Finding Fireworks And Fun On Friday The Fourth
Launching fireworks on the Fourth of July is as an American tradition, beginning with a letter from former President John Adams July 3, 1776 envisioning fireworks as part of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence the following day.
Since then, the United States has celebrated its secession from British rule with louder, more colorful and more complex fireworks displays. The tri-state area is home to some of the best shows in the country, and the water surrounding Long Island adds to the ambiance. Check out the fireworks in or near some of these Long Island downtowns.
New York Lizards vs. Florida Launch - Hero Night
James M. Shuart Stadium, Hofstra University, 900 Fulton Avenue
Thursday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Hero's Night where we will celebrate and honor the men and women who protect and serve our country and community! Teams from NYPD and FDNY that will face off against one another on the lacrosse field before the Lizards and Launch do battle. Fireworks are scheduled once the clock ticks zero.
Great South Bay 1000’ East of the Snapper Inn
Thursday, July 3
Celebrate Go 4th On The Bay with Grucci fireworks between Great River and Oakdale.
Firemen's Memorial Field on E. Fenimore St and Albermarle Ave
Friday, July 4 at 6 p.m.
The park opens at 6 p.m. for ticket holders only - be sure to get yours in advance! Tickets are available for $7 in advance or $10 at the gate. The ground show begins at 8 p.m. and the Fireworks Aerial Display will begin at 9:15 p.m. There is a rain date of July 5. Call 516-872-6003 for tickets and information.
Morgan Memorial Park at Germaine Street and Landing Road
Friday, July 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Come on down to Morgan Park to view fireworks and more! The evening begins with a concert by the Northwinds Symphonic Band at 7:30 p.m. and will continue until Grucci ignites their fireworks at 9 p.m. Limited parking is available within the park, although more is located at Landing Elementary School on McLoughlin Street. There is a rain date of July 7.
Guy Lombardo Marina along the Nautical Mile
Saturday, July 5 at 9:15 p.m.
Join the Freeport Chamber of Commerce at Guy Lombardo Marina for an evening fireworks display.
Long Beach Boulevard
Friday, July 11 at 8 p.m.
The City of Long Beach will present a firework display on Friday, July 11, with a rain date of July 12. The event begins with a beach concert featuring the StoryTellers at 8 p.m. before fireworks are launched from a barge in the ocean at 9 p.m. While the fireworks will be visible throughout the city, they are best viewed from the beach. Free shuttle buses will run from both the East and West Ends to Riverside Boulevard and back between 7-11 p.m.
Centennial Park along South Park Avenue
Saturday, July 12 at 6 p.m.
A tradition for 21 years, come out Mill River Centennial Park to watch fireworks! Entertainment and food will begin at 6 p.m., with the South Shore Symphony performing at 7:45 p.m. The Grucci fireworks show is set to begin at 9:15 p.m., with music continuing after the show until 10:15 p.m.
Pedestrians In Danger On Montauk Highway In Lindenhurst
First, it was a teenager’s death on Hempstead Turnpike. Now, it’s a near fatality involving a young boy on Lindenhurst.
Village of Lindenhurst officials, residents and transportation advocates renewed a request to the Department of Transportation (DOT) last Friday for improvements to a strip of Montauk Highway.
Much like the 13-year-old killed trying to cross Hempstead Turnpike on June 15, a 10-year-old boy was struck by a car on June 14. John Johnson, of Lindenhurst, was with his family going across Montauk Highway when they were caught in the middle of the road without the refuge of a median. The nearest vehicle began to slow, but Johnson sprinted into the next lane and a car launched the boy 15 feet in the air.
The child is expected to survive, but locals say the stretch of road between South Strong Avenue and Park Avenue is just too dangerous to continue ignoring. Brittney Walsh, 18, was killed two years ago when her car was rear-ended by an alleged drunk driver.
Village officials have pestered the state for traffic-calming measures for a decade, including Mayor Thomas Brennan writing to the DOT in March for a traffic study and requesting one lane be eliminated in each direction. The state responded with a statement that they began a study using “traffic data analysis and sound engineering principles.” They also said traffic engineers are conducting on-site observations, delay studies, crash analysis and a speed study.
However, Village officials said they are unaware of any studies and have not met with any DOT staff.
“We’ve had nobody come down and sit with us and go over our concerns,” said Village Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Cullinane. “If they’re just doing counts and statistics, that’s not enough.”
