Long Island Press

The Long Island Press

51 Songs That Mention Long Island

long island songs

By Russo Millien

Love it or hate it, this big fish-shaped sandbar we call home inspired a surprising amount of music artists over the years, judging by the number of songs that reference Long Island. Both those from the region and out-of-state musicians that visited our beaches while passing through on tour have sung LI’s praises. From rock to hip hop and even disco, there’s a wide variety of tunes that feature mention of the Island. Take a listen!

51. “Montauk” by Rufus Wainwright
“The End,” as the East End fishing and resort community in this song title is known, may well have inspired the most songs of any other place on LI. On this airy track release in 2012, the American-Canadian singer who melds opera and pop, repeats the lyric “one day you will come to Montauk” as the singer describes various scenes the listener should expect to see.

50. “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love” by Cole Porter
Late composer Cole Porter penned this oft-covered piano song, which appeared in his Broadway musical Paris in 1928 and was the theme song of the ‘33 movie Grand Slam. “Romantic sponges, they say, do it, oysters down in Oyster Bay do it. Let’s do it, let’s fall in love.” The best cover, of course, is Ella Fitzgerald’s.

49. “Cross That Bridge” by The Stray Cats
Although rockabilly rebels Brian Setzer and The Stray Cats are from Long Island, they more often refer to Memphis and southern states in their songs. In their ‘81 cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie,” they switch one line to “Well I live in Bellmore U.S.A., well I rock all night and I sleep all day.” But in their ‘93 B-side, “Cross That Bridge,” they gave LI a nod on an original track. “Well I’m cruisin’ down Grand Central, or maybe Southern State, don’t worry baby you know I won’t be late.”

48. “Biz Dance Part 1” Biz Marke
On of his ’88 debut album Goin Off that preceded his best known hit “Just A Friend,” The Biz had no shame in plugging his hometown in this awesomely old school hip hop track. “I’m known for beatboxin’ and rap, and now it’s time, to put Long Island on the map,” he raps in the opening line. At the closing he gives shout outs to Bay Shore, “C.I.,” Amityville, Wyandanch, Brentwood, Coram and Hempstead.

47. “Long Island Blues” by Julian Casablancas
The lead singer of rock band The Strokes released this percussion-free piano and accordion song on the deluxe edition of his ’09 debut solo album, Phrazes for the Young. Although only the only LI reference is in the track title, not any of the lyrics, it’s a safe bet that this is a local reference since the singer is from New York City.

46. “Before the Kiss, a Redcap” by Blue Öyster Cult
Between making their bones singing about the occult and Godzilla, hometown hard rockers BÖC dropped a local reference on their ‘72 self-titled debut album. “Back home at Conry’s bar” is a refrain in the chorus on “Before the Kiss, a Redcap.” Conry’s Bar was a venue on Hempstead Turnpike where the band frequently played when they were starting out.

45. “After School” by LL Cool J
And the award for the only music artist to rhyme anything with Massapequa goes to none other than Bay Shore and Queens native rapper LL Cool J. The mention comes in this track featuring Puff Daddy on 10, his ninth album, which dropped in ‘02. “Little Shaniqua, from Massapequa, went and bought a beeper so I could reach her.”

44. “Farmingdale (The Downtown)” by They Might Be Giants
These quirky alt-rockers-turned-children’s-musicians from Brooklyn released an ‘04 live album with this minute-long ode to The Downtown, a shuttered music venue in Farmingdale that is now Croxley’s Ale House. “I’m living on the bar food here, at The Downtown, they’ve got nuts, they’ve got crackers, they’ve got crazy.”

43. “Amityville” by Eminem
Rap groups from Onyx to Jedi Mind Tricks and even Wu Tang Clan have referenced The Amityville Horror. But Eminem used the notoriety of that mass murder as a dysphemism for his gritty hometown of Detroit in this ‘00 song off The Marshall Mathers LP. The chorus goes: “Mentally ill from Amityville, he’ll accidentally kill your family still, thinkin’ he won’t? God damn it he will.”

42. “Going to Port Washington” by The Mountain Goats
This North Carolina-based indie folk band has had an array of tunes featured in movies and on TV shows over the past decade, but one of their lesser-known songs released in ‘99 was inspired by driving across the Throg’s Neck Bridge, which they jokingly renamed in their lyrics. “The constellations aligned, and as we crossed over the Frogneck’s Bridge, I had something on my mind.”

41. “New Slaves” by Kanye West
Much like Amityville often gets referenced in rap lyrics implying bloodshed, the Hamptons frequently appears in hip hop narratives about living the high life, including songs by Mobb Deep and Gucci Mane. But Kanye is the only one to bash the Hamptons. “Fuck you and your Hampton house. I’ll fuck your Hampton spouse.” The Hamptons references go on, but get more graphic.

40. “Montauk” by Shadows Fall
This Massachusetts-based metal band has been nominated for several Grammy Awards, but only conspiracy theorists would recognize the meaning behind this track off their sophomore effort, Of One Blood, released in ’00. Electromagnetic mind control and “manipulation of space and time” that “the government denies” in a song with this title can only be about one thing: The Montauk Project.

39. “Real Playa Like” by Fabolous
While most rappers that mention the Hamptons do so in a passing reference, Brooklyn-based Fabolous really elaborated on his time there on this track off of his ‘07 album From Nothin’ to Somethin’. “On the way to LI, well I, coulda took the hell-eye, but we do more behind wheel, Hampton home, two floors for nine mil, real playa like two doors from Seinfeld.”

