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OpEd: Child Tax Credit Will Help Pull Families Out of Poverty

child tax credit
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. (Photo by Dean Moses)

New York’s families have had a tough year. Kids have missed sports, school, and birthday parties. Parents have faced difficult choices about childcare. Families have struggled to cover the costs of groceries and rent. 

The economic downturn and childcare crisis caused by Covid-19 shone a light on one of the most unacceptable truths about our society. The United States is the wealthiest nation in the history of humankind and yet 10 million of our nation’s children live in poverty. 

The painful reality of child poverty has always outraged me. So when Senate Democrats moved forward with the American Rescue Plan earlier this year, I fought tirelessly to include a historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit to send help to America’s families. Securing this expansion is one of the accomplishments I am proudest of as a senator. 

Under this law, a vast majority of parents will begin receiving $300 every month per child younger than 6 years old and $250 every month for each child aged 6-17. That adds up to $3,600 for every child under six, and $3,000 for every child 6 to 17.  

The first payments began on July 15. Millions of New York families are seeing extra money hit their bank accounts, the first in a series of monthly payments that will continue through the end of this year.

Single parents with incomes up to $112,500 — and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 — are all eligible for the full benefit.

Here is what you need to do in order to receive your payments. If you have already filed your taxes with the IRS in either of the past two years or both, you don’t have to lift a finger. You will automatically receive your monthly check if you qualify.

If you didn’t file taxes in either 2020 or 2019, there is a good chance you still qualify for the child tax credit. Go online and register at irs.gov/childtaxcredit. Spread the word to your friends, family, and neighbors. If you have any questions, please reach out to my office. We are ready to help.

All told, this policy is expected to lift more than 4 million children out of poverty, cutting the childhood poverty rate almost in half. It is the single largest effort to cut child poverty in the last half century.

In other words, it’s a really big deal.  

I know families who’ve told me they’re going to spend the little extra cash on fixing their car, on rent that they’ve fallen behind on, and on basic medicine for their kids.  

This is about giving American families the extra lift they need to recover from the Covid pandemic. It will be a boon for middle-class New Yorkers and families across the country who still need help making ends meet.  

I am happy to say help is on the way for the vast majority of New York’s parents.

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The Weekender: 5 Things to Do on Long Island This Weekend

things to do
View of a concert at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh (Photo: Jones Beach Facebook, @JonesBeachNewYork)

The Weekender: 5 Things to Do on Long Island This Weekend

WINE ‘TIL NINE FRIDAYS

Enjoy two glasses of wine and a small taste for only $40 at Sannino Vineyard, an elegant local winery and bed and breakfast. Reservations are required. 15975 Country Road 48, Cutchogue. 631-734-8282, info@sanninovineyard.com, sanninovineyard.com 6 p.m. July 30.

LADY A

This American country trio is known for their 9-time platinum hit “Need You Now” and is anticipating the release of their new album Ocean on Nov. 15. Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh. $52-$127. jonesbeach.com 7 p.m. July 30.

ON YOUR FEET!

The story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, two people who believed in themselves and each other and became an international sensation. CM Performing Arts Center, 931 Montauk Hwy., Oakdale $34. Cmpac.com 8 p.m. July 31.

KEEP FLYING

This five-piece band from the Northeast is proud to return to their home venue for the release of their new album Survival. Their horn-driven songs mixed with classic punk elements and amazing live shows are what make them unique. Amityville Music Hall, 98 Broadway, Amityville. $15-$25. Amityvillemusichall.org 6:30 p.m. July 31 & Aug 1. 

JEWISH FILM FEST

The Hampton Synagogue’s popular film festival returns to Francis Gabreski Airport with a new lineup of drive-in film experiences: Six Minutes to Midnight, Adventures of a Mathematician, On Broadway, Esau, The Forbidden Wish, and Resistance. Phone reservations are required. Sheldon Way, Westhampton Beach. 631-288-0534 ext.10, thehamptonsynagogue.org 8:30 p.m. Aug. 1.

