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The Politics of Corruption: James Burke

Ex-Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke

James Burke

Convicted of: Deprivation of civil rights; conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice

James Burke, the Suffolk County Police Department’s former top uniformed officer, was indicted in December 2015 and charged by federal prosecutors with orchestrating an elaborate scheme to conceal his own crime. Burke, who was named Suffolk police chief in 2012, beat a handcuffed prisoner who had been charged with stealing a duffel bag from Burke’s police-issued vehicle, officials said. Burke pleaded guilty in February 2016 to conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and violating the victim’s civil rights and was sentenced in November 2016 to 46 months in prison. Burke has filed papers to appeal his sentence.

The latest on the Burke case

March 3, 2018: Editorial: Break up the game among Long Island political insiders Feb. 1, 2018: Suffolk agrees to settle Christopher Loeb’s lawsuit, officials say Jan. 26, 2018: Spota, former aide make brief court appearance in cover-up case> Dec. 23, 2017: Arc of Thomas Spota’s career marked by close relationship with police Nov. 27, 2017: Brown: Third time a charm for Suffolk top cop search? Nov. 8, 2017: Original charges against James Burke’s accuser dropped Oct. 28, 2017: Brown: Thomas Spota couldn’t continue as Suffolk DA Oct. 26, 2017: Burke, at heart of Spota case, receives $145G pension Oct. 26, 2017: DA Thomas Spota ‘leaving my post’ after federal indictment Oct. 26, 2017: Spota’s decades-long relationship with Burke leads to indictment Oct. 25, 2017: Suffolk DA Thomas Spota, top aide indicted in cover-up Oct. 25, 2017: Editorial: District Attorney Thomas Spota’s contempt for the law Aug. 4, 2017: Burke accuser charged with violating order of protection May 9, 2017: Sources: Drugs found in ex-Suffolk police chief Burke’s prison cell April 26, 2017: Attorneys: Christopher Loeb indictment should be thrown out April 1, 2017: Brown: Several investigations of Long Island public officials underway Jan. 31, 2017: Christopher Loeb goes free as guilty plea is set aside Dec. 21, 2016: ‘Numerous’ cops pleaded guilty in James Burke cover-up, court papers say Nov. 16, 2016: James Burke, ex-Suffolk police chief, appealing prison sentence Nov. 2, 2016: Ex-Suffolk police chief James Burke gets 46 months in prison Oct. 31, 2016: Prosecutors recommend 51-month jail sentence for James Burke Oct. 28, 2016: James Burke asks for no prison so he can care for ill mom Sept. 9, 2016: Former Suffolk police chief James Burke sentencing date set May 3, 2016: Steve Bellone was warned James Burke’s past would lead to scandal Feb. 2, 2016: James Burke, ex-Suffolk police chief, offered plea deal of about 5 years, sources say Dec. 9, 2015: James Burke’s arrest generates disappointment, concern in Suffolk Dec. 10, 2016: Janison: Suffolk’s official puzzles are piling up Dec. 10, 2015: James Burke, ex-Suffolk police chief, charged in assault, cover-up Dec. 8, 2015: James Burke, former Suffolk police chief of department, indicted, sources say Oct. 27, 2015: Suffolk Police Chief James Burke resigns as federal probe reopens Nov. 7, 2013: Man at center of case with top Suffolk cop Burke says chief, other cops beat him Oct. 24, 2013: Testimony: Burke left crime scene with duffel bag July 13, 2013: Culture of cover-up: How deep is it? June 27, 2013: Editorial: Suffolk chief crossed line of good judgment June 25, 2013: Sources: FBI probing Suffolk Chief of Police James Burke June 14, 2013: Police: Chief went to theft suspect’s home June 14: 2013: Man accused of stealing police gun belt, ammo in St. James
Other LI officials charged with abuse of power

The Politics of Corruption: John Venditto

Ex-Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto

John Venditto

State charges: Corrupt use of position or authority; official misconduct; conspiracy; defrauding the government

John Venditto, Oyster Bay supervisor, was indicted on federal corruption charges in October 2016. Venditto pleaded not guilty and resigned in January. His trial started on March 12, 2018. In June 2017, the Nassau DA indicted Venditto, who prosecutors said was involved in a real-estate deal and orchestrating a hiring. Venditto pleaded not guilty. A superseding federal indictment was announced Nov. 21 adding 21 charges involving allegations of securities fraud. Venditto was acquitted of all federal charges on May 24. He still faces state charges.

