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Briana Bonfiglio

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Briana Bonfiglio is the Digital Editor of Long Island Press.

Brooks Brothers CEO’s Muttontown Mansion Asks $12.5M

muttontown mansion

“Cedar Hill,” the Muttontown mansion of billionaire Brooks Brothers CEO, is listed for sale at 393 Mill River Road.

Claudio Del Vecchio currently owns the 8-acre estate with his wife, Debra Ann, according to The New York Post. They had bought the property in 2012 for $7.5 million. 

Built in 1916, this original Gold Coast estate has been renovated and restored, “blending today’s finest luxurious amenities with gracious period details,” the listing says. The property is accessible by a gated driveway and surrounded by lush, manicured landscaping. 

The estate-style brick home almost resembles an old school building with its large size — 13,000 square feet — and simple exterior. But in reality, it’s much more a secluded oasis with nearly everything you could possibly desire in a basement and three floors of living space, including an elevator connecting it all.

For starters, the basement has an indoor swimming pool, spa, and gym. It also has a dog spa, half bathroom, prep kitchen, laundry room, wine cellar, and storage. The basement has walk-out access to the yard, as well.

The first floor has a grand entryway, a library, powder room, bar, formal living room and dining room, sunroom, family room, coat closet, and large, gourmet kitchen with a butler’s pantry, breakfast room, and new appliances.

The master suite is on the second floor, along with six other bedrooms, one with a handicap bathroom. The second floor also has a home office overlooking the garden and a balcony. The third floor hosts the guest quarters, which includes a full bathroom and storage space.

The home has a total of nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and four half bathrooms. Outdoors, there’s a tennis court, inground pool, gardens, putting green, and a playhouse — plus, a five-car garage.

The asking price for the property is $12,500,000, not including the annual property tax of $102,391.

The real estate agents listed for the property are Debra Russell and Cottie Maxwell Pournaras, of Daniel Gale Assoc., Inc, who can be reached at 631-692-6770.

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Nassau To Open New Vaccination Site on LIU Post Campus

LIU Post
From left: Dr. Denise Walsh, dean of LIU School of Health Professions and Nursing; County Executive Laura Curran; Katie Vecino, a nursing student; Dr. Larry Eisenstein, the county health commissioner; and Kristen Bieber, a nursing student. (Photo courtesy Office of Nassau County Executive Laura Curran)

Nassau County will open a new Covid-19 vaccination center at LIU Post in Brookville, County Executive Laura Curran announced Wednesday.

The vaccination site has a soft launch planned for Friday and will open fully next week, county officials said. The county’s health department will manage the point of distribution (POD), and LIU Post School of Health Professions and Nursing students and faculty will administer the shots.

“This partnership will allow the county to use not just the space but the skill of the students, the teachers, and the faculty to administer the doses,” Curran said. 

“It is an exceptional learning experience for students to learn about the humanitarian efforts that are going on globally,” said Dr. Denise Walsh, dean of the LIU School of Health Professions and Nursing. “And to also participate in caring for the community in which we reside, so we’re very excited for the opportunity to open this POD.”

This is the third county-run site to open in Nassau. The others are at Nassau Community College in Uniondale and Yes We Can Community Center in Westbury. When appointments become available at these sites, residents can register at nassaucountyny.gov/vaccine.

The new vaccine center will focus on residents in phase 1B of New York’s vaccination program. This includes police officers, firefighters, teachers and all school staff, grocery store workers, transit workers, taxi drivers, and restaurant workers. Starting Monday, Feb. 15, it also includes people with certain pre-existing health conditions.

“This is opening up more eligibility. The supply is not opening up that much,” Curran said, “but we want to make sure that we have the infrastructure in place to accommodate the eligibility as supply does open up. Having this POD here at LIU will help us with that.”

County officials, including Dr. Larry Eisenstein, the county health commissioner, said they recognize the frustration residents are feeling about the limited number of vaccine appointments, even when new sites open up. However, Eisenstein said he’s hopeful that supply of the vaccine will increase soon, and that the county is working on new registration systems.

“We’re putting a new mechanism in place that I think you’ll be hearing about in the next few days that will streamline all this,” he said, “and hopefully eliminate some of the frustration.”

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Two More Pop-Up Vaccination Sites Open One Day Each on Long Island

vaccination sites
Getty Images

New York State will run two Covid-19 vaccination sites for one day each on Long Island this week, one in Long Beach and one in Wyandanch, the state announced on Tuesday.