Not only does the crosswalk lack a median, but there are no traffic lights. A sign warning motorists about pedestrians is just 150 feet away from the intersection where Johnson was hit, following a curve in the highway.
“We almost lost a young boy trying to cross this road, which is very difficult. How many people have to die before something is done?” Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffery (R-Lindenhurst) said.
Both officials have pleaded for the DOT to remove a lane, while advocates recommend making some modifications to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow.
“Narrower lanes, well-designed medians, a number of things which makes the road seem narrower, which makes drivers more diligent and cautious,” Vision Long Island Sustainability Director Elissa Kyle said.
For more coverage of this story, check out WLNY TV-10/55 and Newsday (subscription required).
Baldwin Plants Seeds For Unity With Neighborhood Garden
Tomatoes and squash are going to unite Baldwin.
Community members celebrated the grand opening of the Baldwin Community Garden two weeks ago. Located on Grand Avenue, just behind the Baldwin Historical Museum, the 9,375 square foot plot is a symbol of a united population.
“It will show Baldwin that when we get together, we can really make stuff happen,” Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran said.
Once the site of Mumby’s Pond, the water disappeared underground via culvert when developers built nearby. What had been a pond neighbors ice skated on became a large piece of land incapable of supporting a building.
“In recent months, we’ve been trying to get the historical museum more involved in the community. We’ve been able to get the museum back on their feet and partnered with them on the garden,” Baldwin Civic Association President David Viana said.
Rita Cavanagh took over as the civic’s Beautification chairperson in November, and immediately went to work addressing the lack of green spaces north of Sunrise Highway. She settled on creating a place residents could come with their children, a book or a coffee and enjoy nature. After five months of pestering Nassau County, Cavanagh convinced county officials to sign a five-year lease with the civic association – the first ever.
Baldwin Civic Association volunteers tend to the garden, although residents are invited to visit and pick produce at their leisure. A bed of tomatoes are already in the ground and a second bed with herbs, squash and hot peppers have also been planted. Cavanagh said vegetables, berries and herbs should be regularly available. And depending on concrete from the culvert and Nassau County, the garden could one day house fruit trees.
“You go if you need some stuff. You’re more than free to take it,” Viana said, adding he hopes more volunteer to work in the garden.
A circle of sunflowers have also been planted in the garden, creating a future hiding spot for children playing or seeking refuge from life. The back piece of the circle is a 12-foot wide sun, donated by the Baldwin School District from a high school musical production.
“We’re getting so many compliments,” Cavanagh said.
Vision LI Introduces New Board Members, Leadership
Long Island's Smart Growth organization Vision Long Island is pleased to unveil five new members to its Board of Directors and new co-chairs providing leadership.
The Board of Directors provides guidance and oversight for an organization tasked with supporting Smart Growth, downtown revitalization and infrastructure investment in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
In 2014, Vision welcomes Denise Carter, of Greenman-Pedersen; Kamlesh Mehta, of South Asian Times; Don Monti, of Renaissance Downtowns; Howard Stein, of Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman; and Andrew Zucaro, of Zucaro Construction. This addition increases the board membership to 42.
“It is my honor to have the opportunity to serve on the board of Vision Long Island. VLI continues to be an organization leading the transformational development of Long Island into the 21st century. VLI successfully engages residents, businesses, municipal governments and other stakeholders in the important conversation of making Long Island the best place to live, work and play. I look forward to participating in the furtherance of this important mission,” Carter said.
“It’s a humble pride to serve the board of Vision Long Island along with many great minds and leaders. It’s an excellent opportunity for me to share my knowledge benefiting the common man and businesses on Long Island,” Mehta said.
“As an island of interconnected communities, we must work together to advance the cause of responsible economic development through local placemaking efforts to help our region reach its tremendous potential, and I am proud to join the board of Vision, who is truly at the forefront of this movement,” Monti said.
“I’m really excited about it. I’ve always admired the work Vision Long Island has done. I look forward to being involved in their advocacy for Smart Growth,” Stein said.
“Long Island is changing rapidly and I want to know in my heart that, with my efforts, it will change for the better or stay the great place that it is,” Zucaro said.
By adding these five to the Board, Vision gains decades more experience in the realms of business, religion, community and transit-planning. It enhances the organization’s diversity and expands its reach.