The latest on the Venditto case

May 24, 2018: Editorial: Respect for the solemn duty of a jury of one’s peers May 24, 2018: Venditto not guilty on all charges; jury still deliberating on Manganos May 23, 2018: Power on trial: A video show, and a lawyer returns May 23, 2018: Jurors in corruption trial ask to see footage of Mangano’s front door May 23, 2018: Power on trial: Who’s who in the Mangano-Venditto trial May 22, 2018: Jurors in Mangano-Venditto trial say they need ‘further instruction’ May 22, 2018: Power on Trial: When jurors disagree May 21, 2018: Power on Trial: Jury begins second day of deliberations May 21, 2018: Jurors in Mangano-Venditto case say they can’t ‘agree on certain items’ May 21, 2018: Jurors in political corruption case deliberate for second day May 19, 2018: Power on trial: The waiting game May 18, 2018: Jurors reach no verdict on 1st day of Mangano-Venditto deliberations May 17, 2018: At last — the jury deliberates in the Mangano-Venditto case May 17, 2018: Jurors in Mangano-Venditto corruption case to begin deliberations May 17, 2018: Power on trial: All eyes on the jury May 16, 2018: Power on Trial: Defense lawyers go after Singh May 16, 2018: Defense attorneys attack Singh’s credibility at corruption trial May 15, 2018: Power on Trial: Closing arguments May 15, 2018: Feds: Mangano and Venditto ‘traded their office’ for money May 14, 2018: Power on Trial: ‘Time flies’ May 14, 2018: Judge refuses to dismiss Mangano-Venditto indictments May 13, 2018: Feds could wrap case Monday in Mangano trial May 11, 2018: Power on Trial: Financial footprints May 11, 2018: Judge rejects Venditto’s mistrial request, papers show May 10, 2018: Power on Trial: Two witnesses, two similar stories May 10, 2018: Contractor: I gave Mangano cash to help with problems May 9, 2018: Power on Trial: Analyst finds trouble in Oyster Bay May 9, 2018: Analyst: Town withheld info on Singh’s loans May 8, 2018: Power on Trial: How much evidence is enough? May 8, 2018: Financial advisers say they didn’t know about Singh loans May 7, 2018: Power on Trial: Some unexpected news May 7, 2018: Auditor: Town masked $22 million deficit May 5, 2018: Corruption trial: The tale of 329 Broadway May 3, 2018: Power on Trial: The signs of lying May 3, 2018: FBI agent: Linda Mangano cried when subpoenaed May 2, 2018: Power on Trial: Of bribes and town salaries May 2, 2018: Genova testified he initially lied to prosecutors May 1, 2018: Power on Trial: ‘Keys to the county’ May 1, 2018: Witness: Singh’s problems were at the top of the pile April 30, 2018: Power on Trial: Genova describes how things work April 30, 2018: Venditto approved all of Singh’s contracts, Genova says April 28, 2018: Nassau corruption trial: What’s the standard for guilt? April 26, 2018: Power on Trial: Witnesses discuss Linda Mangano April 26, 2018: Company was ready to provide Sandy meals, owner testifies April 25, 2018: Power on Trial: Brief blackout, a light moment April 25, 2018: Singh manager: Never saw Linda Mangano at eatery April 24, 2018: Power on Trial: Oyster Bay backed Singh, witness says April 24, 2018: Witness: Mangano was behind no-bid Sandy contract April 23, 2018: Power on Trial: Coliseum financing discussed April 23, 2018: Former Nassau employees to testify in Mangano-Venditto trial April 21, 2018: Nassau corruption trial: Finding an end-around on loan guarantees April 20, 2018: Power on Trial: Sinnreich faces off with Mangano’s defense attorney April 20, 2018: Outside counsel testifies he cautioned Oyster Bay on ‘bogus’ proposal April 20, 2018: Outside counsel testifies he cautioned Oyster Bay on ‘bogus’ proposal April 19, 2018: Witness testifies Mangano told others on Singh deal ‘Let’s get this thing done’ April 18, 2018: Power on Trial: Mangano urged Singh deal to be done, witness says April 17, 2018: Venditto, Genova viewed FBI probe as ‘rite of passage,’ Mei testifies April 17, 2018: Power on Trial: Mei says he feared for his job, pension April 17, 2018: Marshall: Tracing that ‘Oyster Bay way’ April 16, 2018: Frederick Mei testifies about ‘the Oyster Bay way’ April 16, 2018: Power on Trial: How the system works, according to Mei April 14, 2018: Nassau corruption trial: Wrangling over town loan guarantees April 14, 2018: Power on Trial: Seeking a solution for Singh’s financing April 11, 2018: Power on Trial: Lawyer has no ‘independent recollection’ April 11, 2018: VIPs ate for free at Singh’s venues, Mangano witness trial says April 10, 2018: Witness: Town ‘would be on the hook’ if Singh defaulted April 9, 2018: Power on Trial: New witnesses for the prosecution testify April , 2018: April 9, 2018: Montesano testifies he was pressured to hire Linda Mangano April 7, 2018: Nassau corruption trial: Parsing the meaning of truth and love April 7, 2018: April 5, 2018: Power on Trial: Mr. Singh, ‘you’re excused’ April 5, 2018: Harendra Singh ends testimony in Mangano’s trial April 4, 2018: Power on Trial: Just answer yes or no, Mr. Singh April 4, 2018: Singh: Oyster Bay ‘was willing to do whatever I wanted’ April 3, 2018: Power on Trial: Linda Mangano did some work April 3, 2018: Singh: I was unaware of Linda Mangano’s workload April 2, 2018: Power on Trial: Carman begins quizzing Singh April 2, 2018: Singh testifies he was ‘in denial’ at Mangano’s trial March 31, 2018: Power on Trial: Scenes from the Mangano trial March 31, 2018: Mangano defense attacks Singh March 29, 2018: Power on Trial: Mei wears a wire to talk to Singh March 29, 2018: Singh FBI wire: Ed Mangano did ‘nothing, nothing’ for me March 28, 2018: Singh: Edward Mangano paid for some of his own meals March 28, 2018: Power on Trial: Singh’s 7th day on the witness stand March 28, 2018: Ciolli: Did Mondello get discount on daughter’s wedding? March 27, 2018: Power on Trial: Scenes from an Italian restaurant March 27, 2018: Linda Mangano asked Singh not to bring gifts to parties, texts show March 26, 2018: Power on Trial: The defense attacks Singh’s credibility March 26, 2018: Singh details perks at Mangano’s corruption trial March 24, 2018: Power on Trial: A glimpse into a political rite of passage March 24, 2018: Singh, in his testimony, describes lavishing gifts on officials March 26, 2018: Harendra Singh to be cross-examined this week at Mangano trial March 24, 2018: Power on Trial: A glimpse into a political rite of passage March 24, 2018: Singh, in his testimony, describes lavishing gifts on officials March 22, 2018: Power on Trial: Singh, in testimony, drops a lot of names March 22, 2018: Singh testifies he gave Venditto, family countless free luxury rides March 22, 2018: Power on Trial: Singh, in testimony, drops a lot of names March 20, 2018: Singh: Mangano, VIPs got ‘special food’ for superstorm Sandy March 20, 2018: Power on Trial: Singh tells how he got a bread contract March 19, 2018: Power on Trial: Singh talks patronage, building an empire March 19, 2018: Singh testifies he hired Linda Mangano but expected no work from her March 19, 2018: Harendra Singh resumes testimony Monday in Edward Mangano trial March 17, 2018: Singh learned how to make friends in Nassau politics March 17, 2018: Power on Trial: The world according to Singh March 16, 2018: Mangano, Venditto “circumvented” permit process, prosecutors allege March 16, 2018: Editorial: Don’t confuse political corruption with friendship March 15, 2018: Power on Trial: Harendra Singh takes the witness stand March 15, 2018: In Mangano, Singh said he saw a ‘connection’ to help his business March 14, 2018: Singh laundered money for Mangano, prosecutors allege March 14, 2018: Feds say Mangano ‘sold himself’; defense attacks Singh’s credibility March 14, 2018: Power on Trial: Low-show jobs and witness credibility March 13, 2018: Singh to play major role in trial of Manganos, Venditto March 12, 2018: Jury seated for Mangano-Venditto corruption trial March 12, 2018: Mangano-Venditto corruption trial begins today March 8, 2018: Mangano-Venditto corruption trial begins today March 5, 2018: Brown: Oyster Bay on the sidelines March 5, 2018: Papers: Mangano, Venditto trial witness gets immunity to testify March 3, 2018: Editorial: Break up Long Island’s political game March 2, 2018: Ex-Oyster Bay Town attorney settles securities fraud case Feb. 28, 2018: Judge bars decisions on de Blasio probe from corruption case Feb. 26, 2018: Brown: Corruption fight needs more than a gift ban Feb. 26, 2018: Laura Curran orders no-gift policy for employees involved in contracting Feb. 24, 2018: Court filing alleges Singh dealings with NYC mayor Feb. 22, 2018: Editorial: Details still to come in latest Nassau County corruption case Feb. 19, 2018: Records: Figure in Mangano-Venditto case wore wire Feb. 16, 2018: Oyster Bay opposes release of documents in Mangano case Feb. 10, 2018: Harendra Singh repeatedly sought City Hall’s help, documents show Feb. 9, 2018: Judge in Mangano, Venditto corruption case rejects all defense motions Feb. 7, 2018: Mangano, Venditto schemed at meeting to guarantee loans, feds allege Feb. 8, 2018: Opinion: Stop the decline of the Nassau GOP Feb. 7, 2018: Judge sets jury selection date for Mangano-Venditto corruption trial Feb. 3, 2018: Brown: In Nassau corruption cases, the witness list begins to take shape Jan. 27, 2018: Democrat-connected law firm involved in Oyster Bay deals Jan. 24, 2018: Filler: Secret plea’s odd surprise about Mangano, Venditto Jan. 24, 2018: Harendra Singh admits bribing Mangano, Venditto Jan. 24, 2018: Singh bribery case also involves unnamed NYC official Jan. 24, 2018: Timeline of Harendra Singh’s ties to Mangano, Venditto Jan. 24, 2018: Singh admits bribing Mangano, Venditto, NYC official Jan. 17, 2018: Feds turn over documents, materials in Mangano-Venditto case Jan. 14, 2018: Lawyers for Manganos and Venditto file flurry of pretrial motions Jan. 13, 2018: In FBI notes, a glimpse of friendship at heart of Mangano case Dec. 16, 2017: Legal papers show Oyster Bay strategy for Singh loan guarantees Dec. 5, 2017: Judge delays Edward Mangano, John Venditto trial for two months Nov. 30, 2017: John Venditto seeks delay in trial on kickback allegations Nov. 28, 2017: Oyster Bay Town seeks buyer for property in alleged bribery scheme Nov. 22, 2017: Brown: Unusual resolution at center of new charges against John Venditto Nov. 21, 2017: John Venditto indicted on charges involving securities fraud Nov. 21, 2017: John Venditto, ex-Oyster Bay town supervisor, charged by SEC Nov. 15, 2017: Scheme to help restaurateur began when Mangano took office, court filing says Nov. 15, 2017: Oyster Bay legal bills related to Singh cases top $3.3M Oct. 21, 2017: Brown: Nepotism in Nassau are the family ties that bind Oct. 17, 2017: Keep a spotlight on nepotism in Long Island government Oct. 14, 2017: Over 100 Nassau politicians also have family in government Sept. 27, 2017: Judge abates corruption charges against the late Fred Ippolito Sept. 27, 2017: Brown: Will Skelos’ overturned conviction affect Mangano, Venditto? Sept. 5, 2017: Venditto court papers seek dismissal of corruption charges Sept. 2, 2017: Oyster Bay ex-commissioner still influenced town, affidavit says Aug. 25, 2017: Mangano files motion seeking to dismiss federal corruption charges Aug. 3, 2017: Oyster Bay Dems: 11.5% tax levy increase pays for ‘corruption’ July 26, 2017: Nassau DA fires investigator for alleged corruption probe interference, sources say July 22, 2017: Brown: Nassau has reform fever in election year July 15, 2017: Brown: Oyster Bay proposes reform after reform June 29, 2017: Oyster Bay corruption indictments add to federal tax case June 29, 2017: Ex-Oyster Bay supervisor, others surrender at DA’s office June 28, 2017: Sources: Oyster Bay officials to be arraigned June 28, 2017: Filler: How Saladino can shed party’s legacy June 27, 2017: Sources: Several indicted in Oyster Bay corruption probe June 19, 2017: Town agrees to work with probe in order to borrow $50M June 19, 2017: Town agrees to work with probe in order to borrow $50M June 1, 2017: Judge rules in Harendra Singh $6 million loan guarantee suit May 27, 2017: Brown: Saladino promises transparency but doesn’t answer question May 8, 2017: Stampede of elected officials running toward reform April 6, 2017: Oyster Bay Town OKs $1M in concession rental contracts April 1, 2017: Brown: Investigations of LI public officials underway March 12, 2017: Oyster Bay supervisor wants to review town board liaison system March 11, 2017: Marc Herman likely Dem choice to run for Oyster Bay supervisor, chairman says March 7, 2017: Dems likely to pick attorney Laura Gillen as Hempstead supervisor candidate March 6, 2017: Brown: The horse often escapes the ethics barn on LI Feb. 28, 2017: New five-member ethics board named in Oyster Bay Feb. 22, 2017: Nassau DA wiretapped 3 former Oyster Bay officials, sources say Feb. 12, 2017: Indicted concessionaire owes Oyster Bay nearly $300,000 Feb. 10, 2017: Nassau grand jury probing Oyster Bay corruption, sources say Feb. 8, 2017: Venditto, Mangano corruption trial date set for 2018 Feb. 7, 2017: Oyster Bay changes borrowing procedures to comply with laws Jan. 31, 2017: Assemb. Joseph Saladino replaces John Venditto as Oyster Bay town supervisor Jan. 17, 2017: John Venditto campaign got $20,000 in contributions after arrest, records show Jan. 16, 2017: Letter: Keep supervisor’s name off town signs Jan. 14, 2017: Federal bribery trial for Harendra Singh indefinitely delayed Jan. 4, 2017: John Venditto: Another powerful supervisor in disgrace Jan. 4, 2017: Indicted Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto to resign Nov. 29, 2016: Oyster Bay supervisor John Venditto presides over meeting, with no news of future Nov. 15, 2016: Oyster Bay’s Venditto will decide in days whether to step down Nov. 13, 2016: Joseph Mondello talks about Nassau corruption cases Nov. 12, 2016: Nassau County sought OK of contract for Harendra Singh’s wife Nov. 12, 2016: Venditto scandal impacts State Senate race Oct. 20, 2016: Edward Mangano and John Venditto should resign Oct. 24, 2016: Lawyer: Federal charges vs. Venditto will not impact town lawsuits Oct. 23, 2016: Oyster Bay has no deputy supervisor in place if need arises Oct. 20, 2016: GOP candidates urge Mangano, Venditto to immediately resign Oct. 20, 2016: Mangano, Venditto arrested on corruption charges, Feds say Sept. 28, 2016: Federal judge reveals what Oyster Bay officials haven’t Sept. 1, 2016: Venditto says Oyster Bay to turn over documents sought by feds
Other LI officials charged with abuse of power

LI’s April unemployment rates

The overall unemployment rate on Long Island for April 2018 rose to 4.0 percent, 0.1 percentage points above where it was in April 2017, according to data from the state’s Department of Labor.

Southampton Town had the highest rate, 5.1 percent (up 0.3 points), and the Town of Riverhead had the biggest increase, going up 0.6 points to 4.9 percent. In Nassau, Freeport Village had the highest rate, down 0.1 points from the year before to 4.9 percent. Click on the bar chart for details, or check on the tables below. This database was posted May 22, 2018.

The local unemployment rates

The details

April 2018Labor ForceEmployedUnemployedRate (%)
Nassau County701,100674,30026,8003.8
Freeport Village22,70021,6001,1004.9
Glen Cove City14,10013,5006003.9
Hempstead Town399,300383,30016,0004.0
Hempstead Village27,50026,2001,3004.8
Long Beach City19,70019,0007003.6
North Hempstead Town113,300109,2004,1003.6
Oyster Bay Town154,800149,2005,5003.6
Rockville Centre Village12,30011,8004003.5
Valley Stream Village19,60018,7008004.2
Suffolk County773,800741,80032,1004.1
Babylon Town110,900106,1004,8004.3
Brookhaven Town252,600242,40010,2004.0
Huntington Town103,800100,0003,9003.7
Islip Town177,400170,3007,1004.0
Lindenhurst Village15,20014,6006003.8
Riverhead Town16,10015,3008004.9
Smithtown Town59,70057,5002,2003.7
Southampton Town29,30027,8001,5005.1
New York City4,212,9004,040,800172,1004.1
New York State9,621,1009,201,900419,2004.4
March 2018Labor ForceEmployedUnemployedRate (%)
Nassau County695,000665,50029,5004.2
Freeport Village22,60021,3001,3005.6
Glen Cove City14,10013,3007005.2
Hempstead Town395,900378,30017,6004.4
Hempstead Village27,70025,8001,8006.7
Long Beach City19,50018,8008003.9
North Hempstead Town112,300107,8004,5004.0
Oyster Bay Town153,200147,3005,9003.8
Rockville Centre Village12,10011,7005003.8
Valley Stream Village19,40018,5009004.5
Suffolk County769,700732,40037,3004.8
Babylon Town110,000104,7005,3004.8
Brookhaven Town251,100239,40011,7004.7
Huntington Town103,10098,7004,4004.3
Islip Town176,400168,2008,3004.7
Lindenhurst Village15,00014,4006003.9
Riverhead Town16,10015,1001,1006.5
Smithtown Town59,00056,7002,3003.9
Southampton Town29,50027,4002,1007.0
New York City4,244,5004,066,700177,8004.2
New York State9,632,1009,174,000458,1004.8
April 2017Labor ForceEmployedUnemployedRate (%)
Nassau County705,100678,60026,5003.8
Freeport Village22,90021,7001,1005.0
Glen Cove City14,10013,6005003.7
Hempstead Town401,600385,80015,8003.9
Hempstead Village27,70026,4001,3004.8
Long Beach City19,80019,1007003.5
North Hempstead Town113,800109,9003,9003.4
Oyster Bay Town155,700150,2005,5003.5
Rockville Centre Village12,40011,9004003.6
Valley Stream Village19,60018,9008004.0
Suffolk County779,100747,00032,1004.1
Babylon Town111,800106,8004,9004.4
Brookhaven Town254,400244,10010,3004.0
Huntington Town104,600100,7003,9003.8
Islip Town178,800171,5007,3004.1
Lindenhurst Village15,30014,7007004.3
Riverhead Town16,10015,4007004.3
Smithtown Town60,00057,9002,1003.5
Southampton Town29,40028,0001,4004.8
New York City4,217,2004,041,300175,9004.2
New York State9,687,0009,265,600421,4004.4

Eight charts on guns in America

Congress passed major gun control legislation for the last time in 1993-94 as crime and firearm homicides came to a two-decade peak. Since then the firearm murder rates nationally and in New York State have declined. But the number of victims from mass public shootings has spiked. Meanwhile, Americans keep buying guns and the supply increases every year. The battle over guns has shifted to the states as most legislation in Congress stalled. Nationally, gun rights groups continue to outspend gun control advocates. But as mass public shootings have become more deadly, a Gallup poll shows a resurgence in support for stricter gun laws.

