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July 13-19, 2014

MTA Negotiations

Community Updates

Ruskin Moscou Faltischek

Founded in 1968, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek has since emerged as the preeminent Long Island law firm. As specialized as they are diverse, they have built cornerstone groups in all of the major practice areas of law and service a diverse and sophisticated clientele. With more than 60 attorneys, superior knowledge of the law, polished business acumen and proven credentials, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek has earned a reputation for excellence and success.

The strength of Ruskin Moscou Faltischek’s resources greatly enhances what they can accomplish for their clients – to not only solve problems, but to create opportunities. They take pride in going beyond what is expected from most real estate attorney or general practice law firms.

It is commonplace for Ruskin Moscou Faltischek’s real estate attorneys and other team attorneys to be actively involved within the communities in which they work and live. This includes lecturing and participating in professional groups and associations, serving on leading corporate, school and government boards, and working in charitable and civic organizations. They truly value their clients and communities.

“Compromise, by definition, means that neither side gets everything that they wanted to get. But it means that we reached an agreement, and we can move forward." New York State Governor Cuomo



“A LIRR strike would cause headaches and financial hardships for riders and businesses. It would also be another devastating blow to a region that is still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy and the recession." New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli



“The MTA has not worked with locals. The MTA, I think, has dropped the ball.” New York State Senator Carl Marcellino



"We’ve been urging Governor Cuomo to get personally involved to try and help the MTA and workers bridge the gap. I thank him for listening and applaud his efforts to bring all sides together to reach an agreement.” New York State Senator Jack Martins

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Trains Won’t Stop Monday As LIRR Strike Is Averted

The 300,000 daily commuters who rely on the Long Island Rail Road can relax. The seemingly ominous strike has been averted and 5,400 workers will not be leaving their posts for the first time since 1994.

News broke Thursday afternoon the contingent of eight LIRR unions and Metropolitan Transit Authority officials reached a deal that will keep trains running on Monday morning.

"All riders feel relief at the announcement of this settlement," LIRR Commuter Council Chair Mark Epstein said via statement. "We are encouraged by Governor [Andrew] Cuomo's assurances on fares and the MTA's ability to fund its Capital Program and look forward to reviewing additional details on the settlement and the way in which it will be funded."

Several state representatives in the federal government also released a statement shortly after the deal was announced.

“Governor Cuomo deserves credit for finalizing an agreement that will avoid a strike, and we have worked with him and both parties over the past months to help facilitate this outcome. When negotiations collapsed, and both sides turned to Washington, we made it clear that the ultimate solution rested at the bargaining table. Since then, we have worked on a bipartisan basis with the governor and both parties to keep negotiations going, and today’s outcome is exactly what we envisioned,” Reps. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), Peter King (R-Seaford) and Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) said.

Cuomo had refused to participate in negotiations until Wednesday after talks collapsed, going so far as to call a potential strike “a real pain maybe, but not a disaster.” He spoke with union leadership through the night and called both sides to his office Thursday morning. The governor in June 2013 also appointed MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Pendergast, whose team floundered in talks earlier this week.

The potential crisis began four years ago. Unionized employees have been working without a contract and engaged in talks with MTA officials since 2010. As of 12:01 a.m. July 20, they would have been legally able to walk off the job.

The MTA had offered a seven-year deal with 17 percent raise over that stretch, first-time required health insurance contributions in the form of 4 percent of an employee’s salary and continued contributions into pensions beyond the 10 years already required. The union counted with a six-year deal with 17 percent raises and no concessions on benefits. Two Presidential Emergency Boards sanctioned by the White House previously recommended a six-year deal with 17 percent raises and 2 percent of an employee’s salary towards health care.

What was finally approved as a 6 1/2-year deal with the 17 percent increase and an unspecified mandatory contribution to health insurance expenses. New employees will also have different wage progressions and pension plan contributions.

Union members must vote on the deal by Aug. 15 and the MTA in September to make the deal official.

For more coverage, check out Long Island Business News and Newsday (subscriptions required).

Comptroller: LIRR Strike Would Cost $50 Million A Day

If Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) unions had gone on strike, it would have cost as much as $50 million each day.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released a statement earlier this week about the possible work stoppage.

“A LIRR strike would cause headaches and financial hardships for riders and businesses. It would also be another devastating blow to a region that is still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy and the recession,” DiNapoli said. “Both sides must go the extra mile to reach a reasonable settlement so we can avoid the costly impact of a strike and the millions of dollars in lost economic activity.”

Speaking at Huntington LIRR station with other elected officials Wednesday, State Senator Carl Marcellino (R-Oyster Bay) warned that $50 million would be lost for good each day. Restaurant patrons, he said, won’t buy twice as much food just to make up the difference.

With almost 300,000 people riding LIRR trains every day both to commute to New York City and for errands and activities across Long Island, the comptroller said a strike would hit restaurants, hotels and stores both on the island and in New York City. It would also affect beaches, golf courses, wineries and Broadway shows.

In Nassau County, 30 percent commute to New York City for work while 11 percent of Suffolk residents commute, according to think tank Regional Plan Association. In 2011, their combined $26 billion in wages represented a quarter of all income on Long Island.

Many are concerned those Long Island residents would spend those dollars on commuting during a strike than in area restaurants, stores or downtowns.

