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Attorney Robert Sullivan of Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. Fights for 9/11 Heroes

Robert Sullivan. Photo by Matthew Kropp

Equality before the law is among the most sacred rights of the American citizen. Among those most highly regarded for protecting those rights is trial lawyer Robert Sullivan, of the New York City and Long Island-based law firm Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. 

Sullivan has a plethora of experience defending the rights of everyday people in court. He started his legal career in 1974 clerking for Harry H. Lipsig, a legendary trial lawyer. Bob was immediately recognized as a talented, up-and-coming attorney who would soon become one of the state’s top trial lawyers and a partner at the firm in just two years.  

In more than 40 years of practice, he’s had as much impact on his clients as on the law itself. He has tried more than 300 cases involving people seriously injured by reason of the negligence or wrongdoing of others.

“It’s never lost on me the impact that these cases can have on people’s lives,” said Sullivan. “Corporate greed knows no bounds, and many people would have no recourse or power against it if not for the law. A person’s lawyer is their voice, their advocate, and their gladiator.”

While Sullivan is known for the many victories that have brought his clients many millions of dollars in compensation for the damages they have suffered, he is perhaps best known for his work on behalf of September 11, 2001 first responders and survivors who were killed or have been diagnosed with illnesses related to the terrorists’ attacks and its aftermath.

In the wake of that awful day, Bob Sullivan and his firm represented 363 injured firefighters and the families of fallen firefighters in the 2002-04 September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, obtaining more than $265 million in awards for absolutely no fee, thus forgoing more than $25 million in legal fees.  

“We are on the side of the angels,” said Sullivan. “After September 11, there was nothing to do other than help, and our firm was first in line to help the men and women who lost their spouses, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, moms and dads, in that tragic terrorist attack. Everyone served the country in their own way — our way was to make sure that these families had a voice,” continued Sullivan. 

And in the years since, Bob Sullivan has developed into the “firefighter’s lawyer,” while representing firefighters and fire officers, and other first responders, who have since been stricken with illnesses resulting from their exposure to toxins during the rescue and recovery efforts that ensued. He and his firm represent thousands of active and retired New York City firefighters in a myriad of cases, including injuries suffered on the job.

“It’s really gratifying to be able to change people’s lives for the better,” Sullivan said. “Helping first responders who get hurt while on the job is a gratifying way of giving back to those who have given so much,” he continued.

The Long Island Press asked Mr. Sullivan some questions about the highlights of his distinguished career. 

What have been your most fulfilling cases? The most fulfilling cases of my career involve representing the family members of firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to others. Securing justice for their loved ones is something I take great pride in. Whether it was the Waldbaum’s fire, the Father’s Day fire, Black Sunday, or 9/11, my firm’s mission was to ensure that the memory of these firefighters was honored and that the families were protected.  While we knew that we could never make them whole again and could not ease the grief they felt, we hoped to provide comfort and peace of mind knowing that we would not stop until they received the compensation that they deserved. It isn’t hard to pick a jury when you are on the side of the angels. 

What are you most proud of throughout your career? I am proud of being able to not only try successful cases for my clients, but also to stand up for what is right. When I tried the Waldbaum’s Fire case, we were able to secure a landmark victory for the families who lost their husbands on one of the deadliest days in the history of the New York City Fire Department.  The evidence was clear that this was an unimaginable tragedy, but one that happened as a result of negligence.  

Despite this, there was a young, African American man, Eric Jackson, who was convicted of arson for setting the fatal fire. The evidence suggested not only that he was innocent, but also that his confession was coerced. I took his case to the Appellate Division and was able to get his conviction overturned and secured his release. This, after he spent nine years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. 

You see, the criminal justice system and the legal system are nothing without integrity. People’s trust in the courts are, perhaps, the most important thing. When someone with the power to act sees something wrong, and fails to do what is right, that is how people lose faith in the system. 

In one case I was able to secure compensation for the families of the deceased firefighters and exonerate a man who otherwise would have spent decades behind bars. Justice can come in different forms, but this case reminds me that, as lawyers, we have a responsibility to pursue it at all times.

What is a true story from your career that is too crazy to be true? I think back on the hundreds and hundreds of cases I have tried and one is more crazy than the next, but my craziest experience in the courtroom has to be when I questioned Muhammad Ali. Arguably the most noteworthy professional boxer of the 20th century, he also had an uncanny ability to keep people entertained. Up on the witness stand, his testimony was brilliant and he was one of the ‘sharpest’ minds that I’ve ever questioned. During this same trial, I also had Howard Cosell and Tony Perez as witnesses as well – but Ali was the best. The jury loved him. 