Here are eight charts outlining the situation.

Gun murder rates mostly decline nationally and in the state

Since 1993, the number of people killed per 100,000 population nationally declined, although it ticked up slightly in recent years. The New York State rate went from above to below the national rate. (Mouse over this or any other chart for details.)

Sources: FBI, Census, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

Growing number of victims in mass public shootings

The number killed or wounded. 2018 figures are obviously partial and do not include the Texas shooting.

Source: Washington Post

More guns made available each year

Firearms manufactured in and imported into the U.S., minus those exported.

Source: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Background checks rising nationally and in New York

The FBI’s National Instant Background Check System began in 1998. Rate per million adults.

Source: FBI NICS reports

Gallup Poll indicates Americans favor stricter gun laws

Surveys from 1993 to 2018. (Not shown are those with no opinion.)

Source: Gallup Poll

Gun advocates are giving more to political candidates

Amounts given by gun rights and gun control advocates in two-year election cycles for federal offices.

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

Meanwhile, trace NRA-related contributions to Long Island politicians.

Gun advocates spend more to lobby Congress

Amounts spent each year, adjusted to constant dollars.

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

You can also see monthy and yearly data on the amount of violent crime involving guns on Long Island, or read more about the gun debate having echoes from the LIRR shooting era.

April job levels on Long Island

The total, non-farm job count on Long Island rose 21,000 to more than 1.35 million in April 2018 compared with the same month a year earlier, according to the state Labor Department.

Sectors leading the gains were: trade, transportation, and utilities up 8,100; leisure and hospitality, up 4,000; professional and business services, up 3,200, education and health services, up 2,700; construction, natural resources and mining, up 2,700, and the government sector, which was up 1,600 jobs over the year. Click on the charts below for details on the 10 sectors going back to 1990. Posted May 17, 2018.

Jobs in the 10 sectors on Long Island

Details on the sectors for Long Island

Industry (job levels in thousands)April 2018April 2017Change in year
TOTAL NONFARM1,352.21,331.21.6%
TOTAL PRIVATE1,153.11,133.71.7%
Total Goods Producing 152.8151.40.9%
Construction, Natural Resources, Mining 82.479.73.4%
Specialty Trade Contractors 55.655.50.2%
Durable Goods 37.839.3-3.8%
Non-Durable Goods 32.632.40.6%
Total Service Providing1,199.41,179.81.7%
Total Private Service-Providing1,000.3982.31.8%
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities278.5270.43.0%
Wholesale Trade 69.569.40.1%
Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods 33.933.60.9%
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods
Retail Trade 164.2159.92.7%
Building Material and Garden Equipment 13.513.40.7%
Food and Beverage Stores 36.335.62.0%
Grocery Stores
Health and Personal Care Stores 13.113.4-2.2%
Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores 18.318.30.0%
General Merchandise Stores 24.825.3-2.0%
Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities 44.841.19.0%
Transportation and Warehousing 39.936.210.2%
Couriers and Messengers
Broadcasting (except Internet)
Financial Activities71.772.3-0.8%
Finance and Insurance 53.454.4-1.8%
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 19.620.1-2.5%
Depository Credit Intermediation 11.311.30.0%
Insurance Carriers and Related Activities 26.727.2-1.8%
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 18.317.92.2%
Real Estate 14.414.21.4%
Professional and Business Services 178.1174.91.8%
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 82.282.8-0.7%
Legal Services 18.719.1-2.1%
Accounting, Tax Prep., Bookkpng., & Payroll Svcs. 13.714.5-5.5%
Management of Companies and Enterprises 16.416.02.5%
Admin. & Supp. and Waste Manage. & Remed. Svcs. 79.576.14.5%
Education and Health Services269.4266.71.0%
Educational Services 43.743.50.5%
Health Care and Social Assistance 225.7223.21.1%
Ambulatory Health Care Services 87.486.60.9%
Hospitals 65.964.91.5%
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities 34.634.8-0.6%
Social Assistance 37.836.92.4%
Leisure and Hospitality124.0120.03.3%
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 20.921.5-2.8%
Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries 16.216.5-1.8%
Accommodation and Food Services
Food Services and Drinking Places
Other Services 60.759.81.5%
Personal and Laundry Services
Government 199.1197.50.8%
Federal Government 16.016.5-3.0%
State Government 26.426.01.5%
State Government Education
State Government Hospitals
Local Government 156.7155.01.1%
Local Government Education 105.5104.11.3%
Local Government Hospitals

You can read more about the job levels here.

LI’s Medal of Honor recipients: Remembering their heroism and sacrifice

President George W. Bush presents the Medal of Honor to Daniel and Maureen Murphy, parents of fallen soldier Lt. Michael Murphy of Patchogue, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in October 2007. Photo by Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award given to an American soldier who displayed great courage and selflessness in battle. The award is often presented by the president of the United States, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

The first medal was given out in 1861, but it wasn’t until 1963 that Congress established a set of guidelines.

The guidlines stipulate that the medal be given to a soldier who showed heroism “while engaged in an action against an enemy force of the United States, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not,” according to the society.

At least 18 of the more than 3,000 recipients have connections to Long Island. Other than the names provided on this list, some, like Sgt. William Laing, were born on Long Island but raised elsewhere. Others, like U.S. Navy Cox. Claus Kristian Clausen, moved to Long Island after finishing their service. Many more recipients are buried on Long Island.

Michael P. Murphy: Gave life protecting soldiers from Taliban

AWARDED 2007. Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, of Patchogue, died June 28, 2005, in an enemy ambush in the Afghan mountains, during the war in Afghanistan. He was 29. According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Murphy and three fellow soldiers were on a mission to secretly track a Taliban leader’s movements when they were spotted by Taliban sympathizers. The sympathizers tipped off the Taliban about the soldiers’ location, and Murphy’s team was ambushed by enemy fighters. Murphy continued to fight off the enemies despite suffering numerous wounds, encouraging his fellow soldiers to do the same. When he couldn’t get a signal to radio for help from behind cover, Murphy crawled out into the open to provide the team’s location and the number of fighters attacking them, then immediately returned to fighting the enemy. “In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom,” according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Only one soldier, Marcus Luttrell, made it out alive. In his 2007 book, “Lone Survivor,” Luttrell wrote that Murphy’s actions were “an act of supreme valor. . . . If they ever build a memorial to him as high as the Empire State Building, it won’t be high enough for me.” Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on Oct. 22, 2007, by President George W. Bush. Murphy’s parents, Daniel and Maureen Murphy, of Patchogue, accepted the medal along with Murphy’s brother, John, at the White House. More than three dozen of Murphy’s friends and relatives accompanied Murphy’s parents to Washington to await the award.

Theodore Roosevelt: Led assault in Cuba under heavy fire

AWARDED 2001. Before Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States, he served as the assistant secretary of the Navy and formed the first volunteer cavalry regiment in the U.S. Army, known as the Rough Riders. A few months into the Spanish-American War, on July 1, 1898, Lt. Col. Roosevelt led an assault up San Juan Hill in Cuba, encouraging his men to continue the desperate charge while under heavy fire. “[Roosevelt] was the first to reach the enemy trenches, where he quickly killed one of the enemy with his pistol, allowing his men to continue the assault,” according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. It would take more than a century before Roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the battle. On Jan. 1, 2001, President Bill Clinton presented members of the Roosevelt family with the Medal of Honor for their ancestor’s courageous and selfless leadership at the Battle of San Juan Hill, which “led to the Spanish surrender and opened the era of America as a global power,” Clinton said during the ceremony. According to the National Park Service, Roosevelt moved to his Sagamore Hill home in Cove Neck in 1885, living there until his death in 1919. Roosevelt spent time working at the estate, also known as the “summer White House” during his presidency.

George Washington Brush: Saved hundreds from stranded boat

AWARDED 1987. Army Lt. George Washington Brush was born on Oct. 4, 1842. He was born and raised in West Hills, Huntington, according to the town’s website. Brush received his Medal of Honor for commanding a boat crew in the rescue of soldiers from the stranded steamer known as the “Boston” during a Civil War battle at Ashepoo River, South Carolina in 1864, according to the town. The soldiers were sent to burn the railroad trestle across the marsh, but their steamboat got suck when it hit an oyster bed, according to accounts of the battle from Brush’s own writing and the book “Deeds of Valor: How America’s Civil War Heroes Won the Medal of Honor” by Oscar Frederick Keydel. As Confederate soldiers emerged and fired upon the Boston, Brush and four privates in a gunboat ferried 30 people per trip to a safe shore until all 400 soldiers were rescued. Brush, along with the four privates, received a Medal of Honor for helping their fellow soldiers in need. According to the Town of Huntington, Brush went on to study dentistry after the war. “After a few years as a dentist, he attended the Long Island College Hospital [closed in 2013], the Town of Huntington said. He died on Nov. 16, 1927. He was 85. Brush was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1987, according to a 2010 Newsday article.

Anthony Casamento: Held his ground despite severe injuries

AWARDED 1980. U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Anthony Casamento was born on Nov. 16, 1920, in Brooklyn. Casamento was raised in West Islip, according to former New York State Sen. Owen Johnson’s website. Johnson, who represented Casamento’s district, inducted him into New York State Senate’s Veterans Hall of Fame in 2005. Casamento was part of the Marine assault on Guadalcanal in August 1942 during World War II, according to his entry on the website. On Nov. 1, 1942, in a battle in the British Solomon Islands, Casamento served as a leader of a machine gun section, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “He positioned his section to provide covering fire for two flanking units and to provide direct support for the main force of his company which was behind him,” the society said. All members of Casamento’s section were either killed or severely wounded during this battle. Despite suffering severe injuries, he continued providing supporting fire using the unit’s machine gun. “He continued to man his weapon and repeatedly repulsed multiple assaults by the enemy forces, thereby protecting the flanks of the adjoining companies and holding his position until the arrival of his main attacking force,” according to the society. Casamento was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. Casamento died on July 18, 1987, at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was 66.