In addition, Vision Long Island is happy to announce existing board members Robert Fonti and Trudy Fitzsimmons will now serve as co-chairs of the Board of Directors to add voices from the community and business leadership.
"It’s great to work with a very dedicated Board of Directors and staff at Vision Long Island. Our combined energy and resources continue to make Long Island a destination for smart growth and positive change. It’s an honor to serve with such a great co-chair as Trudy Fitzsimmons,” Fonti said.
"Developing, connecting and engaging... I believe that is a key. It's what I have made my personal mission to do, so my transition from vice president to co-chair will be seamless,” Fitzsimmons said.
“Vision Long Island welcomes new members to our growing Board of Directors. These additions will provide guidance and strengthen our ability to serve local communities and grow our downtowns,” Director Eric Alexander said. “We are thankful to have the leadership of our new co-chairs Bob Fonti and Trudy Fitzsimmons that will provide the community and business balance that is sorely needed in decision-making across Long Island.”
Check out the full member list for Vision Long Island's Board of Directors here.
No Delay In Exodus Of Long Island’s Youth
Another news story has called attention to the brain drain plaguing Long Island.
WABC 7 sat down with a group of students at Dowling College with different futures, seemingly all beyond Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
"It's just like a fight to live. We're fighting to stay where we want to stay but it's more comfortable to go somewhere else," Keith Lamoreaux said.
They referenced North Carolina, western New Jersey, Arizona and Maryland as potential new hometowns. These regions all feature lower property taxes and more affordable homes.
Addie Browning reflected on how the economics are forcing her to leave childhood memories and family behind.
“It’s obviously not my top choice, but it’s something I might have to do,” Browning said.
Students and young professionals are having trouble finding jobs, while local employers are struggling to attract young talent. A North Shore-LIJ administrator – one of the largest employers on Long Island – said they have 2,000 openings for well-paying jobs but find qualified applicants turn them down because of housing prices.
Transit-oriented development is showing some promise, however. Wyandanch Rising is under construction just steps from the LIRR station and will include hundreds of apartments with shopping and dining in the same buildings. Similar projects are underway or under consideration in Bay Shore, Farmingdale, Ronkonkoma and Valley Stream.
Nathalia Rogers, a professor at Dowling College and Vision Long Island board member, said government needs to realize how critical young professionals are to the local economy.
"They have choices and we want to make Long Island their choice," Rogers said.
For the full story, check out WABC 7.
Study: Walking Around America’s 30 Largest Metro Areas
The New York metro area is not the most walkable urban area in the country, according to a George Washington University study.
Published by Smart Growth America two weeks ago, “Foot Traffic Ahead” examines walkable urban development across the country. The study compares walkability in 30 of America’s largest cities, home to 46 percent of the national population.
The study considers Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs). These fall under seven different categories: traditional city downtowns, adjacent to downtowns, revitalized urban commercial, urban universities, suburban town center, redeveloped drivable suburban and developed from scratch.
Comparing cities by the number of offices and retail located in WalkUPs, New York finishes second with 38 percent. Washington, D.C. is ranked the most walkable urban area with 43 percent of office and retail in WalkUPs. Boston finishes third with 36 percent.
In terms of raw numbers, New York has the most WalkUPs and largest population, both more than no. 2 Los Angeles.
“Though New York has a well-deserved reputation for walkability, that reputation is based mainly on New York City proper, and especially Manhattan—an island that makes up only 8 percent of the metro region’s 22 million people and 0 .3 percent of the land area. More than 89 percent of walkable urban office and retail in the metro area is located within New York City’s limits, most in Manhattan. This means that much of the metro area outside the city limits does not have any WalkUPs,” according to the study’s authors.
New York also finished third in the study’s future rankings. The Composite Directional Index incorporates office space absorption, the ratio of WalkUPs in metro vs. suburbs and office rent premiums to create a scale of 0-1. Boston finishes strongest with a 0.82 index, followed by Washington, D.C. at 0.49 and New York at 0.47. All three are among the nine urban areas with a high potential for walkable urbanism and currently gaining market share over drivable suburban locations.
“Foot Traffic Ahead” also examines correlation between education, salary and office and retail located within WalkUPs. As a general rule, walkability is tied to larger salaries and more residents with bachelor’s degrees. For example, of the 558 WalkUPs in the 30 metro areas in the country, 58 percent are in the central city and 42 percent are in the suburbs. However, 82 percent of office and retail square footage is in WalkUPs, with just 18 percent in the suburbs
For the full study, visit Smart Growth America online.