How have you made a difference throughout your career? I would like to think that my career has really made a positive impact on individual lives and on changing unsafe practices employed by city agencies and corporations.

As counsel to the Uniformed Firefighters Association and having an office in downtown Manhattan, we deeply felt the tragedy of 9/11. I hope that our efforts as a firm to help the victims of the terrorist attacks from that day, both in the immediate aftermath by representing hundreds of families without taking a fee, and in the years that followed through litigation and lobbying to secure permanent healthcare and compensation, gave some comfort to those who lost a loved one or became ill.

I also am proud that the successes in the courtroom have translated into real change. One case comes to mind, Lyle v. City of New York, where our victory ensured that New York City firefighters had to be provided safe and adequate bunker gear to fight fires. It is wins like this that protect our first responders from budget cuts that threaten their safety.

Finally, I hope that our role in the New York State tobacco litigation similarly reminded everyone that corporate greed will not be tolerated at the expense of the health and safety of each of us and our children.

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Who Makes The Best Milkshake on Long Island?

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A classic milkshake can be enjoyed all-year round whether you dip it in fries or enjoy it as a refreshing summer dessert. But who makes the best milkshake on Long Island?

Long Islanders voted Douglas & James Homemade Ice Cream, aka Sweat Treats on the Wharf, as winner of Best Milkshake on Long Island in the 2020 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest! And Shake Shack was the national winner in this category.

Nothing quenches your thirst and fills you up quite like a cool milkshake on a hot summer day. Located on scenic Main Street in Port Washington, Sweet Treats on the Wharf offers a wide selection of homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet that can be easily spun into a delicious milkshake.

This old school ice cream shop has been a local favorite for years because of their unique flavors and neighborhood charm, and their milkshake can’t be beat. The best part? After you get your shake, you can enjoy it while walking along the shoreline. 

And Shake Shack more than delivers on its promise to provide their loyal customers with out-of-this-world flavors that’ll satisfy that sweet tooth. From classic favorites like vanilla, strawberry and chocolate to seasonal concoctions like red velvet, frozen hot chocolate and cookie butter, it’s no surprise why people consistently wait in long lines or order for pickup to get a hold of one of their decadent shakes!

Douglas & James Homemade Ice Cream (Sweat Treats on the Wharf) is located at 405 Main St. in Port Washington. It can be reached at 516-708-1706.

Shake Shack has multiple locations that can be found at shakeshack.com

To find all the other 2020 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest winners, visit bestoflongisland.com Nominate for your favorite businesses and people in the 2021 Bethpage Best of Long Island program through Aug. 31.

To read more Best of Long Island Spotlights, visit longislandpress.com/category/boli-spotlight

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Centre Island Home Where After The Wedding Was Filmed Asks $6.8M

Frog Songs, a century-old waterfront estate that was the set of the 2019 Julianne Moore film After The Wedding, is listed for sale at 407 Centre Island Rd. in the Village of Centre Island.

Built in 1908 on a 5.6-acre lot with 522 feet of direct beach front access and a deep-water dock, this enchanting eight-bedroom home has six and a half bathrooms. It boasts a separate four-bedroom cottage, one-bedroom playhouse, in-ground pool, tennis court, and exquisite gardens with eastern sunrises. Movie director Bart Freundlich stayed in the playhouse during the shoot. 

The main house comes equipped with an eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, family room, home office, and three-car garage.

The property is nearby several parks, preserves, and country clubs. It’s a short drive from downtown Bayville, Oyster Bay, and the Oyster Bay Long Island Rail Road station. It is located in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District.

The asking price is $6,895,000, not including the annual property taxes of $132,381.

The real estate agent listed for the property is Regina Rogers of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, who can be reached at 516-759-0400.

Related Story: Bayville: A Waterfront North Shore Best-Kept Secret

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Who Makes The Best Sliders on Long Island?

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Long Islanders love their sliders, and restaurant menus all over can attest for that. But which local eatery makes the best sliders on Long Island?

Long Islanders voted One Eye Jacks Best Sliders on Long Island in the 2020 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest!

It can be tough to find a place that offers solid sliders for a slick meal, but look no further. One Eye Jacks is a “vibing” sports bar that carries the best sliders you’ll find on the island. Run-on over to One Eye Jacks, stay all night if you’d like, and get a solid meal in a buzzing atmosphere. There’s nothing better than savoring your juicy mini-burgers with a drink and great friends, and this bar-restaurant is constantly rolling out new events and parties for its customers to enjoy.

