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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry

CDs and Mortgages

Friday, 05 August 2011 00:00

There are 435 Congressional Districts (CDs) in the U.S. but few have as many expensive homes as New York’s 5th CD.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights) represents the 5th CD, which covers northeastern Queens and northwestern Nassau. The district is home to Gold Coast communities where finding a residence for sale at a price less than $1 million is rare. In other words, the Congressman has a vested interest in aiding and perpetuating the high-end real estate market, allowing current constituents to sell their properties to new ones. I’ll now get to my point.


Musial’s His Man

Friday, 29 July 2011 00:00

George Vecsey, an award-winning sports columnist at The New York Times, believes the St. Louis Cardinals’ Hall of Famer Stan Musial, a baseball superstar in the mid-20th century, has too often been overlooked in the 21st.

Vecsey wanted to do something about it, and the impressive result is the highly entertaining and just-published Stan Musial: An American Life (ESPN and Ballantine Books). Despite playing 22 seasons spanning from the 1940s into the 1960s, winning seven National League batting titles, and finishing with a career batting average of .331, Musial remains unappreciated, Vecsey argues. Moreover, few major leaguers have ever had a better home run (475) to strike-out ratio (696). “If he (Musial) doesn’t swing at it, it’s a ball,” one home plate umpire told Joe Torre.


Hub’s Last Chance

Friday, 22 July 2011 00:00

Nassau’s voters will go to the polls on Monday, Aug. 1 to express their view on whether the county, owner of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, should be allowed to issue $400 million in bonds to build a new Coliseum as well as a baseball stadium nearby that would house a minor-league team.

The new Coliseum, and I hope one is built, will be similar to the just-opened Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, according to the prospective lease agreement posted at County Executive Edward Mangano’s governmental website. The plans call for a new Coliseum holding a minimum of 17,000 seats and 50 suites. Moreover, the National Hockey League’s (NHL) New York Islanders have agreed to play at a new Coliseum through 2045. The Islanders’ current lease expires in 2015.


Career Pol Plots

Friday, 15 July 2011 00:00

New York State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens) has it figured out. The best way for Weprin to be elected New York City comptroller in 2013 is for him to win the Tuesday, Sept. 13 contest to succeed former Rep. Anthony Weiner in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sounds like an odd scenario, right? But my source on Assemblyman Weprin’s projected career path is the Assemblyman himself who, upon learning he’d be the Democratic nominee in this year’s special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District (CD), told The Wall Street Journal he “would be interested in running for [city] comptroller if it were an open seat.” Incumbent city comptroller John Liu has hinted he may run for New York City Mayor in 2013, and that would create the opening.


Charity Began at Home

Friday, 08 July 2011 00:00

Lest you believe there is no such thing as karma, go online and read state Attorney General (AG) Eric Schneiderman’s 42-page complaint against the operators of the St. James-based Coalition Against Breast Cancer (CABC).

Filed last week, the AG’s lawsuit charged individuals involved in the CABC and the Campaign Center of Lindenhurst, the CABC’s extravagantly paid fundraiser, with violations of the state’s not-for-profit and charitable solicitations laws.


The Newest Warrior

Friday, 01 July 2011 00:00

Charles Jenkins, Hofstra University’s all-time leading men’s basketball team scorer, is taking his talents to the Bay Area following his selection last week by the Golden State Warriors in the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) draft.

The 22-year-old Jenkins, who played his high school ball in Queens, is now in a position to play under another native New Yorker, newly-appointed Warriors head coach Mark Jackson. Jackson was a standout at St. John’s University in the mid-1980s and went on to have a successful NBA career after being the New York Knicks’ first-round draft selection in 1987.


Amtrak Awakens

Friday, 24 June 2011 00:00

Amtrak’s senior management team kept a low profile last month as Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) commuters spent four long days (May 9-12) waiting for Amtrak to repair what was originally reported to have been a minor derailment in an Amtrak-owned East River tunnel.

The federally-supported Amtrak’s ability to hide from public view during that crisis was aided by a quiet New York Congressional delegation, which said little as dozens of trains were canceled and LIRR commuters crammed into packed cars. Amtrak only pays attention to federal lawmakers, I wrote at the time. Recent events prove how true this is.


Isles Ready to Party

Friday, 17 June 2011 00:00

Howie Rose, the distinctive voice of New York Islanders and New York Mets broadcasts, asked aloud during a low point of the Islanders’ 2010-2011 campaign ‘is it spring training yet’ for the Mets. The rhetorical question was inadvertently captured on an open microphone and became a story in the sports media because accidental candor always makes for good copy.

Given the Islanders’ strong finish in 2010-2011, which occurred months after Rose made his accurate observation about the squad’s fortunes at the time, the team’s supporters have reason to look ahead to October 2011, when the National Hockey League (NHL) resumes play.


Belmont Eve on LI

Friday, 10 June 2011 00:00

Garden City and Floral Park will celebrate on Friday evening, June 10 their annual Belmont Festivals, held the night before the final leg of thoroughbred horse racing’s Triple Crown is run.

The Belmont Stakes is taking place at Belmont Park in Elmont on Saturday afternoon, June 11. Even though no horse is vying for the Triple Crown this year, the Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, and the Preakness’ victor, Shackleford, are both expected as of this writing to compete in the Belmont.


2011’s Election Cycle

Friday, 03 June 2011 00:00

Three storylines are emerging as the 2011 election campaigns for Nassau County’s 19 legislative seats unfold: the outcome of the August referendum on the Nassau Coliseum‘s future, the condition of the county’s budget, and the fate of the GOP’s redistricting proposal.

Before getting into the issues, keep one thing in mind. Nassau County‘s Republican county legislators will face five straight months of unrelentingly hostile coverage on Newsday’s editorial pages. Indeed, Newsday endorsed only four Nassau GOP candidates for two-year terms on the county Legislature in 2009. Alas, Nassau’s voters sent 11 Republicans to Mineola, giving the GOP a majority in the county Legislature for the first time since 1999.


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Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: