Will 2022 bring an end to the pandemic? Most likely no. Will life on Long Island continue to return to some level of normalcy, though? Probably.
But what will that look like?
The past two years have taught us all to expect the unexpected. Still, Newsday's reporters have combed through their notes to create this guide of planned developments and events Long Islanders can look forward to in the new year — along with some educated predictions.
For instance, in 2022 we will begin to learn which Long Island towns will allow recreational marijuana sales. Amazon and Lidl will continue to increase their footprints on the Island, and another popular retailer will open its first store in the region. After several delays, some major trials may take place. Much-anticipated concerts should finally come to LI, including at our newest arena. Plus, traveling to the city via the LIRR will be forever changed.
And if living through a pandemic wasn't enough of a roller coaster, you can ride Adventureland's newest thrill ride in 2022.
Here's a preview of what's in store next year.
Sometime in 2022
The pandemic. In 2022, we should know more about the impact of the latest COVID-19 variant, omicron, on the world, including Long Island. Gov. Kathy Hochul will decide whether to extend beyond Jan. 15 a mandate that businesses require either masks or proof of vaccination — a mandate that Long Island officials are enforcing lightly or not at all. The continued rollout of vaccines, including pediatric doses and boosters, will remain a priority, as will vaccine mandates and their impact on businesses and schools. Hochul said she will push for a vaccine mandate for the 2022-23 school year when the legislature reconvenes in January. There is not yet an authorized vaccine for children under 5, but trials are continuing, and Pfizer said it hopes to apply for federal authorization during the first half of 2022. -David Olson
Federal vaccine mandate. President Joe Biden’s mandate that businesses with 100 or more workers require employees to be vaccinated or get tested weekly and wear masks while working indoors was upheld by a federal appeals court Dec. 17 after a lower-court judge put it on hold in November.
Opponents of the mandate plan to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments Jan. 7.. It was to go into effect Jan. 4, but the implementation date is now unclear. Many Long Island companies are already requiring their employees to be vaccinated. Twenty-seven Republican-led state governments, plus conservative and business groups and some individual businesses, challenged the mandate in court. The cases were consolidated and have been assigned to the Cincinnati-based Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Valva trial. The murder trial of ex-NYPD officer Michael Valva and his then-fiancée Angela Pollina, who are charged with killing the former officer’s 8-year-old son Thomas Valva, is expected to be delayed again because of the spread of the omicron variant, attorneys for the defendants said on Jan. 5.
The trial was scheduled to begin Jan. 10 in Riverhead — nearly two years after Thomas' Jan. 17, 2020 hypothermia death. But jury selection will likely not proceed as planned due to concerns about courthouse staffing, the mask mandate and juror availability amid the latest COVID-19 outbreak, the attorneys said. The state court system reinstated a mask mandate in August amid an outbreak of the delta variant.
"It’s my understanding that the case is not going to trial on Monday, but I don’t know when it’s going to be rescheduled," said John LoTurco, the defense attorney for Valva.
Pollina’s attorney Matthew Tuohy also confirmed the trial is not proceeding Monday. A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office did not immediately comment. -Nicole Fuller
The supply chain crisis. Supply-chain problems are likely to remain in the first half of 2022, as consumers continue to purchase more goods because of the coronavirus than vacations, tickets to movies, concerts and Broadway shows, restaurant meals and other services.
Executives of retailers and other service firms in the metropolitan area are pessimistic about the shortages. More than 25% expect the availability of products to worsen further over the next month, according to a poll conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in December.
Among factory executives across the state, 46% predicted that supply shortages would increase next month in a separate poll. - James T. Madore
The worker shortage. Employers will likely continue to find it difficult to fill some jobs in the January-March period, particularly those with low pay and few benefits. But experts said the labor shortage will be less severe than in 2021.
"It’s true that the number of people employed is still below pre-pandemic levels, but that situation has been improving," said John A. Rizzo, an economist and a Stony Brook University professor.
Keeping young Long Islanders from moving away, along with attracting commuters from New York City, will be increasingly important as the local workforce becomes grayer.
"Older workers who were more at risk than younger ones from COVID opted to retire. … This may have had an outsized impact on Long Island, with its older-than-average workforce," said Shital Patel, a labor market analyst in the state Department of Labor’s Hicksville office.
In addition, the high price of child and elder care has pushed many out of the labor force as they chose to stay home and look after loved ones, she said. -James T. Madore
A new trial for the Manganos? Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, are awaiting a decision about whether a federal judge will grant them a new trial. A jury in 2019 convicted the former public official of charges including conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, wire fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
The panel convicted his wife of charges that included lying to the FBI. But the Manganos have asked for a new trial and the case’s presiding judge held a hearing about the issue in 2021. The Manganos claim Harendra Singh, the government’s chief witness against them, committed perjury while testifying against them. -Bridget Murphy
New adventure park, indoor golf part of mall development. Samanea New York, formerly called The Mall at the Source, underwent a $28 million renovation that was completed in March as part of efforts to turn the once-struggling Westbury mall into a "lifestyle destination."
Lesso Mall Development Long Island Inc., a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Lesso Group Holdings Ltd., bought the mall for $92 million in May 2017 and later renamed it Samanea New York. Lesso has signed tenants that specialize in home furnishings, experiential offerings, and food and beverages – businesses that are less susceptible to online competition than clothing and shoe stores.
Mall tenants coming in 2022 include Asian American grocer 99 Ranch Market, kitchen retailer MyPlanet Living Center, Arteco Cabinetry, indoor golf franchise X-Golf, family entertainment center Empire Adventure Park, membership-based crafting center Let’s Craft, and three restaurants — MoCa Asian Bistro, Szechuan Cuisine and K-Pot, a Korean hotpot and barbecue eatery, said Dominic Coluccio, Samanea New York’s chief leasing and development officer. -Tory N. Parrish
Shoring up the South Shore.The long-awaited Fire Island to Montauk Point project, expected to protect 83 miles of shoreline along Long Island’s South Shore from storms and sea level rise, is predicted to begin in 2022, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. -Vera Chinese
Two high-profile court cases. In 2022, court officials, prosecutors and defense lawyers will have to continue to work through a backlog of cases that built up amid a slowdown in proceedings during the pandemic. One high-profile trial that could take place in Nassau County in 2022 is that of Lido Beach’s Tyler Flach. He is accused of fatally stabbing 16-year-old Oceanside High School senior Khaseen Morris during an after-school brawl in 2019.
Morris, the youngest of four siblings, was an avid skateboarder who dreamed of studying photography and had a talent for drawing and writing music. Flach, now 21, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, felony gang assault, misdemeanor assault and a weapon charge.
Court proceedings also are expected in the case against Gabriel Wilson, 31. He is charged with killing a manager and wounding two other co-workers during a April 2021 shooting at a Stop & Shop in West Hempstead. Wilson, who worked as a store cart attendant, has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder, assault and weapon charges.
His defense lawyer indicated recently in a court filing that he will use a psychiatric defense for Wilson at trial. Store manager Ray Wishropp, 49, of Valley Stream, died in the workplace shooting. The divorced father of seven and new grandfather had worked for the supermarket chain for about three decades. -Bridget Murphy
Contactless payments on LIRR. The MTA’s new contactless fare payment system, OMNY, is expected to roll out on the Long Island Rail Road. It’s already available throughout the subway system. -Alfonso Castillo
New police commissioner. Suffolk County's new police commissioner, Rodney Harrison, who was unanimously approved by the county legislature in late December, will be charged with implementing the sweeping 1,000-page reform plan the county adopted in 2021. Spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement, the reforms include expanded use of body cameras, deployment of mental health experts to some 911 calls and designation of the Suffolk Human Rights Commission to oversee complaints about police misconduct and bias.
Harrison, the NYPD’s outgoing chief of department, is the fourth person in the job in five years. He replaces Geraldine Hart, the former FBI official who led the Suffolk County Police Department for three years before resigning in May to become the head of security at Hofstra University.
During the nomination process, Harrison told county lawmakers he would seek to use some NYPD strategies to reduce gun violence and handle emergency calls involving mental health crises while focusing on reforming the county department. -Michael O'Keeffe
New Floor & Decor store. The Atlanta-based retailer of hard-surface flooring will open its fourth Long Island store in the first half of 2022. The new 74,794-square-foot location will be in Garden City, in Stewart Plaza, at 650 Stewart Ave.
Space for the store was taken from off-price department store Burlington, which downsized in 2021, as well as from space left by a former K&G Fashion Superstore, discount retailer Jembro, a card store and a vacancy, said Kristen Moore, spokeswoman for Brixmor Property Group, the Manhattan-based real estate investment trust that owns the shopping center. -Tory N. Parrish
Revamped theatre reopens. Studio Theatre in Lindenhurst is finally reopening, but it’s not the same old studio. In the past two years, the theater has undergone a $250,000 renovation and now it’s back with the theater moved from upstairs to downstairs with a bar, and the upstairs now houses rehearsal studios and dressing room. It officially opens Jan. 14 with a gala and its first show, the British farce "See How They Run." -Daniel Bubbeo
New ShopRite opens.The $31.2 million renovation at Huntington Commons, formerly called the Big H shopping center, will include a new ShopRite supermarket and the relocation of off-price department store Marshalls on the property, which is on New York Avenue north of the Huntington LIRR station.
The grocery store will take 63% and the relocated Marshalls will take 27% of the 102,949-square-foot space that Kmart used to occupy, according to Urban Edge Properties, the Manhattan-based real estate investment trust that owns the shopping center. The remaining space has not been leased.
"We are in active negotiations for that space right now but are not at a point that we can release the name. But, we are very excited for what we are proposing for that space," said Scott Auster, senior vice president and head of leasing for Urban Edge.
Both the ShopRite and relocated Marshalls will open in the first half of 2022, said Danielle De Vita, executive vice president for development for Urban Edge.
"The property upgrades will be complete as soon as the weather allows us to install hardscape and new landscaping, ideally [in the second quarter] of 2022," she said.
Huntington Commons hasn’t had a grocery store since a Pathmark closed there in 1996. -Tory N. Parrish
Battery-operated trains. Pending the findings of an ongoing feasibility study, the LIRR hopes to test its first battery-operated train on the Oyster Bay line. -Alfonso Castillo
Another law impacts construction worker wages. Developers must pay the prevailing wage to construction workers on private building projects that cost more than $5 million and are awarded tax breaks from industrial development agencies that equal 30% or more of the project's cost. The new law doesn't apply to housing projects where the developer signs an agreement with government to ensure at least 25% of the apartments are affordable. A new state board would help to enforce the wage requirements. The prevailing wage, which generally is the pay received by unionized workers, already applies to government-funded building projects. – James T. Madore
New leadership at MTA. The State Senate is expected to hold a confirmation hearing to make Janno Lieber the official chairman and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. -Alfonso Castillo
Huntington parking project. Town officials plan to renovate the parking lot that serves its senior center complex at 423 Park Ave. The Village Green parking project will increase and expand the existing parking facilities, improve pedestrian accessibility from the parking areas to the building, and provide an exterior area of refuge for Senior Center occupants, among other infrastructure improvements. Town officials are awaiting a construction schedule from the contractor. -Deborah Morris
Who will allow recreational marijuana. We’ll know which Long Island municipalities decided in 2021 not to authorize recreational marijuana dispensary and consumption sites, though they may later choose to allow them. Localities permitting these venues can’t reverse the decision, said Dan Johnson, an attorney who runs Empire CannaBiz, a website focused on connecting businesses in the emerging marijuana industry. -Sarina Trangle
Minimum wage hike. This one actually goes into effect Dec. 31, 2021, so for 2022 the minimum wage on Long Island will rise to $15 an hour.
BJs replaces Macys. The landlord for the Commack Shopping Center demolished the former Macy’s building on the property, at 2 Veterans Memorial Hwy., and is replacing it with a new building for a BJ’s Wholesale Club.
