Trump Administration: Notable Departures So Far

The Trump administration has seen a series of high-profile departures in its first eight months – and that includes a quick succession of four people over the summer.

Here’s a look at who’s already come and gone from inside and outside President Donald Trump’s White House, from those who quit, like the short-lived former press secretary Sean Spicer, to those who were pushed out, like Tom Price, who just resigned as Health and Human Services secretary.

Within the White House

Steve Bannon

The White House chief strategist relinquished his post on Aug. 18, the press secretary said in a statement. Bannon was a key campaign adviser and a forceful but contentious presence in the White House. The former leader of conservative Breitbart News (who returned there) pushed Trump to follow through with his campaign promises. But he also sparred with some of Trump’s closest advisers, including son-in-law Jared Kushner. His exit came amid tension over Trump’s comments blaming both sides in the clash between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Anthony Scaramucci

“The Mooch” came and went in just 10 days. The White House confirmed July 31 that he was ousted as communications director. “Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. Scaramucci, a Port Washington-raised financier, gave an expletive-filled interview to The New Yorker the week before in which he called Reince Priebus a “paranoid schizophrenic” and disparaged the president’s chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Reince Priebus

When President Donald Trump’s first chief of staff lost his job, the world found out about it on Twitter. That’s where Trump named Priebus’ replacement, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, on July 28. So ended a tumultuous six-month tenure for Priebus, a former head of the Republican National Committee, who was widely seen as a weak chief of staff amid White House infighting. “We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!” Trump tweeted about Priebus.

Sean Spicer

The White House press secretary suddenly quit on July 21, after Trump named Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. Spicer objected to Scaramucci’s hiring, news reports said. Spicer’s short run was marked by testy and even combative exchanges with the press at daily briefings, while Melissa McCarthy memorably lampooned him on “Saturday Night Live.” Like Priebus, Spicer hailed from the RNC.

Michael Flynn

Flynn resigned after three and a half weeks as national security adviser, on Feb. 13, after reports that he discussed U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. before Trump took office. Trump asked Flynn to resign because he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his late December call with the ambassador, Spicer said. Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates later testified that she warned the White House that Flynn “could be blackmailed” by Russia.

Michael Dubke

Trump’s first White House communications director resigned in May, serving his final day on June 2. Dubke founded Crossroads Media, a Republican firm that specializes in political advertising. Dubke wasn’t the first person hired for the job – that would be Jason Miller, who backed out before Trump took office.

Katie Walsh

The deputy chief of staff said March 30 that was she was leaving her post to join America First Policies, a pro-Trump outside group. Walsh said she decided to do that after the first attempt to repeal Obamacare during the Trump presidency failed in the House – where too many Republicans opposed it.

Outside the White House

Tom Price

The Health and Human Services secretary resigned Sept. 29, after his costly travel triggered investigations that overshadowed the administration’s agenda and angered his boss. Price was found to have used private charter jets for official trips, when cheaper commercial flights were available. Trump had said publicly he was “not happy” with Price over the practice. Price is the first member of the president’s Cabinet to be pushed out.

Preet Bharara (along with 45 U.S. attorneys)

The Manhattan U.S. attorney was fired after he refused to resign – announcing his own termination on Twitter on March 11. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had demanded the resignations of Bharara and 45 other Obama-appointed federal prosecutors the day before. Several of the 46 were given months-long extensions, including Connecticut’s U.S. attorney, who is staying on until October.

James Comey

Trump’s firing of the FBI director shocked the nation on May 9 – with rippling effects for his presidency since. Trump told NBC News “this Russia thing” – which he called “a made-up story” – was on his mind when he decided to fire Comey, as the FBI investigated Russian interference in the presidential election. Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee he was fired to change “the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.”

Sally Yates

Trump fired the acting attorney general on Jan. 30 after she ordered Department of Justice lawyers to stop defending his executive order issued on Jan. 27, one week into his presidency, banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations. A White House statement accused Yates of betraying “the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”

Long Island in 1790: What America’s First Census Reveals

Credit: National Archives

Long Island in 1790 was populated by about 1 percent of the people who live here today; with a relatively equal number of men and women and about 2,000 slaves.

That’s the picture painted by America’s first Census, collected after President George Washington signed the 1790 Census Act so the government could learn “the aggregate amount of each description of persons” to be able to form a representative government, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Aug. 2, 1790, was the official “Census Day” and the process was to be led by then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson.

In honor of the 227th anniversary of America’s first Census, here’s a look at Long Island’s population in 1790.

Scenes from Long Island in the 1800s. Photo credits from top left, clockwise: East Williston Village Historian; Nassau County Museum Collection; Nassau County Museum; Unknown.

Boys in a barn in Old Westbury circa 1890.

The geography of 1790

In 1790, Brooklyn and Queens were still considered part of Long Island. Nassau County did not yet officially exist; the towns of North Hempstead, Oyster Bay and South Hempstead were part of Queens County. Suffolk County was made up of eight towns; what was the Town of Huntington then also included the current Town of Babylon, and what was the Town of Southold then included what is now the Town of Riverhead.

Long Island map from approximately 1780. Credit: New York Public Library Digital Collections

The numbers highlighted here, unless otherwise noted, represent statistics from Suffolk County and the three towns that would become Nassau County — so these are the 1790 totals for the area making up modern day Long Island.

The findings

The Census sought information on just five categories:

  • Free white males over 16 (for possible industrial and military potential)
  • Free white males under 16
  • Free white females (including heads of households)
  • All other free persons (including free blacks and Indians)
  • Slaves.