Related Story: What to Do on the North Fork This Week: July 30, 2021

Related Story: Hamptons Event Highlights This Week: July 30, 2021

For more guides about things to do on Long Island, visit longislandpress.com/category/everything-long-island.

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Power Women Podcast: Dr. Asma Rashid, Hamptons Boutique Medicine

hamptons boutique medicine

Dr. Asma Rashid, Hamptons Boutique Medicine

Dr. Asma Rashid, Concierge Medicine Specialist, speaks of the people who impacted her early life, her role as Concierge Medicine Specialist at Hamptons Boutique Medicine, and what are her secrets to success. 

When searching for Power Women Podcast on your podcast networks make sure to click subscribe to automatically receive each new weekly episode or you can stream us online at podcasts.schnepsmedia.com.

Produced by Chaya Gurkov and Eric Hercules.

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Who Makes The Best Coffee Cake on Long Island?

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There’s no shortage of places to score a good coffee cake, but what local restaurant makes it best?

Long Islanders voted Lindenhurst Diner the Best Coffee Cake on Long Island in the 2021 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest!

Coffee cake fans will flip for this flaky, crumbly treat at the Lindenhurst Diner. A family-owned restaurant known for its menu that’s delicious all the way through, the diner offers coffee cake with breakfast or as a scrumptious dessert. The treat is the perfect blend of hot and savory, prepared fresh daily by baker Nick. The traditional American confection is a marriage of sweet pound cake topped with brown sugar, cinnamon, and streusel. Regulars at the Lindenhurst diner love to pair it with steamy coffee after a wonderful breakfast like an egg frittata or Tex Mex scramble, or to top off a hearty dinner. Eat your cake at your table or get it to go with takeout or car hop service!

Lindenhurst Diner is located at 195 E. Montauk Hwy. Lindenhurst. It can be reached at 631-991-8600 or lindenhurstdiner.com

To find all the other 2021 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest winners, visit bestoflongisland.com Nominate your favorite businesses and people in the 2022 Best of Long Island program through Aug. 31.

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NY Islanders’ New Home, UBS Arena at Belmont Park, Nears Completion

islanders
The exterior design with red bricks, intricate tiles and arches is based on "old New York." (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

By Gabriele Holtermann

The New York Islanders can look forward to dropping the puck next season at the UBS Arena, located at Belmont Park in Elmont, as completion of the $1.1 billion venue is on track to open as planned for the Islanders’ 2021-2022 NHL season.

The 19,000-seat state-of-the-art venue, developed in partnership with Oak View Group (OVG), the New York Islanders and Sterling Project Development (SPD), will also be a world-class home for the more than 150 concerts and festivals the arena plans to host every year.

Michael Sciortino, UBS Arena senior vice president of arena operations and assistant general manager, is experienced in handling the operations at the facility. He worked for Madison Square Garden Company during the $1 billion renovations and spent two years as vice president of Operations at the Chase Center in San Francisco, the home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

Michael Sciortino (r.) leads a tour of the UBS arena. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Sciortino pointed out that the arena’s architecture with its exterior red bricks, intricate tiles and arches was based on “old New York,” a simple and elegant design that continues inside the venue.

“The exterior arches and some of the interior finishes come obviously from a lot of New York-themed venues, but specifically Ebbets Field and the original Madison Square Garden tie into part of the design as well,” Sciortino said. “So you kind of get a blend of New York all throughout here in this building.”

The grand atrium, modeled after the old Grand Central Station, features a wide staircase and plenty of escalators leading to all levels, while the box office is open concept without the traditional windows.

The grand atrium with its wide staircase leading to all levels of the UBS Arena. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
The grand atrium of the UBS Arena. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Visitors will be hard-pressed to find another venue with wide concourses offering ample space for visitors to move around while picking up food from a variety of concession stands or the food court or paying a visit to one of the 68 guest-facing bathrooms.