38. “Long Island Sound” by James McMurty
This Virginia-based Americana bandleader is best known for his single “Painting By Numbers” and “Sweet Suzanne,” a collaboration with John Mellencamp that appeared on the Falling from Grace soundtrack. But despite his southern roots, he gives a hat tip the LI and our most famous body of water. “Here’s to all you strangers, the Mets and the Rangers, long may we thrive on the Long Island Sound.”

37. “Brothers from Brentwood” by EPMD
Brentwood-forged hardcore rap duo EPMD line up bars on this ’92 Crossover cut and school listeners on how they chill in their rough-and-tumble Long Island hometown. “Brentwood’s my town home of beat-downs.”

36. “Polar Bear Club” by Silent Majority
This influential LI hardcore band is about as deep into the underground we let this list go. And they win the award for lone Gilgo lyric on this track off their debut ’97 album, Life of a Spectator. “In the sand at Gilgo Beach, in the year two thousand and sixteen, I’ll be 42 and so will you, in our chairs right by the sea.”

35. “Oyster Bay” by Billy Joel
Obviously we couldn’t write this list without including local legend The Piano Man and his many references to the area. This ’05 cut is dedicated to the simple times of living on the North Shore next to the body of water that his mansion overlooks. “Oh and Jesus Christ I wish that I was back in Oyster Bay, takin’ it easy…Oh yeah.”

34. “Long Island Degrees” by De La Soul
Among their many great contributions to the golden age of ’90s hip hop, this rap trio gave an ode to their hometown Long Island in ‘96. It includes references to the Long Island Sound and LIRR. “It’s strong island for real, where the critters run wild. The prefix is 516, the top of the dial.”

33. “Fire Island” by the Village People
As the name suggests, the costumed disco sextet from Manhattan wrote this song about the barrier island south of LI. This track on their ’77 self-titled debut album includes references to Fire Island’s LGBT community, including mentions of The Blue Whale and The Ice Palace, which are bars in the island’s gay resort destinations of Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove, respectively. “Fire isla-and (fire, fire island), it’s a funky weekend (funky) a funky funky weeke-end.”

32. “Sinking and Swimming on Long Island” by Bayside 
Even though this emo band hails from Queens, they have a few Long Island-inspired songs off their ’11 album, Killing Time. This one gets esoteric. “I was flying along the Long Island Sound, but fine’s polite and I’d rather things more profound.”

31. “Vibes and Stuff” by A Tribe Called Quest
Tribe, from Queens, delivered a mellow boom-bap track and, the late “5-foot assassin” Phife Dawg let everyone know in ’91 where his favorite spot to hang was. “Found my thrill in Amityville, I’m always in the Island.”

30. “John My Beloved” by Sufjan Stevens
From Detroit, Sufjan’s indie songs always reflects his personal experiences and his Christianity. His acoustic-driven vocals compare his relationship to that of Jesus Christ and his favorite disciple, John. ”My order of fries, Long Island kindness and wine” represents the last supper. Guess this time it’s on Long Island. 

29. “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” by Billy Joel
Billy Joel plays himself in this ‘80 chart-topper while a fictional band manager tries to convince him to change his style for a newer, “hipper” sound, but the star kid won’t switch it up for anyone. The LI reference comes when he mentions cruisin’ the Miracle Mile, the high-priced shopping district in Manhasset.

28. “Strong Island” by Rakim
Rakim, half the legendary rap duo, Eric B. and Rakim, penned this gritty rap song for the Long Island neighborhood where he was raised. Released in ’99, Rakim shows his roots. “Growing up in Wyandanch, formerly known as Crime-danch”

27. “Hard Candy” by Counting Crows
A romantic Americana song released in ’02, “Hard Candy” recounts a man’s time with his favorite lady. Long Island’s beautiful Autumns were enough to bring the Counting Crows from Berkley, Calif. to the beaches of the Island. “And in the evenings on Long Island, when the colors start to fade, she wears a silly yellow hat, that someone gave her when she stayed.”

26. “The Long Island Sound” by Beirut
This New Mexico-based indie folk band’s brassy polka-ish little ditty released in ‘06 comes in at just over a minute long and is an instrumental with no lyrics, so it’s unclear if the song title a reference to the body of water off the North Shore, or what noises LI makes, but it does start out with what sounds like waves. It’s off their EP, Lon Gisland.

25. “Dangerous Ground” by Method Man
On this rap track off the Wu Tang Clan member’s second solo album that dropped in ’98, Tical 2000: Judgement Day, the Staten Island rapper gives a nod to the time he spent on LI. “One love to Long Island Hempstead in my heart baby.”

24. “Memory Motel” by The Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger pined for lost love in this rock ballad named for a real motel in Montauk. Released in 1976 , Carly Simon is the rumored companion on that night…“We spent a lonely night at the Memory Motel. It’s on the ocean I guess you know it well.”

23. “Leningrad” by Billy Joel
One of his lesser known songs in ’89 that Joel released is his signature ballad in homage to the Cold War Era.“But children lived in Levittown, And hid in the shelters underground.”

22. “Blood is Thicker” by Ma$e
It wasn’t only Kanye that didn’t have anything nice to rap about LI. On this track off of his second album, Double Up, which dropped in ’99, this Florida-based rapper says “Fuck Long Island,” along with pretty much everywhere else.

21. “National Anthem” by Lana Del Rey
No, it’s not that National Anthem. Released in ’12, the pop song features Lana’s signature lush voice on a song that does not mention the American flag at all. Instead, she sings, “take me to the Hamptons, Bugatti Veyron.”

