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Taxi Turmoil

Hicksville-based Sunset Taxi owner Phil Fortuna is suing the MTA and the Town of Oyster Bay, stating that parking spaces reserved for taxis have been illegally changed.

A 30-year veteran in the taxi industry and president of the Long Island Taxi Transportation Owners, Fortuna said that the MTA (which owns the land) and the town (which formerly controlled use of the space) violated the terms of a lease signed in 1965.

Fortuna explained that the MTA eliminated a taxi stand that provided space for 10 taxis, which were previously shared by his 20 cabs and those from other town-approved companies. Those spots were recently given to two competing taxi companies, who were awarded the spaces following a bidding process.

“This doesn’t just affect Hicksville, the busiest train station in Nassau County, if not all of Long Island. It affects all residents because they don’t have a choice. Before they had a choice of seven cab companies, now they have a choice of two,” said Fortuna, who said that the original 1965 lease noted that a minimum of three companies must have access to that area.

Oyster Rides Taxi Co. and Long Island Yellow Cab are Fortuna’s two competitors that currently lease the designated taxi spaces. The number of parking spaces offered to these companies, 27, also violates the amount specified in the 1965 lease (22), according to Fortuna.

Neither company could be reached for comment as of press time.

The MTA recently put taxi concessions at 15 LIRR stations up for bidding. Later this year, the MTA will begin a major renovation project at the Hicksville LIRR station to improve the overall efficiency and appearance.

“So how do you sink $130 million on a train station and take away the taxi stand? I’m hoping that the Town of Oyster Bay’s elected officials come to their senses and do what’s right for their constituents, not their political allies,” Fortuna said.

The Town of Oyster Bay, citing ongoing litigations, declined to comment.

 

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



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com