Smart Talk header

September 8th - 14th, 2018

Regional Updates

Albanese & Albanese

Albanese & Albanese LLP is one of the region’s preeminent full-service firms, providing its clients with specialized and diverse legal services. Their reputation for excellence derives from their commitment to deliver high quality legal services and individual attention while maintaining efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

"Since joining the LIRR in April, I've taken a hard look at our system, operations and capital projects with a focus on making decisions to prioritize necessary initiatives and get them finished sooner rather than later. Lynbrook Station is in need of these repairs and I look forward to giving customers who use this location an upgraded station that they deserve while hardening our infrastructure for decades to come." - LIRR President Phillip Eng

icon Like us on Facebook

icon Follow us on Twitter

icon Watch us on YouTube

Join us on LinkedIn icon

Get our iPhone app icon

Visit our website icon

Lynbrook LIRR Station to Undergo $17.9 Million Upgrade

The LIRR has announced that it will invest almost $18 million in its Lynbrook station for upgrades aimed at hardening local infrastructure and improvements to customer service.

The announcement cited recommendations from the local community through LIRR’s Customer Conversations events as part of the review process in deciding necessary upgrades.  This was done to ensure that any changes made would consider the needs of residents and customers as well as operational ones. 

"Since joining the LIRR in April, I've taken a hard look at our system, operations and capital projects with a focus on making decisions to prioritize necessary initiatives and get them finished sooner rather than later," LIRR President Phillip Eng said. "Lynbrook Station is in need of these repairs and I look forward to giving customers who use this location an upgraded station that they deserve while hardening our infrastructure for decades to come."

The current scope of the project will include rehabilitating the Lynbrook Viaduct, originally built in 1936, which consists of a concrete viaduct with two island platforms; Improving the existing drainage system; Replacing both platform canopies; Installing two new glass platform waiting rooms; Repairing the two station platforms; Rehabilitating the platform structure; Placing new signage throughout the platforms; Installation of LED lighting, cameras and free customer Wi-Fi.  Work is expected to begin in 2019 and be completed by the end of 2020

These improvements will comprise the first phase of the project, with additional funding being sought for the 2nd phase to begin in 2020.  That phase will focus more on renovating the station building, commuter amenities, and aesthetic upgrades.

You can read more here.

Westbury Continues Progress on DRI Funded Projects

Two years ago the Village of Westbury became the first community on Long Island to receive a $10 million downtown redevelopment grant from NYS.  In that time they have worked to identify 7 needed projects and continue to make progress.

Part of the came to fruition recently when the Village closed on a new building to serve as the permanent home for the Westbury Arts Council, which was one of the items on the list.  The Council is currently preparing to move into their new home, and is making plans on how to redesign the building for their purposes.  The Village is also working to create a new pedestrian plaza connected to the LIRR station and a rezoning plan that will allow for more transit-oriented-development in the downtown.

Officials are pleased with the progress, which included multiple community meetings to gather suggestions for which downtown needs to target.  The selected projects include a mix of residential, business, and cultural improvements for residents while also upgrading local infrastructure. 

“I think it is a tremendous opportunity for us to make huge steps that we hoped we could make, but we didn’t have the resources to make,” said Westbury Village Mayor Cavallaro.  Cavallaro went on to state the Village was responsible for keeping momentum going on the projects even during periods where they were waiting for state approval. 

Recent progress includes closing on the aforementioned building for the Arts Council, retaining the services of a firm to conduct an environmental study to determine the effects of rezoning.  Other identified projects include streetscape improvements along Post Avenue, a grant fund for retail capital improvements, purchasing and developing open space near the LIRR station, and upgrading the Westbury Recreation and Community Center complex.

Vision is working with the Village on the rezoning of the train station area, so stay tuned for further updates as the process unfolds.

You can read more here.

Kings Park Community wants Growth on Main Street

Newsday recently talked with some residents of Kings Park as well as the local Chamber of Commerce to ask them what they want to see in their downtown.

Adam Wood, the president of the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce, spoke on the engagement of residents and how that drove the process.  “The community came up with a revitalization plan for the downtown, and it's starting to be implemented now,” said Mr. Wood.  “We hope we will see mixed-use properties up and down Main Street and downtown."

