What does the future hold for Long Island? While we can’t predict how much snow the Island will get this winter or whether 2019 will be the year the Islanders win the Stanley Cup, here are some key developments and events we can expect in the new year.
January New laws, the Manganos trial, more Isles games
Jan. 1: New laws take effect. Among the new laws going into effect when the calendar flips to 2019 will be one increasing the minimum wage on Long Island to $12 an hour, from $11. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s optional payroll tax kicks in and paid family leave, which began in 2018, continues to phase in. Also beginning Jan. 1, volunteer firefighters will have access to tax-free disability and death benefits if they are diagnosed with certain types of cancer.
Jan. 1. Pay raises for state officials. New York State elected officials will see their salaries rise substantially. State legislators will get a base pay of $110,000 as of Jan. 1, up from $79,000. The governor’s salary of $179,000 goes up to $200,000, and salaries for attorney general, comptroller and lieutenant governor , now about $155,000, will be $190,000. Top state commissioners, who are paid about $136,000, will get raises to as much as $190,000.
Jan. 1-2: Elected officials take office. New York State’s new Attorney General Letitia James will take office on Jan. 1. Governor Cuomo and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who both were re-elected in 2018, will begin their new terms also on the first of the year. Cuomo will deliver his third inaugural address, from Ellis Island, on New Year's Day. The next day, members of the State Legislature will be sworn in, including these newly elected from local districts: Michael LiPetri (9th Assembly District), Judy Griffin (the 21st), Monica Martinez (3rd Senate District), James Gaughran (5th Senate District), Kevin Thomas (6th Senate District) and Anna Kaplan (7th Senate District). In the State Senate, the Democrats will take the majority for the first time since 2009, putting them in control of all of state government.
Jan. 2. Time to file assessment challenges. From this date through March 1, Nassau County property owners can challenge their new values generated by the county’s reassessment. If not challenged, the new values become final on April 1, 2020, and will be used in the October 2020 school tax bills and the January 2021 general tax bills.
Jan. 3: The Islanders are back. The Islanders will return to NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum again, this time playing the Chicago Blackhawks. The team is expected to play 18 games at the renovated Coliseum from January through April, and another 20 next season. And as for their planned arena at Belmont Park, public hearings on the environmental impact study, which was released in late 2018, will be held for three days beginning Jan. 8, and written comments will be accepted through Feb. 11. The sports and entertainment complex would be completed by 2021 on state-owned land located between Hempstead Turnpike and the Cross Island Parkway.
A new village mayor. In the Village of Russell Gardens, Deputy Mayor David Miller will take over as mayor in early January because Steven Kirschner, mayor since 2013, is moving to New York City.
Jan. 10: The Mangano trial: Take 2. The federal corruption retrial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, is scheduled to begin. The Manganos' previous trial lasted 12 weeks before the judge declared a mistrial on May 31. That trial also included a third defendant, former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, who was acquitted of all counts against him. At the retrial, Edward Mangano faces seven felony counts, including federal program bribery, honest-services wire fraud, extortion and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Linda Mangano faces five felony counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI. The Manganos have pleaded not guilty.
Jan. 22. Votes on sewer expansion. Three referendums will be held in parts of Babylon, Islip and Brookhaven towns that could lead to Suffolk's largest sewer expansion in decades. The ballot measures, if approved, would authorize spending of $390 million in federal and state money to connect about 5,500 homes to sewers. No county money is involved, county officials said. The property owners would be assessed hundreds of dollars a year for operating costs. The measures would expand the Southwest Sewer District in Babylon Town and in Great River in Islip and create a new sewer district and treatment plant in the Mastic and Shirley area. Lawmakers, environmentalists, labor unions and contractors said the projects would improve water quality, boost economic development and protect against storm surges by strengthening wetlands.
Sometime in early 2019: Possible LIRR fare hike, changes to a town board
Potential MTA fare hikes. If approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board in January, fares and tolls will climb by an average of 4 percent across the MTA. On the Long Island Rail Road, monthly tickets would go up by as much as $15. The new fares would take effect in March.
