Around the Island

George Hubbard, on and off-Island

To those residents of the Village of Greenport he’s Mr. Mayor.

To Island residents he operates an auto repair shop that’s the only New York State Inspection Station here.

He’s George Hubbard, a young senior citizen who runs his shop with an old fashioned small-town Mayberry approach. He knows everyone’s name and people are very comfortable leaving their car at the place even if he’s not there. They can just leave a note outlining what they want done.

“And I like being on a first name basis with everyone,” George said.

And it’s this friendly, trusting attitude that has been part of Island commerce for a very long time. I remember in the late 70’s right after moving here year-round, my wife called me at work in Sag Harbor to tell me that her car would not start. I told her to call B&D garage and tell them her problem. She told me that Bobby Clark came and installed a new battery and said he’d send a bill. Friendly and trusting Island traditions.

George’s roots are in Greenport, where he was raised and went to school. He has served as a village trustee, was deputy mayor for eight years, and is now in his second four-year term as mayor.

When I asked him if party affiliation played a big part in the election process in Greenport, George explained that candidates must get independent voting petitions to get on a ballot.

He learned his knowledge of automobiles working with his father who operated a Shell station in Greenport for many years. After his father sold the station, George came to the Island in 1979 to work for Glynn King in his dock building business called King Terra Marine. They built bulkheads, docks, floats and swimming pools.

While doing this, George worked part-time for Hap Bowditch at his auto repair shop on Midway Road.  George liked the car work and eventually worked for Hap full time, taking over as Hubbard’s Garage.

George said that Hap wanted to sell the property, but was unable to afford it at the time. So he made a decision to take over the empty Island Auto Tech building on Jaspa Road. In 2006 he bought it from owner Bill Southwick and remains there today.

He doesn’t have a wrecker or tow truck but directs those in need to contact Walter Richards who acquired his towing business from Tom Cronin, who got it from Hap. But George says he will respond to Islanders in distress who need a jump start or a new battery or have a flat tire. He’s open six days a week ready to help Islanders with their automotive needs.

The state inspections are both for safety and emissions. He generally asks customers seeking inspections for their vehicles to leave them in the morning. If all goes well the cars are ready by the afternoon.

George has four daughters and eight grandchildren — seven boys and one girl. Two of his daughters live on the Island, so he’s a regular at school events involving his grandchildren. His grandson David Neese was the salutatorian in 2019. He’s a student at SUNY Stony Brook now.

George mostly works alone, but when things get busy, his grandson will help him part time when not in college. His nephew, who is a member of the Fire Department of New York, will also help part time.