George C. Lang: Paralyzed while under heavy fire in Vietnam

AWARDED 1971. Army Spc. 4th Class George C. Lang was born on April 20, 1947, in Flushing, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Lang grew up in Hicksville and enlisted in the Army after graduating from Hicksville High School, according to a 2005 Newsday article. On Feb. 22, 1969, during the Vietnam War, while serving as a squad leader on an offensive mission to test the enemy’s strength, Lang’s squad found itself under intense fire from an enemy bunker complex, according to the society. Lang put himself in the line of fire while advancing on multiple emplacements from which enemy fire was coming, eventually destroying them with hand grenades and rifle fire. Lang then spotted a large cache of enemy ammunition, and attempted to maneuver his squad to it. However, they were fired upon by a third enemy bunker. Lang destroyed it with his last grenades. When he returned to the arms cache, the squad again came under heavy fire, this time by rocket and automatic weapons. Six squad members were killed or injured. Lang was hit and injured by a rocket, but continued directing his men until his evacuation was ordered, despite his protests. He was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of being hit in the spine by shrapnel from the rocket, according to a 1993 Newsday article. Lang received the Medal of Honor in 1971 from President Richard Nixon, according to a 2005 Newsday article. Lang would spend the remainder of his life living in Seaford, where he became a celebrated Medal of Honor historian. Lang died from cancer on March 16, 2005. He was 57.

Garfield M. Langhorn: Threw himself on grenade to save soldiers

AWARDED 1970. Army Pfc. Garfield M. Langhorn was born on Sept. 10, 1948, in Cumberland, Virginia. Langhorn graduated from Riverhead High School in 1967, according to a 2010 Newsday article. On Jan. 15, 1969, during the Vietnam War, in the Pleiku province of the Republic of Vietnam, Langhorn’s platoon was sent to a landing zone to try to rescue two helicopter pilots who were shot down, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “[Langhorn] provided radio coordination with the command-and-control aircraft overhead while the troops hacked their way through the dense undergrowth to the wreckage, where both pilots were found dead,” the Society said. The squad was preparing to take the bodies back with them to a pickup site. However, North Vietnamese soldiers in camouflaged bunkers surrounded the squad. Langhorn radioed for help from the nearby gunships, which bombarded fire upon the enemy. Langhorn fled to cover, where he continued operating the radio and provided covering fire for the wounded. When it became too dark for the gunships to accurately fire, the enemy soldiers began pushing back. A hand grenade landed near Langhorn and some wounded soldiers. “Choosing to protect these wounded, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the grenade, scooped it beneath his body and absorbed the blast,” the society said. Langhorn was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1970 by President Richard Nixon, according to a 2009 Newsday article. He was 20.

John Kedenburg: Led escape, evacuation from ambush

AWARDED 1970. Army Spc. 5th Class John Kedenburg was born on July 31, 1946, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Kedenburg grew up in Baldwin, according to a 2007 Newsday article. On June 13, 1968, during the Vietnam War, Kedenburg was acting as an adviser to a team of South Vietnamese soldiers conducting counterguerrilla operations in enemy territories when the team was ambushed and encircled by enemy troopers, according to the society. Kedenburg immediately took command of the South Vietnamese team, leading them to break out of the encirclement, according to the society. The group then attempted to reach a helicopter extraction point. “Sp5c. Kedenburg conducted a gallant rear guard fight against the pursuing enemy and called for tactical air support and rescue helicopters,” the society said. “His withering fire against the enemy permitted the team to reach a preselected landing zone with the loss of only one man, who was unaccounted for.” He directed the air strikes from the ground when air support arrived, forcing the enemy to stop firing in order to escape from the helicopters. This allowed for the helicopters to hover over the landing zone and drop slings to pick up the soldiers. Kedenburg and the remaining three South Vietnamese soldiers were preparing to strap themselves into the last helicopter’s sling when the previously unaccounted for soldier appeared. Kedenburg immediately gave up his place for that soldier and directed the helicopter to take off without him, as there was no longer any room. Kedenburg single-handedly eliminated six enemy soldiers before being killed. He was 22. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on April 23, 1970, according to the Military Times Hall of Valor.

Stephen Karopczyc: Ran through enemy fire to protect platoon

AWARDED 1969. Army 1st Lt. Stephen Karopczyc was born on March 5, 1944, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Karopczyc was raised in Bethpage, according to a 2013 Newsday article. On March 12, 1967, during the Vietnam War, in the Kontum Province in Vietnam, Karopczyc led his platoon on a flanking maneuver against an enemy force that outmanned them. A small enemy unit engaged his soldiers in front, preventing his troops from quickly pushing through to the main enemy force so they could aid Allied forces. Karopczyc sprinted through enemy fire and into the open. He tossed colored smoke grenades and used bursts of fire from his own weapon to identify the enemies for attack by helicopter gunships. After several hours of being attacked, an enemy hand grenade was tossed in the direction of Karopczyc and two wounded soldiers. “Although his position protected him, Karopczyc] leaped up to cover the deadly grenade with a steel helmet,” the Society said. While he made sure nobody else was harmed, the explosion badly injured Karopczyc and he died two hours later. Karopczyc, who was 23, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Jan. 24, 1969, according to the Military Times Hall of Valor.

Charles W. Shea: Risked life to take on enemy machine gunners

AWARDED 1945. U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Charles Shea was born in 1921, in New York City. He moved to Plainview in 1955, according to a 1994 Newsday article. He lived there until his death in 1994 at age 72. Shea earned the Medal of Honor on Jan. 12, 1945, for bravely risking his life to take out multiple enemy machine gunners during World War II, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. On May 12, 1944, around Mount Damiano, Italy, Shea, then a sergeant, and his men were attempting to advance on a hill being occupied by enemy soldiers, according to the society. Suddenly, three machine guns opened fire on the soldiers, killing several of them and halting the advance. Shea kept moving forward, with the goal of taking down the machine gun nests so the push could resume, but the guns’ rapid fire pinned him down. Still, Shea continued his advance, crept up on the first nest and ambushed the enemy soldiers, forcing four soldiers to surrender. “He then crawled to the second machine gun position, and after a short fire fight, forced two more German soldiers to surrender,” the Society said. The final machine gun nest fired at Shea, who managed to avoid getting hit. He advanced on the nest and was able to shoot and kill all three machine gunners before they could hit him.

Bernard Ray: Gave life to blast path through barrier

AWARDED 1945. U.S. Army 1st Lt. Bernard James Ray was born in 1921, in Brooklyn. Ray, a former Boy Scout, grew up in Baldwin, and graduated from Baldwin High School, according to a 2008 Newsday article. According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, on Nov. 17, 1944, during World War II, Ray, 23, was leading a platoon through the Hurtgen Forest, near Schevenhutte, Germany, when they were met with heavy resistance. Ray’s company’s advance was halted by a barbed wire barrier, resulting in heavy casualties. He reorganized his men and revealed his intention to blow a path through the barrier. Ray put explosive caps in his pockets, retrieved multiple Bangalore torpedoes and wrapped a highly explosive primer cord around himself. Under direct fire, Ray ran toward the wire barrier. As he prepared his demolition charge, mortar shells were being aimed at him. He was preparing to connect the torpedo he placed under the wire to a charge when he was badly wounded by a bursting mortar shell. “With the primer cord still wound about his body and the explosive caps in his pocket, he completed a hasty wiring system and unhesitatingly thrust down on the handle of the charger, destroying himself with the wire barricade in the resulting blast,” the society wrote. Ray was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on Dec. 8, 1945.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.: Bravery on front lines at Normandy

AWARDED 1944. After the Army twice denied his requests to take part in D-Day during World War II, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr.’s written request was reluctantly accepted by Maj. Gen. Raymond Barton, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. On June 6, 1944, Roosevelt was part of the first wave of forces during the Invasion of Normandy. His bravery at the front of the assault inspired fellow soldiers. “He repeatedly led groups from the beach over the seawall and established them inland,” according to the society. Through Roosevelt’s leadership, the assault troops reduced the amount of enemy strong points and quickly moved inland with few casualties. Roosevelt died on July 12, 1944, after suffering a heart attack. He was 56. Unbeknownst to Roosevelt, on the day of his death he was selected to be promoted to the two-star rank of major general. “Roosevelt never knew of the division command assignment sitting on [General Dwight] Eisenhower’s desk, nor did he know of the Medal of Honor that would be awarded for his valor on Utah Beach,” according to “The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe” by Rick Atkinson. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on Sep. 28, 1944. Roosevelt was born and raised in his father’s Sagamore Hill home in Cove Neck.

Michael Valente: Braved gunfire to capture enemy soldiers in WWI

AWARDED 1929. U.S. Army Pvt. Michael Valente, who was born on Feb. 5, 1895, in Cassino, Italy, earned the Medal of Honor for his actions against the Hindenburg line east of Ronssoy, France, on Sep. 29, 1918, during World War I, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. When enemy machine gun fire halted his troop’s progress, Valente volunteered to advance and, with another soldier, took out two enemy nests and jumped directly into the enemy trench to take out five German soldiers and capture 21 more. “With utter disregard of his own personal danger, accompanied by another soldier, Pvt. Valente rushed forward through an intense machine gun fire directly upon the enemy nest,” the society said. Valente would be sent back to the rear later in the battle after getting wounded. Valente was awarded the Medal of Honor on Dec. 31, 1929. After leaving the Army, Valente became a builder and real estate agent in Long Beach, according to a 2009 Newsday article. He died in 1976 at age 80.

Daniel Daly: Recognized for both Boxer Rebellion and Haiti occupation

AWARDED 1901, 1915. Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Daly of the U.S. Marine Corps was born and raised in Glen Cove, according to a 2003 Newsday article. Daly received his first Medal of Honor for his actions during the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. According to a 2000 Leatherneck Magazine article by J. Michael Miller, Daly was part of a group of Marines stationed on the Tartar Wall. According to Miller, on July 15, 1900, Daly, accompanied by Captain Newt Hall, advanced 200 yards to the next bastion in order to identify the Chinese skirmish line. Daly told Hall to go back and get the rest of their allied soldiers while he stayed behind at the bastion. Hall obeyed, leaving Daly alone in hostile territory, as stray shots were constantly fired upon him. He was awarded the Medal of Honor on July 19, 1901, for “extraordinary heroism … in the presence of the enemy,” according to the Military Times Hall of Valor. According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Daly earned his second Medal of Honor during the 1915 occupation of Haiti, when his unit detached after dark and came upon enemy fire. “The marine detachment fought its way forward to a good position, which it maintained during the night.” As day broke, the Marines divided into three squads and each advanced in its own direction, catching the enemy by surprise and scattering their troops. He received his second Medal of Honor in 1915, according to a 2010 Newsday article. According to the United States Marine Corps History Division, Daly died on April 28, 1937, at 63 years old.

John H. Starkins: Union fighter showed bravery during Civil War

AWARDED 1896. Army Sgt. John H. Starkins was born in Great Neck and fought for the Union Army during the Civil War. Starkins received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Campbell Station, Tennessee, on Nov. 16, 1863, according to a 1993 Newsday article. Starkins “brought off his piece without losing a man,” the Congressional Medal of Honor Society said. It’s speculated that this likely means he retrieved a piece of ammunition off the field, according to a 1993 Newsday article. Starkins received the Medal of Honor in 1896, according to a 2010 Newsday article. Starkins died on April 4, 1897. He was 56.