In 1790, Long Island’s total population was 27,061. By comparison, the 2010 census estimate placed LI’s population at about 3 million — just under the population of the entire United States in 1790.

Broken down by county, the three areas that currently make up Nassau County had 10,621 people, and Suffolk County had 16,440.

Nassau’s most populated area was Oyster Bay, with 4,097 people, and its least-populated area was North Hempstead, with 2,696. Suffolk’s most populated area was Southampton, with 3,408 people, and its least-populated area was Shelter Island, with just 201 people.

Here are the islandwide totals for the six categories in the Census:


Total population


Free white males older than 16


Free white males younger than 16


Free white females


All other free persons



Each white family in Suffolk County had an average of 5.1 members; in Queens County (including modern-day Nassau), there were 5.7 members.

Roughly 17.1 percent of Suffolk households reported holding slaves; in Queens County that number was 34.6 percent, and in Kings County (Brooklyn), the number was 61.1 percent.

Slaves on LI

The Census found that New York was the largest slave-holding state in the north, with 21,324. In comparison, the largest slave-holding state in the south was Virginia, with 292,627, more than 13 times as many.

There were 2,312 slaves on Long Island, roughly 8.5 percent of the total population.

According to the Census, the largest slaveholder in Suffolk County was William Floyd of Mastic, who had 14, and the largest slaveholder in what would become Nassau County was Samuel Martin of South Hempstead, who had 17.

The William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach. Credit: Newsday/ Michael E. Ach


Though the Census solicited no information about ethnic background, the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research analyzed the surnames of the white population in 1790 to create a likely ethnic breakdown of national backgrounds. (Their analysis is for Suffolk County and all of Queens County — all of modern-day Nassau County and all of modern-day Queens).

They found that nearly three quarters of the population — 73.2 percent — was likely either English or Welsh. The next biggest group was slaves, at 10.5 percent, and 7.4 percent of people were Dutch.

Heads of household

Scroll through and zoom in on the full Census document below to see which last names populated Long Island in 1790.

Feed Me TV, Season 1

Design your own doughnuts in Lynbrook; drink a little too much rosé on the East End; fish for porgy and fluke in the Long Island Sound; learn the secrets to tie-dyed pancakes in Long Beach, dill pickles in Glen Cove, smoked brisket in Riverhead.

This is Feed Me TV, the show that takes you inside Long Island’s food scene, from end to end, shore to shore.

In each 15-minute episode, Newsday’s Pervaiz Shallwani takes a deep dive into one of the Island’s most compelling stories: the hot chef, the cool town, the new restaurant, the beloved old standard.

Episode 1: The journey from sea to table

Who actually catches the local catch? We motor the Long Island Sound to pull up porgy, sea bass and fluke, then follow the catch back to the Southold Fish Market before it’s served at the Shelter Island restaurant 18 Bay. Also in this episode: Exotic Indian-Chinese food at Nanking inside the Hilton Long Island in Melville and a smoking lesson with the pitmasters at Old Fields Barbecue.

Still Hungry?

Episode 2: The Gatorade of the Hamptons

Wölffer Estate Vineyard and Channing Daughters Winery say they have a hard time keeping easy-drinking rosé in stock during the dog days of summer. Heads clear, we head to Port Washington for upscale pub food at The Wild Goose, embrace the sushi burrito at Masa Asian Cuisine in Babylon and finish at Black Label Burgers in Westbury.

Still Hungry?

Episode 3: The village that never sleeps

Babylon was once a sleepy little village where burgers and red sauce ruled the dining scene. Today, it’s a South Shore restaurant hub. Small plates, craft cocktails, Asian fusion — check, check and check. Next, it’s a lesson in wood-fired cooking at Lulu Kitchen & Bar in Sag Harbor, then we’re off to Glen Cove to tour a family-run pickle business. We finish at Greenport’s Little Creek Oysters, a cult U-shuckerie.

Still Hungry?

Episode 4: Out of the ring and into the kitchen

At Babalu in Huntington, a former pro boxer puts his own modern twists on dishes from his Cuban family’s culinary repertoire. Then, we’re off to Tobay Beach to eat seafood with a view of the sea at Crazy Oyster, visit the Charlie’s Hot Dogs truck in Islip Terrace and finish with a buttoned-up burger at The Rex Burger & Lobster in Mineola.

Still Hungry?

Episode 5: Major league eats at Citi Field

The city’s sportiest dining destination? Citi Field, which not only hosts the New York Mets but some of New York’s most famous chefs: Danny Meyer (Shake Shack and Blue Smoke), David Chang (Fuku), Michael White (Nicoletta). Then it’s on to Locale in Patchogue for casual Italian fare, Lynbrook for custom-designed doughnuts and a peek inside the smoker at Maple Tree BBQ in Riverhead.

Still Hungry?

Episode 6: The mad scientist of burgers

From the outside, BBD’s doesn’t look like much, a generic storefront in a Rocky Point strip mall. But walk inside and it’s a shrine to heavy metal, beef and craft beer. From there we head to MaBella in Commack for Italian-American food, discover the secret of tie-dyed pancakes in Long Beach and finish with Turkish food at Pasha Kabob in North Lindenhurst.

Still Hungry?

