No. 475: Love is in the air – along with Ferris wheels, podcasts and ‘mega sports’

That's sweet: It's a big day for candies and flowers, with billions set to be spent in the name of love.


We heart you: You’ve done it again, dear reader – another workweek conquered, another Friday reached, and for that, you have our undying affection.

Frederick Douglass: Gotta love the guy.

It’s Feb. 14 out there, which in addition to Valentine’s Day brings several annual celebrations: National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day (makes sense), National Condom Day (ditto) and Frederick Douglass Day (which you might not have thought of, but the famed abolitionist’s actual birthdate is unknown and he chose Feb. 14, so there you go).

Love hurts: The date, of course, needs no further introduction for the lonely, the smitten or the otherwise lovestruck – though some perspective may be in order.

According to our good friends over at Carle Place-based, Valentine’s Day generates $3.3 billion in flower sales (!) each year, along with the sale of 36 million heart-shaped candy boxes (!!), 9 million Valentines for pets (!!!) and the second-largest annual volume of greeting cards, trailing only Christmas.

Like, really hurts: And by the way, for all the whirling romance and kissy-face commercialism, Valentine’s Day actually has a really dark origin story.

State your case: Happy Statehood Day this Feb. 14 to our readers in Oregon (became the 33rd U.S. state in 1859) and Arizona (48th, 1912).

Suffragette city: The League of Women Voters was founded on this date in 1920 in Washington.

But can it core a apple? Pennsylvania inventor Moses Coates earned the fist U.S. patent for an apple parer on Feb. 14, 1803.

Other patents issued on this date include the first for any kind of textile machine in the United States, covering Pennsylvania innovator James Davenport’s “carding and spinning machines” in 1794.

Fair trade: Happy anniversary to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which came to be on Feb. 14, 1903, as the U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor.

Recalculating: And it was this date in 1989 when NASA placed the first of the 24 satellites in the worldwide Global Positioning System into orbit.

Ups and downs: American engineer George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. (1859-1896) – who founded a successful railroad tunnel-and-bridge company, sunk $400,000 of his own money into a giant observation wheel for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, teetered on bankruptcy the rest of his life, ultimately lost his wife and finally died of typhoid fever at age 37 – would be 161 years old today.

Have you seen me: Or at least seen “The Irishman”?

Also born on Feb. 14 were American tinkerer Christopher Sholes (1819-1890), who developed the first practical typewriter; prolific (and largely overlooked) American inventor Margaret Knight, who came up with the flat-bottom paper bag and a host of other industrial and household innovations; American electrical engineer Greenleaf Pickard (1877-1956), who invented the crystal detector and ushered in radio; Dutch-American biomedical engineer Willem Kolff (1911-2009), the artificial organ pioneer who created the kidney dialysis machine; and Teamsters Union honcho James Riddle Hoffa (1913-????).

He approves this message: And take a bow, Michael Bloomberg – the billionaire mogul, former New York City mayor and dark-horse candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination turns 78 today.

Wish these and all the other Feb. 14 innovators a heartfelt happy birthday at – and we’d love some story tips and calendar suggestions, you sweet talkers you.


About our sponsor: Northwell Health is New York’s largest healthcare provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, 750 outpatient facilities and 70,000-plus employees. We’re making breakthroughs at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and training the next generation of medical professionals at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. Visit



Get your kicks: At Destination KP, which has fans at the Suffolk IDA.

Playing ball: “Large-scale” athletics tournaments and 200 new full-time jobs may be coming to King’s Park, where a “mega sports complex” is set to rise.

The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency on Thursday announced preliminary approval of a tax-abatement package for Prospect Sports Partners LLC and Agape Community Sports Services Kings Park LLC, who are looking to transform an undeveloped Old Northport Road property into Destination KP – a tourism magnet featuring a dozen outdoor fields, a 70,900-square-foot indoor sports-and-recreation facility and a 50,000-square-foot office building “for medical and other sports-related uses,” according to the IDA.