Joachim Pease: Seaman manned cannon as Confederate ship attacked

AWARDED 1864. U.S. Navy Seaman Joachim Pease was an African-American born in 1842 on Long Island, according to the Military Times Hall of Valor. During the Civil War, he served as a seaman on the U.S.S. Kearsarge when it battled the Confederate ship Alabama off Cherbourg, France, on June 19, 1864, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Pease helped contribute in the destruction of the Alabama. Pease was in charge of one of the cannons during the battle, according to a 1998 Newsday article. At one point, a Confederate shell landed near him, killing or injuring several people around him. “But Pease kept loading and reloading the cannon,” the Newsday article said. He received the Medal of Honor in 1864. “Pease exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended by the divisional officer for gallantry under fire,” the Society said. The date of Pease’s death and whether he survived the war is unknown.


Long Island at the Crossroads 40 Years Later

In 1978, Newsday examined the quality of life on Long Island in its series “Long Island at the Crossroads.” The six-month effort culminated in 10 recommendations that experts deemed critical for a better future on Long Island. Forty years later, we look at how far the Island has come in those areas.

Read about the 10 recommendations and explore the illustration from the original 1978 series.


Rendering of a potential tunnel under the LI sound. Credit: Polimeni International LLC

1) 1978 idea: Remove transportation “dead-end.”

Build bridge to Connecticut and develop a nearby deepwater seaport.

Status now:After a flurry of activity that suggested a connection was possible, the Cuomo administration in late June abandoned its proposal to build either a new bridge or tunnel to cross Long Island Sound, an idea that again had run into local opposition.

A Long Island-based developer, Polimeni International LLC, had proposed a “Cross Sound Link” tunnel that stalled in the state approval stages about eight years ago. In 2016, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo resurrected the idea and ordered the state to study the feasibility of a bridge or tunnel across the Sound. The study, released by the state in October, said the project could cost up to $55.4 billion and that a crossing would be feasible only from Oyster Bay Town or Kings Park.

Without going into detail, Paul Karas, the acting commissioner of the state Transportation Department, said the project will not be moving forward “at this time.” Cuomo and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council have also both pushed in recent years to study building a deepwater port in Shoreham, at the site of the old power plant.

— Alfonso A. Castillo


The farm stand at Green Thumb Organic Farm in Water Mill. Credit: Randee Daddona

2) 1978 idea: A regional market.

Create a centrally located food distribution center on Long Island that would enable residents to buy Island-produced goods and perishables from elsewhere, reducing food costs.

Status now: In 1978, the primary distribution center serving the New York City area was Hunts Point in the Bronx, home to the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market and Hunts Point Cooperative Meat Market. And in some ways, little has changed — Hunts Point still dominates, especially now that it is also home to The New Fulton Fish Market.

What has changed is the food landscape, helping make the Bronx a better center for food than Long Island itself, experts say.

Far less produce is grown on the Island than 40 years ago, and it’s not nearly enough to support Long Island’s population alone.

Much of what is produced on the Island is sold directly to consumers or processed locally, said Rob Carpenter, spokesman for the Long Island Farm Bureau. In addition, officials decided it didn’t make much sense to build a market to try to compete with Hunts Point, and smaller distributors sprang up to fill the gaps where Long Island needed it, Carpenter said.

There are more than 190 food storage and distribution facilities in Nassau and Suffolk counties that handle a variety of fresh and processed foods, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

— Laura Blasey


An aerial view of houses along Centennial Avenue in Baldwin. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

3) 1978 idea:Pass legislation to limit property taxes.

Status now: Long Island homeowners, who pay among the highest property taxes in the country, finally breathed a sigh of relief in 2012 with the implementation of the state’s tax cap. The law, championed by Cuomo, limits property tax growth for counties, cities, villages, towns, fire and school districts to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Municipalities and school districts can exceed the cap by winning a “supermajority” of at least 60 percent in budget votes. But the cap was negated somewhat with the passage of the Republican tax bill, which eliminates the full deduction for state and local taxes. The new federal tax law caps state and local tax deductions at $10,000. In 2016, average property tax bills were $11,232 in Nassau and $9,333 in Suffolk, according to an analysis by Attom Data Solutions, a California company that tracks real estate data.

— Robert Brodsky


Students in a kindergarten classroom at Prospect School in Hempstead. Credit: Howard Schnapp

4) 1978 idea:A Long Island history course.

Establish a course on Long Island history in public schools as part of an effort to develop increased Long Island identity.

Status now: Most schools don’t offer a Long Island history course, though they do teach local history, according to the heads of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents and Suffolk County School Superintendents Association.

In Hampton Bays, for example, fourth-graders learn about key moments in Long Island’s history such as its role in the Revolutionary War and the development of the country’s first suburbs, according to Superintendent Lars Clemensen.

The state’s guide for curriculum development in social studies includes several places for instruction about local history and where teaching about Long Island history would be appropriate, according to an Education Department official.

For example, fourth-grade social studies is focused on New York State and local communities and their change over time. In grades 7 and 8, teachers are encouraged to incorporate local features of state history, the official said.

— Rachel Uda


Edward P. Romaine and Anthony J. Santino during a 2017 Long Island Regional Planning Council meeting in Melville. Credit: Heather Walsh

5) 1978 idea:A Long Island Action Committee.

Create a leadership group representing the power structure that would meet weekly to mobilize the Island toward positive courses for the future.

Status now: The Long Island landscape is dotted with bicounty committees, comprising elected officials, business, education and union leaders, designed to advance the region’s quality of life. For four decades, the most influential group was the Long Island Regional Planning Board, which studied economic, fiscal and demographic trends. The board folded in 2006 but was rebranded the Long Island Regional Planning Council the following year. The council, which has struggled financially, has become more political in recent years, allowing leaders in government, including town supervisors and village mayors, to serve on the body.

—Robert Brodsky


A Suffolk County Planning Commission drawing of a proposed golf facility in Holtsville.

6) 1978 idea: Establish a Nassau-Suffolk Regional Planning Commission

Rather than rely on the Tri-State Regional Planning Commission, this commission would dole out federal funds designated for Long Island.

Status now: Plans to establish a single Long Island-based planning commission to act as a clearinghouse for all federal funds never materialized. The Tri-State Regional Planning Commission, which served as a conduit for federal aid to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, folded in 1981 and was never replaced. Nassau and Suffolk established their own respective planning commissions but the boards are largely focused on local zoning and land-use recommendations. The federal government now distributes billions annually to Long Islanders in the form of grants, loans and contracts to local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses and universities.

—Robert Brodsky


Sen. John Flanagan speaks at a 2018 LIA breakfast in Woodbury. Credit: Howard Schnapp

7) 1978 idea: Create a Job Development Authority

The quasi-governmental bicounty organization with zoning and regional powers would create jobs and promote tourism.

Status now: Long Island officials never moved to create a quasi-governmental regional organization that was focused on job creation. Instead, Nassau, Suffolk and six Long Island towns and villages have relied on their respective industrial development agencies, which provide financial assistance and tax incentives to entice businesses to relocate or expand their footprint. The Long Island Association, a nonprofit that serves as the region’s largest business group, advocates for policies that create and retain jobs while the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau & Sports Commission serves as the region’s official tourism promotion agency.

—Robert Brodsky


Laura Mallay, executive director of Residents for Efficient Special Districts, in front of the Town of Hempstead’s Sanitation District #2 offices in Baldwin in 2011. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

8) 1978 idea: Simplify government.

To eliminate unnecessary layers of government, particularly special districts.

Status now: Long Island elected officials, with rare exceptions, have not eliminated or consolidated special taxing districts that provide services such as water, fire protection, police, parks and sanitation. Long Island has more than 300 such districts, in addition to other levels of village, town and county governments.

Among the exceptions, Brookhaven consolidates services such as trash pickup and information technology with villages such as Mastic Beach, Bellport and Port Jefferson. Head of the Harbor shares a part-time building inspector with Nissequogue and Village of the Branch, both in the Town of Smithtown.

Cuomo last year offered financial incentives to local municipalities that come up with plans for consolidating county, town and village services to cut property taxes. “Not everyone has to do everything,” Cuomo told a crowd in Suffolk last year. “Not every government is a country unto itself. You can find efficiencies among yourselves.”

—Robert Brodsky


Rendering of the Ronkonkoma Hub proposal. Credit: Ronkonkoma Vision Project LLC

9) 1978 idea:Affordable housing.

Legalize some multifamily use of single-family dwellings and increase rental housing options and improve financing opportunities to help make housing more affordable.

Status now: Attitudes on affordable housing have begun to change — albeit slowly — throughout the region. A 2016 study by the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University estimated that Long Island has 14,500 to 16,000 legal accessory apartments, making up about 7 percent of the Island’s total rental stock. Local officials estimate there are 90,000 to 100,000 illegal apartments on the Island. While some rental housing has been built, particularly near Long Island Rail Road stations, the number represents a fraction of all occupied housing, according to a study from the Regional Plan Association, an urban research and advocacy organization. A 2014 report by state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found that Nassau and Suffolk had among the state’s highest rates of homeownership, at 80.4 and 78.9 percent, respectively. But elected officials continue to push for more housing near Long Island Rail Road stations to attract young people, including a planned 1,450 apartments at the Ronkonkoma Hub.

—Robert Brodsky


Commuters about to board a bus at the Rosa Parks Transportation Center in Hempstead in 2015. Credit: J. Conrad Williams Jr.

10) 1978 idea: Create a regional transportation authority.

To coordinate the bus systems in both counties, MacArthur and Republic Airports and the bicounty state highway system.

Status Now: Hopes of consolidating all the region’s bus systems under one roof were dealt a major setback in 2011, when Nassau County opted to withdraw the former Long Island Bus from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and hire a private operator to run its transit system, re-branded the Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE. Although MTA officials have said they still favor a regional approach to transportation issues, there are no firm plans to bring the disparate transportation agencies together. The Regional Plan Association, in its latest plan released last year, also called for an “integrated regional rail system” that could one day be expanded “into a seamless regional transit system.”

— Alfonso A. Castillo

Drag and explore the map using 2 fingers.

Newsday artwork by Bernard Cootner (1978) / Colorist: Neville Harvey (2018) Production: Seth Mates and Erin McCarthy / Design: Anthony Carrozzo / Development: Will Welch

Belmont Stakes: 50 Questions for the 150th Running

Whether you’re a zealous horseracing fan or a neighsayer, you’re likely to get caught up in what has been called the “Test of the Champion” — and we’ve got you covered.

When the bell rings on June 9, the horses that thunder forward will make history as part of the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes. And this year’s race offers a Triple Crown contender in Justify, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

But perhaps that’s putting the cart before the horse. For the uninitiated and the indifferent, there’s so much more to the Belmont Stakes than horses running around a track.

What’s in a Belmont Jewel? Has there ever been a tie? What does celebrity chef Bobby Flay have to do with horse racing? Grab your derby hat and saddle up. This is your guide to everything Belmont Stakes.

1Why is the race a big deal this year?

Besides this being the 150th running of the race, there is a chance Justify could win racing’s elite Triple Crown — victories at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. (That’s Justify up there winning the Preakness on May 19.)

2Can I get in?

The New York Racing Association announced in late May that all reserved seats are sold out. Too many people jockeying for a prime viewing location, it seems. (You were warned about the puns.)

Basic general admission tickets are available for Saturday and cost $30. Clubhouse admission tickets run $60. If you’re feeling fancy, you can buy a box seat starting at $425. Visit for more information on Thursday and Friday admission.

Remaining Saturday general admission tickets are sold day-of at the track entrance, cash only. But don’t say we didn’t warn you — some years (like a Triple Crown or a big anniversary, hint hint) attract large crowds and the NYRA has said admission will be capped at 90,000.

