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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry

Bars Rescued Her

Friday, 01 February 2013 00:00

Spike TV has a reality program called Bar Rescue wherein nightlife consultant John Taffer revives a troubled establishment’s fortunes with a combination of tough love and managerial expertise.

Before shooting his next segment, Taffer should read Rosie Schaap’s just-released memoir, the highly entertaining Drinking with Men (Riverhead Books).  The book examines not only the author’s life as seen through the friends she made while enjoying adult beverages, but also the intangibles that make a bar one you’d like to visit regularly.  


Revisiting The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping

Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
Charles Lindbergh won worldwide acclaim in 1927 when he became the first person to fly an airplane non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean, departing from Roosevelt Field and landing the following day in Paris.

Less than five years later, Lindbergh and his wife, Anne, tragically endured the dark side of being a global celebrity. Charles Lindbergh, Jr., their 20-month-old son, was kidnapped and later found dead, after being taken from his crib in the family’s Hopewell, New Jersey home.


Cutting Up The County

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 11:00

Few issues animate political junkies more than redistricting, the redrawing of legislative district (LD) boundaries in accordance with the most recent U.S. Census.

The 19-member Nassau County Legislature is expected to adopt no later than March 2013 a map that will determine the communities falling within each of the county’s 19 LDs starting with the November 2013 election, and the next 10 years after that. County legislators serve two-year terms.


Summer Spotlight

Friday, 04 January 2013 00:00

With the calendar having turned to 2013, it is not too early to start thinking about the major national sporting events headed to the region later this year.

The Belmont Stakes, to be held on June 8 in Elmont, and the U.S. Open tennis championships in Flushing, Queens, which get underway in late August, are annual happenings. But the arrival in this area of the U.S. Women’s Open Championship (June 27-30) and Major League Baseball’s (MLB) All-Star game at the New York Mets’ Citi Field (July 16) are rare events.


Senators Know Best

Friday, 28 December 2012 00:00

Few New Yorkers entered the polling booth on Election Day wondering who was going to control the state Senate next year. That’s a good thing because a couple of state senators have decided such matters are too important for voters to decide.

At least 32, and perhaps 33 (depending upon the outcome of still-contested race in an upstate district), of the 63 Democrats who sought election to the state Senate in November won, giving the Democrats, on paper at least, a majority in the state Senate. The Republicans controlled the state Senate in 2011 and 2012.


Nets’ Island Roots

Wednesday, 26 December 2012 09:31

Hours after the New York Islanders announced in October that they’d be moving to Brooklyn in 2015, the New York Knicks played a pre-season basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders wasted little time capitalizing on the big news, with Islanders personnel handing out fliers that night to just about everyone who walked through the Coliseum’s doors, urging them to consider the purchase of 2015-2016 Islanders season ticket plans at their new home, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. I remember this vividly because I was at the Knicks-Nets game that evening with our two older sons and reminded them that there once was a time when both the Islanders and the Nets played at the Nassau Coliseum. They knew this already, and politely declined to remind me that I was instrumental in them becoming fans of the Nets, Islanders, Mets, and Jets.


Amtrak’s Silence

Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) famously asked “what fresh hell is this?” yet she was not posing the question to Amtrak, which owns the East River tunnels used by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), because Amtrak materialized in its current form in 1970.

It is a moot point anyway because, if Ms. Parker’s ghost, or the typical LIRR commuter, asked Amtrak questions about how badly Sandy damaged its East River tunnels, or how long it would take to fix them, Amtrak wouldn’t answer anyway. It takes a member of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate to get their attention, given that Amtrak receives billions of dollars annually in federal taxpayer monies.


Francis’ Diary

Friday, 07 December 2012 00:00

The commencement speaker in one of Woody Allen’s films said that, “mankind is at a crossroads. One path leads to utter despair and hopelessness. The other, to total extinction.”

Too many child television stars have encountered these crossroads after the shows they’ve appeared in were canceled. But Melissa Francis, host of Money with Melissa Francis, a one-hour program broadcast live each weekday at 5 p.m. on the Fox Business Network (FBN), is a notable exception. Francis has arguably found more success as a journalist than she did as a school-age actress in Hollywood, a chapter of her life which peaked when she was cast as Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. The show was a staple of NBC’s prime time line-up until the early 1980s.


NYS Senate’s Makeup

Friday, 30 November 2012 00:00

The composition of the New York state Senate was up in the air as of Thanksgiving Eve, with absentee ballots still being counted in upstate’s 46th Senatorial District (SD).

State Assemblyman George Amedore (R-Rotterdam) held a slight edge in the 46th SD’s balloting on that day over his Democratic opponent, Duanesburg, NY school board member Cecilia Tkaczyk. Should Assemblyman Amedore become Senator Amedore, the Republicans will have won 31 of the 63 state Senate seats on Tuesday, Nov. 6.


DeMille’s Latest is #1

Friday, 16 November 2012 00:00

Garden City novelist Nelson DeMille’s The Panther (Grand Central Publishing) was number one on The New York Times’ fiction bestseller list only weeks after its debut, according to the paper’s Sunday, Nov. 4 edition. This was no small accomplishment, given that J.K. Rowling recently held the top spot.

The next stop on his current book tour in support of The Panther is a local one, to be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m., at Old Westbury Gardens, in Old Westbury. Tickets are $35 per person for members of The Friends of Old Westbury Gardens, and $45 for non-members. DeMille will speak, answer questions, and sign copies of his latest book on that evening. More details are at


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