Feed Me TV: Season 1 Episodes

President Donald Trump speaks on LI

President Donald Trump visited Long Island today, speaking to local law enforcement officers at the police academy at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. The president focused many of his remarks on the rash of gang violence Long Island has been experiencing at the hands of the MS-13 street gang and also discussed national immigration policies. Here are live updates from before, during and after Trump made his remarks. For more about Trump’s visit, click here.

Watch Trump’s speech to Long Islanders

Protesters and supporters gathered outside

Build-up to Trump’s visit

Karina Vetrano murder: Howard Beach, 1 year later

Jogger Karina Vetrano was found brutally murdered on Aug. 2, 2016, in her close-knit Howard Beach community. A year later, many residents say they still won’t set foot in Spring Creek Park, where the 30-year-old’s body was found.

The murder, in a neighborhood where violent crimes are rare, left the community reeling for nearly six months until police nabbed a suspect, 20-year-old Chanel Lewis of East New York, which borders Howard Beach in Queens.

Lewis is accused of strangling and sexually abusing Vetrano, a graduate of St. John’s University who worked part-time as a cocktail waitress at an Italian restaurant and lounge in Howard Beach, where she also lived with her parents.

The suspect is being held at the North Infirmary Command on Rikers Island, which houses high-profile inmates or prisoners who need medical care, while awaiting a pretrial hearing on Sept. 7.

He allegedly confessed to killing Vetrano in February, but pleaded not guilty in court in April. Whether or not his confession was voluntary will be the topic of a pretrial hearing, Queens State Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak said during another hearing on July 13.

His DNA, which Lewis gave voluntarily, matched samples taken from under Vetrano’s nails, on her neck and on her phone, according to authorities.

Even with the arrest, residents of the neighborhood have been noticeably more alert, said Capt. Brian J. Bohannon Jr., the commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, which covers Howard Beach, Ozone Park and South Ozone Park.

“People do call the police when they do see something down there. We have had calls of suspicious persons in the neighborhood,” said Bohannon, who noted that Howard Beach is a “very pro-police community.” Residents have called in when they don’t recognize someone from their block or neighborhood, he added.

“I haven’t seen any … ‘sky falling down’ sentiment like people assumed would happen,” he added. “I feel they’re very appreciative of the work that the police have done, especially closing this case and bringing her killer to justice.”

The park where Vetrano’s body was found, Spring Creek Park — a sprawling, federally protected green space at the southern end of the Howard Beach peninsula locals call “The Weeds” — is overgrown with thick common reeds that reached up to more than 5 feet high on a recent afternoon and lined both sides of the dirt walking paths inside.

The wildness of the park deterred most people from it even before the murder, but after, the more adventurous also stopped going in, some residents said.

360 video: “The Weeds”

Note: On mobile devices, the 360-degree video experience can be viewed only in the YouTube app.

Maxomiliano Lopez Gomez said he used to kayak, fish and ride his motorcycle in Spring Creek Park, but he didn’t return after the NYPD and National Park Service police swarmed it following Vetrano’s death.

While Spring Creek Park is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, owned and operated by the National Park Service, the NYPD is responsible for the surrounding area. City police are not currently targeting the area for more patrols, Bohannon said.

The exterior of the park is patrolled daily by a U.S. Parks police officer in a marked vehicle and the interior is patrolled several times a week, said Sgt. David Somma of the U.S. Parks police, though he wouldn’t provide the exact number of patrols inside The Weeds.

Immediately after Vetrano’s body was found, the weeds in the park were trimmed down so people could finally see into it, and police in cars, on horses and on foot patrolled the area for months. But as soon as Lewis was arrested in February, the police disappeared and the weeds grew back in full force, residents said.

“You’re basically in a forest and you never know what’s going to come out of there,” Lopez Gomez said. “I’m not really worried about people in there, but more the animals, like raccoons. They could be rabid. You see people go in there, mostly people who enjoy the wildlife. But I don’t go in there anymore.”

James Debari, 46, father of two young children and resident of Howard Beach for 11 years, said he used to go into the park “out of curiosity,” but hasn’t been back since the murder.

“I would never take my kids in there,” he said. “I’m more worried about the ticks than anything else. A lot of people don’t go in there. Nobody really knows why [Vetrano] was in there.”

Some community advocates have urged residents to stay out of the park, while others hoped the tragedy would push the National Park Service to rejuvenate the space into a safe place for visitors by removing weeds and adding cameras and lighting, Somma said.

Howard Beach, Queens

Howard Beach Murder Map

“If you’re going to be walking at night, make sure you go with a buddy,” said Joann Ariola, president of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association. “We also urge people not to go to Spring Creek Park. Although it’s patrolled, it’s not as patrolled as we would like it.”

On Feb. 2, just before Lewis’ arrest on Feb. 5, the National Park Service and the state Department of Environmental Conservation approached Queens Community Board 10 – which covers Howard Beach, Ozone Park and South Ozone Park – with an update to its resiliency plan for the park that was proposed in 2015, after superstorm Sandy.

The plan originally focused on reducing storm damage and flooding around Spring Creek Park, but now features a “crime prevention” component, including permanently ripping out the weeds there, replacing them with shorter native plants and installing benches, according to Gateway.

“We wouldn’t want anything to grow high like [the weeds],” explained Gateway spokeswoman Daphne Yun. “It maximizes safety and security through sight lines and access points.”

I would never take my kids in [The Weeds].
… A lot of people don’t go in there.

Howard Beach resident James Debari

Construction on the nearly $70 million, FEMA-funded project is expected to start in the summer of 2019 and wrap up by the summer of 2021, according to the DEC.