20. “Play Crack the Sky” by Brand New
This local emo band likens breaking up with a girlfriend to a ship wreck off Montauk Point in this song of their ’03 album Deja Entednu. “In the shallows off the tip of Montauk Point, they call them rogues they travel fast and alone.”

19. “Soul Power” by Flavor Flav
The Public Enemy rapper from Roosevelt, Long Island and Method Man from Hempstead exchange their Long Island pride in the outro to this millennial comeback track released in 2011. “True Long Island right?”

18. “Gold” by Sleeping With Sirens
Pop rock band Sleeping With Sirens released, in 2015 were rumored to have made this record in light of their departure from Rise Records. The move is all about making your dreams come true and taking the time to look back on your mistakes. Such thoughts call for an appropriate backdrop. No wonder the opening verse would invoke Long Island’s beautiful sunsets to contemplate on which road will bring them closer to a gold record.

17. “Downeaster Alexa” by Billy Joel
In this song, Joel takes on the persona of a commercial fisherman. A Downeaster is a type of boat. And the vessel just happens to be named for Joel’s daughter, Alexa. The lyrics include references to the Block Island Sound, Montauk and Gardiner’s Bay. 

16. “Big Bad Sister” by Mc Lyte
It’s a New York affair as Mc Lyte, from Brooklyn, lit up this cut off her ‘91 rap album: Act Like You Know. “Long Island is in the house, say what?”

15. “Meet me in Montauk” by Circa Survive
From Philadelphia, Circa Survives’ wonky track also taps Montauk as its muse and with its “Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind” reference baked right into the title and was released in 2005. But none of the lyrics actually mention LI or Montauk.

14. “New Americana” by Halsey
Kids are “getting high on legal marijuana” and “raised on Biggie and Nirvana” these days, as Halsey puts it. Observing pop culture has reflected changing times, the singer alludes to LI’s reputation as a destination for the jet set. “Survival of the richest, the city’s ours until the fall. They’re Monaco and Hamptons bound but we don’t feel like outsiders at all.”

13. “They Call Me Flava” by Public Enemy
Flavor Flav made everything funky in his time, a fact he bragged about on this light-hearted hip-hop track, with a shout out to Long Island, released in 2006. “ After dark, Centennial Park, go to Jones Beach, get on the back of a shark.”

12. “Long Island” by Mindy Smith
This local indie folk singer launched her career in Nashville and landed a few songs on TV, but her longing for LI comes through in her music. “Oh my soul craves to go home to Long Island shores again” are the opening lyrics on this track off her second album, Long Island Shores, released in ’06.

11. “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” by Billy Joel
According to this song, legendary Old West bandit is from “Oyster Bay, Long Island.” But at his concerts, Billy the Joel admitted that the lyrics to his ode to Western movie soundtracks are “bullshit” and no research was done prior to the song being made.

10. “My Man Rich” by Biz Markie
Your neighborhood pusha man was a cool guy from Long Island, as Biz Markie laid out in this narrative. Released in ’89 Mr, Markie, from Central Islip, offers a different perspective on the issue. “Around Suffolk he wasn’t known But in Eastern Long Island, he did have a home”

9. “Your Name Here (Sunrise Highway)” by Straylight Run
Singer John Nolan composes a melancholy indie rock song released in 2004 dedicated to one of Long Island’s biggest highways. His apartment’s location is laid out in the second verse, but don’t go looking for an autograph: the lyrics aren’t too exact.

8. “Seven English Girls” by Ron Pope
Ron Pope’s’ , heartfelt chords look back at good times with a now lost lover on Long Island after he takes his final stroll on a beach with her. LI is part of the chorus in this song. From Georgia Pope released the song in 2008. “And I won’t cry if you can’t love me like the way it used to feel, we had our summer on Long Island now there’s wounds that never heal.”

7. “What’s Happenin” by Method Man
Meth and Busta Rhymes bought the party all the way to Long Island with the hip-hop track “What’s Happening” which was released in 2004. “Brooklyn (come on!), Shaolin (come on!) Queensbridge down to Long Island (come on!)”

6. “Fire Island” by Fountains of Wayne
Best known for their ’03 hit single “Stacy’s Mom,” this New York City-based pop-punk band takes full advantage of their parents trip to Fire Island. Released in ’03, their lighthearted piano chords and sit back and chill lyrics highlight a nostalgic time in their youth. “All the kids from school, will be naked in our pool, while our parents are on Fire Island.”

5. “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” by Billy Joel
While it’s still up for debate whether the Italian restaurant that inspired this song,released in ’77, was actually on Long Island, Joel paints a vivid picture of Brenda and Eddie. Who knows where the two are now, but chances are they might be somewhere on LI.

4. “Guess Who’s Back” by Rakim
“Crimedanch” native Rakim—the the monk that wielded the sacred mic—mentioned Long Island in this heavy throwback. He tossed out his patented bravado, proving why he shouldn’t be messed with. “Deep as a Nautilus, you stay dipped in Ra’s style, From the shores of Long Island to Panama Canal.”

3. “Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed
The Velvet Underground frontman was a Freeport native who relocated to New York City when his career took off, so it’s a safe bet that when he sang in ’72 on one of his biggest solo hits about how “Candy came out from the island,” he was referring to Long Island.

2. “We’ve Got the Jazz” by Tribe Called Quest
Once again Phife sends a shout out to Long Island on A-sides of Low End Theory. Released in 1991 the legendary cut if well known for its even more popular companion track: “Buggin Out.”

1. “Wonce Again Long Island” by De La Soul
About the only Long Island represent and chant track you’ll find, De La Soul deliver a shout-out to Long Island. “Man this be goin out to the kids from East Mass (Long Island), Amityville (Long Island), To all my people out in Wyandanch, Bay Shore (Long Island), C.I.’s in the place (Long Island).”