Vaccinations will take place at the Gerald Ryan Outreach Center in Wyandanch on Thursday, Feb. 11 and the Magnolia Center in Long Beach on Friday, Feb. 12. The pop-up vaccination sites are part of the state’s efforts to make the vaccine available to all populations, including the elderly and communities of color.

“The vaccine is the weapon that will win the war against COVID, however to be truly effective, we must ensure it is distributed fairly and equitably,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “… By setting up these sites and partnering directly with the leaders and organizations who are trusted voices in these communities, we can simultaneously ensure access to the vaccine, while instilling confidence in it as well.”

According to the state, appointments at these sites can be made through the sites themselves or their partner providers who help administer the shots and “work with community leaders and organizations to identify eligible New Yorkers in each specific community.”

The City of Long Beach, which runs the Magnolia Center, announced just after 10 a.m. Wednesday that all appointments are already booked.

“Please be advised that the City is working with Governor Cuomo’s office to facilitate a one-day ‘pop-up’ vaccination site for our low income and minority seniors (65+),” city officials posted on Facebook. “This is part of the Governor’s equity in vaccination distribution effort to ensure populations that wouldn’t normally be able to receive a vaccine, and have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, are given the opportunity to get one.”

The Gerald Ryan Outreach Center could not be reached about whether or not any appointments are available.

These Long Island locations are two out of 11 sites opening statewide throughout the week, which will vaccinate more than 3,100 New Yorkers, according to the state. Each week, new sites will open in different communities.

Related Story: State Opens Two Pop-Up Vaccination Sites on Long Island

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Farmingdale Man Arrested For Alleged Participation in Capitol Riot

farmingdale man
Court documents allege that a Snapchat video of Greg Rubenacker shows him smoking a vaping device and marijuana cigarette in the Capitol building.

A Farmingdale man has become the fourth Long Islander arrested for allegedly joining the U.S. Capitol building riot, which left five dead, including a police officer, federal prosecutors said.

Greg Rubenacker was arrested Tuesday morning by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force based on witness evidence of Snapchat videos showing him inside the Capitol building on Jan. 6, including one of him smoking a marijuana cigarette, authorities said.

“The witness stated that Snapchat user Rubenacker had sent multiple Snapchat videos to the witness from inside the Capitol building,” authorities alleged in court documents. “User Rubenacker then posted some of those videos merged together in a ‘story’ that other Snapchat users could see, including the witness.”

Three others from Bellmore, Huntington, and Freeport, were arrested last month for their alleged participation in the Capitol riot. His arrest came on the first day of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial after members of Congress accused him of inciting an insurrection to prevent lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. 

Four consecutive Snapchat story videos document Rubenacker cheering on the break-in of the Capitol building and then entering himself, court documents claim. In the final video, he and other rioters are seen counting and smoking marijuana cigarettes, and Rubenacker says “Smoke out the Capitol, baby,” prosecutors allege.

According to the documents, Rubenacker is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful permission, engaging in disorderly conduct with intent to impede or disrupt government business or official functions, uttering loud, threatening, or abusive language in any of the Capitol buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb a session of Congress or either House of Congress, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in any of the Capitol buildings.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in federal court. His attorney information was not immediately available.

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Cuomo Announces ‘NY PopsUp,’ a 100-Day Program of Arts Performances

ny popsup

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of NY PopsUp, a 100-day-long program of live entertainment aimed at reviving the arts from the pandemic.

NY PopsUp will consist of more than 300 surprise, pop-up events across the state, including in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, free of charge to residents. 

“NY PopsUp will be an important bridge to the broader reopening of our world-class performance venues and institutions,” Cuomo said. “New York has been a leader throughout this entire pandemic, and we will lead once again with bringing back the arts.”

Slated to run from Feb. 20 through Labor Day, the initiative will consist of many spontaneous performances, which are not meant to draw large crowds, but rather interact with New Yorkers in everyday life. They will use existing landscapes, such as transit stations, parks, subway platforms, museums, skate parks, street corners, fire escapes, parking lots, and storefronts as “flex venues,” and they will also be recorded and posted on social media.