But infrastructure in the park currently doesn’t support cameras and lighting, Somma said.

Gateway has hired a security expert to figure out whether adding cameras and lighting would be possible, according to Yun.

“Lighting is part of the conversation, but there might not be any lighting so people can know when it’s open and when it’s closed,” Yun said, noting that the park is only open from dawn to dusk. There’s a small sign listing park rules and hours at the intersection of 83rd Street and 161st Avenue.

The community’s concerns over safety in the park came to a head after Vetrano’s death. As the NYPD investigated, the only footage obtained of her running outside the park was captured from a CCTV camera attached to a house on 83rd Street near 164th Avenue.

“If there’s a really safe area, you don’t want the resources to be used, but then something happens, and you wished they were there,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said.

The NYPD installed eight cameras along the edge of Spring Creek Park on Aug. 24, 2016, about three weeks after Vetrano was killed. The cameras were funded by Katz’s office as part of a Queens-wide camera installation project costing $1.2 million.

“There always should have been some sort of cameras there,” Katz said. “[Now] if you enter or leave the park, you’ll be filmed.”

“Small-town values”

Howard Beach is mostly residential with a beachside, suburban feel and a population of roughly 30,000 people, 82.4 percent of whom are white non-Hispanic, and the majority of whom are homeowners, according to the most recent U.S. Census data, from 2015. Only about 11 percent of residents rented during 2015, the data shows.

The neighborhood is bound by water on three sides and borders Ozone Park and South Ozone Park to the north and East New York to the west.

John Spinelli, 47, moved to Howard Beach in 2000. The former engineer, who is no longer working and is on disability, said he moved to the area for some peace and quiet and for the Italian community.

“I lived in South Ozone Park, but I moved here because the neighborhood was getting bad — noisy,” Spinelli said. “It’s quiet here. No one plays the music really loud. It’s a nice neighborhood. It’s predominantly Italian. That’s why my mom wanted to live here.”

With a median household income of more than $85,000, Howard Beach is easily the wealthiest of the communities surrounding it. By comparison, the median income of neighboring Ozone Park is $62,057 and in East New York it’s $35,698, census data shows.

Howard Beach also has the lowest major crime numbers out of those neighborhoods.

Complaints about noise and a woman selling ices on the roadside made up the majority of residents’ grievances during a July 12 session of a community meeting, held monthly at the 106th Precinct.

“It’s a community where violent crime is not regular,” said Betty Braton, chairperson of Community Board 10 and a resident of Howard Beach for more than 60 years.

“A murder is far from common. That’s what made it a horrendous thing to the community. It certainly disturbed the community greatly, made people very mindful that there is danger in this world you live in.”

Howard Beach hasn’t seen any murders or rapes in 2017, as of July 23, though there were eight robberies and nine felony assaults. Precinct-wide, there were three murders, four rapes, 109 robberies and 126 felony assaults for that time period.

By comparison, on the other side of the Belt Parkway in the 75th Precinct, which covers East New York and Cypress Hills, there were five murders, 32 rapes, 352 robberies and 478 felony assaults reported for that period.

Single-family houses and manicured lawns make up most of the tight-knit Howard Beach community, with Italian eateries, cafes and chain stores concentrated along Cross Bay Boulevard, the neighborhood’s commercial strip, including Vetro Restaurant and Lounge, where Vetrano worked as a cocktail waitress.

Residents have been more wary since the murder and it’s made them band together, Bohannon said.

“It increased awareness,” he said. “For the family, that grief is never going to go away. As far as the community in general, the businesses doors aren’t shuttered and no one is sleeping behind closed doors. I think we have rebounded pretty well.”

Residents of Howard Beach will hold a vigil for Karina Vetrano on Wednesday, Aug. 2, the one-year anniversary of her death. They will meet at 165th Avenue and 85th Street at 7 p.m. and walk to St. Helen’s Church on 83rd Street. Borough President Melinda Katz and the 106th Precinct’s Commanding Officer Brian J. Bohannon Jr. will be among those in attendance.

Reported by: Heather Holland, Nicole Brown, Lauren Cook, Alison Fox, Alex Bazeley & Sarina Trangle | Copy editor: Martha Guevara | Designer: Matthew Cassella | Interactive editor: Polly Higgins |

Trump and Sessions: How the relationship played out on Twitter

He was one of President Donald Trump’s earliest supporters but now Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking heat from the president on Twitter. Earlier in the week, Trump expressed regret over choosing Sessions for the Cabinet position and then he took to social media for a days-long public criticism of what he called Sessions’ “weak” handling of allegations against Hillary Clinton.

But the relationship was not always so contentious. Trump has often used Twitter to tout Sessions and his work, before his tone took a sharp turn this week. Here’s a look back at every Sessions-related tweet from Trump’s personal and POTUS handles since the election.

  Feb. 28, 2016 Thank you, Senator Sessions

Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump. In his Facebook post on the endorsement, Trump acknowledged Sessions as “the Senate’s indispensable man and the gold standard.”

  March 4, 2016 A vote of confidence

Trump chooses Sessions as chairman of a high-profile advisory committee.

 June 8, 2016  Foreshadowing retweeted

Back before Trump was even the Republican nominee for president, a supporter tweeted at him with a bright idea:
Jeff Sessions for Vice President. Sessions’ name had circulated in the media, as well, as a possible running mate or Cabinet nominee. Trump retweeted the user.

 Nov 22, 2016  “A fitting selection”

The National Review applauded Trump’s pick for Attorney General. Trump shared the link.

 Jan. 13, 2017  Everyone’s doing great

As confirmation hearings got underway to fill Trump’s Cabinet positions, he tweeted his support.

  Jan. 31, 2017 Eager to get Sessions in

 Feb. 8, 2017 Sessions confirmed

  Feb. 9, 2017 Live in the Oval Office

  March 3, 2017 ‘An honest man’

After Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation and any future investigations related to Russia, Trump defended the actions that led Sessions to the decision in a series of tweets. He also told reporters he did not think Sessions needed to recuse himself.

  March 4, 2017

Trump mentioned Sessions in a series of tweets defending him and pointing to the Obama administration’s contact with the Russian ambassador. On the same day, Trump also tweeted the President Barack Obama wire tapped his phones.

 March 13, 2017 A proud welcome

Sessions appeared in a series of photos taken in the Oval Office, welcoming the new Cabinet members and meeting with members of a police union.

 April 18, 2017 Getting tough

Trump lauds Sessions’ work thus far.

 July 22, 2017 Decrying leaks against the AG

In the early morning hours of July 22, Trump mentioned Sessions in a tweet decrying what he called illegal leaks that lead to a Washington Post report alleging that Sessions had previously undisclosed conversations with Russia about the election.

 July 22, 2017 Questions for the AG

About an hour later, the tweets started to point more directly at Sessions.

 July 24, 2017 Beleaguered

In addition to the criticism of Sessions on Twitter, Trump told The Wall Street Journal he was looking at the possibility of firing him.

 July 25, 2017 VERY weak

 July 26, 2017 Foreshadowing retweeted

Trump’s attack continued, even as Republicans came to Sessions’ defense and denounced the president’s actions.

In the following days, Trump said in interviews that he wants Sessions to stay on the job. Sessions said he intends to do so.

What’s going on with the Russian estate on Long Island?

A nearly century-old mansion on Long Island’s North Shore is still the focus of a diplomatic dispute between the United States and Russia that has lingered from shortly before President Donald Trump took office.

The United States barred Russian diplomats from the Nassau estate in retaliation for Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election and harassment of U.S. diplomats in Russia, charges that the Russian government has denied.

However, for some Long Islanders this throwback to the Cold War is more about lost dogs, holidays gifts and armed guards than international intrigue.

How did we get here?

The 18,929-square-foot Russian-owned mansion and 14-acre property on Mill River Road in Upper Brookville, described by the U.S. government as a “recreational compound,” was ordered closed by President Barack Obama’s administration on Dec. 29, 2016. The next day, 35 diplomats were expelled from the premises.

(Credit: Google Maps)

Russia has repeatedly condemned the compound’s closure, charging that it is a violation of international diplomatic agreements. And Cold War experts have said they could not recall another example of a decision to bar diplomats from entering Soviet- or Russian-owned property, according to a McClatchy report.

Russian officials on July 28 ordered the closure of a U.S. recreational retreat and warehouse in Russia, a move described in news reports as in part retaliatory. Russia also ordered the United States to cut its embassy and consular staff in Russia by 755, in retaliation for Congress approving new U.S. sanctions against Russia, which Trump signed into law days later.

Upper Brookville estate closure timeline

Dec. 30, 2016

Russian diplomats vacate the compound on Mill River Road in Upper Brookville after it was ordered closed by President Barack Obama.
Credit: Howard Schnapp

July 7-8, 2017

President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin discuss the mansion at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Credit: AP

July 28, 2017

Putin orders the United States to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 in retaliation for Congress approving new sanctions. Credit: AP

Aug. 2, 2017

Trump signs the bipartisan Russia sanctions bill, but calls it “seriously flawed,” drawing the ire of Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Credit: AP

Seemingly decent but distant neighbors

Liz Berens, 69, of Upper Brookville, has closer ties to the mansion than a typical Long Islander. She is the granddaughter of former New York Gov. Nathan Miller, the estate’s previous owner. In 1952, Miller sold the property to the Russians, according to Newsday reporting.

The house, also known as the Elmcroft Estate and Norwich House, had become “very proletarian,” she said, comparing it to her memories of visiting the property as a child, and her last visit from about 15 years ago.

“All of the beautiful details were gone. It was very sparse,” Berens said.

Shortly after her last visit, she said the FBI interviewed her and showed her a blueprint of the house, asking her to note each room she saw and to describe it. An FBI spokeswoman said the bureau had no comment.

Berens said the Russians were “decent neighbors,” but when the closure was announced, she “wasn’t surprised that there were perhaps intelligence operations going on there.”

Norwich House seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Courtesy of Liz Berens)

Dan Travers, 56, who has lived across from the compound for more than 12 years, said he never noticed any “unusual activities” on the property.

Travers said his only encounter with someone from the Russian compound came about two years earlier after his dog walked across the street and spent the night against the property’s fence.

“Someone called us who didn’t speak English” and managed to communicate that the dog was there, Travers said.

Alexa Roland, 23, who lives less than a quarter mile from the compound, said that when she was about 10 years old, her mother, out of curiosity, drove up the driveway, which at the time had no gate.

“Two men came out and they were armed,” Roland recalled. “They asked what we were doing and said, ‘We’ll have to search you. This is Russian property.’ ” The men searched the car, Roland and her mother, and then told them to immediately leave, she said.

Nick DeMartino, who said he had lived several houses away for five years, said he used to hear people at the estate firing shotguns at clay pigeons on the weekends.