The BJ's in Commack is scheduled to open in January, said Briana Keene Bryant, spokeswoman for the Westborough, Massachusetts-based retailer. There are 11 existing BJ's locations on Long Island. The new BJ's in Commack will be a single-story, 104,102-square-foot building.
A Macy's spokeswoman told Newsday in January 2020 that the Macy’s in Commack was closing in the summer of that year because the lease was being terminated by the landlord. The store had been a Macy's since 2001. -Tory N. Parrish
LIRR fares change. Because the Long Island Rail Road has vowed to continue its suspension of peak fares only through the end of 2021, LIRR passengers could begin the new year by paying more for their ride. Absent an extension of the LIRR’s policy – adopted during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic – of charging off-peak fares at all times, tickets would go back to costing up to 27% more for trips made during the rush hours. -Alfonso Castillo
NYC policing. When New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams takes over in early January, two key elements from the law enforcement perspective will be his new police commissioner – in mid-December he announced Keechant Sewell, chief of detectives for the Nassau County Police Department, would fill the position – and the expected reshuffling of top commanders within the New York City Police department. The new mayor is also expected to bring back some form of a street crime unit to deal with the steadily increasing gun violence and homicides in New York City. -Anthony M. Destefano
Two new DAs. Long Island will have two new top prosecutors come January 2022, when Anne Donnelly will be sworn in as Nassau County district attorney and Ray Tierney will be sworn-in as Suffolk County district attorney. Donnelly, a longtime prosecutor in the office who ran as a Republican, was elected over Democratic State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, following the departure of Madeline Singas, who left the DA's office after being appointed as a judge to the state’s Court of Appeals. In Suffolk, Tierney, a veteran state and federal prosecutor who ran on the Republican and Conservative tickets, defeated incumbent DA Tim Sini, a Democrat. A central issue in both campaigns was the state legislature’s passage of bail reform, which eliminated cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.-Nicole Fuller
New law requires food recycling. A new state law takes effect on Jan. 1 requiring certain large entities to recycle food waste. For instance, unsold food from supermarkets must be donated to groups such as Long Island Cares or Island Harvest that distribute it to those in need. Many supermarkets already do this. Schools and hospitals are exempt. -Carl MacGowan
Disney at UBS Arena. The UBS Arena in Elmont, which opened in late 2021, will host Disney on Ice for the first time. The shows will take place Jan. 5-9.
More state aid to schools. Mid-January is usually the time when governors provide a glimpse into their plans for public education spending through annual budget messages. For 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul already has provided a preview, though details for individual districts have not been announced.
Hochul said "foundation" aid – the state’s biggest school-assistance program – will rise by about 7.5%, bringing the total to $21.3 billion statewide. Ultimately, the idea is to provide enough state money so that every district, no matter how poor, will be able to offer a "sound, basic" education, as promised in the state constitution, she said. This goal is to be met by the 2023-24 school term. Hochul’s plan confirms an agreement reached by state lawmakers in April. Under the plan, extra school money is being raised through higher income taxes on the wealthy. -John Hildebrand
Renter protections expire. Coronavirus eviction moratoriums protecting residential and commercial renters will expire on Jan. 15. -Sarina Trangle
A new musical opens. "Punk Rock Girl," the first original musical being presented at Argyle Theatre in Babylon, opens Jan. 20. It’s also written by Garden City’s Joe Iconis, who created the Broadway show "Be More Chill." This one is set in the world of ‘80s rock and features music by such iconic LIers as Joan Jett and Pat Benatar. - Daniel Bubbeo
Development of James D. Conte Center. A bid for the construction of the James D. Conte Center is expected to go out in January or February. The proposed center is named for late State Assemblyman James D. Conte, a Republican who represented Huntington Station for 24 years. He died in October 2012. Plans for the center call for recreational facilities and meeting rooms. The 25,255-square-foot building at 100 E. Fifth St. is a former armory. -Deborah Morris
Arts center reopens. Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre is scheduled to reopen Feb. 4 after being closed for nearly two years. The cultural hub first closed due to the pandemic but remained voluntarily shutterd to complete renovations.-Rafer Guzmán
Mobile sports betting. The state Gaming Commission granted nine sports betting licenses in November, paving the way for Long Islanders and New Yorkers to bet on sporting events using their smartphones. They are expected to be up and running for mobile sports betting early in 2022 ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 13. Betting licenses were granted to, in alphabetical order: Bally’s Interactive, BetMGM, Caesars Sports Book, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, Resorts World, Rush Street Interactive and Wynn Interactive.-Mark LaMonica
Steve Vai performs on LI. Long Island’s own guitar hero Steve Vai will return to his roots when he brings his "Inviolate World Tour" to The Paramount in Huntington on Feb. 25. The Carle Place native hasn’t played Long Island since his Glen Cove guitar clinic in July 2019. This time he will be backed by guitarist/keyboardist Dave Weiner, bassist Philip Bynoe and drummer Jeremy Colson. -David J. Criblez
Winter Olympics. Beijing will host the XXIV Olympic Winter Games Feb. 4-20, and in January we should know if any Long Islanders will be competing.