There have yet to be any performances announced on Long Island; however, Long Island natives Amy Schumer and Alec Baldwin are both on the roster to perform at some point. The lineup includes all types of performers, including dancers, comedians, musicians, and poets.

The latest details about the performances will be posted on @NYPopsUp on Instagram and Twitter.

“This is exciting, it’s different, it’s creative,” Cuomo said, “but these are different times and we have to address them. PopsUp will start with these pop-up performances and then migrate to the reopening of venues for arts. Again, our rapid testing, our testing protocol: opening sites with testing is something where New York wants to lead the way.”

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Long Island Remains at Highest Covid-19 Positivity Rate in NY

covid-19 positivity rate

Long Island’s Covid-19 positivity rate, meaning the percent of people who tested positive out of all those who got tested, is at 5.47 percent, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

This is the highest of all regions in the state; however, also like the rest of the state, virus cases are on the decline. Long Island also has the highest percent of hospitalized Covid-19 patients 1,339 people, or .05 percent of the population.

“Not dramatically higher, but higher,” Cuomo said during his briefing, “and we’ve been seeing this for the past couple of weeks. Again, it’s relative. All the numbers are coming down, but we focus on the highest numbers in our state.”

Cases have been falling since mid-January, a trend Cuomo has called the “post-holiday surge.” Experts are urging caution, however, due to new Covid-19 variants. At least three new variants of the novel coronavirus are circulating in the United States, including the UK variant B.1.1.7 that is 30 to 40 percent more contagious, according to researchers. 

“I’m asking everyone to please keep your guard up,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Monday. “The continued proliferation of variants remains a great concern and is a threat that could reverse the recent positive trends we are seeing.”

New York health officials have found about 60 cases of the UK variant statewide. The first case was found in early January.

Cuomo said the state must learn to “walk and chew gum” by balancing the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, limiting the spread of the virus, and beginning to reopen the economy. 

-With Reuters

Related Story: Long Island Has Highest Covid-19 Positivity Rate in New York

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5 Famous Long Island Love Stories

Plenty of high-profile Long Island love stories have played out over the past several generations. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are five of those stories, ranging from heartbreaking tragedy to a fleeting love affair to modern-day marriage.

FIRST VALENTINE

first valentine
Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay

Historians believe that the country’s first Valentine was given on Long Island during the Revolutionary War. British officer Lt. Col. John Graves Simcoe was occupying the home of wealthy American merchant Samuel Townsend in Oyster Bay, which is now the Raynham Hall Museum. Simcoe stayed in the house for six months in an attempt to get Townsend, a known Patriot, to sign an oath of loyalty to King George III, which he eventually did. 

During that time, Simcoe pursued Townsend’s daughter, Sarah “Sally” Townsend. To try and woo her, historians say, he gave her poems believed to be the first Valentines given in the country. The two never became a couple, and Simcoe had a wife back in Great Britain at the time. The Raynham Hall Museum has the handwritten poetry, dated Feb. 14, 1779, on display.

TEDDY’S DOUBLE VALENTINE’S DAY TRAGEDY

Years before he became president, on Feb. 14, 1884, Theodore Roosevelt’s mother, Mittie, and wife, Alice Lee, died within hours of each other. Lee had just given birth to the couple’s daughter, Alice, two days earlier. Roosevelt was so struck by heartbreak that he left New York to move out west, leaving baby Alice with his sister. 

He returned to raise his daughter and remarried by 1886. Roosevelt’s home in Oyster Bay, which is now the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, also known as the “Teddy Roosevelt House,” was built during this tumultuous time in his life in the 1880s.

BOGIE AND BACALL

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall from the 1946 film The Big Sleep.

Humphrey “Bogie” Bogart and Lauren Bacall had an unlikely but fulfilling relationship in the ‘40s and ‘50s. The actor and actress met on a film set in 1944 when Bogart was 46 and Bacall was 19. The age difference did not keep them apart, however, and they married the next year. 

The couple went on to star in four films together before Bogart died of cancer in 1957, leaving Bacall a widow at age 32. Bacall became a Hamptons regular after that and died in 2014. When once asked about her 12-year marriage with “Bogie,” she said, “It was much too short. We had a lovely life together.”

HOLLYWOOD ROMANCE

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, co-stars of the 1963 film Cleopatra, had a scandalous relationship from start to finish. They each cheated on their partners to be with each other, and when the news got out, they quickly got married and retreated to Pembroke, the since-demolished Glen Cove estate, for a weekend honeymoon. 

