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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry

NHL Exec’s Homecoming

Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Winter Classic, an outdoor game that in its fifth year will feature the New York Rangers playing in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, was on New Year’s Day 2011 the most-viewed NHL regular season contest in 36 years.

One of the executives behind the NHL Winter Classic’s success is John Collins, the NHL’s chief operating officer and a graduate of the C.W. Post campus at Long Island University. He is returning to his alma mater on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 12:30 p.m. as part of C.W. Post’s Provost Distinguished Lecture Series. The one-hour event, to be held in the Brookville institution’s Pratt Recreation Center, is open to the public, and there is no admission fee. There are, however, only 120 seats available so C.W. Post is accepting reservations by calling the Office of Community Relations at 516-299-3500. They can also be made by emailing Jennifer.Fitz­ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Town Hall Campaigns

Friday, 21 October 2011 00:00

I wondered early in my career why Nassau’s political leaders focused endlessly on winning town campaigns, and showed comparatively little interest in who represented the county in Washington, D.C.

But I quickly learned that Hempstead, North Hempstead and Oyster Bay town government, while not the most glamorous corners of the municipal world, are where all of the significant action is. Town governments make crucial land use decisions in the county’s unincorporated communities; provide essential services (e.g., recreational facilities, garbage disposal) and dispense honest patronage.


LIE’s Report Card

Friday, 14 October 2011 00:00

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) made news last week with the release of a 42-page study examining the Long Island Expressway’s (LIE) conditions in western Nassau County.

I know one person who did not read the FHWA’s entire report: the Newsday editor who decided ‘Danger on the LIE’ should be the front-page headline of the paper’s Thursday, Oct. 6 print edition.


County Control

Friday, 07 October 2011 00:00

Nassau’s Republicans will defend next month a GOP majority in the county Legislature for the first time in 12 years.

I say this because certain media outlets will leave the impression that Republicans have completely controlled county government since the Dawn of Time in the weeks leading up to the Tuesday, Nov. 8 elections. In fact, the actual date is Jan. 1, 2010, which is when County Executive Edward Mangano and 11 Republican county legislators gained a governing majority in Mineola.


Inside Baseball

Friday, 30 September 2011 00:00

One of the reasons movie reviewers raved about Moneyball—and baseball fans may not enjoy it nearly as much—is that most film critics had no idea that Major League Baseball (MLB) is another form of show business.

Baseball aficionados already know MLB is a lot like Hollywood—millions of young people aspire to play in The Show, and the barriers to entry are very high. Moreover, only a handful of athletes have the ability and drive to even make it in the door and, when your star fades, your contract is not renewed.


Ready for Playoff Run?

Friday, 23 September 2011 00:00

Sports Illustrated has mentioned the New York Islanders twice in recent weeks but only one of those articles can be found on the Islanders’ official website.

The SI story the Islanders understandably posted was from an SI online columnist who argued the Isles could make the National Hockey League’s (NHL) playoffs this season. You have to subscribe to SI’s print edition to know the magazine called the Islanders’ newly-announced business relationship with a tattoo parlor ‘a sign of the apocalypse.’


The Contenders

Friday, 16 September 2011 00:00

I’ve understood for years now that my idea of must-see TV does not often track with what the Nielsen ratings say is popular with most American viewers.

My affinity for C-SPAN is Exhibit A, and I will admit I have a problem. Who else besides this columnist rushed back from a 5 p.m. Saturday evening church service last month and, over the loud objections of my spouse and our three sons, immediately turned the TV on, knowing that C-SPAN had promised its viewers they’d have the live results of the Iowa Republican presidential straw poll at 6:15 p.m. C-SPAN, I can report, kept its solemn pledge.


Heller’s Memories

Friday, 09 September 2011 00:00

The late comedian Alan King, then in his 60s, was on NBC’s Tonight Show years ago and told a story about his constantly bickering parents, who had been married for decades and were then in their 90s. Your father drives me crazy, his mother repeatedly told him. I cannot live another minute under the same roof as that man, Mrs. King stated.

King said he finally tired of hearing the same complaints. “Mom, maybe you should think about divorcing Dad,” he said. His mother’s response: “How dare you talk about your father in that way!”


MTA’s Broad Reach

Friday, 26 August 2011 00:00
The New York state Legislature imposed a new payroll tax in 2009 to finance the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s operations (MTA), re-routing 34 cents of every $100 earned in the state’s 12 downstate counties into the MTA’s coffers. It was an audacious move, and now extracts more than $1 billion out of the region’s economy each year.

The MTA has benefited enormously from the media’s portrayal of the tax; you can afford 34 cents, right? Yet a family earning $100,000 in 2011, for instance, will send $340 this year to the MTA through their employer(s). The self-employed must pay the tax, too. Few even remember rental car users and taxicab patrons were also forced to pay more as part of 2009’s MTA bailout package.


The Dust Settles

Friday, 19 August 2011 00:00

The county’s voters rejected on Aug. 1 a proposal to have Nassau County’s property taxpayers borrow $400 million to construct a new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and a minor-league baseball stadium. And while I thought it was a good idea, and said so in this space, I knew about a week before the referendum that the measure would have trouble passing.

A friend stopped me in the street to complain politely about my advocacy for the taxpayer-funded construction of two sports and entertainment facilities during an economic downturn. This individual’s viewpoint carried the day, and the 57 percent ‘no’ vote provided a major boost to the most vocal public opponents of revitalizing the Nassau Hub in this way: Jay Jacobs, the chairman of Nassau County’s Democratic Party, and Desmond Ryan, executive director of the Association for a Better of Long Island (ABLI). Since they’re riding high these days, I’ve given myself permission to kick them while they’re up.


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