Nassau Coliseum turns 50. Feb. 11 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Nassau Coliseum.
Upgrades to LI hospitals. New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health is proceeding with its $500 million overhaul of South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, where 29 new private suites on the maternity ward are expected to open by mid-2022. The health system also is moving ahead with construction on the new $325 million Petrocelli Advanced Surgical Pavilion at North Shore University Hospital, which is expected to be complete by 2023, as well as upgrades at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park and hospitals in Valley Stream, Plainview and Glen Cove, a spokesman said.
The region’s last independent hospital, Long Island Community Hospital in Patchogue, is expected to merge with NYU Langone Health in February. NYU plans to spend $100 million on the first improvements to the 306-bed facility, including upgrades to the emergency room and operating rooms and integrating the hospital into NYU Langone’s electronic medical records system. -Maura McDermott
For music lovers. "The Art of Music" exhibit at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn runs through March 22. It features works by artists inspired by music, including a portrait of Lady Gaga, as well as memorabilia including a Les Paul guitar and Keith Richards' guitar, manuscripts from Elton John and Tony Bennett, photos and more.
Tom Seaver statue unveiling. The Mets expect to finally unveil a statue paying tribute to Tom Seaver, the greatest player in the franchise's history, on Opening Day 2022, which should be held March 31. Seaver, diagnosed with dementia, retired from public life in March 2019. In the months that followed, the Mets changed the address of Citi Field to 41 Seaver Way and announced plans for the statue, commissioned by the previous ownership group in 2019 and originally expected to be positioned outside the ballpark in 2020. Seaver died in September 2020 from complications of Lewy Body Dementia and COVID-19. - Tim Healey
Will the baseball season start on time? Mets fans may have to wait to see the team’s new superstar pitcher Max Scherzer, who signed a 3-year, $130 million deal with the team in November. For the first time since 1994, there is a work stoppage in baseball after the owners locked out the players when the collective bargaining agreement expired in December. That means no trades or free-agent signings can happen until a new CBA is in place. It also means the start of spring training in mid-February could be delayed, and, if a new deal isn’t reached in time, it would put Opening Day on March 31 in jeopardy. How long will it take the players and owners to agree on how to divide up the money? Impossible to say.
Masks on LIRR trains. Following the latest extension of the Transportation Security Administration’s mask requirement for indoor transportation facilities, the earliest LIRR commuters can expect to be able to ride a train maskless is March. However, the TSA could extend the mask mandate, and the MTA can continue to require masks even if federal law doesn’t require them. -Alfonso Castillo
Deadline to grieve taxes. Nassau County homeowners have from Jan. 3 until March 1 to appeal their property values for the 2023-24 tax year. (They'll hear back on these challenges by April 3, 2023.) -Scott Eidler
Ride a new coaster. Adventureland in Farmingdale is expected to debut a new vertical roller coaster as the amusement park celebrates its 60th anniversary. Called the FireBall, it will send riders on a spree of curves designed to mimic falling over the edge of the cliff. -Beth Whitehouse
Medical building replaces Sears. Patients will replace the shoppers who used to visit Sears in Lake Grove. Stony Brook Medicine’s Clinical Practice Management Plan will expand its outpatient services with a new facility in the two-level, 169,453-square-foot former Sears building at Smith Haven Mall, the health care system said.