The couple was in 11 movies together and paparazzi spotted them at Long Island establishments several times throughout the relationship. Neighbors reported the two got into some fierce arguments throughout the years. They divorced in 1974, remarried in ‘75, and had a final divorce in ‘76. While the two partied at various Long Island mansions, separately, Burton claimed the two were still together, but they each eventually married other people. 

MODERN LOVERS

89th Academy Awards – Oscars Vanity Fair Party – Beverly Hills, California, U.S. – 26/02/17 – TV Kelly Ripa and actor Mark Consuelos. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Long Island residents Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa, both television stars, are perhaps the most popular LI, celebrity couple of our time. The couple met on the set of All My Children in 1995. A year later, they eloped in Las Vegas.

Now, 25 years later, the couple has three children of their own. The two spend some of their marriage apart, while Consuelos is filming Riverdale and Ripa is filming Live With Kelly and Ryan, but they say they’re making it work just fine and often post about their relationship on social media, usually about how much they miss each other and counting down the days until they’re together again. 

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Late Bee Gees Member’s Former Lloyd Harbor Estate Asks $12.9M

lloyd harbor estate

“Kenjockety,” a 6.8-acre, waterfront estate previously owned by Robin Gibb, who was a member of the musical group The Bee Gees in the ‘60s and ‘70s, is listed for sale at 31 Mallard Dr. in Lloyd Harbor.

This brick home sits high above the beach and was presumably Gibb’s place to get away from the musical spotlight — “kenjockety” is a Native American term meaning “far from noise.” He owned the home in the ‘80s and allegedly bleached the floors and painted the walls white, according to a Newsday article from 2011. Gibb died in 2012, and the house has since been renovated.

Built in 1926, the historic mansion is quite a sight, inside and out. Famed architect Bertram G.Goodhue built it “to last for years,” according to the listing. The home’s main feature is its panels of floor to ceiling windows that let sunlight fall gracefully into every room, as well as offering serene views of the water.

There is a tall gate at the front of the estate’s driveway. Facing the water, there’s a long, wooden staircase leading down to the beach and a private pier. 

Elegance abounds throughout the home’s large entrance, formal dining rooms, bathrooms, and guest quarters. The uniform dark brown and white color scheme continues throughout the home, giving it a refined and clean look.

The house has a total of seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and three half-bathrooms — plus, an elevator and cathedral ceilings. The home’s eat-in kitchen has granite countertops and all new appliances. There are several additional rooms that could be used for game rooms or offices. The property also includes a newly renovated, one-bedroom cottage with a kitchen, bathroom, and living room.

The asking price is $12.9 million, not including the annual property tax of $94,704.

The real estate agents listed for the property are Bonnie Williamson and Lauryn Koke, of Daniel Gale Agency Inc., who can be reached at 631-427-6600.

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10 Scenic Spots on Long Island To Visit With Your Valentine

scenic spots on long island
Plan your Valentine’s Day date al fresco at these scenic destinations. (Getty Images)

This year’s considerations for where to spend Valentine’s Day with your partner may be a bit different than in the past. It’s one of the biggest nights for dining out, but with restaurants limiting capacity, reservations may be harder to come by. 

So what other romantic options are there? Luckily on Long Island, love is in the air — fresh air, that is — at many of its picturesque parks, beaches, and other outdoor spaces. And as everyone knows, chilly weather and huddling up together a great date make.

Couples, bring blankets and maybe even a picnic basket, and head down to one of these 10 scenic Long Island destinations this Valentine’s Day.

Fire Island Lighthouse

To start, nothing beats the views from the top of the Fire Island Lighthouse, accessible from Robert Moses State Park Field 5. The walk itself over to the historic structure is a nice photo op. But that’s just the beginning. The spiral climb to the top of the lighthouse is a fun couples activity with a breathtaking reward. 

Village of Sea Cliff

Here’s a little-known corner of the Island. Sea Cliff’s western edge has several nooks and crannies where you and your date can take a stroll or snuggle up in front of great views. The corner of The Boulevard and Cliff Way is a good place to start; you’ll find a small balcony there with a bench overlooking the water.

Elevate yourself by walking up Bay Road, where the actual “cliff” of Sea Cliff is at its highest. You can also visit Memorial Park, head down to the beach, or walk into Sea Cliff’s Victorian district, where you’ll find different kinds of scenery in the charming houses — all good options.

