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Islip is on everyone’s lips

Call it a big-news day in Islip, bigger than anything the town has seen in a long time.

Frontier Airlines kicked it off with a high-noon announcement that the budget carrier will offer nonstop service from town-owned MacArthur Long Island Airport to 10 new cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Detroit and Miami. It was easily the best news the airport has had in years.

Later Tuesday, there will be a town board vote at 6 p.m. on the fate of one of the largest development projects in the country — Heartland Town Square.

Developer Jerry Wolkoff has been trying to get the project — originally pitched as a $4 billion plan with 9,000 apartments and 4 million square feet of office space and retail — approved for 15 years. Hundreds of people have spoken for and against the massive project at endless hearings. And though passions have not cooled on either side, the town board vote on a zoning change for Heartland is the last regulatory hurdle that remains.

If Heartland is approved, there will be plenty of new residents to fill those flights — residents for whom a newly vibrant airport nearby will be an attraction. Islip’s flying high.

Michael Dobie


No soup for you

After a trash fire on the 145th Street tracks led to delays across the city subway system Monday, new MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota waded into a not-so-new but always controversial topic: Should riders be eating on the train?

There have often been questions about whether the food down under results in dangerous litter and rat-friendly crumbs. On Tuesday, Lhota said a potential “education program” might discourage certain foods.

Eating is not banned under the MTA code of conduct, though in 2011 some board members called for such an action after one straphanger threw spaghetti on another. In 2005, a proposed ban on open-container beverages was dropped. In both cases, the desires of hungry and thirsty New Yorkers won out.

Lhota, who as deputy mayor was dubbed the “rat czar” by his boss, Rudy Giuliani, has dealt with the quality-of-life issue before. In his first tour as MTA chairman, he oversaw a pilot program to take garbage cans out of subway stations on the theory that riders would carry out their refuse. Many didn’t, and the trash cans returned because New Yorkers weren’t about to stop eating.

But during this “summer of hell,” even sustenance is up for discussion.

Mark Chiusano

Daily Point

New show in town

Nassau Coliseum has a new, but familiar, voice.

Zimmerman-Edelson, the Great Neck-based public relations firm, will handle public relations and events promotion for the Coliseum, Robert Zimmerman, who heads the firm, told The Point. Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which manages the Coliseum through its subsidiary, Nassau Events Center, initially approached and hired Zimmerman.

Vice president David Chauvin will serve as the Coliseum’s spokesman.

For now, Zimmerman said he is focusing on upcoming events, from Disney on Ice to “professional bull riders.”

But could Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment have bigger plans, perhaps trying to add a local heavy hitter in an effort to lure the New York Islanders back to the Coliseum?

Zimmerman said the firm has not been asked to specifically address that effort, but will provide “whatever assistance BSE thinks we can help with.”

But even Zimmerman might not be able to help with an Islanders return. After all, the team is expected to bid when a request for development proposals emerges for state-owned land at Belmont Park.

Now that Zimmerman is handling the Coliseum’s public relations, his firm won’t represent any potential developers at Belmont. While his latest client puts Zimmerman on a new stage, it likely takes him off a bigger one.

Randi F. Marshall

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