The first phase of the center is set to open in late spring 2022, according to the leader of the project, Dr. Margaret M. McGovern, the vice president of Health System Clinical Programs and Strategy for Stony Brook Medicine.
The new facility will house physician offices, an infusion site for non-cancer patients, a pain management center, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital outpatient offices and other operations, Stony Brook said. The mall is about 4 miles from Stony Brook University Hospital. -Tory N. Parrish
Long Island Marathon. The Jovia Long Island Marathon kicks off with a two-day festival April 29-30 followed by the half marathon and full 26.2-mile race on May 1, starting at Eisenhower Park.
Decisions on assessment challenges. April 1 is the deadline for Nassau's Assessment Review Commission to decide on the grievances filed by property owners in 2021 for the 2022-23 tax roll. Residents will have until May 2 to file further appeals through a judicial process known as "small claims assessment review," or SCAR. -Scott Eidler
More "M-9" trains for the LIRR. Nine years after placing an order for 202 new train cars at a cost of $734 million, the LIRR has said it expects to finally have all its state-of-the-art "M-9" model cars in service by April. The procurement has been plagued by delays, including those attributed to "several workmanship issues and failures" among the 104 new cars it already has rolled out. -Alfonso Castillo
The Blue Angels are back. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will be back on Long Island this Memorial Day weekend for the 2022 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, which will take place May 28 and May 29.
"We’re planning for a great show," Pilot Lt. Katlin Forster said during a recent visit to the Island to begin preparations for the team’s ninth appearance at the air show. "We’ll have 40 minutes of F18s flying overhead in various formations for people below on the beach."
The Blue Angels show will feature the second season using two new aircraft, an F18 super hornet and a C-130J Super Hercules affectionately known as Fat Albert to open the show with a 5- to 10-minute aerial performance. Set to music and narration, the performance will include seven jets. -Deborah S. Morris
Bike-sharing in Nassau? Nassau County expects to finalize its "Shared Mobility Plan," which aims to expand and transform its transportation system through innovative ideas such as bike-sharing, electronic scooters and flexible bus routes. -Alfonso Castillo
Primaries for governor. The New York State primary elections for anyone looking to challenge freshly minted Gov. Kathy Hochul are set for June 28. The declared Democratic candidates include Congressman Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is also considering a run. The Republican challengers include Congressman Lee Zeldin, Rob Astorino, the former Westchester County executive, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s son Andrew, and Lewis County Sheriff Michael P. Carpinelli.
First concert at Jones Beach. Northwell Health at Jones Beach returns for another season of outdoor shows, some rescheduled from the worst days of the pandemic. Currently, the first show on the 2022 bill is The Doobie Brothers on June 21. The Doobie Brothers, featuring Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, Pat Simmons and John McFee, were going to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary in 2020 but will now have to settle for their 52nd.
MTA considers fare increase. After twice being postponed in 2021, the MTA Board can consider its next fare increase as early as June. It would seek to raise fare revenue by 4%. The exact cost of a trip is yet to be determined. The MTA has said it is considering broader changes in its fare structure, including introducing new LIRR tickets that reflect changes in work schedules since the pandemic began. -Alfonso Castillo
New Kids on the Block at UBS. The boy band with guest acts including Long Island Music Hall of Fame hip-hop duo Salt-N-Pepa will play the new UBS Arena in Elmont on June 30.
DeMille book inspired by Gilgo. Bestselling author (and Garden City resident) Nelson DeMille brings his fictional hero, homicide detective John Corey, back to Long Island in "The Maze," a thriller inspired by the unsolved Gilgo Beach murders. The book is set to release June 7.