Eric Alexander said restaurants, dry cleaners and other businesses in more than 70 business districts surrounding LIRR stations rely heavily on commuter purchases. Alexander is the director of Vision Long Island, a nonprofit that provides support for downtowns and Smart Growth.

A LIRR spokesman said more than 250 vendors actually lease space from the LIRR and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. In the event of a strike, 15 vendors located inside Nassau and Suffolk LIRR ticket office buildings would not be able to do business.

There are also concerns about Long Island’s tourism season. Without LIRR trains running, out of town visitors will spend more time and money getting to beaches and hotels.

“This is the height of our tourism season and the roads are already bad. A lot of people who have hotel reservations will have a hard time getting out to them,” Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) said.

More than 13,000 visit Long Beach every weekday and holiday, business owners said, with restaurants seeing a 40 percent boost from tourists. Many passengers on the Sayville Ferry Service to Fire Island also use the LIRR to get into town.

For more coverage, check out Newsday (subscription required) and DiNapoli’s full report.

LI Communities Railroaded By Strike Contingency Plan

Had a deal not been reached before next week, the MTA was prepared to unveil a contingency plan deemed underwhelming and disappointing by many.

The MTA accounted for just 15,000 of their 300,000 customers, boasting it’s more than double the 7,000 riders accounted for during the 1994 strike.

According to the plan, privately-contracted buses would take passengers from select LIRR stations to subway stations in Queens. Buses at the Deer Park, Manhasset and Ronkonkoma LIRR stations would have gone to the Mets/Willets Point subway station; buses from the Seaford, Bellmore and Freeport LIRR stations would have departed for the Howard Beach subway station; and buses from the Hicksville LIRR station would have gone to the Woodhaven Boulevard subway station. The MTA also planned to open park and ride lots, including 4,000 spaces at Citi Field with a connection to the No. 7 subway and 3,000 spaces at the Aqueduct Race Track with a connection to the A subway.

That plan, however, did not sit well with many Long Islanders. Southampton and East Hampton Town Supervisors Anna Throne-Holst and Larry Cantwell publicly criticized contingency efforts Wednesday that would have left 12,000 summer weekend riders in the dust. Later, a Southampton town official confirmed they reached a deal with Hampton Jitney and the MTA to add additional buses and use LIRR parking lots.

Further west, elected officials rallied at the Huntington LIRR station Wednesday for the 26,000 daily riders that use the Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor LIRR station. Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer (D-Centerport), State Senator Carl Marcellino (R-Oyster Bay), Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone, Vision Long Island board co-Chair Bob Bontempi, Vision Long Island Assistant Director Tawaun Weber and Epstein called on the MTA to account for north shore riders.

“A potential strike will cause unneeded economic hardship to commuters and small business in over 70 downtowns serviced by the LIRR. The MTA should be working closely with municipalities and local businesses to create a contingency plan that truly serves Long Island communities,” Weber said at the time.

Spencer criticized the MTA for not using the Port Jefferson line in their contingency plan and contracting buses from private businesses within the Town of Huntington, leaving North Shore municipalities and residents with no options. Calling the Towns of Huntington and Smithtown “underrepresented,” he urged commuters to make their own plans.

The MTA was also trying to offer free ferry from Glen Cove to East 34th Street in Manhattan, although Marcellino said from the Huntington LIRR station that it was not feasible to run the ferry that often. Instead, he called on the agency to listen more to each community’s residents.

“These are the people who know the situation best,” the senator said.

"Like thousands of commuters, residents and small businesses, we are glad to see this conflict come to a resolution. Like many potential and real threats, this one exposed the failure of regional contingency planning for transportation alternatives. We are hopeful Long Island municipalities will be part of future planning," Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander said.

Surprise Flash Mob As Sandy Volunteers Help Raze House

Superstorm Sandy volunteers Friends of Long Island (FOLI) knew Ed Anderson as a veteran, member of FOLI affiliate Neighbors Supporting Neighbors Babylon (NSNB) and victim of the historic storm. But what they didn’t know is that Andersen was battling cancer at the same time.

NSNB, fellow FOLI partner Lindy Manpower, United Way of Long Island and others gathered on Sunday to demolish Andersen’s Babylon house, a critical step in the rebuilding process.

“Unfortunately the insurance money he received and the money from NY Rising is not going to be enough for him to demo and rebuild his house. Together, we are completely demoing Ed’s house straight to the ground,” NSNB Executive Director Kim Skillen said.

Neighbors said the volunteer’s home was destroyed 18 months ago and he couldn’t demolish it himself.

Meanwhile, Andersen was diagnosed with leukemia in 2003. Chemotherapy sent the cancer into remission, but it relapsed in 2011. Debilitating side effects of stronger drugs forced the Babylon resident to give up his job as an electrician.

But volunteers from Teachers Federal Credit Union, Town of Babylon, and FEGS Health and Human Services joined FOLI to raze the remains of his brick house and cook food on a grill for everyone on site. As a special surprise, Long Island Flash Mob Organization danced to “All Star” and unveiled a banner reading “Bring Ed Home.”

“Everything today is so humbling,” Andersen said.

Friends of Long Island is an umbrella organization for local grassroots groups to rebuild after Sandy; Vision Long Island supports the organization. Neighbors Supporting Neighbors Babylon collected and distributed clothes immediately after Sandy, help homeowners through the recovery process with information and provide food both immediately after the storm and to volunteers working on houses. President Theresa DiPietto-Roesler was recently seen on the Weather Channel when a reporter visited the Island Harvest Food Bank.