One of the 68 restrooms. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Fans can enjoy a drink at one of the eight bars with a full view of the action on the ice and keep an eye on the score displayed on the massive video board touted as the largest arena scoreboard in New York State. The venue also features VIP suites and clubs designed after classic New York establishments, offering premier views of the bowl.

Two massive outdoor terraces, including the 7,000-square-foot Northwest Terrace overlooking historic Belmont Park, round up the experience.

The 7,000-square-foot Northwest Terrace overlooking historic Belmont Park. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

A lot of thought went into the “built for hockey, but made for music” arena.

OVG, a sports and live entertainment development company, consulted with experts from the music industry, asking for input on how to build a premier music venue not only for fans, but also for artists.

A view of USB arena and the music stage. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
A view of USB arena and the music stage. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Sciortino said that one of the great features and a big selling point was the indoor loading dock, which can accommodate up to 16 trucks at once. He pointed out that this kind of underground space didn’t exist at other venues.

“And then we also have a ramp in the middle. So you could, in theory, for a concert [unload] seven trucks at once backed up to the bay,” Sciortino said. “Then have another handful of trucks over here with forklifts taking them off and going up the ramp, which again in comparison, there are other venues in New York that basically can handle two or three trucks at a time.”

The entrance to the New York Islanders locker room. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
The Islanders shower room is still under construction. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

An entire wing on the event level is built for music acts and their entourage. Once completed, the wing will feature four fully furnished dressing rooms with bathrooms and a lounge. The distance from the wing to the stage is only 20 to 30 feet, which is unprecedented in the industry.

The Isles will have to start the 2021-2022 season on the road, as the team won’t be able to play any home games until November, but the players can look forward to the ultra-modern 23,000-square-foot locker room and player campus complete with a workout and lounge area, steam room and movie theater.

This story first appeared on QNS.com.

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Power Women Podcast: Alexandra Galindez, CEO of ROAR Organic

ROAR Organic

Alexandra Galindez, Chief Executive Officer at ROAR Beverage Company

Alex Galindez, CEO of ROAR Organic, speaks of the people who impacted her early life, how she built the company ROAR Organic, and what her secrets to success are.

When searching for Power Women Podcast on your podcast networks make sure to click subscribe to automatically receive each new weekly episode or you can stream us online at podcasts.schnepsmedia.com.

Produced by Chaya Gurkov and Eric Hercules.

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Tips For Scoring A Home in the Hot Long Island Real Estate Market

real estate
Buying a home is harder than ever on Long Island. (Getty Images)

By Bernadette Starzee

As anyone looking for a house on Long Island in 2021 knows, it’s a jungle out there. 

Ongoing low interest rates and an influx of buyers from New York City combined with low inventory have sparked multiple bidding wars and pushed prices up to a record median of $630,000 in Nassau and a record-tying $480,000 in Suffolk, as of late April, according to OneKey MLS.

“Of the 10 homes we sold last month, every single one went over asking price and had five to seven offers minimum,” said Glen Fox, a licensed real estate salesperson who leads the Fox Team at Douglas Elliman in Long Beach. 

With so much frenzied activity in the market, you must be prepared to pounce when you find a home you want. Here are five tips to get you ready.  

1. Find a good real estate agent to represent you.

A seasoned real estate agent with deep knowledge of the local market can help you fine-tune your search, educate you on market values and negotiate the best deal for you. Sellers are represented by the listing agent, and you need to be represented by a professional who contractually commits loyalty to you. “When I represent buyers, I am looking out for their interests – I will tell them why I think the house is overpriced or underpriced, which will help determine how we present our offer,” said Clare Governale, a licensed real estate salesperson for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Manhasset.