Billed as the first sports complex “of this magnitude” on Long Island, Destination KP will prove to be a “transformative” win-win for the young and old alike, according to Suffolk County IDA Executive Director Tony Catapano. “This will provide opportunities for youth, especially socio-disadvantaged youth, to participate in organized sports in ways that have not been widely available to them,” Catapano said Thursday. “The permanent jobs created and tourist expenditures will create a boon for the county’s economy as well.”

Feel the love: It may be a few days early, but they’ve chosen Valentine’s Day to mark the 40th anniversary of Stony Brook University Hospital, which officially opened its doors on Feb. 18, 1980.

Beginning around 11 a.m. this morning, a cavalcade of past and present SBUH leaders, staffers, students and patients will gather to celebrate the hospital’s birthday, led by SBUH Chief Executive Officer Carol Gomes and Renaissance School of Medicine Dean Kenneth Kaushansky, who doubles as Stony Brook University’s vice president of health sciences.

The love-fest is designed to celebrate “40 years of excellence in healthcare,” according to SBUH, which got the ball rolling four decades ago with Long Island’s first kidney transplant, was designated a New York State Level I Trauma Center in 1990 and has grown into an 818-bed multi-hospital system and vital cog of Long Island’s biotech corridor. Among the scheduled festivities: congratulatory speeches, a timeline of important developments and a formal ceremony recognizing key staffers, including some who’ve been with SBUH from the very start.



A podcast “Beyond’: Stony Brook University tunes up its first-ever official podcast, celebrating diversity, human spirit and innovation.

Applied pressure: A leading Long Island biotech and its numero uno paesan are taking the fight to the deadly 2019-nCoV coronavirus.

Forward march: Please share this entertaining and informative newsletter with your fellow innovators – and suggest they subscribe for free, so they can do the same.



An employment-focused boot camp that rewrites the code; a government-sanctioned autodialer assassin that answers the call.



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

From California: San Diego-based gambling-industry innovator Game Changing Technologies goes all in on omni-channel marketing for casinos.

From North Carolina: Greensboro dealership Volvo Trucks-TEC Equipment hosts an innovation showcase highlighting all-electric trucks and other bright LIGHTS.

From California: Laguna Niguel-based tech protector Urban Armor Gear goes soft with new line of backpacks, dopp kits and smart sleeves.



Emily Cappiello

+ Emily Cappiello has joined the Stony Brook University Office of Marketing & Communications as media relations specialist. She previously served as executive editor of Gourmet Insider Magazine and senior editor for HomeWorld Business Magazine.

+ Sammy Chu, CEO of Plainview-based Edgewise Energy, and Maureen Evers-Willox, managing partner at KPMG in Melville, have been appointed to the Board of Trustees of Molloy College in Rockville Centre.

+ Baraa Allaf has been named section chief of maternal-fetal medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre. He previously served as a maternal-fetal medicine physician at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola.

+ Plainview-based Charles Rutenberg Realty has announced the hiring of five real estate professionals for its Plainview office: Miledy Garcia and Jose “David” Garcia, both formerly with Empire Home Realty of Long Island in Hauppauge; Mashood Syed, formerly with EXIT Realty Prime in Jamaica; Heather Hofmann, formerly with Basil N. Aposte Realty in Astoria; and Sun Hea Kim, formerly with Douglas Elliman in Manhasset.

+ Macias Gini & O’Connell has announced three personnel changes: Maria Sanjurjo, formerly an assurance partner, is now managing partner for Long Island; Steven Kreit, formerly an assurance partner, is now managing partner for New York City; and Richard Paris, formerly the New York City office managing partner, is now Tri-State Leader.



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Clear up: Please continue supporting the great institutions that support Innovate LI, including Northwell Health, where the Northwell Center for Learning & Innovation is always raising the bar on the patient experience.