The arena is handicapped accessible. ADA compliant seating and parking is available via the festival’s website or by calling 844-NYRA-TIX.

3What does my ticket get me?

Lots, depending on your price point. You’ll need a ticket for each day you go (there’s an option to buy a three-day pass if horseracing is your thing).

Saturday general admission gets you access to the grounds, concessions and the grandstand apron, a viewing patio by the track. Clubhouse is a step up, with premium viewing areas and limited seating on the second and third floors. Box seats overlook the finish line and winner’s circle with exclusive perks.

The festival offers a variety of other packages with varying amenities and extras like assigned seating and access to special areas of the park.

4Money is no obstacle. What tickets should I buy to have the best experience?

First off, congrats on that! Second, if you’re willing to pony up (sorry) $1,949, you can buy a Gold Clubhouse VIP package. It comes with admission, full service in the ulta-exclusive Diamond Room (featuring an open bar, gourmet buffet and jockeys), third floor seating, an “Official Belmont Experiences Gift,” access to an on-site trip director, a two-night hotel stay and transportation.

5OK, hold your horses. What's the most economical option?

Go with the general admission ticket — the grounds offer plenty of activities and amenities, plus track-side access if you’re willing to squeeze through the crowd.

6Can I bring my kids?

Yes! There’s no reason to saddle your in-laws with the kids. Children under 12 receive free admission. Parents are welcome to bring diaper bags and strollers and the grounds feature a playground.

7Can I bring my dog?

Nay! (Horse humor.)

8Any other restrictions on what I can bring? And please end the answer with another lame horse pun.

Backpacks, large bags, signs, drones, grills, fireworks, umbrellas, selfie sticks and weapons are banned. Also be sure to leave your glitter, air horns and laser pointers at home. For a full list of banned items, visit

Bringing any of these items will make your day unstable.

9Is there parking? Any other ways to get there?

Yes, there is parking, but it’s limited and you need to buy a pass. Passes for Friday run $12 for general lots to $25 for more exclusive lots. Saturday prices run $40 to $150. Two-day passes are $77-$170.

There’s an LIRR station at Belmont Park. You can also take the bus.

10Weren't there major LIRR issues at the race a few years ago?

In 2014, when there were record-breaking crowds gathered to watch California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid, exiting attendees waited for more than three hours at the Belmont Park’s Long Island Rail Road station.

“We’ve never had that kind of ridership before at Belmont. . . . Thirty-six thousand people arrived at Belmont between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and they all wanted to leave within the same 60 minutes,” an LIRR spokeswoman said at the time.

LIRR officials said they had only expected abut 20,000 riders, which is roughly how many race attendees used the rails after the last Triple Crown contender ran in 2008. Officials said they had hoped many would stay for the last race and concert and riders had been warned that of long waits — even with extra trains scheduled — because only one track was going in and out of the station.

In 2015, the LIRR rolled out a new Belmont Stakes service plan, including a $5 million upgrade of the dilapidated station with new platforms, stairs and ramps, and reconfigured service. That year, the LIRR moved the 30,000 fans gathered to watch American Pharoah’s Triple Crown win with relative ease.

This year, the LIRR expects to carry as many as 35,000 riders to the park and it is boosting service to meet the high demand. It is adding 21 eastbound trains to Belmont beginning before 10 a.m., and will operate westbound trains from the park about every 15 minutes after the race. Read more about the railroad’s plan here.

11Whoa. (Horse joke). So will this be a traffic nightmare?

Come on, this is Long Island. Expect gridlock conditions in and around Belmont Park.

In addition to the expected congestion on Hempstead Turnpike and the Cross Island Parkway, the planned closure of Plainfield Avenue from Hempstead Turnpike to Vanderwater Avenue from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. is expected to worsen traffic conditions.

Lines are also expected to be long for parking, which will range in price from $40 to $150.

And according to lore, Belmont is responsible for LI’s “first great automobile logjam.” According to, “the crush of horse-drawn carriages and automobiles filled with people trying to get to Belmont Park for opening day was so great” when Belmont Park opened in 1905 that Long Island experienced its first huge traffic back-up.

12How many people usually attend?

It depends on the year. Triple Crown years tend to see bigger crowds. In fact, the attendance record — 120,139 — was set when a Triple Crown was expected in 2004. This year, hower, the NYRA has capped attendance at 90,000.

13Do famous people go?

It’s not the Kentucky Derby, but you may spot a familiar face or two. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is a horse owner and breeder. In past years, actors Bill Murray, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick and former President Bill Clinton have attended.

14Do I have to dress up?

It’s not quite as high fashion as the Kentucky Derby, but the Belmont Stakes does have what officials call a tradition of “elegant attire.” Beyond the grandstand, guests are asked to dress in varying degrees of “proper attire,” from collared shirts and no “abbreviated wear” to suits and dresses in the most exclusive areas of the festival.

15Do people wear big hats like at the Kentucky Derby?

You bet — that’s part of the fun of dressing up. There’s usually a fashion contest, too.

16Why do people wear big hats to horse races, anyway?

American horse races were inspired by British ones, where dress codes were strict and included hats, according to the Kentucky Derby Museum. The races were also popular among wealthy people, who were eager to dress up. Dress codes may have relaxed since the 19th century, but the appeal of a show-stopping hat hasn’t waned.

17Who was the first horse to win the Triple Crown?

Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes in 1919 to become the first Triple Crown winner before the term even existed. “Plagued with soft feet that caused him to lose his shoes during a race, Sir Barton was a cranky colt who mostly disliked humans,” says

18How rare is a Triple Crown?

Only 12 horses have ever won it. The most recent winner was in 2015, when American Pharoah was the first in 37 years.

19So, what's Justify's story?

At both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, the 1,280-pound Justify held his ground courageously and refused to let an opponent get past him. In the Kentucky Derby, he left behind Good Magic after setting hot fractions with the rabbit Promises Fulfilled. In the Preakness, Justify went head to head with Good Magic before shaking him off and turning back a late move by Bravazo.

Bred in Kentucky, the undefeated chestnut colt has made fewer starts before the Belmont Stakes than any of the 12 Triple Crown champions. Unlike them, he didn’t race as a 2-year-old. (See question 24.)

Justify will be trainer Bob Baffert’s fifth shot at one of the rarest trophies in sport. Three years ago, Baffert ended a 36-year Triple Crown drought with American Pharoah.

Can Justify become the 13th thoroughbred immortal? “The Test of the Champion” will be his sixth race crammed into less than four months. No other horse ever made his career debut in February and went for the Triple Crown that June.

Justify arrived in New York on June 6. He is ridden by jockey Mike Smith.

20Who is Big Red?

That’s Justify’s nickname at the barn.

But trainer Bob Baffert told in April that the nickname was about the horse’s appearance and not the name’s historical significance — it was also the nickname for Secretariat.

21What about Secretariat?

Secretariat is one of the most famous horses to win the Triple Crown. In 1973, he won the race by 31.5 lengths — a world record for a 1.5-mile dirt race, according to

22Does Secretariat have any LI ties?

According to the Lexington, Kentucky-based Jockey Club, Secretariat is a distant relative of the Long Island horse Messenger. Messenger, known as “the great progenitor,” lived from 1780 to 1808 and was the father of our country’s racehorses, according to Newsday archives. He was the “founding sire” of harness racing and the most prominent contributor to the nation’s thoroughbred stock. He lived much of his life on a Locust Valley farm, and among the horses that can be linked back to him are Eclipse, Man o’ War and Spectacular Bid.

23Is Secretariat still honored in horseracing today?

There’s a tribute to Secretariat at Belmont Park. The “Secretariat Pole” is 31.5 lengths from Belmont’s finish line — in honor of the length of his victory — and is painted blue and white in honor of his stable, according to It was erected in 2013 for the 40th anniversary of his win.

24What is the Apollo Curse?

In 1882, a horse named Apollo won the Kentucky Derby. Apollo had never raced as a 2-year-old, the most common age for most prominent horse races.

In the 136 years since, no horse had ever won the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old. That was, until Justify – who started racing at 3 – won the Derby on May 5.

Prior to the Derby, Justify’s trainer, Bob Baffert, told the Los Angeles Times that the curse didn’t scare him. “I don’t really ever think about that,” he said. “There are so many other curses out there. … Now black cats, they kill me. I can just feel it too. Point Given [in 2001] on the way out to the track, a black cat ran in front of him. Real Quiet, [in 1998] before the Triple Crown race, I was driving in here and a black cat ran in front of me. They should not allow black cats on the backstretch.”

25They've really been doing this for 150 years? Has anything changed since the first running?

The first Belmont Stakes was held in The Bronx on a Thursday in 1867. The race later moved to Saturdays and didn’t come to Elmont until Belmont Park was constructed in 1905 (it was not run from 1911-1912 and temporarily moved to Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens for 1963-1967). The race course has also varied in length and today’s course is slightly shorter than the original, from 1 5/8 miles to 1.5 miles.

In the early years of the Belmont, the race was run clockwise (as races are run in England) over a fish hook-shaped course which included part of the current training track. The first counterclockwise Belmont Stakes was run in 1921, according to Newsday archives.

A Belmont Stakes-winning horse is significantly more valuable today, too. The owner of the winning horse took home a whopping $1,850 in 1867, according to NYRA. Estimates vary, but that prize has the buying power of $30,000-$40,000 in 2018 money, a fraction of the $800,000 Tapwrit took home in 2017.

26Hey, we're in the home stretch! Can we celebrate with a horse joke?

A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Why the long face?”

27Why is it called the Belmont Stakes?

The Belmont Stakes is named after New York financier August Belmont, according to Not because it’s in Elmont.

28How important is the Belmont Stakes to horseracing?

It’s the longest dirt stakes (1 1/2 miles) in American racing, and it can crown an immortal if the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness completes the sweep in Elmont.

29The Kentucky Derby has mint juleps. Does Belmont have a drink?

For Belmont, the drink is a little more complicated than the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, which has the black-eyed Susan. Since 2011, the official cocktail has been called the Belmont Jewel, a blend of Woodford Reserve bourbon, lemonade, pomegranate juice and orange zest. But past years have seen the race cycle through other recipes.

Previous attempts at a winning signature cocktail included the Big Apple (used very briefly in the 1970s), the White Carnation (vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, soda water and cream) and the Belmont Breeze (bourbon, sherry, lemon and orange juices and mint).

30Can I bring in my own food and drink?

As long as you are not seated in a hospitality area, outside food is fine. You can also purchase drinks, pretzels, hot dogs, ice cream and more from food trucks, concession stands and park cafes.

However, you cannot bring your own alcohol.

31How about tailgating?

Nope, you can’t do that either. Generally, no horsing around.

32Is there a map of the grounds?

Sure is! You can find one here.

33What time does everything start the day of the race?

Gates open at 8:30 a.m. The races on Belmont Stakes Day start at 11:35 a.m. The main race will start at 6:37 p.m.

34How long does the race last?

The race is typically over in about three minutes. Tapwrit won the 2017 Belmont Stakes with a time of 2:30.02.

35How do I place a bet?

Bring cash to a teller at a mutuel window, which is the old-fashioned way. You specify how much you want to wager, and how. For example: “Give me $10, win, place and show on the 5 (use the horse’s program number, not its name).” The total of such a bet is $30. Good luck!

Credit cards are no good, by the way. You also can bet online through an Internet account.

36How do I pick a horse?