2. Get a thorough preapproval.

In such a hot market, it’s more essential than ever to get preapproved for a mortgage for the highest amount possible by a bank, credit union, or mortgage company. “Keep in mind that not all preapprovals are equal,” said Kristel Weidenman, a licensed real estate salesperson with Signature Premier Properties in Northport. If the lender rubber stamps you after simply asking you a few questions, you will likely be passed over in a multiple-bid situation for a buyer whose lender did the proper due diligence. “Some lenders go the extra mile – running credit reports, asking for paystubs, W-2s and tax returns, and even passing it through their underwriting department to issue a precommitment letter,” Weidenman said. “Their preapprovals are almost like a guarantee.” In addition to the mortgage preapproval, have proof readily available that you are able to put down the amount of cash you are offering.

3. Figure out the maximum you can afford.

The preapproval process can help you figure out the maximum home price you can afford. “In this market, it’s crucial that you know what you can stretch to,” Fox said. You may have a ceiling in mind, but running the numbers may help you realize that a price tag that you thought was out of reach would only amount to $20 or $30 more a month, he added. 

Beside the mortgage, you will need to factor in utilities, real estate taxes, insurance and other expenses. “The biggest surprise for first-time buyers is the expense of homeowners’ insurance and, for those who need it, flood insurance,” Fox said. “You may be surprised by which homes do and do not require flood insurance.”

4. Make as attractive an offer as possible.

In this market, you need to put your best offer forward. If you and your real estate agent have done your homework on home values, you should have a good idea of how much you need to offer in relation to the asking price. “Some buyers are at the point of exhaustion and will say outright, ‘I know I’m overbidding for this house, but I’m tired of putting in offers and not getting them accepted,’” Weidenman said. In many cases, going above the asking price is necessary to get the house. “But we don’t want our buyers to overbid crazily,” she said. “You want the comps (recent sale prices of comparable properties) to support the offer.” 

Buyers who are financing must realize that if their offer is accepted, their lender will do an appraisal, and if the appraisal is lower than the sale price, the lender may only give a mortgage based on the appraised price. “If your offer is for $900,000, and the house appraises at $850,000, where will the additional funds come from?” Weidenman said. “The buyer may need to come up with the additional cash to make up the difference, or if the buyer doesn’t have the extra cash, the seller may have to renegotiate the price down to meet them.” However, in this hot market, many sellers will not want to renegotiate and lower the price. In order to make their offers more attractive, some buyers have been waiving the appraisal contingency – that is, agreeing to pay the contracted price even if the appraisal comes in low. “Personally, as a buyer’s agent, I do not recommend this approach to my buyers as it can make for a tricky situation,” Weidenman said. 

5. Have your other pros lined up.

Besides a lender, you need to have your attorney and engineering inspector on speed dial. “I call it assembling the A-team,” Cardinale said. “Interview attorneys and choose one who specializes in real estate in the local market – not your Uncle Bob who doesn’t do much real estate work.” Interview a couple of engineering firms, too, Cardinale advised, “so you can tell them, ‘I’m bidding on a hot house, what’s your availability next week?’ and pencil them in. Engineers are busy now, so you should have a backup in case the other’s busy.” 

A seller that chooses your offer from multiple bids will be breathing down your real estate agent’s neck, making sure the contract is signed without delay.  

“In this market, you want to be able to go from an accepted offer to a signed contract in about a week,” Governale said. 

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

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Gold Coast Estate Once Home to Ric Wake, John McEnroe Asks $6.75M

cove neck

The Gold Coast estate once home to tennis legend John McEnroe and later owned by Grammy and Oscar-winning record producer Ric Wake is listed for sale on Tennis Court Road in Cove Neck.

McEnroe sold the four-plus-acre estate to Wake in 2000 for $2.1 million, according to property records. A bank foreclosed on the property in 2008. Now, the home is again up for sale, this time by a trust for the family of a Long Island supermarket executive that bought the estate in 2009 for $3.05 million from the bank. The family, who asked not to be identified, spent more than $1 million renovating the estate, including new landscaping of the grounds, stucco exteriors, and interior renovations of the kitchen and baths.