-With Timothy Bolger


Protestors Slam Peter King, Trump ‘Muslim Ban’ & Proposed Wall

Peter King protest
Protestors rallied outside Rep. Peter King's Massapequa Park office Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 in opposition to President Donald Trump's immigration ban and other initiatives. (Long Island Press / Rashed Mian)

By Rashed Mian and Christopher Twarowski

Hundreds of protestors peacefully rallied outside Rep. Peter King’s office in Massapequa Park Friday in opposition to President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policy and the congressman’s alleged role in co-authoring the executive order enacting it.

Shouting chants including “This is what democracy looks like!” and “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here!” and waving signs with messages ranging from “No Hate No Fear Refugees Are Welcome Here” and “Hey Peter King: Your Grandparents Were Immigrants” to simply “No Ban,” demonstrators marched along adjacent sidewalks behind police barricades, a stream extending several blocks throughout Park Boulevard amid the rush-hour crush of dozens of commuters disembarking the nearby Long Island Rail Road station on their way home.

“It’s important that we get out here and let him know that his constituents in the area really do not approve of this at all,” Joe Tronolone, of Long Island Activists, told the Press outside King’s office. “He has a long history of being anti-Muslim.”

“The executive order rang very un-American, especially as New Yorkers in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty,” added Christine Pellegrino, another member of the group. “The executive order was abhorrent. We are a country that stands for better than discriminating against its own people.”

The mass gathering was the latest local venting of frustrations and discontent regarding the president’s recently implemented travel ban—deemed a ‘Muslim Ban’ by critics including human rights groups—which indefinitely bans Syrian refugees from entering the United States and additionally temporarily blocks travelers from six other Muslim-majority countries. On Thursday, about 100 demonstrators rallied outside U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office in Melville to urge the Democrat to hold Trump accountable for the immigration policy and his conservative cabinet nominations.

A Nassau County police officer at the Peter King rally Friday told the Press the department were planning for up to 300 protestors—with more joining the ranks as the demonstration progressed and temperatures sank. Standing in an adjacent lot were a small but passionate group of Trump supporters waving “Make America Great Again” signs and yelling “Build the wall!”

Peter King Muslim Ban Protest from Sparrow Media on Vimeo.

The travel directives, put into effect last Friday with the signing of an Executive Order by President Trump, resulted in the detention of more than 100 travelers and ensnared non-U.S. residents on student visas and green card holders. The president also through executive order last week set in motion his plans for the construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Mass protests erupted at airports across the country the following day, including JFK International Airport, and others overseas—with demonstrations still ongoing at some.

Peter King Protest
Demonstrators marched outside Rep. Peter King’s office in Massapequa Park on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 to protest President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policies and the congressman’s purported role in crafting its mandates. (Long Island Press / Rashed Mian)

Since then, Rep. King (R-Seaford), member and former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and currently the chairman of the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, has come under scrutiny for reports that he helped President Trump craft the dictate.

Those allegations stem primarily from a recent interview on Fox News between former prosecutor Jeanine Pirro and former New York City Mayor-turned-Trump confidante Rudy Giuliani, in which Pirro asked Giuliani whether the ban had anything to do with religion, and how Team Trump decided upon those particular Muslim countries:

“I’ll tell you the whole history of it,” he responded, according to The Washington Post. “So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’”

Giuliani continued that he’d assembled a “whole group of other very expert lawyers on this,” including former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) and Rep. King.

“And what we did was, we focused on, instead of religion, danger—the areas of the world that create danger for us,” Giuliani told Pirro. “Which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible. And that’s what the ban is based on. It’s not based on religion. It’s based on places where there are substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.”

Peter King Protest
Protestors rallied outside Rep. Peter King’s Massapequa Park office Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 in opposition to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban and other initiatives. (Long Island Press / Rashed Mian)

King has since denied he had any role in crafting Trump’s restrictive ban. On Friday afternoon, when asked for a comment regarding the protest, his spokesperson shared the following statement from King with the Press:

“While I strongly support the purpose of the refugee resettlement program, our main priority must be to protect the United States. The President’s Executive Order temporarily pausing immigration and refugee resettlement from the most dangerous terrorist nations to improve vetting procedures is appropriate and necessary.

“President Trump is building upon bipartisan legislation passed last Congress and signed by President Obama in the wake of the Paris attacks,” it continued. “I strongly support the right of Americans to conduct peaceful protests.”

Organizers of Friday’s protest told the Press they’d been calling King’s office for days leading up to the demonstration in the hopes of a sit-down with the congressman and had believed that a representative from his office would meet beforehand, only to find his office closed when they arrived prior to the demonstration.

A smattering of Trump supporters also attended Friday’s protest, chanting cries of “USA!” that were met with countering responses of “We are the USA!” from demonstrators.

Copiague Teachers Who Protested on Trump Inauguration Day Won’t be Fired, District Says

Copiague High School
Copiague High School

By John Dundon

Copiague Public Schools’ Board of Education and district administrators got an earful from residents voicing both support and concern over two teachers’ pledge of allegiance protest on President Donald Trump’s inauguration day.

The board room at Copiague Middle School was filled to capacity Monday night with residents spilling out into the hallway. Addressing the large crowd, the district announced for the first time publicly that the two long-time social studies teachers would not be fired for their protest, which sources have said involved them taking a knee during the pledge of allegiance on Jan. 20. District officials, however, declined to elaborate further, citing the teachers’ protections of privacy.

