Ronald DeFeo Jr., the mass murderer who killed his mother, father, and four siblings in their Amityville home in 1974 in what became known as The Amityville Horror died on Friday, according to the New York State Department of Corrections. He was 69.
DeFeo was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder and given six sentences of 25 years-to-life in prison in 1975. He died at Albany Medical Center. He was transferred to the hospital from Sullivan Correctional facility while serving out his sentence. The cause of death was not immediately known.
DeFeo’s victims were his mother Louise, 43; father Ronald, 43; and siblings Dawn, 18; Allison, 13; Marc, 12; and John Matthew, 9. DeFeo was 23 at the time when he killed his family members inside their home on Ocean Avenue in Amityville. The family had lived there since 1965. The victims were buried at Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
The house and crime were subject of The Amityville Horror series of books and films after George and Kathy Lutz, who bought the place a year later, wrote a book claiming the house was possessed by evil spirits.
None of the homeowners since the Lutz family have claimed anything unusual in the Dutch Colonial, except having to change the address and remove the eerie quarter-round windows to throw off tourists. Likewise, a Press reporter who attended the August 2010 estate sale before the home sold for $950,000 felt nothing amiss in the three-story house, its master bedroom or “weird” basement with the foosball table—just something odd about the fanatics who waited an hour on line for the rare chance to see inside.
The bestselling 1977 book that spawned the franchise included the tag line, “A True Story,” practically daring authors, filmmakers and independent investigators to try to debunk it.
“We’re going to start again a great Long Island tradition that is the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach,” Cuomo said. “We’ll have masks, we’ll have social distancing, but we’re going to do that again.”
The air show will feature the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, the United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog), United States Army Golden Knights U.S. Army parachute team, and United States Coast Guard Search and Rescue team, as well as several civilian performers.
Local leaders were pleased with the decision to bring the show back this year.
“Long Islanders love our summers,” said Kristen Jarnagin, president and CEO of Discover Long Island. “Long Islanders know the Bethpage Air Show is the unofficial kickoff to summer.”
“After a challenging year, Bethpage is proud to work with State Parks to ensure air show fans of all ages can enjoy a beautiful day at the beach and honor our nation’s military this Memorial Day weekend,” said Wayne Grosse, CEO of Bethpage Federal Credit Union.
The air show’s practice date is Friday, May 28. The show will run from May 29 to 30, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
“With safety measures in place, New Yorkers and visitors can get back to enjoying all that Jones Beach and Long Island State Parks have to offer,” Cuomo said, “and this annual festival is a great way to get outdoors and support the regional Long Island economy.”
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A Florida man who graduated from Greenport High School has been charged for his alleged participation in the Jan. 6 deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., including allegedly spraying pepper spray gel at Capitol officers.
Christopher John Worrell, 49, of East Naples, Fla., was arrested Friday after a nearly two-month investigation into his involvement, in which FBI officials concluded that Worrell is a member of the Proud Boys and sprayed pepper spray gel at officers during the riot, authorities alleged in court documents.
He is the fourth person with Long Island ties accused of participating in the riot at the nation’s Capitol that left five dead, including a police officer. Three men from Bellmore, Freeport, and Huntington were previously charged with storming the Capitol while Congress was voting to certify President Joe Biden’s electoral college win.
The investigation into Worrell began on Jan. 13, when an acquaintance of Worrell’s girlfriend, who lives with him, contacted the FBI with a tip that Worrell may have traveled to D.C. on Jan. 6 to participate in the riot. The tipster also provided a link to a video that allegedly showed Worrell at the Capitol riot, which was posted to his Facebook page, but was deleted by the time investigators visited the page. Investigators then interviewed Worrell on Jan. 18 and reported that he became “agitated and upset that the FBI was at his house.”
“He eventually admitted that he was at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, but denied entering the U.S. Capitol building, and specifically denied any other wrongdoing or criminal conduct on his part,” investigators said in court documents. “He also became agitated when asked about the Proud Boys.”
According to the documents, Worrell told investigators that “the Proud Boys were not a racist white supremacist group like the media tries to portray.”
The court documents then outline a series of several photographs found through YouTube videos and other online open sources of Worrell allegedly wearing Proud Boys gear, equipped with pepper spray gel, and spraying the gel.
“Based on these photographs placing Worrell at a time when law enforcement officers appear to have been located in the direction where he was spraying, and the fact that rioters sprayed pepper spray at law enforcement officers on numerous occasions at this general location in the minutes surrounding this time, I believe the likely intended target of Worrell’s pepper spray assault was the line of law enforcement officers present in these photographs,” authorities alleged in court documents.