Offering a great space to watch the game or celebrate, One Eyes Jacks is a perfect spot to spend a Friday evening or night. With a 4.8 out of 5 recommendation rate on Facebook, it is no wonder why One Eye Jacks is the top spot for sliders that indeed hit the spot!

One Eye Jacks is located at 380 N Wantagh Ave. in Bethpage. It can be reached at 516-342-1732 or facebook.com/oneeyejacksli

To find all the other 2020 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest winners, visit bestoflongisland.com Nominate for your favorite businesses and people in the 2021 Bethpage Best of Long Island program through Aug. 31.

To read more Best of Long Island Spotlights, visit longislandpress.com/category/boli-spotlight

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DIY Fitness Rooms: How To Create A Home Gym

Home gyms have become more popular during the coronavirus pandemic. (Getty Images)

People exercise for many different reasons. Exercise can improve one’s appearance, reduce the risk of illness, alleviate stress or anxiety, and even help pass some time. Exercise is often a social activity, but in the wake of social distancing guidelines issued in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have found themselves looking for ways to exercise at home.

Building a home fitness room has never been a more timely project, and such a project can continue to provide rewards even when life returns to some semblance of normalcy. Here’s how to successfully stock a home gym.

FIND THE SPACE
A home gym will be limited by the amount of space that can be devoted to workouts. Possible fitness room locations include a spare bedroom, a garage, a basement, or an enclosed patio. Measure the space so you can pick and choose equipment that will fit. Leave some floor space empty for movement exercises or mat activities.

KEEP IT BRIGHT
Darkness can sap energy levels, so invest in mirrors and adequate overhead lighting to make the space inviting. Natural light can make the exercise area more enjoyable.

CONSIDER THE FLOORING
New flooring can protect against damage and make an area more conducive to working out. Rubber mats can offset echoes and reduce the noise of running on a treadmill or setting down heavy weights.

USE SPACE SAVERS
A home gym space will likely not be as expansive as the space inside a traditional fitness center. Thankfully, many activities do not require a lot of space or equipment. Classic exercises like squats, lunges, pushups, and situps require little gear but still produce results. Figure out which equipment you like the most and invest in two or three key pieces. Dumbbells of various weights, a medicine ball, and a yoga mat can be all you need to create a versatile, effective workout. A TRX system and a door-mounted pull-up bar also are great space-saving options.

INCLUDE A TV
A home gym may benefit from a smart TV that you can use to stream workout videos or catch up on the latest news while running the treadmill or using the stationary bike.

A home gym is beneficial year-round, and can be especially valuable when social distancing guidelines are put in place. 

-Metro Creative Connection

Related Story: Tips For Losing The COVID-15

For more health and wellness coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/better-you

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Newly Built Southampton Mansion Asks $40M

This house offering the ultimate in luxury and convenience with cutting-edge design and comprehensive amenities is listed for sale at 55 Coopers Neck Lane in the Village of Southampton.

Built in 2020 on a spectacular 4.5-acre estate, this extraordinary 11-bedroom three-level home has 12 bathrooms, two half bathrooms, and 12,400 square feet of living space filled with light and air. Amenities include a professional-grade tennis court, an indoor pool, movie theater, and two-lane bowling alley.

Enter to a double height foyer, off which is a library including fireplace with marble surround and hearth. The great room with wet bar features a gas fireplace set in a dramatic porcelain slab. A sun room with three walls of windows can be closed off with a pocket door.

The living room overlooks the grounds and pool through walls of windows and glass doors with motorized shades. The state-of-the-art eat-in chef’s kitchen by Ciuffo features 2-inch Calcutta countertops, a honed Calcutta waterfall island, dark wood cabinetry, pantry, and top-grade appliances by Wolf and Sub-Zero including a paneled refrigerator.

The house also features a formal dining room, family room, home office, guest quarters, exercise room, walk-in closets, three-car garage, and central air conditioning.

The property is located near downtown Southampton, the famed Cooper’s Beach, the Southampton Long Island Rail Road station, and falls within the Southampton School District.

The asking price is $39,995,000, not including the $43,824 in annual property taxes.

The real estate agent listed for the property is Terry Cohen of Saunders & Associates, who can be reached at 631-537-5454.

Related Story: The South Fork: Not Just A Playground For The Rich

For more real estate news, visit longislandpress.com/category/real-estate

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St. John’s Episcopal Hospital Executive Awarded For Excellent Healthcare

Terri Coyle. Photo courtesy of St. John's Episcopal Hospital

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital’s vice president of Behavioral Health was awarded with the United Hospital Fund’s Excellence in Health Care Award, the hospital announced on Tuesday.