“I’d like you to know that the board and the administration knows how good teachers the two of them are,” Board of Education President Brian Sales said after residents raised the issue of the educators’ job security. “I’m not quite sure where some of this is coming from, but I can tell you that no one’s getting fired over this.”

The district last put out a statement saying that they were still “considering repercussions” for the protest.

Town residents who support the teachers’ right to protest were most vocal in the meeting. Many rejected the language used in the two statements released by the district, citing their negative tones that could have smeared the teachers’ reputations.

“The two faculty members that protested, using their freedom of expression, those two people are the most passionate people about their job, and how they do it speaks volumes,” said Copiague’s class of 2017 salutatorian Mikayla Angel. “They are more than teachers, and they take their job for more than just a job. It’s their life…The statement that you (the board) put out, while we understand you have to address it, does not reflect that.”

Angel was one of many current and former Copiague High School students to speak favorably of the two teachers. Both teachers have taught Copiague’s advanced placement government and economics classes for several years.

“We learn so much in history about people fighting for what we think is right. That’s what these two did, showing us by example,” said one resident and former Copiague student. “These are the types of leaders you want in the classroom.”

There were also parents in attendance who respected the teachers’ right to protest, but preferred that they conduct it in a manner that didn’t disrespect the flag. In Facebook groups, residents spoke of the many current or former members of military that live in the district.

“We all respect the right to protest, but do so in a manner that doesn’t disrespect our flag,” said longtime Copiague resident Carlo Giarraffa. “As kids, we’re taught to respect the flag; that’s how it’s always been.”

While district Superintendent Kathleen Bannon declined to comment further on the matter, repercussions of one form or another remain a possibility. The school district declined to give details about what those penalties could be, again citing the teachers’ right to privacy on personal issues.

Trump ‘Muslim Ban’ Sparks Airport Protests Amid Detentions

Muslim travel ban

By Rashed Mian and Christopher Twarowski

Thousands descended upon John F. Kennedy International Airport and airports across the country Saturday to protest the detention of up to 200 travelers held under President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration restrictions put in place on Friday, decried as a “Muslim Ban” by civil liberties and human rights groups, political leaders and demonstrators.

At JFK in New York, up to a dozen travelers were detained, including two Iraqi men on immigrant visas.

One of the men, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had worked as a contractor for the US government from 2003 to 2010 and had been a translator during the invasion of Iraq. Darweesh was freed hours after his detention.

The other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, had been granted a “follow to join visa” and was traveling to Houston, where his wife and child are permanent residents, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which, along with other groups, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the two men early Saturday.

Also detained was a Stony Brook University graduate student, Vahideh Rasekhi, who’d been returning from a visit to Iran. She was expected to be released Sunday afternoon, according to a statement from US Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who also stated he supports Trump’s immigration restrictions.

Similar mass protests erupted within airports across the country and in foreign nations, where non-US citizens on student visas or green card holders—legal US residents—became ensnared in the president’s new immigration orders. In total, the ACLU estimated between 100 to 200 travelers were being detained at US airports, according to Mother Jones.

The ACLU scored a major victory late Saturday when a federal judge in Brooklyn ordered an emergency stay temporarily blocking the deportations nationwide of people prevented entry into the country. Judges in Virginia and Washington state followed suit.

“The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioner and other similarly situated violates their due process and equal protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” wrote US District Judge Ann Donnelly in the decision.

“There is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject to the January 27, 2017, Executive Order,” it continued.

“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project who argued the case, said in a statement.

“We have no doubt that the motivation behind the executive order was discriminatory,” the ACLU’s Executive Director Anthony D. Romero wrote in a blog post on the group’s website late Saturday night. “This was a Muslim ban wrapped in a paper-thin national security rationale.”

The stay “covers all those who were in transit and are being detained at airports,” according to a Tweet from ACLU of Ohio–and a court will have to decide whether to make it permanent, effectively leaving detainees in a state of legal limbo until then.

Protests continued at several major airports Sunday, in front of the White House, and in Manhattan’s Battery Park.

Trump had signed executive orders on Friday banning Syrian refugees from entering the United States, temporarily barring refugees from around the world, and restricting access to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations. Religious minorities in those countries, such as Christians, have been granted an exception—effectively placing a religious test on entry into the country.

Despite the ensuing chaos at airports across the country and globe, and its Muslim-centric focus, Trump told reporters Saturday: “It’s not a Muslim ban… It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over.”

“We see it as a Muslim ban,” Abed Ayoub, national legal and policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), told the Press earlier this week. “Effectively they’re circumventing calling it a Muslim ban by just listing the countries.

“This is what he promised during his campaign, and this is the direction they’re going,” he added.

US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) also blasted the president’s new immigration orders
as a “Muslim Ban” on Twitter Saturday, joining protestors at Logan International Airport in support of those detained there.

#MuslimBan became a popular hashtag on the social media platform Saturday and was trending early Sunday morning, with many posters accompanying messages to friends and families of those detained with the contact information for the ACLU.

The intense protests at airports from coast to coast, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dulles, Boston, Denver and Seattle, among others, marked yet another day of resistance to polices President Trump’s young administration has deployed, regarded by many as xenophobic. A week earlier, millions of people took to the streets of cities and towns across the country and world as part of the “Women’s March”–possibly the largest mass demonstration in US history–to protest Trump and stand up for women’s rights and a host of other causes.

Demonstrators flooded Terminal Four at JFK Airport condemning the Immigration actions Saturday afternoon, remaining there throughout the night.