According to federal officials, Worrell is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, knowingly engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in any restricted building or grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, obstruction of justice/Congress, and knowingly engaging in act of physical violence in any restricted building or grounds.
Irene Corwin Davison was a women and children’s advocate through and through. In the late 19th and early 20th century, she fought alongside fellow suffragists for a woman’s right to vote in the United States, as well as for improved working conditions for women and children and better social services.
Davison wore many hats — notably, she was one of the first women to start her own insurance agency. Well-read, she also taught art at Jericho school and helped a group of women build a new library in East Rockaway.
Most famously, Davison held large rallies in support of women’s suffrage. She traveled across Long Island in a horse-and-wagon, a large banner draped over the wagon that said “Votes for Women.” She’d make speeches along the way and stopped to collect signatures from voters who supported women’s right to vote in places such as Sayville.
She and many other women’s decades of activism led to women gaining the right to vote in 1920. Eventually, Davison became president of the South Side Political Equality League of Lynbrook and East Rockaway. She died in 1948 and was buried in Rockville Cemetery in Lynbrook.
In January, Kamala Harris became the United States’ first woman vice president. However, there were two women candidates for VP before her: Sarah Palin in 2008 and Geraldine Anne Ferraro in 1984.
Ferraro spent time with her family in Fire Island while her husband, John Zaccaro, worked part-time as a real estate broker. She earned a law degree in 1960 and worked in the Queens district attorney’s office, but soon left citing unequal pay there.
She went into politics instead and became the first Congresswoman from Queens. Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale chose her as his running mate, but the pair lost the race to incumbent Republican President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush.
Ferraro then made two Senate bids but lost both, and then served as a U.S.ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission under Bill Clinton. She died of cancer in 2011 and her son, John Zaccaro Jr, became mayor of Saltaire, Fire Island, in 2016.
Glass artist Clara Driscoll was a lead designer who helped create the signature, stained glass Tiffany lamp. For many years in the late 19th to early 20th century, Driscoll worked in the Queens factory of Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of famed jeweler Charles Lewis Tiffany. There, Driscoll led the Women’s Glass Cutting Department, a group of 40 skilled women glass artists.
Driscoll’s role in creating some of the first lamps with stained glass bases and shades sometimes went unnoticed, as Tiffany would claim credit for the work. However, Driscoll was one of few artists that Tiffany invited to Laurelton Hall, his Laurel Hollow estate on Long Island. Driscoll drew inspiration from Laurelton Hall and designed stained glass windows for the mansion. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the house and its windows in 1957.
Diahann Carroll was the first African American woman to lead an American television series with her role in NBC’s Julia, which aired from 1968 to 1971. Before her fame as a TV mom, she was a singer, Broadway star, and advocate for breast cancer treatment and research — based out of her Fire Island home, where she said she felt most relaxed.
Carroll performed during the time of the Civil Rights Movement. She would receive anonymous death threats and face other racist backlash on film sets. In Julia, she played actor Mark Copage’s mother. The two stars became close, and Copage considered her a real mother figure. Carroll died in 2019 of breast cancer.
Women’s rights advocate Alva Vanderbilt Belmont and suffragette leader Alice Paul joined together in 1917 to form the National Woman’s Party (NWP) to fight for a woman’s right to vote.
Belmont was first married to William Kissam Vanderbilt, heir to the enormous Vanderbilt family fortune. She gained social status during their marriage, but eventually divorced him after learning of an affair. She then married Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, who died in 1908. The two had built the Brookholt Mansion on 800 acres off Front Street in East Meadow.
A divorcee and widow, Belmont shifted her focus to her advocacy work for women, founding the NWP and becoming its primary financial donor.
Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston became the first woman to have her photographs displayed at the Library of Congress in 1930. Over six decades as a photojournalist and portrait, architecture, and landscape photographer, she focused on Long Island’s famous Gold Coast, South Shore, and East End estates.
Johnston photographed President Theodore Roosevelt and his family — after convincing him that he could trust cameras. She also took photos of Mrs. Grover Cleveland, which ran in the New York Times in 1897, and of suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony.
But that’s not all. Johnston captured self portraits dressed as a man. She also took photographs of Cold Spring Harbor’s Burrwood, Roslyn Harbor’s Willowmere, Glen Cove’s Pratt estates, East Hampton’s Grey Gardens, and others.
Writing stories filled Frances Hodgson Burnett’s days in the Plandome estate she built on the North Shore. By the time of her death in 1924, she had published 52 novels and 13 plays.
