Fifteen minutes of fame is just not enough. So we’re revisiting these kids — all of whose photos were featured in Newsday because they were the first baby born on Long Island on New Year’s Day — to see what’s happened to them over the years. Here are some of the first babies of LI from the past 21 years.
2016: Nadav Benjamin Kandchorov, born a few seconds after midnight
“This has been the best year of my life,” says Daniella Malakov of Forest Hills, who gave birth to Nadav at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, making him the first baby born on Long Island in 2016.
Nadav Benjamin Kandchorov will turn 1 on New Year’s Day, and, according to Mom, he’s doing “great, amazing. He’s a very happy baby.” His favorite food is sweet potatoes, and he loves bath time. He’s got an older sister, Hodaya Tiffany, who is 3. Malakov, who is a trained dental hygienist, is currently a stay-at-home mom.
2009: Aryeh Leib Richter, born four seconds after midnight
The Richters live in Richmond Hill, Queens, but Aryeh was born at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, making him the first child born on Long Island in 2009. He is the sixth child of Yaakov and Leah Richter, and he’ll turn 8 on New Year’s Day.
Aryeh Leib Richter enjoys reading, writing, playing flag football and building things with Magna-Tiles, dad Yaakov says. “We usually get phone calls January 1st from friends and relatives because they all remember it — his birthday always stands out,” Yaakov says. The Richters had another shot at having the first baby of the year this year — Leah was pregnant with the couple’s ninth child, due at the end of December, but gave birth to a baby girl on Dec. 22.
2006: Hunter Mead, born 12:07 a.m.
Hunter was born at Stony Brook University Hospital.
Hunter Mead’s bedroom looks like a library, says mom Lindsay Sheppard. He loves to read and likes the Harry Potter series and Scholastic’s Spirit Animals series. “I like to play video games, and I like to collect Pokemon,” says Hunter, who will turn 11 on New Year’s Day. “I cook a really good omelet.” Hunter moved from Ridge to Austin, Texas, with his mom and stepdad and now has a 4-month-old half-sister. “We let him stay up every year until 12:07, which was when he was born,” Lindsay says. Then they sing “Happy Birthday.”
2004: Aralyssa Lopez, born 12:01 a.m.
Middle Island’s Aralyssa Lopez, who will turn 13 on New Year’s Day, was born at Stony Brook University Hospital.
“I like to act and do cross-country and track, and I like to bowl,” says Aralyssa Lopez. Her highest bowling game? A 224. Says mom Monica of her only child, “She’s wonderful. She is a straight-A student.” As for celebrating Aralyssa’s birthday: “At 12:01 we must be ready to sing ‘Happy Birthday,’ with a cake,” Monica says. Later on in the day, when everyone’s regrouped, they have birthday cake again.
2003: Martin Leonard “Leo” Flyntz III, born precisely at midnight
Leo was born at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre.
Martin Leonard — everybody calls him Leo — will be 14 on New Year’s Day. He’s in eighth grade at Seneca Middle School in Holbrook, likes math and was recently inducted into the junior National Honor Society. “I like to read fantasy books,” he says. Adds Mom Marisa Carney: “He’s become a fan of animé recently.” He also has big aspirations: “He wants to be the valedictorian,” says his maternal grandmother, Vilma Carney. “He’s a very affectionate grandson; I feel very blessed.”
2001: Bridget Sullivan, born 43 seconds after midnight
Bridget is the fourth and youngest child in her family — and everybody warned her mom, Mindy, that by the time the fourth comes along, baby pictures and mementos go out the window. “But she had the most notoriety,” Mindy says — the timing of Bridget’s birth at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown landed her on the front page of Newsday.
Bridget Sullivan is now a teen and a competitive dancer who loves the spotlight, mom Mindy says. “I like competing a lot,” confirms Bridget, who favors hip-hop and contemporary dance. “I like going to the rehearsals and being with my second family.” New Year’s Day will be Bridget’s Sweet 16, and to mark it, she and Mindy will be going on a mother-daughter cruise in the southern Caribbean with Bridget’s best friend and mom. “In a family of six, when we go on a family vacation, we drive somewhere and stay in a condo where you make your own breakfast,” Mindy says. So this trip is something special for Bridget.
2000: Constantine Karagiannis, born 12:01 a.m.
Constantine — who usually goes by Costa — was one of two babies born at the same time on Jan. 1, 2000, at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.
Constantine Karagiannis is now a junior at Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills, and he’ll turn 17 on New Year’s Day. He likes basketball, works at his dad’s fast food sandwich and smoothie shop on weekends and sells sneakers online. “I’m really into sneakers,” Costa says. Once he turns 17, for about a month he and his older brother, Yianni, will both be 17, because they’re just 11 months apart in age. They’ve got a younger sister, Alexia, who is 7.
1999: Ryan Doyle, born 12:05 a.m.
Ryan was a big baby — born at 9 pounds, 10 ounces, at Long Island Jewish Medical Center — and he says his family always jokes about that, because now he’s 6 feet tall and about 150 pounds. “Now I’m fairly skinny,” Ryan says. “I was a big fat baby, but now I’m the skinniest guy anybody knows.”
Ryan Doyle is now a senior at Smithtown High School East, and is awaiting responses from colleges. He hopes to study business, accounting and/or statistics. He’ll turn 18 on New Year’s Day. He plays piano, is in his church youth group, and is a member of the high school’s badminton team. He says having New Year’s Day as a birthday is “like two birthdays at once.” Whoever he’s celebrating New Year’s Eve with sings “Happy Birthday” to him after the ball drops and then, that night, there’s always birthday cake with family.
1998: John Bennici, born at 12:53 a.m.
Most New Year’s babies born in the past 20 years were born already by 12:10 a.m., but it was a quiet beginning to Jan. 1 when John was born at North Shore University Hospital at Plainview. He clocked in as the first baby close to an hour into the new year of 1998.
John Bennici grew up in Seaford, the oldest of what is now a family of four children. He graduated from St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip and is now a college freshman at Adelphi University in Garden City, leaning toward becoming a nurse. “I like to game on the computer,” John says. He also likes hanging out with his girlfriend and with his sister. He’ll turn 19 on New Year’s Day.
1997: Michael Puglissi, born one second after midnight
Michael was born at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
“I’d love to tell you I’m a millionaire because I was the first baby,” jokes Michael Puglissi of Massapequa, who will turn 20 on New Year’s Day. But he’s working on it — he’s got a job at a King Kullen deli and is in his second year at Nassau Community College. His family’s got a history of being born on holidays — his younger brother, Charlie, 17, was born on Mother’s Day, and his dad, Charles, was born on April Fools’ Day. Mom Terri came close — she was born on Jan. 2. When Michael was little, he used to think the family’s New Year’s Eve parties were because of his birthday. “He caught on eventually,” Terri says.
1996: Nicholas Delgiudice, born 22 seconds after midnight
Nicholas was born at North Shore University Hospital at Manhasset.
Nicholas Delgiudice will turn 21 on New Year’s Day. “I’m into music. I actually record hip-hop music, and I work at a recording studio,” says Nicholas, who studied at a one-year audio engineering trade school program in Arizona before returning home to Bellmore. He primarily writes lyrics, he says. He also enjoys cooking, and took cooking classes while at Wellington C. Mepham High School. “I’m one of those people who likes to find what’s in the fridge and make the best out of it,” he says. He says marking his birthday as New Year’s Eve becomes New Year’s Day is “awesome. There’s always a party I can go to. There’s always something going on, and it’s always a good time.”