From a parking garage, protesters unfurled a sign that read: “We will love & protect each other.” Others held signs as a gesture of solidarity: “No hate, no fear,” “No ban, no wall,” and “The Muslim ban is unconstitutional.”

“Let them in!” demonstrators chanted, a call for the detained travelers to be allowed entry.

Trump has made good on campaign promises to effectively limit the number of immigrants that can enter the country. On Wednesday, he signed executive orders permitting the construction of a wall along the southern border with Mexico. Regarding the ban on the seven Muslim nations, Trump said the government had to “ensure we aren’t admitting into our country the very threats that our men and women are fighting overseas.”

The immediate impact of the new measures sent shockwaves across the country—and the globe.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacted by telling refugees that Canadians’ doors are open.

Researchers have pointed out that over the last 40 years, there have been zero deaths at the hands of citizens of the seven countries impacted by the immigration ban, including the Cato Institute.

Charles Kurzman, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who authors annual studies on Muslim extremism, echoed those findings, and noted that of the 46 cases involving suspected terrorist plotters last year, only nine had ties to the affected nations.

“This is a dramatic and misdirected overreaction to a relatively small-scale problem,” Kurzman wrote in Huffington Post.

As protests erupted at JFK, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said: “I never thought I’d see the day when refugees, who have fled war-torn countries in search of a better life, would be turned away at our doorstep. We are a nation of bridges, not walls, and a great many of us still believe in the words ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…’

“This is not who we are, and not who we should be.”

Nassau Exec Candidates Line Up Amid Mangano Scandal

Nassau County NIFA
The Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola has a statue of TR standing out front.

By John Dundon

There’s no shortage of potential suitors lining up to run for Nassau County Executive since the seat is expected to be up for grabs come November.

That’s because incumbent Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican who pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges in October, has not revealed whether he’ll seek a third term and the Nassau GOP hasn’t said if he’ll have their support if he does run again. At least three potential Republican candidates waiting in the wings include ex-New York State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury), Hempstead Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman and Hempstead Tax Receiver Donald Clavin, according to a Newsday report citing anonymous sources. For the Democrats, it’s shaping up to be a three-person race between County Comptroller George Maragos, Nassau Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) and State Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove).

“When you have as open of a race as there is now you’ll see a lot of candidates throw their hats in, opening exploratory committees, trying to ratchet up support in an attempt to show party heads that they’re serious players in the race,” said Steve Tricarico, professor of politics at Farmingdale State College. “The winds are at the backs of the Democrats right now, given the circumstances surrounding Ed Mangano, a Republican, and Hillary Clinton’s win in Nassau County. For the Republicans, it’s about which candidates can offer as best a juxtaposition of Mangano, with his ethics issues.”

If Mangano does decide to run for re-election, he’ll likely have an uphill battle convincing voters he’s up for another four years while simultaneously defending against prosecutors’ allegations that he was involved in a kickback scheme. He’s so far refused calls to resign, unlike his co-defendant, ex-Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Vendittto, who quit this month after two decades as town leader to focus on his defense.

Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs is expected to announce his choice for nominee Monday. A day before his announcement, Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman, who was widely believed to be testing the waters to run for exec, announced his candidacy for County Comptroller.

The first candidate to announce for Nassau exec was two-term County Comptroller Maragos, a former Republican who crossed party lines to run for county exec.

“Over time, I found my values have become more aligned with the Democratic Party,” Maragos told reporters when he entered the race last year.

Whether Maragos has established enough support within his new party to successfully make a run at the county executive spot remains to be seen. Besides using his intimate knowledge of the county’s troubled finances to suggest how to get the county out of the red, he has campaigned on ethics reform and putting the trust back in Nassau politics.

It’s a drum that each Democratic candidate has beat. Legis. Curran, the lone woman in the race, has also been building steam on an anti-corruption platform.

“It’s time we clean up the mess in Mineola and finally end the culture of corruption that has permeated our government and wasted our tax dollars for decades,” Curran said. “Ending this disgraceful era in our history and finally providing the ethical government that taxpayers deserve will be priority number one in my administration.”

Curran’s campaign is calling for term limits, rewriting the county’s whistle-blower law and strengthening financial disclosure guidelines.

Rounding out the list of Democratic candidates is Assemb. Lavine, who announced his candidacy late last year. The former Glen Cove City Councilman is now chair of the Assembly ethics committee, which gives him a track record as a proponent of government reform.

“Now more than ever we must send a message on Long Island that we will no longer tolerate corrupt actions by our elected officials,” he said. “Honesty, transparency and integrity are vital for us to restore our trust in government.”

Since none of the Republicans reportedly interested in succeeding Mangano have officially declared their candidacy, it’s unclear what proposals they have for the county. As for the Democrats, it remains to be seen if the party nominee will face a primary challenge from any or all of the other Democratic candidates.

Regardless of how it shakes out, all eyes will be on the Nassau executive race through this fall since it has the potential to result in the first new county leader in eight years.

The Fab Four Bring Beatles Magic To NYCB Theatre At Westbury

Fab Four Beatles
The Fab Four Beatles tribute band will unleash the melodies, humor and musicianship of the legendary band at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, on Saturday, Jan. 28! (Photo: The Fab Four official Facebook profile)

Do you harbor a decades-long crush on Ringo Starr? Believe John Lennon and Paul McCartney were hands-down the best songwriting team that ever existed? Still mourn the loss of George Harrison and constantly discover songs you just never knew he wrote?

Maybe you’re just addicted to the Beatles and can not get enough, like countless others.

We can relate. That’s why we’ve taken the time to write an extended blurb about an extraordinary show taking place Saturday, Jan. 28, right here on Long Island at NYCB Theatre at Westbury: The Fab Four.