For more coverage of Sunday’s events, check out Newsday (subscription required).

Smithtown Signs Off For Demolition Of Blighted Lumberyard

What will eventually become a mixed-use development with housing and retail, the Downtown on Main project celebrated another milestone.

The Smithtown Town Board voted Tuesday to allow demolition of the Nassau Suffolk Lumber Supply and two vacant neighboring buildings.

As part of the approval, all concrete slabs must be removed and all open excavations filled with approved fill. And if the demolition encroaches on Route 25 – Main Street, owner North Fork Management & Maintenance must receive a highway work permit from the New York State Department of Transportation first.

Once a lumber yard, the 3-acre property sat untouched for several years since someone last tried developing the land in 2009. The town dropped taxes to benefit North Fork Management & Maintenance, but later issued a stop-work order after they demolished more buildings than they were permitted. The lot was ultimately the subject of a Suffolk County grand jury investigating if town officials pressured North Fork into illegally demolition to save on taxes. No charges were filed.

Meanwhile, graffiti covered the building, plywood replaced a broken window, pieces of the storefront began collapsing and plants grew inside.

Last fall, the Smithtown Town Board voted to remove zoning restrictions on the property once plans for Downtown on Main were filed. Town officials placed a restrictive covenant on the site during a 1987 zoning change, limiting 0.9 acres strictly for lumber use.

Once complete, the Downtown on Main project will house 56 apartments and up to 15,000 square feet of retail in four buildings on the lot. That would include three, three-story residential buildings with 12 apartments in each, plus an 11,149-square foot mixed-use building with another 20 units. In addition, 20 apartments have been set aside for workforce housing.

Contractor Zucaro Construction and developer DC5 Properties promised the building will feature a turn-of-the-century appearance. After consulting with experts, they planned on using a brick or stone exterior.

Zucaro and DC5 received a Smart Growth Award from Vision Long Island last month for the Downtown on Main project.

For more on this story, check out the Times of Smithtown.

Budget Cutting $10 Mil For Water Quality Makes Waves

A decision to cut nearly $10 million in federal funding for water quality could dry up some Long Island downtowns.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D) publicly began a crusade to restore $9.9 million for the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act grant funding. President Barack Obama cut every penny in his proposed 2015 budget released in March.

“Long Island’s beaches are great resources that attract swimmers, fishers and boaters, and we simply cannot let federal funding for monitoring contamination and water quality be slashed,” Schumer said.

Congress passed the BEACH Act in 2000 to better protect Americans using recreational waters. It required states adopt new or revised water quality standards, while the Environmental Protection Agency studied and published new criteria for pathogens. The project was to be funded with grants from the EPA to coastal states.

New York communities received $330,000 of the $9.55 million allocated this year. Of that, Nassau County received about $45,000 in BEACH funds and Suffolk County pulled in almost $96,000 in BEACH funds. More than 130 beaches between both counties have high bacteria levels, according to nonprofit National Resources Defense Council. If the BEACH Act funding is removed, local governments would pick up the tab as no other federal funding is available for monitoring and notification.

"BEACH Act funds support important environmental monitoring. Protecting the safety of beach goers is a top priority and I thank Senator Schumer for his efforts in restoring these critical funds,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said.

“BEACH Act funding is critical to our beach surveillance program, which tests between 4,000 to 5,000 samples from 190 beaches each summer to ensure that residents and tourists who visit Suffolk County are swimming in waters that are clean and safe. This funding is essential to public health and Suffolk County’s economy,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.

The island’s economy could take a hit as a whole if the funding is removed, especially with its identity so heavily associated with water. Long Island is known for fishing, shellfishing, swimming, sailing and other water activities.

In the Village of Northport and many waterfront communities, aquiculture has long been a means of making a living. The hub of activity downtown, the most prized commercial real estate in the village is along Northport Harbor. Even Northport’s mayor, George Doll, works as a lobsterman.

But Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin said it’s grown difficult to pay the bills on the water.

“Very, very few people can still earn a living from aquiculture,” he said.

Tobin also confirmed tourism is an essential part of Northport’s downtown economy. Not only do Long Islanders drive to the quaint town on the water’s edge in the summer, but Connecticut and other more distant visitors routinely dock their boats and visit Main Street.

Tobin is a member of the Northport Harbor Water Quality Protection Committee, a contingent of environmentalists, elected officials and scientists focused on restoring water quality in Northport and Centerport since 2010. While some research has suggested fertilizer and other pollutants in stormwater runoff have contributed to harmful algal blooms, the deputy mayor said there are many questions remaining and cutting funding delays answers.

“We need to understand what specific steps we can take to regain economic productivity and recreational pleasures. Eliminating funding for such studies not only prevents regrowth of this economy but can lead to further deterioration and a continued job-killing condition. Cutting out that grant money is a very false economy,” Tobin said.

Rob Weltner, president of Operation SPLASH, has become an expert in Long Island’s waters after years of leading volunteer efforts to clean them up. He believes nitrogen is the single biggest problem affecting the area, describing it as “Miracle Gro.”

“I think it‘s our biggest issue on Long Island. When it rains you have bacterial and beach closures, it’s only for days. When you have a brown tide, it’s for weeks. If you have a red tide, humans can get sick from that,” he said.

