As a resident of Long Island, there’s a one-in-four chance you are an Italian-American.
“It is the largest single ethnic group in Nassau and Suffolk,” said Salvatore J. LaGumina. “About 700,000 people.”
LaGumina should know. He has been studying Italian-Americans for most of his 84 years. The Massapequa Park resident not only has a Ph.D. in the subject, is the director of the Center for Italian-American Studies at Nassau County Community College, where he is a professor emeritus, but he also has recently released a book, Long Island Italian Americans: History, Heritage & Tradition.
Nothing quite epitomizes the autumnal equinox than the sight of pumpkins this time of year. Not only are these hardy winter squash staples of both Halloween and Thanksgiving, but they are an internationally-grown crop whose largest producers are Mexico, the United States, Canada, China and India. And while you may have to go that far afield in some instances to get your pumpkin fix, Long Island Weekly is here to offer you some local alternatives.
This summer’s record-breaking heat warmed backyard pools up to 90 degrees, offering little relief from temperatures that, combined with oppressive humidity, felt like they were in the hundreds. Cooler weather? Bring it on, along with the goodies, of course.
For nearly 100 years, one of the first places Long Islanders head to when the leaves change is the Jericho Cider Mill. Open from September to May, the famous roadside cider mill on Route 106 in Jericho is the quintessential autumn spot for Long Islanders looking for orchard-fresh apples close to home. From Crispin to Red Delicious, Idared to Cameo, Winesap to Macouns — just picked off the tree or candied on a stick — there is no shortage of apples to suit any palette.
If you care about the future of public education, clear your calendar for the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 2.
At 7 p.m., Long Island’s representative on the New York State Board of Regents, Roger Tilles, will speak at the Port Washington Public Library about high-stakes testing. While I disagree with Tilles on the topic, I look forward to attending — and you should, too — because the issue definitely will receive an open and fair discussion. It is, after all, sponsored by the League of Women Voters.
This is an excerpt from my recently published book, Confessions of a Bad Teacher: The Shocking Truth from the Front Lines of American Public Education. I taught English in a South Bronx public school I call Latinate Institute, which fashioned itself a model of “school reform.” One of the hard-and-fast rules of the principal was that any disruptions, problems or behavior issues in the classroom had to be handled by the teacher — and only the teacher. Don’t even think of calling in the assistant principal or dean, and forget about sending a kid out of the classroom.
My colleagues recommended that I rein in the students by being a “badass.” But, as I say in the book, “I’m not a high school Dirty Harry. I’m enthusiastic.” And most of the students were wonderful kids who responded well to my enthusiasm. But there were others, too. In this passage, I try the “badass” approach with the worst of the classroom miscreants.
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