John wakes up at 6 a.m. and silences his buzzing iPhone. His wife, Jill, is still sleeping, while the cats, nestled near the window sill barely move. It’s still dark outside, but the LED streetlight shine through the shades, while the soft blue glow of the cable box allows him to climb over the pile of laundry.
He showers, changes his water filter for the coffee maker and checks the LCD readout on the fridge. The nitrogen filter on the septic tank needs to be changed. That can wait for the weekend. He checks his watch – traffic is slowly building on the LIE, while the Northern State is terrible, new lanes or not. He’s not looking forward to the drive into Lake Success today. At least he’s not taking the LIRR – there are delays in both directions just east of Farmingdale. So much for that second track Rich was going on about the other night.
Walking downstairs, he opens the garage and grabs the paper. Funny – they still print these and he’s a sucker who still buys it. The headline is about the Cubs winning the World Series, and something about more money being given to Suffolk County for coastal protection. He unplugs the car, and throws the paper in the passenger seat. Fully charged in eight hours. He remembers when his iPhone took that long to change, and thinks about Rich, who bought a hybrid. After much debate they both agreed to disagree as to which drivetrain is better these days. With gas being so expensive, it’s odd that he still opts for a car that uses it, if even partially, but he always was overly loyal to his choices. John presses start, the BMW kicks on and he pulls out of the garage.
The neighborhood has changed a bit since they moved in, he thinks, as he sees yet another rooftop solar array. The schools are still good, even if the district is now huge since the merger. Down the street, PSEG Long Island is working to bury the powerlines and closing a lane as they do so. Great, he thinks. A few years ago a storm rumbled up the coast and hit near West Islip. Ever since, PSEG has been playing catch up. He passes the new Target – compete with solar panels on the rooftops and in the parking lots. On News 12, customers were complaining that the arrays make it more difficult to park, but Jill noticed the power bill went down last month – a worthy trade. Now, if only the price of those stupid nitrogen filters could go down.
In traffic, the electric motor whirs as John passes Exit 55 on the LIE. The rooftop arrays from the Hauppauge Industrial Park can be seen from the Expressway now, as buildings six to 10 stories high rise above the older, lower slung warehouses of yesteryear. Newsday reported that since both the change-of-zone and federal incentives for green manufacturers were put into place, the Hauppauge Industrial Park is now the beating heart of Long Island’s economy. Once, only wine and additional property taxes were made on Long Island. Now, anything from LED panels for 16k televisions to the drivetrains for wind turbines are “Made on Long Island.” It’s nice to see government get it right for once, even as Congress is gridlocked as to what to do in the Middle East.
The traffic at Exit 53 jams up as residents from Heartland try to go east to their jobs in Calverton, as well as west to the 110 corridor. Now as robust as Hauppauge, Riverhead has come into its own by attracting its own kind of industry to match the vineyards and farms. It’s an odd contrast seeing the warehouses of industry juxtaposed with the 200- to 300-year-old farms.
The LIE is being widened, with yet another HOV lane being put into place, but the project has had so many phases and delays who knows when it’ll get done. The section that is completed, from exits 53 to 43, does little to alleviate the traffic John is now stuck in. He grumbles as he shifts lanes to avoid the cones near Exit 49, as buses get on the LIE from the original Canon headquarters, and newer building, dubbed Canon HQ II that was built a decade later. Up and down Route 110 there has been activity in recent years as the traditional office complexes are being replaced with higher, glossier buildings. Many of Jill’s coworkers are looking forward to their move to a planned building in the area, which is a quick BRT trip to the restaurants near the Walt Whitman Mall (as the old timers still call it). Heading north, Jill’s coworkers would find there to be more parking garages in downtown Huntington and Northport.
The drive from exits 50 to 43 is slow, but uneventful. Not much has changed over the years in this area… except it’s more crowded and the trees are taller. There is a big “For Sale” sign near the LIE and Robbins Lane that has since been plastered with graffiti. If John were to get off the LIE, he would see a similar layout to how it looked 30 years ago, albeit with more solar panels and less overhead wires. Some of the older neighborhoods still have telephone poles, but they are the exception these days. At a brief stop near Roslyn, the car beeps and John sees he got an email. Turns out there was a sale on the Nitrogen filters, and Jill purchased a set from Amazon. They should be shipping momentarily.
Lake Success has become the heart of the financial services sector on Long Island, and John’s company is no-different. The office building looks old on the outside, but is state-of-the-art on the inside. Thanks to state-funded development zones, existing companies on Long Island were able to update their facilities to meet the ever-changing technology. Nano-this, 3D-printed that.
As he locks the car and takes the elevator to his office, he checks his watch. He’s running on-time – just another uneventful Wednesday commute, one of millions, that took place on Long Island on October 29, 2045.