, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans, cranberry sauce, cauliflower, carrots and broccoli.
Singh family, Plainview
The Singh family, of Plainview, celebrates Thanksgiving by mixing its Indian and American cultures. Early in the day, the family worships at a nearby Sikh temple, where they share in community prayer, and a vegetarian meal with the congregation. Later, the family enjoys a mix of traditional Indian and American dishes consisting of yogurt, potato paddies, beans, rice, spicy eggplant, pasta, and rasgulla for dessert.
Petrone family, Massapequa
The Petrone family, of Massapequa, celebrates Thanksgiving with a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and green beans. Before cooking dinner for her family, Bonnie Petrone runs in the annual Massapequa 5k Turkey Trot. The Petrones have a unique tradition of hiding coins wrapped in aluminum foil in their mashed potatoes, with the child who finds the lone penny winning a prize. The tradition was handed down from Bonnie Petrone’s father-in-law, James Petrone, who passed away earlier this year.
Producer: Saba Ali
Video: Arnold Miller, Jeff Basinger and Chuck Fadely
Writer: Mike Cusanelli
Published: Nov. 25, 2016