To add such projects, the hamlet will need to increase its sewer capacity, which would lead to new development in the area that would include both business and residential.  There is also a strong desire by the community to see an increase in walkability and beautification of the downtown. 

There is already a new rental complex in the works to offer apartments near the downtown, and it is hoped that these will help to attract new and younger residents.  The area also boasts local state parks and beaches, access to the sound, and a variety of housing options and prices, all of which local residents feel makes the area a desirable location for a downtown looking to revitalize.

Vision Long Island has been working with both the Kings Park Chamber and Civic Association to move revitalization forward and we are happy to see local residents supporting the proposed upgrades to the downtown.

You can read more here.

Downtown Northport Icon, Gunther’s Tap Room, Reopens

In May of 2017, residents in Northport were distressed to learn that an outdated electrical system had caused a fire in local watering hole, Gunther’s Tap Room.

Famous as one of Jack Kerouac’s favorite drinking spots, the downtown establishment has long been a favorite of the local community.  It is located in a building from 1889 that was originally a hotel and later reopened as Gunther’s in 1962.  It would become a favorite of the “beatnik” culture on Long Island, which is what would attract Kerouac.

According to co-owners Brad Vasallo and Eddie McGrath, efforts have been taken to restore Gunther’s to its original look and feel, including the rescued original bar-top.  The owners expressed gratitude to the community for donating time, money, and materials to getting the bar back in working order.

There are so many people who have stepped up to help get us to this point,” said Mr. Vasallo, “and I want to thank all those people.”

You can read more here.

Village of Great Neck Plaza Offers Artists Public Exhibition Space

The Village of Great Neck Plaza is offering local artists a chance to submit their work for display in public spaces for the enjoyment of the community.

The Village will put the items on display in the courtroom located at Village Hall, which is outfitted as a gallery.  They are currently looking for art that will hang there for the remainder of 2018 through 2019.

If you wish to consider exhibiting with them, please contact the Mayor’s Assistant at (516) 482-4500, or email, to set up an appointment to view your portfolio and our exhibit gallery in the courtroom. Generally, an exhibit is displayed for approximately 4 to 6 weeks.

Works can be for sale; however, artists may not label prices on their pieces, and instead may offer their artwork for sale in a separate catalog handout listing. The Village will assist you in the setting up an artist reception as well. Artists are responsible for providing refreshments to serve at their reception. 

AARP NY Holds Forum on Disrupting Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Last week, Vision Long Island Board and staff participated in AARP Long Island's first Disrupting Disparities forum at Hofstra University.   

The event was created in order to facilitate a forum to discuss the various roadblocks that Long Island’s multicultural communities face.  Over 100 local stakeholders attended the event in order to provide thoughts on how to address such obstacles for this and future generations.

Calling for action on the challenges is especially relevant locally since New York has long been home to some of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the nation. New York’s ethnic communities—primarily comprised of African American/Black, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino populations are growing and aging quickly, creating new challenges in the modern era.

Those included in the discussion included local experts, elected officials, and leading organizations that serve New York’s ethnic communities.  The subject centered on creating a multi-year effort to identify disparities that exist among their ethnic 50-plus communities including an action plan on how best to end these impediments.  

The forum began with opening remarks by Bernard Macias of AARP and was followed by a video highlighting some of the key points from a report on the.  The even then moved on to the opening panel, which was moderated by Larry Levy of Hofstra University and included Charlene Thompson, Commissioner, Village of Hempstead, Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island, Dr. Gregson Pigott, Medical Program Administrator at Suffolk County Department of Health Services Dr. Jean Lau Chin, Professor at Adelphi University, and Margarita Grasing, Executive Director of the Hispanic Brotherhood Inc. of Rockville Centre. 

The panelist each answered questions from their unique field perspectives then took questions from the crowd. Questions included how to bring quality medical care to underserved populations, affordable housing needs, and ways to address racism on long island. The group then broke up into the breakout panels that delved deeper into the three concerns of focus (heath, economic security and livability), with Vision's Assistant Director Tawaun Weber joining the panel on livability.

Other speakers included Tracey Edwards, LI NAACP Director, Minerva Perez, Executive Director for Organizaton of Latino Americans-East End, Rebecca Sanin, President/CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, Olga El Sehamy, Director, Suffolk County Youth Bureau, and Theresa Saunders, CEO, Urban LI League.

AARP NY is encouraging participation in the 3- to 5-year initiative to craft solutions and implement the policy change necessary to address the disparities. This site will serve as a platform to host the latest research findings, policy updates and information related to this effort.  You can also contribute your ideas and insights by emailing

You can check out the report on AARP's website here.

PSEG Long Island Vacant Space Program Bringing Revitalization to Main Street

PSEG Long Island has been working to revitalize Main Street with a variety of programs designed to help out local residents.  One of those programs is the Vacant Space initiative, which provides a discount on the first year energy delivery charges for a new business that takes over a space that had an electric account that was vacant for at least 12 months.  The idea is to help draw tenants into vacant storefronts, making the local economy more vibrant.

Here is the story of one such storeowner, direct from PSEG Long Island:

When Tara McGinn (pictured above) saw an empty downtown storefront, she envisioned a place where friends and families could hang out and be creative together.  When PSEG Long Island heard her idea, we were glad to help out by lowering her electric costs through our Main Street Revival Program – and turn an empty space into a thriving new community business.  It’s one more way that PSEG Long Island is helping people like Tara make our communities better.

You can find more information on this important program here.

The 8th Annual Farmingdale Cultural Arts Day is Sunday, September 16th

Join the community, attend Cultural Arts Day - Art in the Park on Sunday, September 16th, starting at Noon at the Village Green, next to Village Hall, 361 Main Street, Farmingdale, the rain date is September 23rd. From 10am – 3pm the Farmers Market will be held in conjunction with these events on Main Street in front of the Firehouse. Main Street will be closed from Prospect Street to the parking lot entrance of Minuteman Press during the Farmers Market. Thanks to the Farmingdale Village Cultural Arts Committee and the Woman’s Club of Farmingdale for planning the events. While in the Village; remember to shop & dine downtown!

Visit the website for the event here and Facebook page here. You can also call 516-249-0093, or email Free admission and free Parking is available in Village Parking Lots, along Conklin Street, on Main Street, neighboring streets; and in Train Station Lots (after 4pm without permits Monday-Friday, and on weekends all day). Additional parking is available behind the Village Green in the Weldon E. Howitt Middle School parking lot off of Cherry Street.

Car Free Day Long Island is Friday, September 21st

Beat the Rush Hour!

Join us for the 6th Annual Car Free Day Long Island and leave your car home or drive it less on Friday, September 21, 2018.

Join in this worldwide movement to celebrate sustainable transportation on Car Free Day.  In 2017, 6,808 Long Islanders pledged to be car free or car-lite, resulting in the avoidance of 134,000 miles of driving and 67 tons of CO2 emissions!

To participate in this event, all you have to do is pledge to be car free or car-light on September 21, 2018 by filling out the pledge form on  Those who take the pledge will automatically be entered for a chance to win great prizes.

You can download a free online tool kit here.

CNU NY to Hold Chapter Summit this October 12th - 13th

The New York Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism is holding their chapter summit, “Re-Imagining the Suburbs,” a suburban retrofit themed workshop focusing on “new towns” and emerging transit corridors in Amherst.

The event will take place from Fri, Oct 12, 2018, 8:00 AM – Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 5:00 PM EDT. It will be held in Williamsville, NY, a 200 year old mill town, for a weekend of expert speakers, tours, and charrettes aimed at unique retrofit opportunities. The program will kick off with an Urban Land Institute breakfast and wrap up with a celebration tour of the CNU 22 legacy.

You can register for the vent and get more details here.

Suffolk County Purchasing Office Posts New Procurement Opportunity

The Suffolk County Purchasing Division, on behalf of the Department of Economic Development and Planning, is Seeking Contractor Services to Provide a Public Private Partnership (P3) Viability Analysis Based on a Specific Case Study.

To obtain a copy of the document, please log on to the Suffolk County website here and select from the Menu Bar Offerings/Search.  Locate Document #18026 and click View Detail.

You must be registered to search for offerings on the County’s website.  Instructions on how to register are located at the above link to view the County’s website.

We remember those who are gone...

Our Nation took a moment to commemorate and remember those who lost their lives in the tragic 9/11 attacks 17 years ago. Our region may never fully recover from the attacks, but our strength and resolve have grown beyond what they were. We will not forget those who were lost both during and after the attacks.

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director

Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

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.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

Home | Contact Us | Donate | About Us