Built in 1912, the home has a gated entry leading into a circular driveway with a clock tower centerpiece, which is surrounded by five separate structures, including a 10,000 square-foot main residence with elevator, gym, sauna, and sit-down wine cellar. 

A separate building includes a ballroom with a wet bar, 12-seat movie theatre, full kitchen, two bedrooms, and two and a half bathrooms. There is also a pool house, which has a kitchen, full bathroom, and game room.

The estate also includes a one-bedroom cottage with a full bath, kitchen, living room, and laundry room. Plus, there is a four-plus-car carriage house that has a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom apartment.  

The grounds of the estate feature an inground, saltwater, heated pool with bluestone patio and built-in barbecue, tennis court, full playground, and a generator that can power the entire estate.

The asking price is $6,750,000.

The real estate agents listed for the property are Mike Pesce and Ron Lanzillotta Jr., of Berkshire Hathaway Laffey International.

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

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3 Renovation Scenarios For When You Should Hire an Architect

renovation
Photo via Unsplash.

You’re planning a home renovation but are unsure if you should hire an architect in addition to a contractor. If any of the following situations match your own, then go to Long Island Press Home Pros, which is chock full of listings of architects who can help you navigate a home remodel, saving you money and aggravation. 

1. When the DOB requires plans — hire an architect 

Are you making any changes that need the approval of the Department of Buildings? For example, if you plan to add a kitchen or a powder room to the parlor floor, then you will need an architect to file a permit application and submit plans to the DOB.

2. If aesthetics are important to you

Architects are trained in universal design principles to help clients understand the life cycle of the home and how you move through its spaces. With an eye for details akin to that of an interior designer, a good architect can optimize layouts, space, and materials in the most pleasing way.

3. When you need a guide

If you’re new to the world of renovation, an architect can be your guide, checking in every so often at key points during construction to make sure their plans are being executed as specified. An architect can also act as a sounding board and advocate for the homeowner (if the tile has to be redone, for example).

Looking for other pros, like interior designers or contractors? Check out Long Island Press Home Pros. Each listing includes project galleries, bio information, testimonials, and contact information so you can reach out to the pros directly. 

Are you a home services professional looking for exposure to an engaged audience of millions of monthly visitors? Sign up for LI Home Pros here. Schneps takes no fee from any job you book through the service. 

Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum Hosts Butterfly Release Events

pinelawn
Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum recently hosted more than 100 families at its annual butterfly release event. Pinelawn’s marketing manager Kristyn Hovanec and grounds supervisor Fred Hoffmann led the afternoon event by educating Long Islanders about the beauty and importance of butterflies. The children who attended also made paper butterflies.

Families learned about the importance of butterflies in the environment and experienced a quiet, symbolic remembrance of lost loved ones at Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum’s recent butterfly release events, part of the non-sectarian cemetery’s ongoing education program.

“Butterflies are such an important part of our ecosystem. They help pollinate plants and simply make people happy,” said Fred Hoffmann, Pinelawn’s grounds supervisor. “We hope all our Pinelawn families enjoyed the butterflies and were able to take a moment to celebrate their loved ones surrounded in the beauty of our grounds.”

More than 100 people gathered at the park and arboretum in Farmingdale for the interactive session. Individuals, couples, children, and grandchildren created a butterfly craft and released more than 400 Painted Lady butterflies in the 500-acre park and arboretum to help pollinate its flowering landscape.

Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum also brought the event directly to the residents of Sunrise Senior Living. Residents and their families participated in two sessions, with one specially designed for memory care residents.

Pinelawn’s educational events are free and open to the public. Click here to see the full 2021 calendar of events and to be added to the email list to learn more.

For more information on Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum or to schedule a tour of the property, visit pinelawn.com or call 631-249-6100.

pinelawn
Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum recently hosted a butterfly release for Sunrise Senior Living residents in Dix Hills. Mary Alonzo, a resident at Sunrise, was one of the attendees who enjoyed learning about the beauty and importance of butterflies.

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