“We knew they were Russian diplomats,” he said in a Reuters report. “We’d seen them driving around town.”

Penny Hallman, another neighbor, said that in the days before the Russians were removed, a man whom she knew only by the title of “senior counselor” stopped by her home with a holiday gift of vodka and candy.

“I hope they come back,” Hallman told The New York Times. “It’s been a pleasure to have them here.”

How has local government reacted?

Upper Brookville Mayor Elliot Conway said he had contact with the State Department, which has maintained the estate since it was ordered shut, and “they confirmed there’s no change” in its status.

“I think the [Russian] mission is a small pawn in a very large and complicated chess game,” Conway added.

Photos: Russian-owned mansion in Upper Brookville closes

In June, Oyster Bay Town officials started charging beach parking and permit fees for members of the Russian mission to the UN. The fees had been waived for decades as a gesture of goodwill.

But officials say the change has nothing to do with international politics, just fairness. Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said the practice was unfair to residents who pay for the $60 annual permit. He said anyone who is a resident of the Upper Brookville house could buy the permit.

Do the Russians own anything else on Long Island?

In addition to the Elmcroft Estate, the Soviet Union bought the Killenworth mansion on Dosoris Lane in nearby Glen Cove in 1946, according to a Newsday story from that year. The 26,459-square-foot house was built in 1912 by philanthropist and Standard Oil heir George Dupont Pratt. The property hasn’t been part of sanctions during the diplomatic tiff.

(Credit: Google Maps)

A number of early news reports incorrectly stated the Glen Cove property — not the Upper Brookville mansion — was the Long Island estate that the Obama administration had targeted.

Orin Finkle, 76, of Great Neck, is a historian of Long Island Gold Coast estates. Having acquired many historical photos of such houses, Finkle used his collection to secure a visit to the Glen Cove mansion in 1985.

“I called the UN and said, ‘I know no Americans ever go in that house,’ ” he said. “ ‘I’ll make you a trade: I’ll give you the photos if you let me in.’ ”

The Glen Cove and Upper Brookville properties are outlined in red in the map above. Click on each one for more information.

About one month later, Finkle said he was invited. He walked through, escorted by a United Nations diplomat and two of the Soviets who were staying in the house at the time. They showed him around and discussed the differences between American and Soviet lifestyles.

“It was very pleasant. They were very nice,” he said.

Finkle said they wouldn’t take him upstairs, only showing him the first floor. He recalled “nothing fancy” in the house itself, but said the outside was as “beautiful” as he had seen in older photos.

“Everything looked how it looked back in the old days,” he said. “If I didn’t know that was the Russians, anyone could’ve been living there at the time.”

Photos: Russian-owned estate in Glen Cove through the years

Liam Cox, 19, recalled that when he was a child at a summer camp located on property next to the mansion, counselors would jokingly say, “ ‘Don’t cross over the fence or you’ll get shot.’ ”

The Glen Cove resident said he doesn’t mind the Russian government’s presence in the city.

“I’ve lived here my whole life and it hasn’t bothered me,” he said. “It’s not like anything is going on there.”

Gloria Farino, 87, of Fort Salonga, who was in Glen Cove one afternoon for an eye doctor’s appointment, feels the same way.

“If it has never caused problems before, why would it cause problems now?” she said.

Spying allegations, Khrushchev and Castro

The Soviets installed electronic surveillance equipment at Killenworth to spy on the Long Island defense industry and high-tech firms, a Soviet defector and a U.S. official told Newsday in 1982.

The allegations of spying led Glen Cove Mayor Alan Parente to bar Soviet officials from using city beaches and tennis courts, according to news reports at the time. The Glen Cove City Council lifted the ban in 1984 by a vote of 5-2. The two dissenting voters, Tip Henderson and Ann Gold, said the Soviets should have to pay taxes to use the city’s recreational facilities. They had not done so because the house was under tax-exempt status as a diplomatic consulate.

An April 28, 1982, Newsday article about alleged spy activity conducted at the Glen Cove estate.

Reginald Spinello, the current Glen Cove mayor, recalled that when he was a child in 1960 during a time of tense relations between the Soviet Union and the United States, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visited the estate.

“People lined the streets,” he said. “They were throwing tomatoes at the limos. People were not happy at the time that he was coming in there.”

The Soviets also once hosted Fidel Castro at the mansion, McClatchy reported.

Could the Trump administration let the Russians back in the Upper Brookville compound?

Only if Congress agrees. The new sanctions, which Trump reluctantly signed into law on Aug. 2 after they overwhelmingly passed the House and the Senate, require congressional review of any administration plan to return the property, news reports say. It’s unclear what will happen to the estate if the Russians are not allowed to return.

Top image credit: News 12 Long Island

Design: Matthew Cassella Map: Tim Healy Illustration: Seth Mates Copy editor: Jennifer Martin Production: Joe Diglio

Viewing the solar eclipse on Long Island: What you need to know

If you’re wondering about the recent barrage of images of people in dark glasses gazing up at the sky, you’ll want to learn a thing or two about the celestial phenomenon coming up during the daylight hours of Monday, Aug. 21.

It’s a total eclipse of the sun, viewable over parts of the U.S. – but for Long Island the eclipse will be partial, covering only about 71 percent of the sun.

You can follow along here for live updates from social media users on Long Island and across the country.

When is it?

Aug. 21 at 1:24 p.m.: The eclipse starts on Long Island and eclipse eyewear must be worn.