Both terms refer to harmful algal blooms. Excess nitrogen enters the waters and causes intense growth of algae. The microscopic organisms also die quickly, and the large quantities of decaying algae consumes oxygen necessary for fish and other wildlife. While many of these blooms are not directly dangerous to people, the algae found in red tides can cause eye and respiratory problems if enough is consumed.

Nitrogen, Weltner added, also puts Long Island at risk in the next Superstorm Sandy. Salt marshes provide a habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife, but they also protect the mainland from waves and erosion. Excess nitrogen feeds plants roots, causing them to have more shallow and less stable root systems. Suddenly the marshes become very fragile and become smaller.

“We’re losing a lot of salt marsh area,” the president said.

Amtrak Unveils Bike-Friendly, Long-Distance Baggage Cars

In the midst of a renovations to their long-distance trains, Amtrak revealed an improvement that will keep bikers rolling.

Gone are the days of cramming bicycles in a cardboard box. These new baggage cars will include luggage racks that can secure bicycles vertically and easily.

"It's great to have Amtrak understanding how important the bike tourism industry is," said Linda Boxx, a board member of the Allegheny Trail Alliance.

Amtrak announced changes to their long-distance service last year. They’re adding 25 new sleeper cars, 25 new dining cars, 25 baggage/dormitory cars and 55 baggage cars to their 15 long-distance routes. That includes modern interiors, more efficient HVAC systems and faster trains.

The new long-distance cars are being sent to Chicago, New Orleans, Miami and along the Northeast Corridor for speed, stability, braking and baggage handling testing in the field. Amtrak officials said they hope to have all 130 cars in operation by the end of 2016, although the baggage cars will be in use this year.

Closer to home, New York Bicycling Coalition Executive Director Josh Wilson said the new bike racks will only be in use on the Lake Shore Limited line – a long-distance route between New York City and Chicago.

“This announcement is great and exciting but it doesn’t have a huge impact on New York State just yet because it’s limited to just that one train,” he said.

Wilson is part of the Amtrak Bicycle Services Task Force. Formed in early 2014, the task force is working to improve bicycle access in the Northeast with short-term and long-term solutions. He joins Amtrak officials, Senator Charles Schumer (D), passenger rail association members, transportation professionals and state bicycle advocacy organizations. They did begin investigating walk-on bike racks for corridor routes that don’t use baggage cars, although there’s more work to be done.

“That’s really the next step,” the director said.

For more about the new trains, check out the company’s announcement. For more about the Amtrak Bicycle Services Task Force, visit the New York Bicycling Coalition online.


Bicyclists Chased Off Nassau Roads By Rude Motorists

This editorial was written by Westbury resident Kevin Lucas.

A couple of weeks ago my wife began joining me on my daily runs, except she follows along on her bicycle.  And even though the run is only a mile, and is over in less than ten minutes, it has been a fulfilling and fun bonding experience for us. The runs instantly stopped feeling like a daily chore, and I looked forward to them. The way she encouraged me every day made me feel like we were Rocky and Mickey. This was going to be our daily routine. That is until July 12, 2014, at 8 a.m., when a man pulled up beside my wife in his car to tell her she was stupid for riding her bike in the street.

We moved to Long Island, Westbury to be exact, in February and for the most part we’ve enjoyed it here. We do not drive, by choice, and we knew that the area was suburban in nature before arriving. And although this has proved somewhat difficult we enjoy walking and the increased distances between necessities has not deterred us from walking to them. In fact, we’ve found certain stretches to be enjoyable on foot, despite being poorly designed for pedestrians. Mostly, the only consistent issues we’ve faced are lawn sprinklers spraying directly onto the sidewalks, pushing us into the street; and inattentive drivers failing to yield, particularly when turning right.

With this in mind I thought it would be nice for us to get bikes. Neither of us are cyclists, and only I had ever even really used a bike to get around before at any point in my life. She was nervous, but I assured her that it would be fine, that in a way it was safer than walking because drivers can see you better in the road. After all, everyone who drives learned how to properly give way to bicycles and pedestrians, to properly and safely pass, and to share the road. Plus, we would keep to the neighborhood streets. There would be no braving the traffic on Old Country Road. We just wanted to get around a little quicker, not make a statement. The busiest road on which we would travel was Maple/Westbury Avenue. Anything more than that and we would get off and walk our bikes. Once we got our bikes the apprehension quickly gave way to excitement. This was going to be fun, or so we thought.

What followed was as disappointing as it was unexpected. The people of Nassau County – whom we previously thought of as amongst the most kind and gracious we’ve experienced, whose words, local websites, and iconography have touted the image of friendly neighborhoods and tight-knit communities – became hostile, threatening, and aggressive. We’ve had our bikes for less than one month and in that time we’ve been absolutely menaced by automobile drivers. We’ve been shouted at, honked at, told to get on the sidewalk, and passed dangerously closely by speeding vehicles including Nassau County buses. The drivers use their vehicles to threaten and intimidate us, pass us in narrow no passing areas, and force us off the road and into parking lanes, leaving us to inevitably have to stop behind parked cars to wait until we feel safe enough to continue. At intersections they will pull up on our left and make right turns around us when the light turns green as if we are not there.

I feel like it’s important at this point to reiterate that this behavior has all been happening on neighborhood streets. We would agree that riding on Old County Road, or the Jericho Turnpike, or North Broadway Avenue in Hicksville would not be appropriate for us considering our lack of experience. We’re not even entirely comfortable being on Post Avenue and will generally only ride on it for a single block, if at all. But even if we were to choose to ride on these roads the behaviors we’ve experienced would still be inappropriate.