A new MTA chairman. Governor Cuomo has said he intends to have a nominee to replace Joe Lhota, who resigned in November, when the Senate reconvenes in January.
Town board change. In North Hempstead, Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the town council will select a replacement member for Anna M. Kaplan. Kaplan, a Democrat, defeated freshman State Sen. Elaine Phillips of Flower Hill for her seat in November.
New Whole Foods store. Whole Foods plans to open in Commack in a former King Kullen during the first half of 2019. This would be the national chain's fourth Long Island store.
Potential changes to teacher evaluations. New York State’s controversial system for evaluating teachers’ classroom performance faces big potential changes this year. Democrats taking over the State Senate say one of their first priorities will be to join Assembly Democrats in repealing a section of state law basing up to 50 percent of teacher ratings on students' test scores. The final say on the issue is up to the governor, who has not yet tipped his hand. Opposition to the evaluation system among teachers and parents has led to massive test boycotts statewide, including on Long Island, where more than 90,000 students in grades three through eight opted out of state tests in April.
ShopRite fills another vacant supermarket. ShopRite plans to fill another grocery store left vacant by A&P’s bankruptcy when it opens in Port Jefferson Station early in 2019. In 2018, the chain said it was hiring more than 650 full- and part-time workers for its new stores, which in addition to the Port Jefferson Station location include one in Riverhead that opened in October and another in Lake Ronkonkoma that opened in August.
A face-lift for Tiny Town. Renovations will be completed at the popular children’s playground Tiny Town in Floral Park sometime between early- and mid-2019. The 13,000-square-foot space near the corner of Bergen Street and Fuller Avenue was last updated in 2000.
Popular grocer opens second restaurant. Iavarone Bros., the popular Italian food purveyor that has four stores on Long Island, plans to open its second restaurant. The new eatery in Plainview will be patterned after its cafe in New Hyde Park.
February New commuter service, LIers up for Grammys
A new commuter rail shuttle. For $8.50 a day, commuters can avoid the morning rush in the traffic-burdened South Fork by using a new commuter rail shuttle expected to start this month, according to officials. The Long Island Rail Road has said it will provide two additional eastbound and two westbound trains between Speonk and Montauk as part of the service, dubbed the South Fork Commuter Connection. East Hampton and Southampton towns will provide shuttles between the train stations and major workplaces (schools and hospitals, for instance) using a $500,000 state grant, which requires a 50 percent match from the towns. The two towns have not yet decided whether the shuttles will be buses or taxis.
Feb. 9-17: The New York Open. For the second consecutive year, the Coliseum in Uniondale will be home to the New York Open, an ATP 250 men’s singles and doubles tournament. Similar to the 2018 event, which marked the return of professional tennis to Long Island after 10 years, the program will kick off with a free fan expo, followed by exhibition matches and a main tournament.
Feb. 10: 'And the Grammy goes to ...' Several Long Island artists are nominated for Grammys, including Oceanside native Scott Harris (song of the year) for co-writing Shawn Mendes’ hit “In My Blood.” Floral Park native John Williams is up for two awards (best engineered album, best classical compendium) for his “John Williams at The Movies” album. In the latter category, he will compete with Lynbrook native Jeffrey Biegel, who was nominated as part of the London Symphony Orchestra on Kenneth Fuchs’ “Piano Concerto, ‘Spiritualist’.” Also nominated are Farmingdale native Tim Kubart’s “Building Blocks” (best children’s album), Valley Stream’s Shaggy (best reggae album) for “44/876,” his collaboration with Sting, and East Hampton’s Laurie Anderson (best chamber music/small ensemble performance) for “Landfall,” her collaboration with the Kronos Quartet about superstorm Sandy.
March A last chance to see KISS live, village elections
March 7. Kelly Clarkson live. Clarkson brings her “Meaning of Life Tour” to the Coliseum with special guests Kelsea Ballerini and Brynn Cartelli.