2:46 p.m.: Maximum coverage of sun, around 71 percent, will occur.

4:01 p.m.: The eclipse ends on Long Island.

What is it?

A narrow strip of darkness about 70 miles wide moves speedily across the country, starting in Oregon and, about 90 minutes later, exiting the U.S. from South Carolina.

The sun, moon and earth will be lining up. As the moon gradually moves in front of the sun, it blocks the sun’s light and its shadow is cast onto the Earth, making it feel like nighttime is falling.

Long Island, which is not on that narrow path of total eclipse, will see a partial eclipse of the sun, weather permitting.

What a total eclipse will look like:

In areas where skywatchers can see a total eclipse, here’s how it will go:

The moon starts moving over the sun, and gradually the sun is completely blocked, lasting in many locations a little over two minutes.

The sun’s corona, which is made up of strands of gases from the sun’s outer atmosphere, is visible, emanating from around the darkened orb. Then the moon starts moving away, gradually revealing the sun.

What the eclipse will look like on Long Island:

The moon starts moving over the sun, and gradually, about 71 percent of the sun is covered. The moon then starts moving away, gradually revealing the rest of the sun.

Protect your eyes

First, if you value your eyeballs, you’ll view through special eclipse glasses – not sunglasses or filters.

For the partial eclipse on Long Island, the glasses must be worn from beginning to end, or eyes will be damaged by the sun’s rays. Glasses should be marked with safety standard number ISO 12312-2. Beware that some glasses that were sold online are not compliant.

A list of reputable vendors is available on the American Astronomical Society website.

Where to watch outside:

If you want to watch the eclipse somewhere other than the beach or your back yard, here’s a sampling of locations where Long Islanders can gather during the early afternoon on August 21.

Some locations will provide safe viewing options, such as eclipse glasses, and some are weather permitting. Check the links for more details:

South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center

377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton

John Jermain Memorial Library

201 Main St, Sag Harbor

Oceanside Library

Event is at Schoolhouse Green, Foxhurst Road, Oceanside.

Cradle of Aviation Museum

Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City

East Meadow Public Library

1886 Front Street, East Meadow

Where to watch inside:

Video credit: NASA

Some sites will be live-streaming the eclipse:

NASA live stream

Slooh live stream

If you miss this solar eclipse:

Mark your calendar for April 8, 2024, when the path of totality crosses upstate New York.

Senate health care vote: What went wrong

Republicans suffered a stunning defeat early Friday morning, when the Senate narrowly rejected the GOP’s slimmed-down Obamacare repeal bill after an ailing Sen. John McCain — whose support allowed the debate to begin Tuesday — cast a surprise “no” vote.

The vote dealt a serious blow to President Donald Trump and the GOP agenda, with most Republican candidates having pledged for years to repeal President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act.

Here’s what led up to the vote’s failure:

Pence breaks procedural vote tie

The Senate held a procedural vote on Tuesday that allowed formal debate to begin on a potential repeal of major components of the Affordable Care Act. The vote itself did not trigger any changes to the existing legislation. Nonetheless, it was seen as an indication of how some Republican senators on the fence about the actual repeal effort may ultimately vote. The vote passed by a slim margin with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie.

The two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Maine, to cast “no” votes had already put their opposition on record. That left moderate GOP senators such as Dean Heller of Nevada and John McCain of Arizona, as the critical votes. Heller didn’t indicate his support until minutes before the vote while McCain – making a dramatic return to the Senate after a recent diagnosis of brain cancer – gave no indication of which way he was leaning until he cast a “yes” vote. All Democrats voted no as expected.

Repeal and replace bill fails

The first defeat for Republicans in the week’s 20-hour period of debate and amendments to dismantle Obamacare came late Tuesday, when nine Republican senators defected and sank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s repeal and replace Obamacare bill.

The bill was a wide-ranging proposal that would repeal much of former President Barack Obama’s health care law and replace it with a more restrictive plan.

The rejected proposal included language by McConnell erasing the Obama law’s tax penalties on people not buying insurance and cutting Medicaid.

Language by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz would let insurers sell cut-rate policies with skimpy coverage. And there was an additional $100 billion to help states ease costs for people losing Medicaid sought by Midwestern moderates.

Full Obamacare repeal vote fails

On Wednesday, July 26, the divided Senate Republican majority failed to muster the votes to pass its longtime goal of a complete repeal of Obamacare, marking the second setback of the week as it debated and attempted to shape legislation to dismantle the 2010 health care law.

The amendment, which resurrected a 2015 bill to repeal Obamacare but delay it for two years to give lawmakers time to replace it, failed in a 45-55 vote, with seven Republicans — including McCain — voting against it, even though six of them voted for it when it passed in 2015.

Republicans voting no were McCain, Murkowski, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Alexander, and Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

‘Skinny repeal’ bill fails

The “skinny repeal” bill would have ended the mandate that all individuals obtain health insurance, terminated a tax on medical devices, and leave untouched a Medicaid expansion created by Obamacare. It would have resulted in the loss of health insurance for 15 million people over the next decade and a 20 percent increase in insurance premiums, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated.

McCain, whose return to the Senate helped begin the formal debate on the three health-care bills, ultimately cast the vote that killed the Republicans’ “skinny repeal” bill and delivered a severe political defeat for Trump and McConnell.

McCain made the call shortly after dramatically walking to the front of the Senate floor around 1:30 a.m. Friday, holding out his arm and turning his thumb down — meaning a 51-49 defeat for the bill Republicans called the Health Care Freedom Act. The Arizona maverick joined with fellow Republicans Collins and Murkowski and all 48 Democrats in the chamber to vote no.

The amendment was a last resort for Senate Republicans to pass something — anything — to trigger negotiations with the House. Some Republicans were concerned that the House would simply pass the pared-down bill and send it to Trump.

The reaction

House leaders had no hesitation about blaming the Senate for the collapse of one of the GOP’s paramount priorities.

In a statement, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pointedly said “the House delivered a bill” and said he was “disappointed and frustrated.” Nearly three months earlier, the House approved its health care package after several embarrassing setbacks.

He added, “But we should not give up. I encourage the Senate to continue working toward a real solution that keeps our promise.”

Trump returned to Twitter to express his disappointment with the failure of the GOP effort and threatened to let the health care system collapse:

Long Island unemployment rates for June 2017

The overall unemployment rate on Long Island for June 2017 rose to 4.2 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from where it was a year earlier, according to data from the state’s Department of Labor. The Village of Freeport showed the largest percentage-point increase, rising to 5 percent from 4.5 percent in June 2016. The Town of Huntington rose 0.4 percentage points, up to a rate of 4.0.
The charts show June rates for 2017 and 2016 and the table below gives details. Read more.

Local jobless rates for June

Details on the monthly unemployment rates

June 2017 Labor Force Employed Unemployed Rate (%)
Nassau-Suffolk 1,511,900 1,448,500 63,500 4.2
Nassau County 716,800 687,300 29,500 4.1
Freeport Village 23,200 22,100 1,200 5.0
Glen Cove City 14,300 13,800 500 3.8
Hempstead Town 408,700 391,100 17,600 4.3
Hempstead Village 28,200 26,700 1,500 5.2
Long Beach City 20,000 19,300 800 3.8
North Hempstead Town 115,500 111,100 4,400 3.8
Oyster Bay Town 158,200 152,000 6,200 3.9
Rockville Centre Village 12,400 11,900 500 3.9
Valley Stream Village 20,200 19,300 900 4.4
Suffolk County 795,100 761,200 33,900 4.3
Babylon Town 114,500 109,000 5,400 4.7
Brookhaven Town 260,100 248,600 11,400 4.4
Huntington Town 106,800 102,600 4,200 4.0
Islip Town 182,800 175,000 7,800 4.3
Lindenhurst Village 15,700 15,000 700 4.7
Riverhead Town 16,300 15,600 700 4.1
Smithtown Town 61,400 59,000 2,400 3.9
Southampton Town 29,500 28,400 1,100 3.7
New York City 4,220,700 4,034,900 185,700 4.4
New York State 9,739,700 9,298,700 441,000 4.5
May 2017 Labor Force Employed Unemployed Rate (%)
Nassau-Suffolk 1,477,500 1,420,300 57,300 3.9
Nassau County 700,500 674,100 26,400 3.8
Freeport Village 22,700 21,600 1,000 4.6
Glen Cove City 14,000 13,500 500 3.6
Hempstead Town 399,200 383,600 15,600 3.9
Hempstead Village 27,400 26,200 1,300 4.6
Long Beach City 19,600 18,900 700 3.6
North Hempstead Town 112,900 109,000 3,900 3.5
Oyster Bay Town 154,700 149,100 5,600 3.6
Rockville Centre Village 12,100 11,700 400 3.5
Valley Stream Village 19,700 18,900 800 4.1
Suffolk County 777,100 746,200 30,900 4.0
Babylon Town 111,800 106,900 4,900 4.4
Brookhaven Town 253,800 243,700 10,000 3.9
Huntington Town 104,400 100,500 3,900 3.7
Islip Town 178,700 171,500 7,200 4.0
Lindenhurst Village 15,400 14,700 700 4.5
Riverhead Town 16,000 15,300 700 4.1
Smithtown Town 60,000 57,800 2,100 3.6
Southampton Town 28,900 27,800 1,100 3.8
New York City 4,201,700 4,023,700 178,000 4.2
New York State 9,614,900 9,204,700 410,200 4.3
June 2016 Labor Force Employed Unemployed Rate (%)
Nassau-Suffolk 1,501,700 1,442,200 59,500 4.0
Nassau County 711,300 684,200 27,100 3.8
Freeport Village 23,000 22,000 1,000 4.5
Glen Cove City 14,300 13,700 500 3.6
Hempstead Town 405,400 389,300 16,100 4.0
Hempstead Village 27,900 26,600 1,400 4.9
Long Beach City 19,900 19,200 700 3.5
North Hempstead Town 114,700 110,600 4,100 3.6
Oyster Bay Town 157,100 151,400 5,700 3.6
Rockville Centre Village 12,300 11,800 500 3.9
Valley Stream Village 20,000 19,200 800 4.1
Suffolk County 790,400 757,900 32,400 4.1
Babylon Town 113,800 108,600 5,200 4.6
Brookhaven Town 258,500 247,600 10,900 4.2
Huntington Town 106,000 102,100 3,800 3.6
Islip Town 181,900 174,200 7,600 4.2
Lindenhurst Village 15,600 14,900 700 4.4
Riverhead Town 16,200 15,600 600 3.9
Smithtown Town 61,000 58,800 2,200 3.7
Southampton Town 29,400 28,300 1,100 3.8
New York City 4,127,700 3,913,500 214,200 5.2
New York State 9,644,700 9,189,200 455,400 4.7