The Fab Four is not just simply “another Beatles cover band.” These mop-tops, who hail from the sunny state of California, pride themselves on delivering an absolutely showstopping performance of all the legendary band’s greatest hits, as well as the lesser-known stuff, too. They’ve toured the globe spreading the joy and musical magic that has come to define the Beatles, and meticulously look and sound the part, down to the very last note.

Why? Because The Fab Four do not perceive themselves to be a mere cover band. They pride themselves on the title “tribute band,” and it’s an exceptional musical tribute, indeed. The Fab Four play all the original equipment the originals did for the particular song stages of the band’s career. Each gig also includes at the minimum, three costume changes to reflect their ever-evolving style.

This means: They sound like the Beatles. They dress like the Beatles. If you close your eyes during a show, you might just even believe they are the Beatles!

The Fab Four know the Beatles’ entire songbook, inside and out, and even all the members’ solo material!

This phenomenal Beatles tribute band offers the chance for old fans to relive their memories (possibly witnessing the Beatles at Shea Stadium, perhaps) and for new fans to experience all their timeless, legendary music firsthand in a live setting. Playing on the same instruments the band did, all those years ago, ensures that every single note will sound and feel exactly as they once did. Paul’s iconic vintage Hofner (“The Hoff” no, not the Knight Rider Hoff) violin bass? Yes. John’s old infamous (and gorgeous) black 1964 Rickenbacker 325? Yes! George’s legendary, ill-fated Gretsch Country Gentleman!?

To answer these questions in the most simplest of terms: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Only these precious instruments will ensure the recreation of that one-of-a-kind sound that influences so many countless other bands and musicians to this very day.

The Fab Four have spent years meticulously studying the songs and the band’s historic performances. They also use a simple, but effective formula: “Four guys, no tapes, no overdubbed recordings, just music.”

“Do they play the sitar on favorites, such as ‘Norwegian Wood,'” you may ask. “Do they recreate the psychedelic glory that was an is ‘Strawberry Fields?'”

But of course they do, dear BeatleManiacs.

“What about ‘Yellow Submarine,'” you may inquire. “Do they capture all those strange and joyous noises, such as the whistle and the horn, and the part that sounds just like the actual crew of a submarine beneath a green sea?”

Yes they do!

“One final question,” someone in the front row, may ask, after rattling their jewelry (see what we did there; anybody catch it?). “Will they play ‘Blackbird?'”

For that, dear Rocky Raccoons, you’ll have to head on out to the show.

Featured Art: The Fab Four Beatles tribute band will unleash the melodies, humor and musicianship of the legendary band at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, on Saturday, Jan. 28! (Photo: The Fab Four official Facebook profile)

The Fab Four unleash the melodies, humor and musicianship of the Beatles at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury, on Saturday, Jan. 28. Tickets range from $24.50 – $49.50. For more information, visit venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com

Related: Do This: Long Island Concerts & Events January 26 – February 1

Related: Imagine: John Lennon on Long Island

Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling Brings His Stand-up Show Home to Long Island

Mineola native and famed funnyman Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling is passing through his hometown of Long Island as he takes his dirty stand-up routine back on the road. The comic, whose career got a big boost from another famed locally raised jokester, shock jock Howard Stern, will take the stage at Suffolk Theater in Riverhead this weekend. Below are excerpts of an interview Martling did with the Press in 2015 before one of his prior local performances. 

LONG ISLAND PRESS: What were the early days of Long Island comedy like?

JACKIE: “After my band broke up I played shows on my own. I met a couple comedians and I invited them to come down to my gigs. I’m talking about Rob Bartlett, who’s on Imus now, Eddie Murphy, who of course you know who he is, and Bob Nelson. These guys would all come down [from New York City] because there was no place to get stage time and Richard M. Dixon had a place in the late ’70s but he wouldn’t pay us, so me and my buddy Richie had the idea to set up my microphone and my amplifier and speakers I used when I played gigs by myself.

“We started doing shows and bringing people out from the city. We had all the big ones, you know, Seinfeld and Carol Leifer and Dennis Wolfberg. They all came out because they’d make money. And we actually started comedy on Long Island in 1979 at Cinnamon. I started putting up shows everywhere. There isn’t a bar on Long Island where I didn’t have a comedy show. All the major people from New York were going around making five dollars a set, or a hamburger. They’d come out to Long Island and make 40 or 50 dollars. It was like they died and went to heaven. The audiences were great, and after a year Richie and his brother opened the East Side Comedy Club.”

LIP: What are the challenges for a comedian trying to work on Long Island?

JACKIE: “The thing is, you need hard bark on ya. That’s the important thing. It’s so funny because when your start out and when you start to get the least bit known, a lot of the same stuff happens. You get interviewed and people ask you the same questions and you get sick of saying ‘I don’t know,’ so you get to making an answer for everything. People always say, ‘Jackie I want to be a comedian, what should I do?’

“I got to where I had a stock thing that I said. I’d tell them, ‘Well don’t do it, give up, you don’t have a chance.’

“It was funny, because it wasn’t just about blowing people off; there was a real reason there. If telling someone you don’t have a chance is enough to stop you, you really haven’t got a chance. [Comedy] is such a tough thing to do and you’re going to hit so many obstacles that if me telling you that you haven’t got a chance is enough to stop you, you might as well give up.”

LIP: What was your first impression of Stern?