March 19. Village elections Polls will be open in several villages throughout Long Island but it's too soon to say what positions will be on the ballots. The deadline for candidates to file has not been set yet.
March 22. The final KISS tour. After a 45-year career, KISS says it is on its final tour, dubbed the “End of the Road,” which includes one stop on Long Island at the Coliseum. A statement by the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers said, “This will be the ultimate celebration for those who've seen us and a last chance for those who haven't.”
Sometime in the spring Awaiting Baby Schumer, a new dog park
Amy Schumer's next role: Mom. Comedian, actress and Long Island native Amy Schumer is expecting her first child with husband Chris Fischer. In November, Schumer had to cancel some of her tour stops as she was hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that causes severe nausea. In an Instagram post at the time, Schumer indicated she was in her second trimester, so it's estimated she should deliver sometime in the spring of 2019.
A park for the pooches. North Hempstead's parks and recreation department will open a dog park at Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park. This will be the town's first-ever facility where pooches can play leash free.
April LI's book of the year, big Ducks season
April 7. The book of the year. Long Island Reads, an Island-wide book club, will be holding an event on this date to honor Meg Wolitzer, the author of its pick for 2019, "The Female Persuasion.” The group announced its selection in late 2018 and throughout this year, libraries across Nassau and Suffolk will be hosting discussions and events around the book. Wolitzer grew up in Syosset and is a member of the MFA faculty at Stony Brook University.
April 9-14. Long Island Guitar Festival. The 27th Long Island Guitar Festival will take place on the LIU Post campus of Long Island University. The event will feature the U.S. debut of guitarist Laura Snowden, David Leisner and Eduardo Fernández, Claude Laflamme, Jérôme Ducharme, Robert Trent and Harris Becker. It will also feature master classes with some of the performers.
April 19. 'The Price Is Right' Live! The staged production based on the televised game show comes to the NYCB Theatre at Westbury and features opportunities for audience members to win cash and other prizes.
April 25-28. International equestrian event returns. The Longines Masters Series, which features some of the world’s best equestrian athletes, will return to the Coliseum for its second straight year. The international tour kicked off in November in its origin city of Paris, continues in Hong Kong in February and concludes in Uniondale with the grand finale.
April 26. The Ducks turn 20. The Long Island Ducks will kick off their 20th anniversary season on the road, with the home opener to follow on May 3. Wally Backman, who played for the Mets from 1980-88, including the 1986 world championship team, was hired in December as the Duck’s new manager. During the season, Good Samaritan Hospital will present a 20th Anniversary Celebration at Bethpage Ballpark.
May Course change for LI Marathon, Spota's trial
May 5. New Long Island Marathon course. When runners line up at the start of this year's Long Island Marathon, they'll notice some major changes, including a new title sponsor — NEFCU — and a new course, which will begin and end at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. In an effort to make the course more accessible to spectators and more scenic for athletes, those navigating the 26.2 miles will spend less time on the Wantagh Parkway — a spot fraught with boredom and pain for athletes in past years — and more time waving to family and friends and racing through more scenic areas of Nassau County.
May 6. Ex-Suffolk DA on trial. Thomas Spota, the former Suffolk County district attorney, and a former key aide, Christopher McPartland, both face allegations of covering up an assault by former Suffolk police Chief James Burke. The trial was previously scheduled for March, but the judge delayed it because she must preside over the Manganos' retrial. Both Spota and McPartland have pleaded not guilty, but if convicted they each could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Federal prosecutors said they used "intimidation, threats and corrupt persuasion to pressure" witnesses, including co-conspirators, not to cooperate with the federal investigation, to provide false information, including false testimony under oath, and to withhold relevant information from federal investigators.
May 13-19. PGA Championships at Bethpage Black. The 2019 event will mark the major championship’s move from August to May, placing it second rather than fourth in golf’s Grand Slam schedule. PGA officials like the prospect of having it between the Masters and U.S. Open, when the golf year still is fresh. They are willing to roll the dice on the weather. The actual tournament begins on May 16, but the first three days of practice rounds will also be open to the public with tickets.
