No. 410: Landing the Eagle, energizing the IGIT and fortifying New York’s grid – plus, free Chipotle! 

Poet of democracy: Treasured for capturing the nation’s spirit during the 19th century -- including unflinching examinations of immigration, slavery and the Civil War -- iconic poet and essayist Walt Whitman was born 200 years ago today.


Speed dating: Well, that happened fast, dear readers – Friday already, as this abbreviated week of inventions and investments steams toward another welcomed weekend.

It’s May 31 out there, and to our Dayak readers in Sarawak, Malaysia and the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, a blessed and bountiful Gawai Dayak.

Take a breath: It’s probably a downer in North Carolina, but the rest of the planet celebrates World No Tobacco Day today.

Copy that: Speaking of no-no’s, the Copyright Act of 1790 – the first federal copyright act instituted in the United States – was signed into law by President George Washington on May 31, 1790.

Time machine: Happy anniversary to what is arguably the world’s most famous clock – London’s Big Ben began keeping time on this date in 1859.

Paving the way: Professor Edward de Smedt earned a U.S. patent on May 31, 1870, for a method of “laying sheet asphalt,” known commonly as French asphalt.

Other March 31 patentees include John Harvey Kellogg, who applied to protect his “flaked cereal” on this date in 1884.

The world’s most famous arena: Originally dubbed Gilmore Garden but later renamed in honor of fourth U.S. President James Madison, the very first Madison Square Garden opened at the intersection of East 26th Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan on May 31, 1879.

For the record, the current MSG, located between 7th and 8th avenues from 31st to 33rd streets, is the fourth to bear the name.

Power train: On that same date – May 31, 1879 – inventor Werner von Siemens introduced the world’s first electric locomotive at the Berlin Industrial Exposition.

Fit to a T: And some 15 million cars later, the very last Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line on this date in 1927.

What a ride: American engineer Ronald Toomer (1930-2011), the legendary creator of the steel roller coaster who also had a hand in developing the heat shields for NASA’s Apollo Program spacecraft, would be 89 today.

Also born on May 31 were Huntington’s own Walt Whitman (1819-1892), the American poet, essayist and Civil War nurse; German bacteriologist Richard Petri (1852-1921), a real dish; “Broadway” Joe Namath (born 1943), hero of Super Bowl III; and actress, author and Princeton University graduate Brooke Shields (born 1965).

Any which way: And take a bow, Clint Eastwood – the iconic Hollywood actor and director (and one-time mayor of Carmel, Calif.) turns 89 today.

Dyslexic much? Before we wrap up the week in Long Island innovation, kudos to eagle-eyed reader/mathematician Marc Weinstein, who noted that English chemist and circa-1781 birthday boy John Walker would have been 238 years old when we saluted him in Wednesday’s newsletter – not 283, as we misstated.

Be like Marc – keep us on our toes at Story tips and calendar items also appreciated.


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Grid bid: There’s a cool $5 million floating around out there, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, waiting to fund entrepreneurial projects that help Albany integrate renewable-energy resources and otherwise improve the resiliency of the state’s electric grid.

The governor announced the new funding Thursday in support of his Green New Deal strategy, a clean-energy and jobs-creation agenda that aims to generate 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 – and to create a completely carbon-free New York power grid by 2040.

Project proposals will be evaluated based on how they improve overall grid performance, reduce energy costs and support the state’s anti-climate change goals, with funding coming through NYSERDA’s Smart Grid program. “These smart investments in New York’s electric grid will enable the integration of renewable resources that improve resiliency, ensuring a secure, reliable system for years to come,” Cuomo said Thursday.

Teen scene: Nearly 200 interstate high schoolers converged on NYIT’s Old Westbury campus Memorial Day weekend to take part in a 24-hour hackathon organized by TeenHacks LI, a 2018 nonprofit startup launched by Long Island teenagers Jeffrey Yu and Wesley Pergament.

An app that schedules group meals, a website focused on homeless youth, a smart wheelchair prototype and a motion-capture video game were among the projects developed during the hackathon, held inside NYIT’s Salten and Harry Schure halls.  Prizes included $500 NYIT scholarships, Bluetooth keyboards and Bose wireless speakers, according to NYIT.

The event was par for the course for TeenHacks LI, which unites programmers, designers and industry leaders for day-long challenges that promote collaboration and emphasize innovation. “We had over 60 submissions, all over the course of 24 hours,” noted co-founder Pergament, a Jericho native. “It’s amazing to see how students can get inspired by our community and workshops, as well as test what they think can be possible.”



The LEM has landed: Fifty years later, a former Grumman technical editor remembers the Lunar Module proposal that forever altered Long Island’s destiny.

GIT going: A prestigious partnership and an ambitious agenda have SBU’s Institute for Gas Innovation and Technology steaming toward a global energy solution.

All’s wellness: Hofstra University’s healthcare-themed business boot camp united entrepreneurs, seasoned VCs and other insiders.



Stony Brook University President Samuel Stanley Jr. is transferring to Michigan State; Adelphi University’s newest Fulbright scholar is heading for Costa Rica.



Innovate LI’s inbox overrunneth with inspirational ideas from all North American corners. This week’s brightest out-of-town innovations:

From Canada, eh: Vancouver-based archiving and data-security ace PageFreezer earns coveted International Organization for Standardization certifications.

From Illinois: Chicago-based stem-cell innovator GIOSTAR Labs teams up with professional baseball players to pitch a nonprofit “Stem Cells for All” initiative.

From New Jersey: Piscataway-based tech consultancy IntellyK announces a “robotic process automation” partnership with software maker UiPath.



+ Benjamin Roberts has been hired as assistant superintendent for personnel and special projects at Freeport Public Schools. He previously served as principal of Landing Elementary School in Glen Cove.

+ Miguel Castro has been hired as a communications associate at the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association in Rockville Centre. He’s a recent graduate of SUNY Old Westbury, where he was a radio and newspaper associate.

+ Erik Dee-Olsen has been hired as a senior project manager at Bohemia-based P. W. Grosser Consulting. He previously served as a senior engineer at Oregon-based Parametrix.

+ Jennifer Eddelson has been hired as chief financial officer at Huntington Station-based Teq Inc. She previously served as chief accounting officer at Lake Success-based Newtek Business Services Corp.

+ James Walker has been hired as senior vice president for restaurants at Jericho-based Nathan’s Famous. He previously served as vice president for North America at Connecticut-based Subway IP Inc.

+ Marie Saint-Cyr has been hired as a program associate at Westbury Arts. She is a recent graduate of Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology.



Floor seats: Fast Company gets real as virtual reality changes how fans watch sports.

Free throws: Food & Wine digs into Chipotle’s daring plan to give away free burritos during the NBA Finals.

Shot clock: Inc. spends time on the celebrated Kit-Cat clock, which has survived nine lives’ worth of technological and economic challenges.

Slam dunk: Please continue supporting the great firms that support Innovate LI, including Webair, where their data-infrastructure game is always on.