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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry

MTA’s Cash Grab

Tuesday, 06 November 2012 12:10

Election campaigns conclude but the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) search for additional revenues never ends.

I truly believe Spinal Tap’s Gimme Some Money should be played at the start of the MTA’s Wednesday, Nov. 7, 5 p.m. public hearing at Farmingdale State College, Roosevelt Hall-Little Theatre, 2350 Broadhollow Road, in Farmingdale.  The MTA is billing the gathering as an opportunity to discuss 2013’s Fare, Toll & Service Changes. Spoiler alert: the MTA’s fares are going up; it is just a question of how much.


Gold Coast Festival

Friday, 26 October 2012 00:00

The 2nd Annual Gold Coast International Film Festival (GCIFF) began earlier this week but Nassau movie fans have a few more days to catch the latest films from some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Edward Burns, who grew up in Valley Stream, will be at Port Washington’s Clearview Cinema on Thursday evening, Oct. 25, to participate in an audience question and answer session, following that night’s 6:30 p.m. screening of his latest movie, The Fitzgerald Family Christmas. Burns wrote, directed and starred in this story about “an expansive Irish clan’s fraught yuletide when their long absent patriarch declares his intention to come home for the holiday.”


Consequential Races

Friday, 19 October 2012 00:00

The presidential campaign swept through Hofstra University on Tuesday, Oct. 16, with President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney meeting for the second of their three debates on the institution’s Hempstead campus.

Since New York State has not voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1984, and you have to go back to 1988 to find a GOP presidential candidate who carried Nassau, neither the president nor Governor Romney are likely to be in New York again before Tuesday, Nov. 6.


Quiet Coliseum

Friday, 05 October 2012 00:00

The New York Islanders’ lease at the Nassau Coliseum ends in 2015, and Long Island’s only major league sports franchise will almost certainly play its home games elsewhere after that.

But the current National Hockey League (NHL) labor dispute may last a few months, if not the entire 2012-2013 season, giving Nassau residents in 2012 a preview of what the Coliseum will look like without its anchor tenant.


Sutton’s Legacy

Friday, 28 September 2012 00:00

J.R. Moehringer’s stock as an author has risen so high that his publisher is sending him this week on a national book tour which concludes in November. It will include a stop on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m., at the North Hempstead Country Club in Port Washington, where he’ll be the featured speaker at a $50 per person ticketed fundraiser for Friends of the Manhasset Public Library.

Moehringer, who won a Pulitzer Prize while at the Los Angeles Times, spent part of his youth in Manhasset. He is promoting these days the just-published Sutton (Hyperion), his first novel. The book is based in part on the life of Willie Sutton (1901-1980), an infamous New York City bank robber.


GOP Road Trip

Friday, 21 September 2012 00:00

Comedian Jeff Ross was roasting actor Charlie Sheen when he rhetorically asked whether anyone knew how much cocaine Sheen had used in recent years. The answer: “Enough to kill two-and-a-half men.”

I thought of that joke late last month while at the Republican National Convention (RNC) because every time I lifted my head and glanced at a television there was an advertisement which called Rep. Connie Mack, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in Florida, a “Charlie Sheen Republican.” The ad stated that Rep. Mack loves Hooters restaurants, periodically gets into bar brawls, and often asks his father to settle his unpaid bills. I’m still not sure how that makes Mack unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate.


Major League Voice

Friday, 14 September 2012 00:00

Kenny Albert, who grew up in Sands Point, began his 19th season last weekend as an announcer for Fox Sports’ National Football League (NFL) broadcasts. Calling football games, however, wasn’t part of his game plan after graduating from New York University (NYU) in 1990.

“My goal was to get a job doing hockey play-by-play on the radio. That’s what I always wanted to do,” Albert said, during a recent interview.


NY’s Tampa Delegates

Friday, 31 August 2012 00:00

Recognizing that millions of Americans were seeing him for the first time, Admiral James Stockdale, Ross Perot’s vice presidential nominee in 1992, famously asked during a televised debate, “Who am I, why am I here?’

Variations of those same questions could be posed to the delegates spending Aug. 27-30 in Tampa, Florida at the Republican National Convention (RNC).


Disappearing Act

Friday, 24 August 2012 00:00

The late Jack Benny said he’d purchased so much life insurance from one company that Benny’s demise threatened its solvency. “When I go, they go,” Benny said.

Raymond Roth, the 47-year-old Massapequa man who has emerged as Nassau’s most notorious life insurance policyholder, purchased coverage valued at more than $400,000, the Wall Street Journal reports. But law enforcement authorities theorize Raymond wanted Jonathan Roth, his 22-year-old son, to cash out the policy’s proceeds while Raymond was alive. Alas, that is illegal, and not easy to do. The saga’s courtroom machinations have been well-chronicled while the hurdles to getting a person declared officially dead, if their body has not been found, have gone largely ignored.


Northeast’s Future

Friday, 17 August 2012 00:00

A legal notice published last week in The New York Times attempted to do the near-impossible—generate interest in a public hearing this week on improving the U.S. rail network between Boston and Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the NEC (Northeast Corridor) Future meeting is being held on Thursday, Aug. 16, between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., at the Farley Post Office/Moynihan Station, 380 West 33rd Street, Room 4500, Manhattan. The New York City gathering is one of nine sessions the FRA has scheduled as part of its NEC Future initiative, which is summarized at


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