Though some knew of her through her scandalous marriages, divorces, and affairs, she made the most impact with a legal suit that she won, which transformed copyright law to reimburse writers with profits from plays based on their work.
Some of Burnett’s novels include That Lass o’ Lowrie’s (1877), Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1910).
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People traveling from another state or territory will no longer be required to quarantine after entering New York starting April 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.
Though not required, the New York State Department of Health still recommends that domestic travelers quarantine as an added precaution against spreading Covid-19. All travelers must still fill out the state’s Traveler Health Form.
“New Yorkers have shown strength and perseverance throughout this entire pandemic, and it shows through the numbers that continue to decrease every day,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This is great news, but it is not an all-clear for New Yorkers to let their guard down. To beat this virus once and for all we all must continue doing what we know works to stop the spread, including wearing masks, washing our hands, and practicing social distancing.”
Quarantine requirements are still in place for all international travelers. Both domestic and international travelers must monitor any daily symptoms throughout the first 14 days of arriving in New York and immediately self-isolate and contact public health officials if symptoms arise.
When traveling, individuals must also wear a face mask, social distance, and practice regular hand washing, even if they are vaccinated.
The Nassau County Department of Health and Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center are partnering to host several pop-up Covid-19 vaccination events in the month of March, County Executive Laura Curran announced on Wednesday.
Standing outside MSK’s Uniondale facility where the vaccination program will take place, Curran explained that the new partnership aims to get vaccines into the arms of minorities who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
“Our county is committed to ensuring an equitable vaccine distribution,” she said. “… By teaming up with community providers and reaching out through trusted messengers like houses of worship, community leaders, and elected officials, our vaccination efforts are reaching all communities in Nassau.”
The program will begin on Thursday administering 100 first-doses of the Moderna shot. It will continue on March 16, 18, and 23. The Nassau Vaccine Equity Group, composed of county health and human services officials, has already pre-registered residents who were selected in coordination with local community groups and other stakeholders, Curran said.
More than 400 people will be vaccinated through the program. In addition, the program aims to educate communities of color, who may be hesitant to take the vaccine, about its safety.
“We have some great scientists and physicians and caregivers at Sloan Kettering who are already doing outreach in the community to answer questions,” said Dr. Carol Brown, of MSK, “so that people can make an informed decision about getting the vaccine.”
Curran and Brown added that the MSK partnership will extend beyond Covid-19 vaccinations to cancer screenings and education in communities of color, since health inequities are present in terms of cancer diagnosises as well.
“We know we have health disparities based on socioeconomic and racial lines in Nassau County,” she said. “We got the best hospital systems in the world, we’ve got the best medical care in the world, but unfortunately we also have glaring health disparities, and we are focused on targeting those and closing the gap, making access equal and easy for everybody.”
New York State will open three new vaccine sites on Long Island on Friday, March 19 at SUNY Old Westbury, Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood campus, and Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus.
The state-run vaccination sites will begin accepting appointments for eligible residents on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a visit to SUNY Old Westbury on Monday, as the college prepared the vaccination site.
“Once they are open, these new sites will allow us to continue to get shots into arms on a large scale,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The more people we vaccinate, the more we can continue our progress in keeping the infection rate at bay, reopening our economy and defeating Covid once and for all.”
When appointments for the sites open, residents can schedule their vaccination through New York’s ‘Am I Eligible‘ website or by calling the state’s Covid-19 vaccine hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829). Other details about appointment scheduling and hours of operation will be released in the coming days.
At SUNY Old Westbury, Cuomo and other community leaders called upon New Yorkers who are eligible to take the vaccine, especially people of color, who were hardest hit by the pandemic.
“Covid has devastated the state; Long Island continues to be one of the hardest-hit regions, especially for our Black and brown New Yorkers” said Tracey Edwards, Long Island regional director of the NAACP. “We must take the vaccine. The vaccine is the weapon that wins the war on Covid.”
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is slated to become Nassau County’s third mass Covid-19 vaccination site, County Executive Laura Curran announced Saturday.
Beginning at the end of March, the lower level of the venue’s exhibition hall will be used to administer vaccines to eligible residents. Further information is yet to follow.
“We’re focused on continuing to ramp up our capacity for vaccination as more supply is anticipated to arrive in the coming weeks,” Curran said in a statement. “All of our residents must have access to the Covid-19 vaccine, and this iconic site will give us the ability to deliver the vaccine rapidly.”
A month ago, members of the Nassau Legislature sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking for the state to open a vaccination site at the Coliseum, similar to the one the state opened at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
However, Curran has taken matters into her own hands, and the county will run the Coliseum site. The county’s two other mass vaccination sites are located at Nassau Community College in Garden City and Yes We Can Community Center in Westbury. Additionally, the county has opened a smaller vaccination site at LIU Post, as well as pop-up sites in partnership with Northwell Health. For a list of sites on Long Island, click here.