That’s up to you. Some people meticulously study the past performances of horses and read the race day program to predict winners. Others choose less straightfoward metrics, such as horse names or the jockey’s uniform colors.

37Who's running?

The post positions were announced June 5 at Citi Field. They are:
1 Justify
2 Free Drop Billy
3 Bravazo
4 Hofburg
5 Restoring Hope
6 Gronkowski
7 Tenfold
8 Vino Rosso
9 Noble Indy
10 Blended Citizen

38What if I bet $150,249,400 this year?

Well, then you would already be a winner in one sense. Then the all-time Belmont betting record was $150,249,399 placed on the race won by Tonalist in 2014.

39How do they name horses anyway?

Well, there are 17 restrictions noted on The Jockey Club’s registry website. They include:
-Names consisting of more than 18 characters (spaces and punctuation count);
-Names consisting entirely of initials;
-Names consisting entirely of numbers;
-Names ending in “filly,” “colt,” “stud,” “mare,” “stallion,” or similar horse-related terms;
-Names of living persons unless written permission to use their name is on file;
-Names of persons no longer living unless approved by The Jockey Club;
-Names of winners in the past 25 years of grade one stakes races;
-Names of racetracks or graded stakes races

Race horses are named at age 2, according to an article in The Washington Post.

Before that, they are usually called by nicknames or by their mother’s name and the year they were born. For example, American Pharaoh was once called “Littleprincessemma 2012,” the Post reported.

40And the jockeys - any rules for them?

Belmont Stakes horses must carry 126 pounds, and they carry lead pads in the saddles. The lead weight is the difference between the rider’s weight and 126 pounds; most weigh no more than 116 pounds or so.

41Any cool Belmont trivia that I can use to stump (and win money from) my friends?

Sure! Even though female racehorses are uncommon and only about two dozen have ever run in the Belmont Stakes, it was a filly who won the very first Belmont – Ruthless in 1867.

(The race has been won by female racehorses on two other occasions – Tanya in 1905 and Rags to Riches in 2007. And female jockeys are even rarer. None are expected this year, and the only female jockey ever to ride a Belmont winner was Julie Krone in 1993, riding Colonial Affair.)

42Has there ever been a tie?

No, but a handful of races since 1905 have come close. In 1936, 1962, 1998 and 2016, the winners achieved victory by a margin of a nose, according to NYRA records. Another six or so races were won by a head and the winner was ahead by just their neck in about nine.

43I'm not going to see a horse get hurt, am I?

No promises. Dozens of horses are injured or killed each year racing or training to race at state racetracks. New York State publishes an annual report of the injuries and deaths.

44If the Belmont Stakes is one horse race, what's Belmont Stakes Day and what's the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival?

The festival includes three days of races, leading up to the official running of the Belmont Stakes. Thursday and Friday offer races and admission at discounted prices. Saturday, also known as Belmont Stakes Day, offers races, food trucks, concessions, live performances and more activities, plus the big race.

45Does anything else happen at the event other than horseracing?

It’s mostly horseracing, but you can sample food trucks, sip cocktails and enjoy the weather. The event also includes performances by Billy Joel tribute band Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot on Friday and Third Eye Blind and the cast of Broadway musical “A Bronx Tale” on Saturday.

46My buddy wants to go double or nothing on that trivia. What else ya got?

On five occasions, the Belmont had just two horses in the field — 1887, 1888, 1892, 1910 and 1920.

47I hear the Islanders are moving to Belmont. Have they started building the arena?

Construction on the Islanders’ new arena and surrounding retail development project at Belmont Park remains on schedule to start as early as next spring, according to the Empire State Development Corp.

48What does Belmont Park offer people on days other than the Belmont Stakes?

The track is open from early May until around July 20, when Saratoga opens for six weeks. After Labor Day, the Belmont fall meet runs until late October or early November. The track usually is open four days a week, with roughly nine races at day. Saturday cards showcase the best horses.

49What's the best way to follow the race?

You can get the latest on all things Belmont right here on, on the Newsday app, with Newsday breaking news alerts, in Newsday’s Sunday paper and on Newsday’s social media. Of course.

NBC will broadcast the Belmont Stakes in a program that will run 5-7 p.m. on Saturday.

50How about a ... photo finish?

Sure! Here’s a look at Newsday staff photographer J. Conrad Williams Jr.’s award-winning photograph of American Pharoah winning the Belmont in 2015 – and the first Triple Crown in decades.

Are the beaches ready? An East End summer status report

Water — the primary lure for beach-bound summer visitors to the East End — has been enemy No. 1 over the past several months, with a string of nor’easters pounding the surf and the sands from Wading River to Montauk. But towns have replenished what was lost to erosion, and beaches and bluffs are ready for visitors.

“The summers are great out here and everybody knows it,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “I think a lot of people are going to come out here. It’s going to be a good summer.”

With the good comes the bad, and officials are working to keep the ocean beaches mostly clean — both of bacteria and trash — and are also trying to make sure those who want to enjoy the beaches find parking to do so.

The beach near downtown Montauk, which absorbed much of the brunt of the regional storm damage, was recently rebuilt.

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft will make it easier to visit without a car — and are an added bonus when the sun goes down and the nightlife heats up — as will free shuttle services and an expanded Long Island Rail Road schedule.

Many beaches offer day passes for those who don’t have resident parking stickers. It can cost as much as $50 to dig your toes in the sand at Cooper’s Beach in Southampton Village, but that’s the price to visit the beach ranked fourth in the nation by coastal expert Stephen P. Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach. The director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University has spent several years studying beach erosion and storm impacts.

Here’s what you need to know about the issues facing East End beaches this summer season:

Traffic and transportation

Heavy traffic remains a persistent issue for those traveling to the East End, and this year won’t be much different. The good news is that free shuttles, earlier and more frequent trains, ride-sharing services and a new Suffolk Bus app will make it easier to get around.

A state grant and money from East Hampton Town will fund a free Hampton Hopper shuttle servicing the hamlet of Montauk. The service will operate from June 28 to Sept. 3 and will run every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., from Hither Hills to the downtown and harbor areas.

The Free Ride, an app-based service that uses small electric cars to offer free lifts around downtown Southampton, East Hampton and Montauk, will resume Memorial Day weekend and will run seven days a week through Labor Day.

This summer marks the first time that Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services will be available all season.

The best strategy to deal with traffic remains timing your trip to avoid the rush, said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. Friday afternoon into evening and later in the day on Sunday have long been the busiest periods on the roads during Hamptons summer weekends.

“There’s going to be traffic,” Schneiderman said. “I think people have gotten used to it.”

Long Island Rail Road users can extend their Hamptons weekend with the extension of an early morning rush hour train that will leave the Southampton station at 4:41 a.m. beginning May 21. The train, which previously originated farther west in Speonk, will stop in Hampton Bays, Westhampton and Speonk before continuing to Penn Station.

The LIRR is also doubling its weekend service to the North Fork, with four roundtrips between Ronkonkoma and Greenport.

Suffolk County bus service riders can see locations in real time using the new Rider app. It is expected to roll out within the next two weeks, said Legis. Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac).


A $1 million fix to rebuild a ravished ocean beach will ensure a wide swath of white sand when hipsters, surfers and others descend on Montauk this summer.

Town Beach in Southold, the town’s main public beach and one of the most visible North Fork attractions, sustained some of the heaviest erosion damage of any area on the East End this year and is in far worse shape.

Damaged beaches are a larger issue for tourism on the South Fork than in Southold, where farms, wineries and dining are almost as much of a draw as the water. Still, business owners worry how the diminished shoreline could affect their bottom line.

“They don’t come strictly for the beaches, but they enjoy the beaches,” said Amy Uyanik owner of the 15-unit Southold Beach Motel across from Town Beach on Route 48.

A contractor spread sand and cobble rocks naturally deposited nearby to widen the beach, which sits on the Long Island Sound. Completion of the work left the beach 25 feet from the edge of the parking lot to the low tide mark, said Southold Supervisor Scott Russell. A long-term solution, which would include revetment, restoration and resurfacing the parking lot, would cost between $500,000 and $600,000, Russell said.

“Realistically there is no way the budget could handle an appropriation for that amount,” he said, adding that though narrow, the beach is safe and usable.

In Montauk, where storms uncovered a half-mile-long stretch of buried sandbags intended to combat erosion along the beach, the town is required through an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild the beach. East Hampton Town budgeted about $1,050,000 to spread sand over the exposed dunes, and officials said it will be ready when the crowds roll in.

Erosion and sea-level rise remain a concern on the South Fork’s easternmost tip. In February, consultants working with East Hampton Town presented a plan for businesses to retreat inland as the best long-term solution.

Baiting Hollow bluffs did sutstain significant erosion, although all Riverhead Town beaches will be open for the season, said town Councilwoman Catherine Kent.

No sand replenishment projects were done in Southampton Town this year, said Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.

“I expect this summer the beach should be wide and enjoyable,” he said.

Public access and crowding

In Riverhead, parking lots at smaller beaches such as Wading River and Reeves Beach have had a tendency to fill up faster, according to Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne. Iron Pier Beach in Jamesport and other large beaches have had the capacity to handle crowds, but residents near beaches in smaller surrounding hamlets have complained recently that their parking lots have overflowed during recent beach seasons.

“Right now, [beach parking] is reaching the top-top of the glass, and once it starts spilling over, we’re really going to attack the issue,” Coyne said.

Some residents have suggested issuing nonresident passes to the larger beaches and restricting them at smaller beaches, Coyne said, adding that Reeves Beach has alternative parking spots that can open up.

In Southold, Supervisor Scott Russell said the increased popularity of the town’s beaches has led to more users than the town can accommodate.

“You’re dealing with volume, whether it’s a day pass or a yearly pass,” Russell said.

New Suffolk Beach, one of the most popular — but smallest — beaches in Southold, has experienced overcrowding and public access problems. Russell said it is getting to the point that the town may either consider limiting the number of beachgoers or implementing a management plan for New Suffolk that could potentially be implemented at other beaches.

Along the South Fork, Southampton has issued a steady average of 44,039 beach parking stickers annually between 2015 and 2017, according to figures from the town’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera said the town has generally experienced little, if any, public access issues at town-owned beaches.

Parking access at town beaches in Shelter Island was an issue in years past, but town officials have had some success in solving the problem at Crescent Beach, the town’s most popular. Residents have a better chance of finding parking spots with a switch to 24/7 access permits, said Highway Superintendent Jay Card.

East Hampton officials did not return requests for comment.

Water quality

Beachgoers can expect glittering, blue-green waves at ocean beaches this summer, though blue-green algae remains the main threat in ponds and other freshwater bodies.

Blue-green algae, a human health hazard also known as cyanobacteria, can cause skin irritation, rashes or even liver damage, according to the Suffolk County Health Department. Officials advise people to monitor media reports and watch for signage to avoid waterbodies affected by the algae. A blue-green algae advisory was issued May 11 by the county for Lake Agawam in Southampton on May 11, and advocacy group Concerned Citizens of Montauk announced it will take biweekly samples at Fort Pond.

“In any bodies of water that are warm, nutrient rich and still, there is a high threat of blue-green algae,” said Colleen Henn, Eastern Long Island chapter coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation, a beach advocacy group. The organization uses volunteers to take weekly water samples tested for enterococcus, a coliform bacteria that indicates fecal pollution from either humans or animals, at 50 water bodies from East Quogue to Montauk.