Two-way service at newest LIRR station. By next summer, LIRR riders should be able to take a train in either direction while traveling to or from the new Elmont-UBS Arena station. Although the station opened in October, in time for the New York Islanders’ first home game in the new arena, only eastbound, Hempstead branch trains serve the station. The LIRR has said its westbound platform should be finished by the summer. -Alfonso Castillo
New dean at Hofstra. Dr. David Battinelli, who is set to become Northwell Health’s executive vice president and physician-in-chief in January, is expected to take over as dean of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell this summer. -Maura McDermott
Great South Bay Music Festival's return. The festival's 14th annual event is set to be held July 7-10 at Shorefront Park in Patchogue. It was originally scheduled for July 2020 but was moved twice because of the pandemic. "A lot of national headliners are moving their tours to 2022, and we don’t know what the safety situation is going to be like," festival founder/promoter Jim Faith said when the second postponement was announced.
The festival, which typically draws 6,500 people and expanded to 8,000, has traditionally been held with a general admission layout featuring three stages, a craft vendors marketplace and an entire food court. That format has been a fixture of the music event, before post-pandemic social distancing guidelines took effect.-David J. Criblez
Matchbox Twenty at Jones Beach. The band, with special guests The Wallflowers, performs at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater on July 19 after its 2020 concert was twice rescheduled due to the pandemic.
Twenty One Pilots at UBS Arena. Long Island's newest concert venue is already preparing for summer. The Elmont venue has announced an Aug. 24 show featuring Twenty One Pilots, which brings "The Icy Tour" to Belmont Park.
Santana at Jones Beach. The"Miraculous Supernatural Tour" with Earth, Wind & Fire comes to the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. The Aug. 13 show had been rescheduled twice, once in 2020 and again in 2021. "We look forward to bringing you the sounds of Light and Love next year," guitarist/band leader Carlos Santana said in a statement. All previously purchased tickets will be honored for this show. Ticket holders unable to attend the new date must go to their point of purchase for refund information. -David J. Criblez
Marijuana for sale — legally. Legal sale of marijuana in New York State is expected to begin pending the establishment of licensing and regulatory frameworks.
Two new charter schools. South Shore Charter School in Central Islip and Academy Charter School in Wyandanch are due to open with early grades, a substantial expansion of educational alternatives in parts of Suffolk County. They will then expand to grades K-5 or K-6, respectively, within five years. Further expansion could be approved later. -John Hildebrand
Amazon adds warehouses. Amazon expects to open a warehouse in Holbrook to make last-mile deliveries for customers, starting in the October-December period, said company spokeswoman Verena Gross. The Holbrook facility is among at least four that the online retailer hopes to open in 2022 on Long Island, she said. The Syosset and Woodmere warehouses are being constructed by developers, while the Melville location is being renovated for Amazon’s use.
Each warehouse will have between 50 and 150 employees. Several hundred additional jobs are created by transportation companies that pick up the packages from the warehouse for delivery to doorsteps. Amazon plans to have at least 10 last-mile warehouses in Nassau and Suffolk counties. –James T. Madore
More Lidl stores. Discount grocer Lidl bought 27 Best Market supermarkets in New Jersey and New York, including all 24 on Long Island, in 2019. It then began renovating and converting most of them to the Lidl name in phases, while opening a few new Lidl stores and permanently closing some Best Markets.
With 21 Lidl stores on Long Island now, the German retailer will open its first new-construction store on Long Island in Deer Park, at 450 Commack Rd., in winter 2022, spokesman Will Harwood said.
Also, two Lidl stores will open on Long Island in summer 2022, he said. One will be in Garden City Park, in a former Waldbaum’s space at 2475 Jericho Tpke. That store will be considered a replacement for a Best Market that closed in New Hyde Park in February. A former Best Market in Commack closed at 84 Jericho Tpke. in the Mayfair Shopping Center in February. That store will reopen as a Lidl on the same property, but in a different space, in Stein Mart’s former location next summer. -Tory N. Parrish
Primark's first LI store. Irish fast-fashion retailer Primark’s push into the United States will include the popular chain entering the Long Island market for the first time, possibly in 2022. The retailer announced in March that it will open a 35,100-square-foot, two-level store in Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream between September 2022 and September 2023.