The Walking Dunes

Exploring Montauk’s walking dunes is another scenic adventure to go on this Valentine’s Day. Along the shore of Hither Hills State Park, there are hiking trails among the sand dunes, which shift with the wind. The park also has lots of other nature-filled spots as well as places to sit and take it all in, such as picnic tables and firepits.

Planting Fields

There’s lots to see at Planting Fields estate in Oyster Bay, from sweeping lawns to greenhouses to historic buildings that you can tour. Either make a reservation for a tour or visit between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. if you just want to walk the grounds.

Long Beach Boardwalk

With plenty of benches facing the beach over the 4.3-mile stretch, the boardwalk in the City of Long Beach is a great place to sit back, relax, and watch the sun set over the crashing ocean waves. Plus, the popular spot is sure to be much less crowded in mid-February than in the warmer months, making it an ideal scene for you and your other half.

Bayard Cutting Arboretum 

This arboretum in Great River has plenty of nature trails and well-kept gardens that make for lovely scenery. After working up an appetite from walking through the “museum of trees,” as the Bayard website calls it, you and your sweetheart can stop by the cafe for a bite to eat.

Norman J. Levy Park & Preserve

Located right on the bay in Merrick, Norman J. Levy Park & Preserve is a quaint spot to bring your valentine to. The park’s gazebo and long fishing pier are both nice areas in which to unwind and spend quality time together.

Hempstead Lake 

You and your partner can cozy up by this large lake that stretches from Lakeview at its southwest end to Hempstead at its northeast end. There’s a trail that runs all along the edges of the lake, and Hempstead Lake State Park has a few additional ponds along the route.

Sunken Meadow State Park

Enjoy the expansive views of Long Island Sound from Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park. The walking trails and footbridges over the Nissequogue River are also picturesque places for couples to explore together and make the most of Valentine’s Day 2021.

Love Lane in Mattituck

You can quite literally take a stroll down Love Lane on this street in Mattituck, conveniently located in walking distance from the Mattituck Long Island Rail Road station. This quaint strip of shops and restaurants is sure to be decked out for Valentine’s Day and make the perfect atmosphere for your date.

Love Lane is home to The Village Cheese Shop and Cafe, Bauer’s Love Lane Shoppe antique store, Love Lane Sweet Shoppe, Mattituck Florists, Lombardi’s Love Lane Market, and Mint Clothing Boutiques, just to name a few. There’s also several places to eat in the area, and it’s close to the Mattituck inlet, another scenic spot by the waterfront.

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State Opens Two Pop-Up Vaccination Sites on Long Island

vaccination sites
Registered pharmacist fills a dead volume syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site in William Reid Apartments in Brooklyn, New York City, U.S., January 23, 2021. Mary Altaffer/Pool via REUTERS

New York State has opened 35 pop-up, community Covid-19 vaccination sites, including two on Long Island, that will provide first doses to New Yorkers this week.

The Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury and St. Rosalie’s Church in Hampton Bays are both housing vaccine appointments on Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“More than 9,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated through this effort,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement, “and by making the vaccine accessible and delivered by trusted community partners, we can address the skepticism and bring this life-saving vaccine to those who need it most. The light at the end of the tunnel is bright and getting brighter with each new location and each shot administered.”

Northwell Health is offering its partnership at the Islamic Center of Long Island, and Stony Brook Southampton Hospital is the provider partner at St. Rosalie’s Church.

Though the Long Island pop-up sites are only open for one day, Cuomo said that new community sites will open each week in order to reach all populations. To check eligibility and make an appointment, visit covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).

On Tuesday, Cuomo announced that taxi drivers, restaurant workers, and residents of developmentally disabled facilities are now eligible for the vaccine within municipalities that have the capacity to include them in their vaccination program.

About 7 million New Yorkers are eligible for the vaccine, including healthcare workers, essential workers, and seniors 65 and older. Meanwhile, the state gets an average of roughly 300,000 first-dose vaccines per week. 

“Vaccine is a supply issue,” Cuomo said during his press briefing Tuesday. “We have an extensive distribution chain [of] private pharmacies, local governments, hospitals, mass vaccination sites, which are the single most productive vaccination distribution mechanism. So we have the distribution, we just don’t have the product.”

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