No. 277: The prodigal team returns, Hofstra ups its entrepreneurial game and yes, Florham Park is still in New Jersey

We're ALL Islanders: The New York Islanders will play a portion of their home schedule at the Nassau Coliseum over the next three seasons while waiting for their new Belmont Park digs.

Time flies: Welcome to Jan. 31, dear readers, already one month down in 2018.

Hard to believe it’s been 322 years since Aansprekersoproer, the bloody revolt by undertakers across Amsterdam sparked by Dutch funeral reforms (yes, this happened), and a year already since President Trump fired Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend his illegal travel ban.

In between: Other Jan. 31 events of interest include the invention of condensed milk (1851); the ratification of the 13th Amendment, abolishing U.S. slavery (1865, on the same day Gen. Robert E. Lee was named chief of the Confederate Armies); the introduction of scotch tape by the 3-M Company (1928); and the successful launch of Ham, the first primate in space, who in 1961 rode NASA’s Mercury-Redstone 2 rocket some 158 miles into the heavens and back.

Play ball: Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), Ernie Banks (1931-2015) and Nolan Ryan (1947) all debuted on Jan. 31.

So did Zane Grey (1872-1939), Carol Channing (1921), Norman Mailer (1923-2007), Justin Timberlake (1981) and Laura Alison Design founder Laurie Russo, among others.

Ice time: Before we plunge into the week in Long Island innovation, let’s welcome back the New York Islanders, who will play a portion of their home schedule at the new Nassau Coliseum over the next three seasons whilst awaiting their flashy new Belmont Park arena.

The prodigal franchise’s return deepens Long Island’s fairly impressive (if largely understated) professional sports history. The Islanders, of course, called the old Nassau Coliseum home for decades before bolting the cranky confines in 2015 for Brooklyn’s shiny Barclays Center (where they’ll play the balance of their home games through 2021). So did the American Basketball Association’s New York Nets, with coach Lou Carnesecca and all-time greats like Julius Erving and Rick Barry gracing “The Barn” for years.

The Island currently hosts the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball’s Long Island Ducks, Major League Lacrosse’s New York Lizards and the United Soccer League’s Long Island Rough Riders, while the NFL’s New York Jets train primarily at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park.

Editor’s note: Thank you sincerely to the many newsletter readers who reached out Wednesday morning to note Florham Park is in New Jersey. Leaving this in the online version for posterity, and to show how damned similar that looks to Floral Park.

Did we miss anyone? Let us know at, and please share a story tip or calendar item, too. For us, that’s a homerun.

Kingdom Comey: Former FBI Director James Comey, also fired by President Trump, is slated to headline the annual Long Island Association Spring Luncheon, scheduled for May 15 in Woodbury.



Teen titans: Congratulations to the organizers of (and participants in) the Teen Project, an annual holiday donation drive that collects gift cards for teenaged patients in the Cancer Center for Kids at NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Unit.

Started in 2014 by pay-it-forward teens Steven and Matthew Spirakis, the Teen Project shattered its own record this year, collecting more than $15,000 in gift-card donations during the holiday season and distributing them this month to patients in the Mineola hospital.

Ashley Carlo, manager of NYU Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids, cited an “incredible” assortment, with “a gift card to appeal to every teen we treat.” That’s a big part of the project’s focus, according to cofounder Steven Spirakis, who noted the goal was to create a donation mechanism specifically for teens.

“We learned that the hospital often receives toy donations for young patients, but seldom receives appropriate gifts for teen patients,” Steven said this week. “Filling this need was a simple undertaking on our part compared to the afflictions with which teen patients must cope.”

The Taste of success: Also setting a new record in 2017 was Albany’s Taste NY initiative, with 64 “store locations” around the state – including six on Long Island – racking up better than $16.1 million in sales.

Besting its 2016 sales by more than $3 million, the expanding program is designed to reflect increasing consumer demand for local food and beverage products, while supporting New York’s agricultural and tourism industries.

On Long Island, consumers can sample homegrown, home-brewed and home-crafted items at the Taste NY Bar and Taste NY Café, both at Jones Beach State Park; the Long Island Welcome Center, located between eastbound Long Island Expressway exits 51 and 52 in Dix Hills; the Taste NY Shop inside Long Island MacArthur Airport’s East End Gateway; and at seasonal pop-up shops at Bethpage and Robert Moses state parks.


About our sponsor: The Rauch Foundation invests in ideas and organizations that spark and sustain success in children and promote systemic change in our communities. To read more about the foundation’s many efforts, including the Long Island Index and the Build A Better Burb program, visit us.



Innovation infusion: Hofstra University’s Center for Entrepreneurship is upping its game with a new “mentor in residence” and the addition of other world-class advisors.

Masterstroke: With the nation’s first Offshore Wind Master Plan, New York has positioned itself on the forefront of an electrifying clean-gen industry.

Re-Start: Neary junked a year ago, Albany’s Start-Up NY program is stronger than ever, with 10 new additions – including two LI biotechs – joining the ranks this week.

See you in court: Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his counterparts in New Jersey and Connecticut plan to sue the federal government over the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Senses and sensibility: Garden City’s Adelphi University has opened the first college campus-based “sensory room” for students on the autism spectrum.



From the left: Still not officially running for president, Gov. Cuomo pens a CNN op-ed trashing Trump again, this time over bipartisanship.

From the right: Still regularly flogging feminists, commentator Suzanne Venker pens a Fox News op-ed supporting Trump for his “utterly refreshing” anti-feminism views.

If you want something done right…: Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase are working together to build an independent healthcare company to benefit their respective employees and their families.

Thinking ahead: The wheel, the compass, even fire earn marks as “the greatest invention of all time” – but where would we be if Thomas Reid didn’t invent common sense?



+ Dominode, a Florida-based developer of verified identity solutions for regulated industries, closed on a $1.3 million venture capital funding round with New York-based Blockchange Ventures.

+ Good Buy Gear, a Denver-based online marketplace and consignment service for used baby and kids’ gear, secured $750,000 in seed financing led by Access Venture Partners, with participation from Relay Ventures and four North American angel investors.

+ Xperiel, the California-based inventor of the Real World Web platform, raised $7 million in Series A funding with new investments from Intuit co-founder Scott Cook, Cyan Banister of Founders Fund, WTI and the National Basketball Association’s Sacramento Kings.

+ Akash Systems, a San Francisco-based enabler of light satellite systems, raised $3.1 million in seed funding led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from Social Capital, Data Collective, Ruvento Ventures, Sriram Krishnan and Backstage Capital.

+ BigID, a New York City-based enterprise data protection and privacy platform for personal data, raised $14 million in Series A funding. Backers included new investors ClearSky Security, Comcast Ventures and the SAP.iO Fund, among others.

+ Logikcull, a San Francisco-based e-discovery platform, raised an additional $25 million in funding led by New Enterprise Associates with participation from OpenView Venture Partners and Storm Ventures.



Hudson hawks: Why the EPA is conducting more post-dredging studies of the Hudson River after a $1.7 billion Superfund cleanup.

Immigration consternation: Economically speaking, immigration reform stands to hurt New York more than any other state, according to a new Wallethub study.

A cocktail of luck and genius: How America fell in love with vodka.

Rainbow coalition: Accessories that change colors to match your outfit? Thank you, MIT.

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