The story might seem a little fishy at first glance, but what better way to commemorate “National Lobster Month” then to pardon the life of an historic 130 year-old crustacean destined for some seafood lover’s plate. “Our township’s seafaring nautical heritage has inspired me to spare the life of “Larry the Lobster” and return him to the beautiful, peaceful waters from which he came,” commented Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino.
The Supervisor hosted the waterside ceremony at Peter’s Clam Bar in Island Park, accompanied by Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad, Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin and the restaurant’s owner Butch Yamali.
“Larry,” a magnificent 20 pound lobster presently resides in the fish tank at famed Peter’s Clam Bar in Island Park. Santino freed Larry from captivity by placing him in the trusted hands of Department of Conservation and Waterways officials who escorted him by boat to the waters of the Atlantic Beach Reef for a ceremonial release.
“As most of the nation celebrates the culinary delights of lobster dishes, Hempstead Town decided to hold a more dignified and deserving tribute by preserving the life of our good friend ‘Larry’ who might have otherwise become a prominent ingredient in a chef’s favorite recipe,” stated Supervisor Santino. “Hopefully, Larry will enjoy a leisurely life as our local King of the Sea.”
Peter’s Clam Bar, where Larry was accorded celebrity treatment in the restaurant’s fish tank, offers many delectable seafood dishes. Restaurant owner Butch Yamali chose to spare Larry the dreaded fate of a boiling pot, and called on Supervisor Santino to partner in a ceremonial pardon.
“I have grown up on the water and I am proud to own restaurants that celebrate our nautical heritage and serve the finest seafood, but today, I am happy to join Supervisor Santino as he pardons Larry the Lobster,” said Yamali.
Lobster harvesting is a major contributor to the nation’s $1.8 billion commercial fishing industry. The mightiest lobsters can grow to be four-feet in length, and weigh upwards of 40 pounds. A lobster’s age is determined by counting growth rings hidden away in areas of the body including the stomach.
Three out of every four Americans say they enjoy a lobster dish at least once a month. Restaurant surveys on Long Island indicate lobster is one of the most popular items on the menu, particularly each spring and summer. Peter’s Clam Bar purchases lobster and other seafood from local fishermen who sail Long Island waters in search of the freshest catch.
“When you live near the water and fishing is a prominent local industry, you come to respect our creatures of the sea,” said Councilman Anthony D’Esposito. “By saving Larry the Lobster’s life we are preserving a part of our nautical heritage while celebrating the beauty and bounty of town waterways,” concluded Santino.