Words that get Long Islanders going

By Michael Cusanelli

For Long Islanders, there are certain words, people and phrases that are almost always guaranteed to elicit a strong reaction.

From famous LI celebrities to food favorites and everything in between, we took a look at some of the things that are sure to cause the biggest discussions.

What are your Long Island buzzwords? Send them to

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For Long Islanders, there are certain words, people and phrases that are almost always guaranteed to elicit a strong reaction.

From famous LI celebrities to food favorites and everything in between, we took a look at some of the things that are sure to cause the biggest discussions.

What are your Long Island buzzwords? Send them to


Whether you're driving to work in Port Washington or heading to the Hamptons for a day of fun, you'll likely have a chance to complain about traffic headaches.

Nassau Coliseum

Nassau Coliseum has been a topic of controversy for years, especially after the original building fell into disrepair. After the Islanders left for the new Barclays Center in 2015, Long Island hockey fans rallied to bring the team back to its original home. The renovated Coliseum reopened in April 2017, and now shares Islanders games with Barclays. The new Islanders arena at Belmont Park is scheduled to be ready for the 2021-22 season.

Lindsay Lohan

Love her or hate her, Lindsay Lohan is inextricably associated with Long Island. While her star may have faded in terms of her movie career, Lohan has managed to remain in the spotlight due to her roller coaster personal life, her focus on philanthropy and now her new MTV reality show.


Wind farms

A controversial plan to utilize wind farms off Long Island's East End has been met with criticism on several occasions, as many local fishermen believe the addition of heavy cables will negatively affect their ability to fish in the area. Despite the concerns, Deepwater Wind was selected by LIPA to construct a 15-turbine project.

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin may have garnered critical and fan acclaim for his turn on "30 Rock," but the Long Island native has drawn far more controversy for his impression of President Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live" and most recently pleading guilty to second-degree harassment after allegedly punching a man over a parking spot.

Betsy DeVos

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a polarizing figure among Long Islanders, particularly teachers, for her stance on issues including school safety policies and her support for charter schools and private-school voucher programs. Her lack of public school experience has also raised eyebrows.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo draws mixed reviews from Long Islanders for several reasons, including his support of Common Core testing in schools and his progressive stance on immigration rights. He has also regularly criticized President Donald Trump's policies despite Long Island favoring Trump at the polls over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

MacArthur Airport

Long Island MacArthur Airport has long been a topic of controversy among LIers for a number of reasons. The Ronkonkoma airport has had its share of issues over the years, with the Town of Islip, which owns and operates MacArthur, reporting an operating loss of nearly $4 million from 2012 through 2014. The number of customers has also dropped, as have the number of flights operating out of MacArthur.

The Hamptons

Known as the No. 1 spot on Long Island for celebrities and socialites, the Hamptons are a hotbed for both tourists and locals looking to mingle with the rich and famous. However, the constant tourist traffic can wear on residents of the Hamptons, who often complain about how visitors are disrespectful of the area.

Area code 934

In 2016, an additional area code was added for Suffolk County to address the rapidly growing number of phone numbers registered in the area. While this might not seem like a terribly big deal, the need to memorize a new area code when dialing friends and family in Suffolk can be a hassle.


The efficiency of the Long Island Rail Road often means the difference between a nice, smooth commute or an hourslong wait at Penn Station with thousands of other angry riders. When the train is running on time, it provides us with a quick and direct route into and out of Manhattan. When it breaks down, however, the disruptions often turn into a travel nightmare for commuters.

Red-light cameras

Red-light cameras are a controversial topic for drivers across the country, and Long Islanders are no different. While local authorities claim that red-light cameras help prevent accidents, motorists complain that they are an excuse for the government to collect ticket fees. No matter where you stand on the issue, though, there's no denying how frustrating it can be when you see a bright flash in your rearview mirror and know a ticket is on its way.

Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer is a big name nationally and in her native Long Island. However, her sometimes off-color humor could leave an LI couple with differing opinions of her performance after checking out one of her movies on a Friday night.


Many Long Islanders still hold a grudge with LIPA, which owns Long Island's power grid, for the company's handling of outages during superstorm Sandy in 2012. Rising energy rates also make LIPA a sore spot for natives who have watched their monthly bills slowly but surely creep up.


For many Long Islanders, snow is a four-letter word never to be uttered out loud. While it's nice to see flurries around the holidays, by mid-January any mention of snow sends most LIers scrambling to pull the shovels out of the shed, stop by the grocery store for a requisite stash of bread and milk, and check online to find out if (or when) the LIRR will shut down.

Canada geese

Every year, thousands of Canada geese migrate to Long Island to enjoy the warmer weather and have chicks. And while the geese and their goslings are certainly cute, most Long Islanders would agree that they are also quite a nuisance, as the geese cross in front of traffic, leave droppings, and crowd golf courses, parks and more. While some municipalities have adopted certain methods for chasing away geese, like training dogs to chase them out of parks, there's not much anyone can do to permanently get rid of our flying neighbors.

"Long Island Medium" Theresa Caputo

Many people who live outside of Long Island have a certain idea of what natives are like partly due to "Long Island Medium," a TLC show about Long Island's Theresa Caputo, who claims she can communicate with the deceased. Caputo's heavy Lawn Guyland accent can lead viewers outside the tristate area to believe that all LIers share her distinct characteristics, some of which are comical and or stereotypical. Depending on who you ask, the comparison is either flattering, funny or annoying.

Property taxes

Nassau County was recently ranked as one of the highest taxed counties in the United States, but Suffolk residents also have to pay a pretty penny when the taxman comes knocking. While homeowners across the nation paid an average $3,296 in property taxes for 2016, Nassau's and Suffolk's average was much higher, at $11,232 and $9,333, respectively.


Regular or specialty? Thin crust or thick crust? These are some of the many debates Long Islanders have had about pizza. While it may be nearly impossible to decide on the definitive slice, every Long Islander has at one point enthusiastically put forth their personal pick. And all Long Islanders can agree that pizza is nowhere near as good once you leave New York.

Billy Joel

The Piano Man himself is legendary among Long Islanders for both his incredible musical career and his ties to Long Island. Not only did he grow up in Hicksville, but many of his songs are about Long Island, including "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," "The Downeaster 'Alexa' " and "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me." In fact, he might just be the most well-loved LIer of them all, and most natives will enthusiastically give you a rousing story of their favorite Billy Joel memory.


Discussing bagels is usually a favorite pastime of any Long Islander, and, like pizza, it's sure to cause many arguments over which place has the best bagels. Unlike day-old bagels, some arguments just never get stale.