I can already envision the types of responses that this letter will generate. People will tell us that we should just ride on the sidewalk despite the fact that that this doing so is strongly discouraged by the state and county, illegal in most cities including Westbury, and often impractical and dangerous. I have been intimidated onto the sidewalk a couple of times in the last week, and it always ends up with me nearly crashing into someone walking out of a home or business or a car pulling out of a driveway. There’s a reason that riding on the sidewalk is often prohibited, and I agree with that reason. Others will suggest bike lanes, but talk of bike lanes is often empty, dismissive, and poorly executed. Besides, bike lanes already exist – they just happen to be the same lanes that automobiles use as well.

 My daily runs are once again going to be lonely from now on because on July 12, 2014, at 8 a.m. my wife decided that she is no longer riding her bicycle. She says it’s not worth it, and she’s right. She doesn’t want to have to fight for her right to be respected on the road, and she shouldn’t have to. She just wanted to ride her bike. But the idea that someone who didn’t have any reason to speak to her, an adult, a stranger, a neighbor, felt the need to endanger her life by pulling up right beside her on her bike to call her stupid on a neighborhood street two blocks from her home was too much for her. Those words hurt her, even more so because there was no reason behind them.

It was as if the very idea that he had to share the road with a bike was unacceptable to him, that being forced to consider the safety of someone whose vehicle is not powered by a motor offended him. But what’s worse is that after all that we’ve experienced his words were not even a surprise. We now know full well how people will behave when they might have to momentarily slow down, or share, or be considerate of others. It’s a shame.

Learn How 12 Steps Can Create An Organically-Green Lawn

The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College is proud to announce a new educational series: “12 Steps to an Organically Green Lawn.”

They've drawn on the lessons learned from many years of working with Long Island organic landscapers, organizing educational seminars and many other sources to put this series together.

The series will be featured on Facebook and Twitter over the summer. Follow them on both for easy to follow, do-it-yourself tips to make any lawn thick and green without toxic pesticides. The series is also available here on their website.

Head To Mastic Beach For Live 80s Music On July 26

Check out Mastic Beach next weekend for free live music.

Music By The Bay 2014, organized by the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association, has been scheduled for July 26 from 6-10 p.m. at Section 1 Marina.

Long Island’s own 80s band Something’ Fresh will play at the event.

Admission is free, although beverages and snacks will be available for purchase. No coolers will be permitted.

JumpstART Public Art Display Opening In Riverhead Soon

Check out budding artists’ work as East End Arts’ JumpstART program goes public in Riverhead this summer.

JumpstART is designed to teach artists about business, creating environments for them to thrive, and creating opportunities for artists of all incomes and backgrounds to succeed.

Participants began by applying and being judged this past winter before the program kicked off in March. Artists sit in on workshops led by arts, business and municipal leaders. After the fifth and final workshop ended in May, participants will culminate their education with a design and implementation in the public art project in downtown Riverhead. These projects, which require initiating a Kickstarter campaign to fund their project, will be on display from Aug. 24-Sept. 7.

For more about the program, visit East End Arts online.

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.

Help Veterans 'Stand Down' From Hunger, Homelessness

Just because their days in uniform doesn’t mean America’s veterans can’t still get the help they need from Uncle Sam.

The Northport VA Medical Center is hosting a bi-annual Stand Down on Sept. 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

These Department of Veterans Affairs’ events provide homeless veterans with necessities like clothing, food, shelter, health care and benefits counseling. Veterans can also receive information and referrals for assistance with health care, housing, employment and substance abuse.

Agencies and community organizations can now apply to participate in the event. All participants are expected to serve for the full duration of the Stand Down.

For more information, contact the Northport VA Medical Center at 631-261-4400 x5652.

Preserve Legal Representation At Wine Tasting This Fall

Enjoy fine wine and help needy Long Islanders maintain free legal representation .

Nassau Suffolk Law Services has announced their Sixth Annual Commitment to Justice Wine Tasting Reception will take place at the Carltun in Eisenhower Park Oct. 8.

Established in 1966, Nassau Suffolk Law Services provides vital civil legal representation and advocacy for low income and disabled residents of Long Island. During 2013, 13,500 individuals benefited from their direct legal representation; preserving Social Security and public benefits for seniors, low income families, and individuals; preventing foreclosure; and providing legal assistance for people with cancer and HIV/AIDs.

For tickets and sponsorships, contact Sheila Johnson at or call 631-232-2400 x3322. Sponsorship prices and paperwork are also available on their website.

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.

Don’t Raid Clean Water Funds To Build A Bridge!

Governor Cuomo is proposing to raid over a half billion dollars from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) to pay for destruction of the Tappan Zee Bridge on the Hudson River. For decades, the CWSRF has been New York's foremost source of funding to fix aging and failing sewage infrastructure. Governor Cuomo's proposal to raid this fund flies in the face of efforts to protect clean water, is a gross misuse of funds and sets a dangerous precedent that puts additional clean water funding in jeopardy in the future.

New York State currently has a $36.2 billion sewage infrastructure funding need. Taking away limited clean water funds for the Tappan Zee Bridge project impairs our ability to pay for much-needed sewage infrastructure upgrades. Since the CWSRF's inception, its intended purpose has always been to protect water quality. Raiding the CWSRF for a transportation project sets a precedent that could lead to further misuse of the fund, and could compel Congress to cut funding to the CWSRF in the future.