Terri Coyle, who’s been the vice president of Behavioral Health with St. John’s since 2018, was given the award after establishing a free virtual support group in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The hospital has run similar support groups in the past – after 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy – that connect facilitators with patients and focuses on emotional support related to grief, loss, stress and anxiety.

The Behavior Health department has seen a dramatic drop in readmission rates for adult behavioral health patients under Coyle’s leadership, according to the hospital. Patient satisfaction has also been on the rise, SJEH said.

The award is one of several the hospital has received in recent years.

St. John’s Episcopal was ranked as “high performing” in heart failure by US News & World report, it received recognition for its stroke care and was awarded the Heart Failure Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award by the American Heart Association.

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Massive Waterfront Hewlett Bay Park Home Asks $14.9M

This custom waterfront state-of-the art smart home that has it all is listed for sale at 1265 Veeder Drive Dr. in the Village of Hewlett Bay Park.

Built with the highest quality construction materials and attention to detail in 2014 on a meticulously landscaped 1.6-acre lot on a quiet cul de sac, this six-bedroom home has seven and a half bathrooms and 18,000 square feet of living space.

The home boasts amenities aplenty, including elevator, 2,000-bottle wine tasting room, home office, two exceptional kitchens, movie theater, billiards room, gym, sauna, steam room, indoor pool, outdoor pool, and a tennis court. It also has cathedral ceilings, guest quarters, and an open floor plan.

The 254 feet of bulkhead will accommodate a large yacht with easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. This ideal location is a bike ride to Atlantic Beach, 15 minutes to John F. Kennedy International Airport, and 40 minutes to Manhattan. The property falls in the Hewlett Woodmere School District.

The asking price is $14,950,000, not including the $150,314 in annual property taxes.

The real estate agent listed for the property is Jennifer Saavedra of The Corcoran Group, who can be reached at 631-702-9292.

For more real estate news, visit longislandpress.com/category/real-estate

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Real Estate Pros To Host The Real Deal: Moving to Long Island Webinar

Moving to Long Island has never been such hot topic! For many, Long Island is a mystery — so many questions: What are the neighborhoods like? What about the commute? Are the public schools highly rated? North Shore or South Shore, what’s the difference?

Four real estate professionals are hosting a virtual panel discussion designed to help potential homebuyers looking to move to Long Island.

The webinar, titled The Real Deal: Moving to Long Island, will feature Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty associate brokers Jeanne Posillico-Leonard and Chris Jelani, Contour Mortgage Vice President Danny Pisani, and attorney Nataly Goldstein of the Manhattan-based law firm of Pardalis & Nohavicka.

Participants will be able to ask questions to find out if it is a buyers or sellers market, how New York City is impacting Long Island real estate, and more.

The webinar, hosted by Schneps Media, the parent company of the Long Island Press, is scheduled for 10 a.m. July 21.

To register for the webinar, visit SchnepsMedia.com/webinars Space is limited. 

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What Is The Best Soul Food and Southern Restaurant on Long Island?

Southern-fried chicken and waffles is a classic soul food dish. (Photo by Arnold Gatilao)

From fried chicken and macaroni and cheese to cornbread and collard greens, southern and soul food are both comforting and delicious and will leave you fulling stuffed and satisfied after any meal. But when you’re hungry for a taste of soul food or Southern cooking, which restaurant on Long Island is best?

Long Islanders voted Chara’s Kitchen & Catering the Best Soul Food and Southern Restaurant on Long Island in the 2020 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest!

Chara’s Kitchen and Catering of Bellport is a full-service pop-up restaurant and catering company that has been serving Long Island and the New York City area since 2008. They offer catering services year-round for its customers with a tagline of “Always Fresh and Made With Love.”

They specialize in soul food and comfort food and have well-known desserts and sauces like banana bread. They specialize in events from barbecues to weddings.

Chara’s Kitchen and Catering creates new dishes daily and gives their customers a new experience each time they taste their food.

Chara’s Kitchen & Catering is located at 515 Atlantic Ave. in Bellport. It can be reached at 631-355-5929 or charaskitchen.com

To find all the other 2020 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest winners, visit bestoflongisland.com Nominate for your favorite businesses and people in the 2021 Bethpage Best of Long Island program through Aug. 31.

To read more Best of Long Island Spotlights, visit longislandpress.com/category/boli-spotlight

Sign up for Long Island Press’ email newsletters hereSign up for home delivery of Long Island Press here. Sign up for discounts by becoming a Long Island Press community partner here.