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LIRR President Williams, Senator Martins Discuss Station Plans

Terminal to undergo renovation project through 2017

Senator Jack M. Martins and Long Island Rail Road President Helena E. Williams met at the Hicksville LIRR station on Tuesday, July 31 and reviewed plans for the improvement of the station that the railroad believes will significantly improve service and customer satisfaction for Long Island commuters.

Martins and Williams both indicated how important the Hicksville LIRR station is to commuters as the busiest station in Nassau County where both the Huntington/Port Jefferson Branch and the Ronkonkoma Branch converge into what the MTA calls the Main Line. 

“I’m glad the LIRR is directing money into improving service for our commuters here in Nassau County. Since Hicksville is a major transportation hub, it stands to reason that an effort be made to improve not only the station itself but also enhance service. I want to thank LIRR President Helena Williams for her efforts in working to improve service and convenience for many who rely on the railroad,” said Senator Martins.

The LIRR has set aside slightly upwards of $106 million, a significant commitment to Hicksville, in capital funds to improve the aesthetic look of the station as well as service and reliability for customers.

“I would like to thank Senator Martins for his support of this project that will transform the LIRR’s Hicksville Station into a renewed and modernized facility,” said Williams, adding, “The improvements planned for Hicksville, totaling more than $106 million, will make for a brighter commute for our customers and we welcome community input as we go forward. The signal and siding improvements at Hicksville will benefit thousands of customers who use this critical transit hub and those that pass through this important junction each day.”

The current elevated station, which was built in 1962, is showing its age and is plagued by poor drainage and cracked concrete as well elevators and escalators that are reaching their life expectancy. Though the street level ticket office was expanded and modernized about a decade ago, the rest of the station complex needs attention.

The LIRR has set aside $55.1 million for the Hicksville Station facelift, which will include new station platforms, platform waiting rooms, canopies, stairways, platform lighting, elevators, escalators and a state-of-the-art audio and digital communications systems.

Another improvement on tap for Hicksville is a $37.7 million project that calls for the installation of more than 3,000 feet of new track, power and signal work. This effort will connect Track 1 at Hicksville to an existing track siding situated about one-half mile west of the station platform. The connection will enable the LIRR to add three trains to the a.m. and p.m. peak service between Hicksville and Manhattan when Grand Central Terminal opens to the LIRR with the completion  of the East Side Access project at the end of the decade. It will also improve the railroad’s ability to reroute trains in the event of maintenance, construction or service disruptions.

Finally, the LIRR will spend an additional $13.8 million to modernize the signal system at Divide Tower, located just east of Hicksville Station. Divide controls all train movement on the Huntington/Port Jefferson and the Ronkonkoma Branches east of Hicksville.

Construction is expected to take place between 2014 and 2016 with signal work being estimated for completion the following year.

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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