High levels of enterococcus bacteria have not triggered an ocean beach closure in Suffolk since the 1980s, according to a spokeswoman for the county Health Department. Surfrider data has shown levels above the EPA standard for coastal recreational waters at several ocean beaches last year following heavy rainfall, Henn said. Those readings could be due to stormwater runoff or oversaturated wastewater systems leaching into the groundwater.

“That’s a trend we are going to keep an eye on,” Henn said.

Brown tide and rust tide, types of algal bloom that pose no danger to human health but can be harmful to shellfish, remain a threat in bodies like Shinnecock Bay but have not been spotted this year, according to Ed Warner Jr., president of the Southampton Town Trustees.

Algal blooms are not a problem at ocean beaches.


Southold has seen its share of trash issues at local beaches rise in recent years, not just in summer but into the fall season.

Jeff Standish, the town’s public works director, said the amount of beach trash has been “more than ever in the last few years.”

“There is definitely much, much more garbage,” Standish said, adding that he had to find an extra $6,000 this year to pay for landfill-related costs for the town.

The garbage volume at beach barrels normally tends to taper off shortly after Labor Day, but in recent years the overflow has extended into October around Columbus Day, Standish said. He added that the increase could be related to the dumping of household trash by tourists and local residents.

Standish and Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the town has been considering its options, including installing cameras near the beach barrels.

In Riverhead, officials said they have seen more trash at local beaches in recent years from May to September.

To combat this, Councilwoman Catherine Kent, a liaison on the town’s Recreation Advisory Committee, and Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne said the town has placed more barrels at beaches and increased trash pickups on the beach from once a week to Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Southampton parks director Kristen M. Doulos said the town has had to deal with the piling up of household trash left at beach cans, mostly in July and August.

The town’s park maintenance staff increased garbage collection last year to twice a weekend on local beaches, resulting in higher overtime costs.

The town has also placed additional “Big Belly” solar trash compactors at more of the town’s beach pavilion locations. The methods have led to savings. Last year, it cost Southampton $25,000 to remove beach trash, according to Doulos’ office, about $9,000 less than in 2016.

On Shelter Island, Highway Superintendent Jay L. Card said trash barrels at the town’s four beaches are usually emptied five times a week starting in May. Shelter Island spends about $60,000 annually in trash service costs for beaches, including staffing, truck, fuel and other costs.

East Hampton officials did not return requests for comment.

How Long Beach found itself in financial crisis

The damaged Long Beach Boardwalk two and a half months after Sandy. Newsday / Alejandra Villa

The $102 million in state and federal emergency disaster funds given to Long Beach after superstorm Sandy masked financial problems that, with the relief money now drying up, led the city into a fiscal crisis, officials and analysts say.

Long Beach faces a $2.1 million shortfall after making retirement and management separation payments, potential layoffs of city staff, police and firefighters, and a budget that proposes a 12.3 percent tax hike to bridge a $4.5 million revenue deficit next year.

Taxpayers — and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli — are asking: How did it come to this?

Long Beach officials in 2017 touted a financial swing from the brink of bankruptcy to being $9 million in the black — a $24.2 million turnaround — but current and former city leaders say the previous collapse was never addressed and stayed hidden because of the disaster relief funds after superstorm Sandy.

“We’re almost where we were before Sandy,” Long Beach City Council President Anthony Eramo said of the current crisis. He also said problems the city faced before Sandy have not gone away. “We knew this would be a tough year and hard decisions would have to be made. . . . I knew the lack of Sandy money would make this a tough year.”

Eramo, DiNapoli, and municipal finance analysts say city officials should have made more difficult decisions such as cutting services and making incremental tax increases in previous years to avoid the larger tax increase proposed this year. The City Council passed a 1 percent tax boost last year — an election year.

The proposed $95 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 will mean an average $400 increase for homeowners.

DiNapoli announced last week that his office would audit the city’s finances.

“It is imperative that officials address the city’s declining financial condition during the current budget cycle,” his office said in the annual budget review.

“It’s identical to putting your budget on a credit card. It’s not a sustainable practice.”-Matt Fabian, a partner with Municipal Market Analysts.

The Wall Street bond rating agency Moody’s Investors Service this month maintained the city’s Baa1 rating — considered a moderate credit risk, but issued a negative outlook, citing cash flow challenges “following years of operating deficits and the City Council’s failure to approve budgeted borrowing to pay for operating expenses.”

Lower ratings can mean higher interest rates and costs of borrowing.

“Any time a local government borrows for operating expenses, we view that as a negative,” Moody’s vice president and senior analyst Rob Weber said.

Long Beach has borrowed to cover retirements and other payments for years.

“It’s identical to putting your budget on a credit card,” said Matt Fabian, a partner with Municipal Market Analysts, a municipal research and consulting firm specializing in the bond market. “It’s not a sustainable practice.”

2011 fiscal crisisBack on the brink of bankruptcy

Elements of the current fiscal crisis mirror those in 2011: unbalanced budgets, borrowing to make payroll and separation payments, and reliance on storm relief funding.

Former City Manager Jack Schnirman and the Long Beach City Council declared a fiscal emergency in 2012 after inheriting a $14.7 million deficit and facing $48.3 million in debt from the previous administration.

Long Beach was on the brink of bankruptcy as ratings agencies downgraded it five levels and threatened to reduce its credit to junk bond status. Other city officials faulted the administration for not reining in overtime and relying too heavily on reserves while giving residents a 1.9 percent tax cut in 2009.

The administration responded with a nearly 8 percent tax hike in 2012 and entered a deal with the state to pay the debt over 10 years, which allowed the state comptroller to review the city’s budgets annually for the next decade. The city’s total long-term debt is now $92.2 million.

An audit in 2013 by DiNapoli blamed the city administration for exhausting $21 million in reserve funds with “unrealistic estimates” of revenue and expenses and relied on advances and long-term financing to fund operations.

The city now has about $8 million in reserves, but used $3 million of it this year to cover Sandy recovery expenses while awaiting reimbursements.

Analysts said the city’s declining available funds show a history of budget imbalances, but it still has a positive balance compared with the negative reserves the city had when it was facing near-junk-bond status.

“We’re not anywhere near where we were in 2011-12 and saw negative cash positions. We’re not there yet,” Weber said.

Superstorm Sandy'Easy money' from the government

Long Beach was inundated from the Atlantic Ocean to the back bay, flooding the entire city and destroying the iconic boardwalk.

The city was also flooded with cash from federal and state emergency disaster recovery funds.

As the city sought to rebuild “stronger, smarter, safer,” portions of some projects were not reimbursed with storm money, adding to the debt and budget shortfall.

The city also used the government reimbursements to pay salaries to office clerks and workers completing the rebuilding projects, Eramo said.

Using disaster funds to cover indirect costs such as permanent salaries of workers and office staff so cities don’t have to slash workforce while rebuilding is common, municipal finance experts said.

“Money from the federal government is easy money, but it’s hard to balance a budget with counting it as reoccurring revenues,” Fabian said.

The state comptroller upgraded the city’s fiscal stress rating to “moderate” in 2016, but Schnirman cautioned that a “short-term infusion” of Sandy dollars was not sustainable without a long-term recovery plan.

More than five years after the storm, the city is still waiting for about $7.5 million in state and federal reimbursements. Long Beach officials recently issued a $4 million tax anticipation bond while awaiting reimbursement for boardwalk rebuilding work.

Moody’s stated in its May 4 report that “any expenses that are not reimbursed will result in additional long-term debt.”

BudgetingCity faced hard choices

State officials and credit agencies monitoring Long Beach’s finances said the warning signs of a budget crisis were flagged for city officials but in some cases not addressed.

Schnirman issued a transition memo on Dec. 31 to city leaders that included money-saving recommendations on department changes and cuts, such as restructuring public works, reducing part-time workers, privatizing day care and summer camps, and adding parking meters to increase revenue.

Schnirman said at the time he told the council that hard choices would have to be made, including proposals such as cutting the city’s 17-member paid fire department. The City Council rejected layoffs, and settled on fee inceases and tax hikes averaging 2.3 percent since Sandy.

“These are not the same problems we faced in 2011. The city is in a different place now and has come a long way,” Schnirman said in an interview last week. “The city funded a recovery after Sandy, taking the burden off taxpayers.”

DiNapoli’s office in April listed the city as being in significant fiscal stress, signaling a “deteriorating financial condition” and warning of significant tax increases.

City officials responded to the rating by noting the fiscal stress was due to Sandy funds that had not yet been reimbursed.

DiNapoli’s office determined this year’s proposed budget had balanced revenue projections of $41.5 million, “but does not include measures to improve financial condition.”

The comptroller’s office has cautioned the city for years to reduce overtime, which has averaged around $3 million for the past five years — about $300,000 more than budgeted last year.

The past two budgets have counted on $900,000 in sewer runoff fees from a contested $336 million 522-unit oceanfront apartment development starting construction on the Superblock parcel, a prime piece of undeveloped land along the boardwalk. The project stalled and the fees were not paid. The revenue stream was scratched from this year’s proposed budget as the future of the project remains uncertain.

Acting City Manager Michael Tangney said the lost funds contributed to a $1 million shortfall in revenue in last year’s budget, combined with another $200,000 shortage in the city’s recreation fees.

The state comptroller’s April review found that personal service contracts and employee benefits make up 75 percent of the city’s annual $41.5 million revenue and almost 12 percent in debt interest from bonds.

“With these costs accounting for 87 percent of revenue, there is limited ability to finance operations and maintain infrastructure,” comptroller officials said.

Borrowing'The practice will saddle future taxpayers'

Long Beach issued deficit reduction bonds in 2014. The city has since reduced its operating funds by $3 million — to $8.4 million, according to Moody’s.

“The city had a financial position that was relatively healthy, but since that point, we’ve seen reserves decline and significantly,” Moody’s Weber said. “Basically, the liquidity over the last few months has dropped far more significantly than we anticipated.”

Moody’s said in its May 4 report that the city’s bond rating could be downgraded if its 2018 financial results are worse than anticipated, if available cash deteriorates, and if reserves are relied on to balance the budget.

Long Beach has counted on balancing its budget using borrowing and issuing bonds to pay for operating expenses such as separation payments, Moody’s and state officials said.

The state comptroller’s office said budgeting for “termination salaries is somewhat misleading as they also include cash payments for accrued leave to employees that remain employed by the city.”

Long Beach officials said union and nonunion employees for decades have been allowed to be paid for accrued time to reduce larger payouts to retirees later.

The payouts have averaged $2.6 million over the past three years, according to the comptroller’s review. A Moody’s report said the city will need to use an additional $1.75 million in previously approved bonds to cover separation payments and Sandy expenses this fiscal year through June.

Comptroller officials warned that if the city could not fund operations, the city could face a $2.1 million shortfall heading into the next fiscal year.

“The city’s continued practice of borrowing to fund these operating costs is not fiscally prudent,” comptroller officials said. “The practice will saddle future taxpayers.”

What's next?A six-point plan

City Council members Anthony Eramo and Chumi Diamond have crafted a six-point plan to address the city’s finances.

1. Work with the comptroller’s audit team to improve budgeting practices.

2. Budget real dollars from city revenues for future separation payments and earned-leave obligations.

3. Require all separation or earned leave obligations more than $5,000 to have City Council approval.

4. Audit 2018 separation payments and pass legislation that limits the city manager’s authority for future payments.

5. Take remedial action if separation payments were miscalculated.

6. Ban anyone convicted of a crime against the city from receiving any separation pay or accrued time.