We know that aging and failing sewage infrastructure leads to sewage overflows, which puts public health, our environment, our fishing industry and recreational opportunities at risk. Raw sewage overflows expose the New Yorkers to harmful bacteria, make our children sick and close our treasured beaches. Governor Cuomo should prioritize the long term health and safety of New Yorkers by continuing to use clean water money to upgrade sewage infrastructure.

The good news is that this is not a done deal! Legislative leaders still have the opportunity to reject this ill-conceived proposal to raid $511 million from the CWSRF. Please take a moment (it takes less than a minute) to email our leaders in Albany and tell them you do not want them to raid clean water funds for the Tappan Zee Bridge!

Help Wanted

Intern with Vision Long Island!

Vision Long Island is looking for interns! Our staff likes to say we "wear many hats," and interns will have to do the same. Interns will assist with planning, design, outreach, event planning, writing, research, attending meetings, reporting, photography, video and more. Bring your unique skill set to the table! We are looking for energetic and conscientious individuals with an interest in urban/suburban planning from a bottom-up perspective. This is a valuable opportunity to work with great people and learn about the issues impacting Long Island. Strong writing skills a plus.

To learn more or apply, send a resume, cover letter and writing sample to Put "Vision Long Island Internship" in the subject heading. For more information, call our office at 631-261-0242.

What's happening in your downtown this weekend?



Bow Tie Grand Avenue

1841 Grand Avenue, Baldwin


Bellmore Movies

222 Pettit Avenue, Bellmore


Who-Ville Bar and Grille

339 Broadway, Bethpage
Tickets and more information available on Facebook


Freeport Historical Museum

350 S Main Street, Freeport
Housed in a Civil War cottage, the museum chronicles Freeport's history through the 20th century. On display are a spinning wheel from the town’s oldest house, vaudeville-era items, waterfront memorabilia, a 1930s television and a 1777 13-star flag. The museum holds a collection of historic postcards and high school yearbooks from the early 1900s to present day.

For information, visit their website or call 979-233-3526

Garden City

The Garden City Historical Society

109 Eleventh Street, Garden City
Founded in 1975, The Garden City Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the historic character and ambiance of the Village of Garden City, and educating its members and the public in preservation and history related matters. The Society owns and operates The Garden City Historical Society Museum at 109 Eleventh Street, an original 1872 A.T. Stewart-era “Apostle House” listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which was deeded to the Society by the Episcopal Diocese. The Society maintains an Archive of over 1,200 artifacts and a Historic Structure Survey of pre-1935 residential and non-residential structures in the Village of Garden City. It offers periodic lectures and presentations, and publishes a newsletter. The Society’s A. T. Stewart Exchange (consignment shop) on the lower level of the Museum offers unique items for sale. The shop (516-746-8900) is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays (Tuesday is senior citizen discount day) and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

For information, visit their website.

Glen Cove

Garvies Point Museum and Preserve

50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove
The museum is a center for research on Long Island geology, Native American archeology and natural history. Current exhibits feature, “The Seasonal Round”, an exploration through Long Island Native American life throughout the seasons. Exhibits on Long Island’s glacial formation, landform change and cultural evolution are on display. Prehistoric artifacts and audio descriptions add to the story of Long Island migrants, their lifestyles and interactions with newcomers such as Europeans. The museum has special educational programs to accommodate field trips and science research on the history of Long Island.

To arrange a visit, call 516-571-8011 and for information and brochures, visit their website

glen cove
Glen Cove Theatres

5 School Street, Glen Cove

Great Neck

Palace Galleries

117 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck
The museum features highly distinctive collections of antiques, artworks and fine furnishings from around the world. It is a premier art dealer dating back to 1971 and features expertise in 17th to 19th century works. The gallery experience offers the opportunity to not only view fine art but to purchase a piece which stands out.

For information, visit their website or call 516-439-5218

great neck
Clearview Squire Cinemas Great Neck

115 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck


Hicksville-Gregory Museum

Intersection of Heitz Place and Bay Avenue, Hicksville
The museum includes a history of the Heitz Place Courthouse and a collection of earth science materials to describe the natural history of the area. It features one of the few remaining Long Island lock-ups and is one of the few remaining courthouses standing from before Nassau County split from Queens. The earth science exhibit in the museum has recent additions of a Mosasaur skull, prehistoric amber and the horn of a Triceratops horridus. The educational program at the museum offers experiences in paleontology, dynamic earth processes and investigating butterflies and moths.

For information, visit their website or call 516-822-7505

Long Beach

Long Beach Historical Museum

226 W. Penn Street, Long Beach
The museum, operated by the Long Beach Historical and Preservation Society, is a classic Craftsman-style summer villa. The house built in 1909, features large stain glass windows which are a hallmark of classic Long Beach estates. The house and backyard are furnished with local artifacts, including an original broadwalk bench, photographs and archaeological findings. The garden features original stock rose bushes.

For information, visit their website.


Clearview Manhasset 3

430 Plandome Road, Manhasset

Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay Historical Society

20 Summit Street, Oyster Bay
The Earle-Wightman House built in 1720, gives a picture of life in Oyster Bay during the colonial period and its transition through the mid-20th Century. It features an 18th century garden, maintained by the North Country Garden Club, holds ornamental plantings as well as herbs used for cooking, medical purposes and fragrances. Exhibited are postcard, photograph, map and newspaper collections. Current exhibition, “Women Wearing History: The Force Behind Fashion”, details women’s influence on the textile and fashion industry in the 19th and 20th centuries.

