The following was published on Long Island Business News:
The following are my thoughts of the issues of the day that caught my eye during the past week. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the issues in the comments, or on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.
Recently, the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities’ list of endangered historic places included a variety of historic places that should be preserved. Catching my eye was the 85-room mansion Inisfada, that was listed as a “watch property” by the organization. The house was constructed between 1916 and 1920 by Nicholas and Genevieve Brady and blows away anything F. Scott Fitzgerald would of imagined when he was writing The Great Gatsby.
The parcel it’s located on is 33 acres of prime Nassau County Gold Coast land, and that has me worried. While the chapel is already being shipped off to my alma mater Fordham University (Go Rams!), I fear for the preservation of the rest of the house. You have to see this marvel to believe it. A gallery can be found here, and the “for-sale” ad, that states the property will be completely vacant, can be found here. I am hoping that they mean the structures themselves will be empty, and are not suggesting that the house will be torn down. If the building is razed, they should build “contemporary” styled condos that are squat, ugly and remind us of the horrible mistake we made by not preserving Inisfada (which apparently is Gaelic for “Long Island”).
If you’re at work and reading this piece, stop what you’re doing and take the time to browse the gallery. The property is, and I never use this word, stunning. Even more impressive is that the property is a hidden treasure right in Manhasset.
Ada Louise Huxtable said the following about the demolition of Penn Station, which has stuck with me whenever the ugly spectre of demolition rears it’s ugly head:
“Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tin-horn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.”
Sometimes, as Robert Moses said, in order to make an omelet, you need to break a few eggs, and I agree. You can’t preserve everything. However, sometimes a building is too special for the wrecking ball. What if one of these eggs were a Fabergé? Do we really want to be judged for the destruction of Inisfada, for more run-of-the-mill “luxury townhouses”?
Farmers Market in Hauppauge:
Teachers Federal Credit Union (a.k.a. my employer) is hosting a farmers market at their Hauppauge headquarters at 102 Motor Parkway every Thursday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., from June 6 to August 29.
I am writing about this because the market is looking to bring locally grown produce to a primarily commercial/industrial area. From a planning perspective, it is nice to see the East End get a presence “up-Island” as East Enders call it, and allow for the workers of the Hauppauge Industrial Park, Long Island’s largest employment hub, access to fresh fruits. Long term, policymakers and planners need to further explore the concept of “food deserts,” or areas with limited means and limited vehicular access to fresh produce and food for residents. These areas are surprisingly prevalent on Long Island, and more should be done to make neighborhood services more accessible.
A long term solution to this problem is creating more walkable neighborhood services (where appropriate of course). A short term solution is to be proactive and create a farmers market in areas of need. Groups have taken this approach in the past, and I am proud to say that TFCU is following suit.
Here is some more information on the market- if you come, stop by and say hello!
The Future of LIPA:
Oh LIPA – the governor has the utility on the ropes, and there will be a series of public hearings coming up for the public to get an up-close and personal look at the future of energy on Long Island. Thanks to the massive debt from the Shoreham debacle and the always-contested property taxes of their plants, our rates will always be higher. That being said, more must be done to combat cronyism that culminated in the poor communication after Hurricane Sandy. If you are available, try to come to these meetings to hear more about the future of everyone’s favorite utility. More information can be found here.
Decrease in MacArthur Flight Volume:
Simply put, more has to be done in attracting air traffic and carriers to Long Island MacArthur Airport. The airport is a regional asset, and its success is predicated on sound policy making and planning. If the Ronkonkoma Hub ever breaks ground, the intermodal transit opportunities will be unlike anything else Long Island has ever seen. Where else can you board a bus, car, train and plane within one mile of each other?
For the future, we need to ensure that there are no conflicting land uses (say, subdivisions of homes and a fully-functional, secondary-tier commercial airport) that can prevent the full growth and expansion of our regional airport. It is always easier to prevent a land use mistake than it is to correct one.
Richard Murdocco is a digital marketing analyst for Teachers Federal Credit Union, although the views expressed in this post are Murdocco’s alone and not shared by TFCU. Follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.