Ethical Humanist Society Honors Alexander, Vision LI Staff
Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander was among the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island’s honorees June 22.
Alexander, Vision Program Assistant Derek Smith and former Vision Policy Director Tara Klein were celebrated during the Society’s 2014 Founder’s Day festivities.
“I stepped foot in the building by accident 28 years ago but the memories of Sunday meetings, trips to DC, rallies, youth conferences, benefit concerts, pasta dinners, volunteering, fundraising, alumni nights, youth jams, mentoring and the deep relationships built are incredibly special and have had a radical impact on myself and many others,” Alexander said.
Alexander, Klein and Smith serve as advisors for the Youth of Ethical Societies (YES) program. A group of high school students focus on a few major issues of importance to the teens. Members discuss and plan during meetings, leading to toy drives, clean ups and other community action. Adult advisors moderate the meetings, but teens are given the reins.
The Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island is an organization that supports humanist beliefs, values and activism. They hold programs and events, including YES. The month of May marks the beginning of the ethical culture movement in May 1876 when Felix Adler founded the New York Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan. Founder’s Day is their time to celebrate the people who bring their special talents and dedication to the society.
“If folks don't know the hub of activity at Ethical through the years includes the LI Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, LIPC, the Nassau Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, LI Coalition for the Homeless, Friends Of Homeless Children, support for gay/lesbian organizations and many others,” Alexander said. “It's truly a place that helps people transform self-interest into the public interest. I will be forever grateful for this rich tapestry of talented and authentic people in my life.”
Public Invited To Federal Transportation Meeting July 17
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) have announced a public meeting about the New York metropolitan transportation planning process on July 17. The meeting, federally-mandated to evaluate transportation planning, is slated for 6:30-8 p.m. at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) office on 199 Water Street, 22nd Floor in Manhattan.
For security concerns, participants must RSVP with Rosenberger by email or calling 212-668-6091.
Federal law requires urban areas with at least 50,000 residents to have a designated metropolitan planning organization (MPO) to carry out continuous and comprehensive transportation planning. NYMTC is the MPO for New York City, Long Island and southern portions of upstate.
For all transportation providers to continue receiving federal aid, FHWA and FTA must certify NYMTC’s compliance with regulations at least once every four years. NYMTC was previously certified compliant in June 2011.
This public meeting includes evaluating the planning process and documenting the process on a periodic basis. Taxpayers can talk directly with staff from FHWA and FTA about the transportation planning process in the NYMTC area.
Written comments should be received no later than Oct. 31 to be considered for the review. Your comments can be emailed to Karen Rosenberger.
Anti-Gang Group Announces 14th Anniversary Gala
Anti-gang nonprofit S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth Inc. has announced details for their 14th anniversary gala.
Entitled “Oh The Places You’ll Go,” the event is scheduled for Sept. 18 at the Coral House in Baldwin.
S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth Inc. was founded in 2000 in response to the brutal murder of Uniondale resident Eric Rivera by alleged gang members. Former gang member Sergio Argueta and co-Founder Michael Hernandez launched community service projects and pushed for alternatives rather than just harsher penalties.
These days, the Uniondale-based organization is one of the largest gang-prevention and intervention agencies in the Northeast. They’ve reached more than 78,000 people through workshops and presentations, and fostered strong relationships with Long Island community members.
For reservations, sponsorships or more information, contact Rashmia Zatar at 516-483-1350 or by email.
Oct. 31 Date Set For LI Homeless Coalition Conference
The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless has announced a date for their next major event.
The 26th annual Keys for the Homeless Conference is slated to occur Oct. 31 at Touro Law School in Central Islip.
This year’s conference will focus on housing first, rapid rehousing and addressing the needs of Long Island’s most vulnerable populations.
Specific workshops have not yet been announced as proposals were accepted through today. The nonprofit, however, is still accepting nominations for the Unsung Hero Award and Helen Martin scholarship – awarded to those who have experienced homelessness and require financial assistance to pursue higher education.
Tickets at the door will go for $75, although early registration is priced at $70. Discounted sponsorship rates are also available by Aug. 1
Visit them online to register or for more information.