For information, visit their website or call 516-922-5032

Port Washington

Landmark on Main Street, the Jeanne Rimsky Theater
232 Main Street, Port Washington:
The 1940s Radio Hour - Friday, July 18 at 8 p.m. and Satuday, July 19 at 8 p.m.
The 1940s Radio Hour: Benefit Performance Supporting the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults - Sunday, July 20 at 2 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here

Rockville Centre

Museum of the Village of Rockville Centre-Phillips House

28 Hempstead Ave, Rockville Centre
The museum is a restored 19th century Victorian home which displays life in Rockville Centre in the 19th and 20th centuries. It features furnishings, antique kitchen tools, carpentry tools and clothing of the time period. The museum is considered one of the finest small museums in the state and there is never an entrance fee for special events or exhibits.

For information, visit their website or call 516-766-0300


Bow Tie Roslyn Theatre

20 Tower Place, Roslyn

Sea Cliff

Sea Cliff Village Museum

95 Tenth Avenue, Sea Cliff
The museum presents changing exhibits on the history and culture of Sea Cliff. It strives to raise community awareness by preserving artifacts, photographs and costumes relating to the unique historical background of the village. It contains 287 photos taken by Long Island postcard photographer, Henry Otto Korten. Currently exhibited, “Then and Now…” displays a range of artifacts and costumes over a 125 year span. Exhibits include the Connor Cottage, Victorian Kitchen, and a historical town diorama.

For information, visit their website or call 516-671-0090


Seaford Cinemas

3951 Merrick Road, Seaford


The Space at Westbury

250 Post Avenue, Westbury
Gogol Bordello with special guest Man Man - Friday, July 18 at 8 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here




140 Merrick Road, Amityville
Leather and Lace presents Industrial Revolution - Friday, July 18 at 10:30 p.m.
Anti-Flag, Screaming Females, Worlds Scariest Police Chases and Gangway! - Saturday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here


Bow Tie Babylon Cinemas

34 Main Street, Babylon

Bay Shore

The YMCA Boulton Center
37 West Main Street, Bay Shore
No shows scheduled this weekend.
Tickets and more information available here

Cold Spring Harbor

Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum

Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor
The museum explores the relationship between Long Islanders and the sea through. It details the history of the regional whaling industry, whale conservation and the history of Cold Spring Harbor as a maritime port. A new exhibit, “Right Whales”, highlights the biology, history and decline of the Right Whale. Exhibits featuring New York’s only fully-equipped 19th century whaleboat, ship logs and correspondence as well as whaling and maritime artifacts. Art programs are available for all ages.

For information, visit their website or call 631-367-3418

East Hampton

Guildhall, John Drew Theater
158 Main Street, East Hampton
Young Members Summer Party Celebrating Montauk - Saturday, July 19 at 5 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies Exhibition - Sunday, July 20 at 11 a.m.
John H. Marburger III Memorial Lecture: Christy MacLear of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation - Sunday, July 20 at 4 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here

East Hampton Historical Society

101 Main Street, East Hampton
The headquarters for the East Hampton Historical Society, the house is an example of life in the post-colonial era in the East End. It features historic furnishings and crafts built by local craftsmen of the time. The Historical Society also has four other museums and town houses including one of New York’s first educational academies and a colonial town government meeting house.

For information, visit their website or call 631-324-6850

East Islip

Islip Art Museum

50 Irish Lane, East Islip
The museum is the leading exhibition space for contemporary art on Long Island, featuring work from international, national and emerging local artists. It is said to be the best facility of its kind outside of Manhattan. Current exhibits feature “Jam Session”, a holiday exhibit featuring paintings and sculptures influenced by music. The museum’s store features one of a kind jewelry, crafts and art work. Educational opportunists are also offered at the museum through its Cultural School of Arts.

For information, visit their website or call 631-224-5402

Huntington Village

The Paramount
370 New York Ave, Huntington
Rockin Fights 14: Emmanuel Taylor vs. Karim Mayfield - Friday, July 18 at 8 p.m.
Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx- Saturday, July 12 at 8 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here

Heckscher Museum

2 Prime Avenue, Huntington
Located in Hecksher Park, the museum features collections of European and American paintings which spans over 500 years of Western art. Photography has become a growing part of the collection as well. Current exhibits include “A Way with Words: Text in Art”, which displays the incorporation of text in visual art and “Coming of Age in America : The Photography of Joseph Szabo”, which portraits adolescence of Long Island through time with a look at summers spent at the beach. The museum also features educational experiences for students and adults and will exhibit Long Island’s best young artists in April.

For information, visit their website or call 631-351-3250

AMC Loews Theatres – Shore 8

37 Wall Street, Huntington

cinema arts centre
Cinema Arts Centre

423 Park Ave, Huntington

Islip Village

Islip Cinemas

410 West Main Street, Islip


The John W. Engeman Theater
250 Main Street, Northport
No shows scheduled this weekend.
Tickets and more information available here


89 North
89 North Ocean Avenue East Main Street, Patchogue
Rag Doll and Masquerade - Friday, July 18 at 8 p.m.
Act of Aggression and Damage, Inc. - Saturday, July 19 at 8 p.m.
Turbine (free show) - Saturday, July 19 at 11 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here.

Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts
71 East Main Street, Patchogue
No shows scheduled this weekend.
Tickets and more information available here.

The Emporium
9 Railroad Avenue, Patchogue
Morningview and Unglued - Friday, July 18 at 9 p.m.
Unofficial GSB Fest After Party - Saturday, July 19 at 10 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here

Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center
20 Terry Street Suite #121, Patchogue, NY 11772

Port Jefferson

Theatre Three
412 Main Street, Port Jefferson
Friday Night Face Off - Friday, July 18 at 10:30 p.m.
Elvis Tribute - Friday, July 18 at 8 p.m.
Sleeping Beauty - Saturday, July 12 at 11 a.m.
The Fast Lane - Saturday, July 12 at 8 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here

Port Jefferson Historical Society
115 Prospect Avenue, Port Jefferson
The Mather House Museum, the headquarters of The Historical Society of Greater Port Jefferson, and features several exhibitions of local artifacts. The museum complex features the 19th century home, a country store, a marine barn, a tool shed, the Spinney Clock Museum and the Thomas Jefferson Perennial Garden. Exhibitions feature ship models, period furniture and paintings, vintage tools and clothing, antique dolls, taped oral histories, 250 antique clocks and other examples of life in the 19th century.

For information, visit their website or call 631-473-2665

Bow Tie Port Washington
116 Main Street, Port Washington


Suffolk Theater
116 E. Main Street, Riverhead
Ashley Munroe (of the Pistol Annies) and Striking Matches - Saturday, July 12 at 8 p.m.
New Orleans Jazz with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Sunday, July 13 at 7 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here


Vail-Leavitt Music Hall
18 Peconic Avenue, Riverhead
No shows scheduled this weekend.
Tickets and more information available here

Sag Harbor

Bay Street Theater
The Long Wharf, Sag Harbor
Richard Kind in "Travesties"- Friday, July 18 at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 19 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 20 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
LGBT Mainstage Evening - Saturday, July 19 at 7 p.m.
Tickets and more information available here

Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum

Main and Garden Streets, Sag Harbor
The museum details Sag Harbor’s whaling industry through the 19th century and its impact on the culture and development of the area. It details how the whaling industry brought migrants from all over the globe and turned the port into an international destination. Artifacts left by whalers, antique tools, harpoons, captains’ portraits, antique furnishings and children’s toys are all on display at the museum.

For information, visit their website or call 631-725-0770


Sayville Historical Society

Edwards Street, Sayville
The museum is the headquarters to the Sayville Historical Society. The museum aims to foster historical spirit, encourage historical research and to preserve historical materials. The museum features products of both Sayville and other Suffolk localities. The Society holds 4 historic buildings, 1,500 items of clothing, 1,000 photographs, a map collection and numerous classic furnishings. Its collection is constantly growing and tours of the Edward Homestead offer a view at the area through its history.

For information, visit their website or call 631-563-0186

Sayville Theatre

103 Railroad Avenue, Sayville


Smithtown Township Arts Council

660 Route 25A, St. James
The Council aims to enrich the township and surrounding area’s quality of life through celebrating and supporting the arts in everyday life. It is a goal to make art accessible to people of all backgrounds. It Mills Pond House is a valuable place in its preserved traditions as well as its evolving and unique influences. Current exhibit, “Winners Showcase” displays the artistic development and achievements of the region and nation. Classes in jewelry making, poster design, scrapbooking, pottery, drawing and several other skills and topics are available. The Council has also partnered with local downtown businesses to display local artists’ work.

For information, visit their website or call 631-862-6575


Southampton Historical Museum

17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton
The Southampton Historical Society was created to preserve the town’s history as well as history from the surrounding area. Its Rogers Mansion Museum features year round exhibits, a research center and education programs for children and adults. Current exhibits include “Shopkeepers of Southampton: Photographs by Davis Gaffga”, which gives a detailed look into historic businesses which helped shape downtown and community. Its research center allows for visitors to conduct research with a professional research assistant. Collections feature antique furnishings, a classic parlor room and dining hall and photographs of the 1938 historic hurricane.

For information, visit their website or call 631-268-2494

West Sayville

Long Island Maritime Museum

88 West Avenue, West Sayville
Featuring 14 acres with 9 historic buildings on the West Sayville waterfront, the museum preserves Long Island’s maritime history and heritage. It is committed to research, preservation and interpretation of the region’s nautical history and the relationship to Long Island’s natural history. The Elward Smith Library houses racing trophies and records of over 500 wrecks and groundings in the Long Island waters. The other buildings feature rotating exhibits of maps, photos, newspapers and personal accounts of maritime history. Also highlighted are boats and materials left behind by the US Life Saving Service.

For information, visit their website.

How Did We Actually Raise The $11 Billion
For The Stop Gap Measure?

Just in case you missed our article on the Federal Highway Trust Fund last week, Jon Stewart offered a refresher course on Wednesday's episode of "The Daily Show." When he wasn't lambasting the federal government for turning the issue into a political football that will linger into next spring, the funnyman offered a surprisingly honest definition of pension smoothing. Check out the full skit on Comedy Central's website.

Smart Talk

Newsletter Editor: Mike Koehler, Communications Director
Contributors: Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director; Elissa Kyle, Sustainability Director; Chris Kyle, Administrative Director

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to for consideration.

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Vision Long Island
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Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

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