May 25-26. The Bethpage Air Show. A longtime highlight of the Memorial Day weekend on Long Island, world-renowned military and civilian performers will take to the skies over Jones Beach State Park again with their highflying stunts. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will headline this year's shows.
June The LIRR strike, LI's version of 'Comic Con'
June 17. LIRR strike anniversary. It will be 25 years since the last legal LIRR union strike took place on this date in 1994. It lasted just one day.
June 18. More village elections. Another round of village elections will be held on Long Island, but it's too soon to say what positions will be on the ballots.
June 22-23. Eternal Con. It's known as Long Island's Comic Con and also touted as the Island's biggest pop culture event. Eternal Con, the annual celebration of comic books, fantasy, sci-fi and other pop culture subgenres, is back at the Coliseum in Uniondale, where last year it drew thousands of people. Attendees can participate in cosplay contests, panels and other live events such as 2018's celebrity meet and greet with “Star Trek” actor William Shatner.
June 30. NKOTB. The New Kids On the Block are bringing their “Mixtape Tour” to the Coliseum. Their special guests include Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany, Naughty by Nature and Long Island’s own Debbie Gibson.
A new DPW headquarters. In New Hyde Park, a construction crew will demolish the village’s current public works department headquarters and build a new one. Mayor Lawrence Montreuil was expecting the project to begin around June “if all goes well" and take about a year to complete.
July Shuttered school's new purpose, Great South Bay music festival
Queens school relocates to LI. Tiegerman, a nonprofit that serves children with language- and autism-related disorders, is planning to move its middle school from Queens to the shuttered Coles School in Glen Cove in time to begin summer classes in July, officials said. The Glen Cove City Council approved the $2.1 million purchase of the former school and Tiegerman was expecting to pay more than $3 million for renovations to the building including a new heating and cooling system, and windows, according to their attorney Brad Gerstman.
June 18-21. Great South Bay Music Festival. The homegrown Long Island summer music event returns to Shorefront Park in Patchogue with four days of concerts on four stages. The affair typically involves as many as 60 bands in genres ranging from classic rock to folk and funk presented in a pop-up village near the water with plenty of food vendors, crafts and entertainment.
New addition to SBU research park. The $60 million Innovation and Discovery Center is expected to open at Stony Brook University’s Research and Development Park. The IDC is part of a plan to fill the park with as many as 11 buildings in a bid to spark the region’s economy and fortify the eastern end of a 65-mile “high-tech highway.” IDC is designed to house companies ready to graduate from startup incubators but not ready to rent commercial space. Its opening will help bring the research park closer to “critical mass,” so it becomes a magnet for researchers, startups and corporate tenants, and becomes more financially self-sufficient.
August Walt's bicentennial birthday, LIer performs at Jones Beach
Aug. 9-11. Celebrating Walt. No, not Disney, but Long Island's Walt Whitman. In celebration of his bicentennial birthday, the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association is hosting the inaugural Walt Whitman International Festival in Huntington Station.
Aug. 10. LIer performs at Jones Beach. Lake Grove native Jon Bellion will bring his “Glory Sound Prep” tour to Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater for his biggest Long Island show yet. The new album, which debuted in the Top 15, has plenty of area references, including a shout-out for Sachem and tales of taking the Long Island Rail Road.
April 11-12. Return of the retro games. The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo returns to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City for its fifth year. The two-day event, which drew about 4,000 people in 2018, features tournaments, open play stations and vendors.
September Two new schools with focus on animals
A new college. Long Island University plans to open a College of Veterinary Medicine at its Brookville campus. Pending accreditation, the program would offer a four-year doctoral degree as the only veterinary school in New York metro area.