“I would like to thank the New York Islanders for so graciously sharing their home with the community,” Curran said, “as well as the management team at Nassau Live for helping pave the way to Nassau’s comeback.”
On Friday, March 5, Curran reported that more than 20 percent, or 1 in 5, residents have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Last week the county ran a pop-up vaccination site in Glen Cove and announced partnerships with Mount Sinai South Nassau to vaccinate school teachers and with Nassau University Medical Center to vaccinate veterans.
Foodie Card, a membership service that offers dining discounts to customers while giving back to local restaurants and families in need, just launched a delivery program to sweeten the deal.
Members can now place delivery orders through Foodie Card’s Delivered program from about 60 restaurants across Long Island and get the same 10 percent discount they would when dining out.
“A lot of [restaurant owners] were complaining to us about how expensive DoorDash and Uber Eats was, so it’s hard for them to make a profit on [delivery],” said Jared Katz, CEO of Foodie Card. “And we sought out to find a better way.”
Unlike popular food delivery apps such as DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats, which charge restaurants up to 33 percent per order, Foodie Card only charges restaurants five percent per order, which covers half of the customer’s 10 percent discount. Foodie Card pays the other five percent. Foodie Card also donates three meals to local families through Island Harvest for each membership and membership renewal purchased. So far, the company has donated 25,000 meals.
A membership costs $29.99 per year and includes both Foodie Card’s original dining discounts, which are available at hundreds of Long Island restaurants, and its new Delivered service. Plus, Foodie Card just added a points program in which members earn one point per dollar saved. Points add up and can be redeemed for gift cards to stores such as Target.
“Our members make their money back in less than three months,” Katz said. “We’re really looking to create the Amazon Prime of hospitality.”
As part of the Delivered program, Foodie Card launched an app where users can order their food. Members must first pay for a membership online and then sign into the app on their Apple or Android device.
Foodie Card is available throughout the tri-state area, including New York City, but currently has its largest presence with the most participating restaurants on Long Island. Some restaurants on the Delivered program include Sweet Karma Desserts in Plainview, Whiskey Down Diner in Farmingdale, Il Pozzo in Lynbrook, Bagel Boss in Hewlett, Matteos in Huntington and Roslyn Heights, and Mother Kelly’s in Syosset.
“At our core is helping support local restaurants, helping support people in need,” Katz said, “and offering a membership that provides value to foodies that are looking for places to dine that’s not going to break their wallets.”
Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJ) commemorated the anniversary of the first coronavirus patient admitted to the New Hyde Park hospital with a ceremony on Thursday.
Medical leaders from LIJ and Northwell Health, which operates LIJ, spoke and reflected upon the enormous impact of the past year. To mark the occasion, they presented a mural, “Frontline Warriors,” and heard from a Covid-19 survivor who was treated at LIJ.
“You showed up when you were scared,” Michael Goldberg, executive director of LIJ, said to Northwell’s healthcare workers. “You showed up when the information about this disease was scarce. You showed up when you were uncertain about your safety. You showed up to fight an invisible enemy. You are frontline warriors.”
Queens artists Angela China and Sergio Barrale, who created the mural, also offered remarks at the ceremony. The painting shows healthcare workers locking arms, hands in fists like superheroes, and wearing personal protective equipment, an image that hospital leaders say has risen spirits for the staff and represents their unity throughout the pandemic.
Mary Ann Brussels, a Northwell nurse in Manhasset, who contracted Covid-19 while 34 weeks pregnant in April 2020, spoke emotionally about her time being treated at LIJ — her husband, Naph Jabon, and 9-month-old son, Lyon, by her side.
“Seeing my son, my family, everyone was OK,” she said, “it made me more determined to serve. I am grateful to be here with my coworkers … and I am honored to join you all for this ceremony to salute our frontline workers with this beautiful mural.”
Brussels was admitted to the hospital on April 23, 2020 with difficulty breathing due to Covid-19. That same day, she gave birth to Lyon by cesarean section. Two days later, she was intubated.
“You not just saved my life, you saved my son’s life,” she said to the LIJ staff. “I would like to thank LIJ, my Northwell Health family … I got intubated April 25 but thanks to God, thanks to everyone here, I am here with my family right now … I will be forever thankful.”
“As mentally and physically exhausting as the past year has been, it has been a great privilege to stand together, much like the figures in this beautiful painting,” she said. “I know that we can get through this together.”