But it is unclear if that store will be the first Primark on Long Island, since the retailer announced in November that one of the three new leases it had signed for New York City metro area stores was for a location in Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City. Primark has not said when the Roosevelt Field store will open.-Tory N. Parrish
Graduation requirements will be overhauled. State education leaders, following delays due to COVID-19, are moving toward an overhaul of high school graduation requirements. While plans remain vague, revised requirements are expected to put somewhat less emphasis on Regents exams, which have been around since the 1860s.
Any such change would be controversial, and authorities are proceeding with caution. In the fall, the state’s Board of Regents is to appoint a Blue Ribbon advisory commission. The commission, after a series of meetings, is to issue final recommendations in the winter or spring of 2024.
Typically, students must pass four or five Regents exams to earn diplomas. One idea that has been tossed around is to provide alternatives – for example, completion of academic projects – for students who fail exams. Education Commissioner Betty Rosa is preparing plans to try out various alternatives in selected schools.
A major goal of revisions is to help more students complete high school. The National Center for Educational Statistics, a federal research agency, reported in May that New York State graduated 83% of students on time, compared with a national average of 86%. - John Hildebrand
New movie studio. A 50-foot-tall movie studio will be built on a vacant commercial complex in Port Washington North, clearing the way for what the developer called the sister studio to Bethpage’s Grumman studio. Developer Parviz Farahzad said the studio will be named "Grumman Studios at Port Washington North" and is expected to be completed by fall 2022. Village officials approved the site plan in April, marking the end of a two-year-long process that included six public hearings and multiple plan revisions, including lowering the height of the structure from 65 feet to 50 feet after some residents voiced concerns. -Dandan Zou
Possible return of Oyster Fest. Will Long Island’s biggest festival of the year return after a two-year absence? The Oyster Fest typically draws up to 150,000 visitors a day for the weekend-long affair in and around the waterfront Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay. With live music, dozens of specialty food booths and plates of fresh-shucked half-shells stacked as far as the eye can see, it’s a feast for all the senses. It's tentatively scheduled for Oct. 15-16.
50 years of the Islanders. Oct. 7 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Islanders hockey game.
Midterm elections. Voters will go to the polls on Nov. 8 to cast ballots for several races, including governor of New York, the state's attorney general and comptroller, and all of the state legislature. Nationally, Republicans will be in a position to possibly gain control of both the House and Senate in congressional elections. Two open seats will be up for grabs on Long Island — Zeldin's and Suozzi's — if both continue their gubernatorial runs. Locally, Suffolk county executive will be the biggest race. It will be an open seat because incumbent Steve Bellone is term-limited. New York State will lose one congressional seat for the 2022 elections. New York lost the seat because it didn't grow as fast as other states.
Sound of Music, Take 2. John W. Engeman Theater in Northport is planning to stage "The Sound of Music" after the production had to be rescheduled in 2021. It had featured three children younger than 12 in the cast, none of whom would had been eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the time the show would have been staged originally. -Daniel Bubbeo
The LIRR at Grand Central and Third Track. After being planned for more than a half-century, two of the Long Island Rail Road’s most significant capacity-expansion projects are scheduled to be finished by December: the $11.2 billion East Side Access, which will link the LIRR to a new 350,000-square foot station at Grand Cental Terminal, and the $2.6 billion LIRR Expansion, which includes a 9.8-mile-long new third track between Floral Park and Hicksville. The LIRR has said the two projects combined will transform the commutes of hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders – shortening trips, improving reliability and allowing for improved "reverse commuting" to jobs on Long Island. -Alfonso Castillo
Reducing contaminants. Limits on 1,4-dioxane for household cleansing, personal care and cosmetic products begin Dec. 31, resulting from legislation passed in New York State in 2019.
Additional reporting by Caroline Curtin, Laura Mann, Judy Weinberg, Nyasia Draper and Dorothy Levin