New school focuses on equine therapy. Long Island's Gersh Academy plans to open a new school for kids on the autism spectrum at the New York Equestrian Center in West Hempstead. The school is the outgrowth of Gersh Academy and NYEC’s Equine Assisted Therapy Program, which was launched five years ago and allows Gersh Academy students to work with and help take care of horses.
Sometime in the fall Suffolk's first bike path
Breaking ground on bike path. Suffolk is expected to break ground by fall of 2019 on the county's first recreational bike path, which would run 10 miles between Mount Sinai and Wading River. The goal of the Rails to Trails project, according to Suffolk Legis. Sarah Anker, is to provide a safer place for residents to walk, jog and bike while also increasing foot traffic to local businesses near the path. If all goes according to plan, the work should be completed in 2020.
October LGBTQ festival
Oct. 13-15. Film festival. The 21st annual Long Island Gay and Lesbian Film Festival will be held at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington. The three-day event will feature film, art and music celebrating the LGBTQ community.
November Bellone, Singas up for re-election
Nov. 5. Election Day. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas will be among the names on the ballots this November. Back in April 2018, Bellone indicated his desire to run for a third term in an email sent to tens of thousands of people. He wrote, "I look forward to working with the next generation of leaders throughout my second term and during my re-election in 2019.” Singas will be seeking a second term.
Nov. 16. Elton John's farewell tour. Due to overwhelming demand, Elton John added 25 additional North American concert dates to his sold-out “Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour, which will bring him back to the Coliseum in Uniondale.
December A new pro sports team, time capsule burial
A new pro team for LI. Professional indoor lacrosse is coming to Long Island. A Long Island/New York City franchise will be the 13th team to join the National Lacrosse League. The new team, which doesn’t have a name yet, will begin play this month with its home games at the Coliseum in Uniondale.
One town's time capsule. The yearlong celebration of the Town of Islip's 335th birthday will culminate with the burial of a time capsule, according to Supervisor Angie Carpenter. On Nov. 29, 2018, more than 100 people gathered outside Town Hall to celebrate the anniversary of the land deal that launched the town with cake, hot chocolate and a short parade.
Sometime in 2019 . . . Garvies Point development, more Chick-fil-A
Garvies Point. The first units of the $1 billion Garvies Point development along Glen Cove’s waterfront are scheduled for completion by late 2019. RXR is building 1,110 condominiums and apartments, parks, an esplanade, marinas, restaurants, and retail and office space on formerly industrial land.
Major construction on the LIRR's Third Track project. Although some work has already begun on the effort to construct a third track between Floral Park and Hicksville, including the relocation of some utility lines, project officials have said the real heavy lifting will begin in 2019. That includes the elimination of two grade crossings in New Hyde Park.
'Bad Education' hits theaters. The movie, filmed on Long Island, about the Roslyn School District embezzlement scandal is expected to be released this year. Hugh Jackman stars as disgraced former Roslyn Schools Superintendent Frank Tassone, who was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison in 2006 for his part in an $11 million scheme involving the district. (He was released from prison in 2010.) The film was written by Mike Makowsky, who grew up in Roslyn during the scandal. The film will also feature Oscar winner Allison Janney and Ray Romano.
More Chick-fil-A. Long Island is expected to get its fifth and sixth Chick-fil-A locations as the chain says it intends to open outlets in Westbury and the Five Towns in 2019.
Nassau police precincts reopening. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said the county plans to start reopening two closed police precincts — the Sixth in Manhasset and the Eighth in Levittown — some time in 2019, using money from the police budget. The precincts were closed under a 2012 consolidation plan aimed at saving millions of dollars and converted into the more lightly staffed community policing centers.
High-voltage underground power. PSEG Long Island has filed a state application for work on a new high-voltage power line to run 7.3 miles underground between Uniondale and Lynbrook to reduce outages in a region fed by two antiquated cables. The $176 million project, expected to start in mid- to late 2019, is aimed at improving power reliability in the region and grid resiliency, including for pending wind-energy projects, according to the voluminous filing with the state Department of Public Service. But it will create traffic disruptions across parts of Hempstead Town.