JACKIE: “He was very tall. [Stern and the cast] couldn’t have been nicer, they treated me so well, and they plugged the hell out of Governor’s Comedy Club and my joke phone line. At the time I was working in Levittown at Governor’s and all of a sudden here I am at 30 Rock looking at pictures of Carson and Donahue and I’m going up sitting there in the big time. They were funny and it was fun. I always got a good laugh, so it was a perfect wedding.”

LIP: Why radio?

JACKIE: “I had no intention of being a radio guy, that totally happened by accident. But I love it. It’s so immediate. You could write a movie and in a year or two, see your work come to fruition. You write a TV show in a couple of months, you get to see your work come to life. You’re a comedian and in a best-case scenario you can come up with something that morning and tell it on stage that night.

“I’d be sitting next to Howard and an idea comes to my head and I’d write it down and put it in front of him. Five seconds later he reads it and immediately 15 million people are laughing. It is so immediate and personal and in your face just knowing that you’re telling jokes on Jackie’s Joke Hunt and there’s a couple hundred thousand people listening, it’s just so fun.”

-By Dan O’Regan

Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling will be performing at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 at Suffolk Theater, 118 East Main St. in Riverhead. For more information, visit suffolktheater.com Tickets range from $35 to $39.

Long Island Could Use More Champions of Philanthropy Like Amy Hagedorn

Amy Hagedorn

By Nancy Rauch Douzinas

We start a new year—for the first time in 80—without the presence of Amy Hagedorn, one of Long Island’s leading philanthropists, who died last September at the age of 79. While her death came too soon, she has left us with a legacy of compassion, persistence and philanthropy that should continue to inspire and guide us long into the future.

From the lessons of her life, we can learn how we might tackle some of the intransigent issues on LI that we face in terms of inequality and fragmentation.

Early in her philanthropic career, Amy decided to focus on creating social change and addressing sustainability, a term that is primarily associated with environmental issues but can also include rebalancing economic inequity. For Amy, sustainability provided a theoretical framework. The goal of her grant-making was to benefit immigrants and the disadvantaged as well as to protect the natural environment.

It was David Hunter, a wise and progressive executive for the Ford Foundation and then the Stern Fund, who influenced both Amy and me, as we sought to refine our approaches to philanthropy on the Island—with Amy at The Hagedorn Foundation and me at the Rauch Foundation. He lived in Port Washington, where both of us lived in the 1990s. He guided our development as philanthropists, introduced us to experts across the nation, and arranged for us, together with other Long Island leaders, to see what “regional change” looked like in places like Milwaukee, Cleveland and Boston. These shared experiences created lasting bonds among all of us who participated.

Over the years, the Hagedorn and Rauch foundations collaborated on more than 50 grants and funded many exemplary programs such as the Parent-Child Home Program, the Middle Country Public Library’s Family Place Libraries, and BOCES regional pre-K. There were moments of serious disagreement between us, but we always found a way to move ahead. In fact, for the past 10 years, Amy and I had monthly breakfast meetings at the Landmark Diner in Manhasset to catch up and share ideas. These face-to-face encounters were key to our partnership, as was our having fun together at tennis matches and concerts at Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts in Wheatley Heights.

Amy’s grant-making often reflected her lifelong concern for children and families—a concern that stemmed from her own parents’ struggles when they immigrated from Italy and her earlier career as a preschool teacher. Evident in her grant-making was also her compassion and her persistence.

She was not a funder looking for an exit strategy. If she was committed to an organization’s mission, she was willing to fund it over many years, even decades. The Hagedorn and Rauch foundations have both funded the Parent Child Home Program, for instance, for more than two decades.

Her compassion could be seen in her funding of many scholarships, for instance, to the Usdan Summer Camp, an arts organization whose work she admired and greatly enjoyed. Attending its concerts was all the more enjoyable to her because of the support that she had provided to the institution. She had made it accessible to students who would not otherwise have had the resources.

Until the end, Amy was steadfast and selfless in pursuit of the best for LI. She did not give up, despite the many difficulties inherent in creating change here. Progress remained her goal—just as it had been when she was a preschool teacher, and her attention was devoted on her students’ improvement.

Amy focused on the Island, where she lived. She worked tirelessly for children, immigrants, the arts and the environment. She was a great partner, who never gave up.

As we Long Islanders take on the challenges of the 21st century, we need more champions, more selfless fearless partners, and more friends ready to work together and not give up. In short, Long Island needs more people like Amy Hagedorn.

Nancy Rauch Douzinas is president of the Rauch Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Garden City.

Copiague Teachers May Face Repercussions for Trump Inauguration Day Protest

Copiague High School
Copiague High School

By John Dundon

The Copiague School District completed its investigation into two teachers who protested at the high school last week before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, but it hasn’t decided whether they deserve any retribution, school administrators said.

The issue involves two social studies teachers who knelt silently during the Pledge of Allegiance in a first period class in Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School on Jan. 20, sources have told the Press. The school district announced over the weekend that it would conduct an internal investigation into the “personal protest.” In in a statement released Tuesday the district said that the investigation was completed and that the teachers said they were sorry.

“Each of the staff members involved has since apologized to the Board of Education and the District Administration for their behavior, and for the disruption that they have caused to the educational environment,” the district said. “They have asked that those statements of remorse be conveyed to the students, staff and Copiague community. While the District believes that all members of the school community must be held accountable for their actions when they fail to comply with expected standards of behavior, we will take into account these genuine expressions of remorse and contrition as we consider the repercussions for this behavior.”

When asked for comment, the district declined to speak. The teachers’ union also didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“We intend to bring the matter to a close as soon as possible,” the administration said in its statement. It also reiterated that it takes the matter seriously but that it can’t discuss details of personnel issues.

Phone calls from concerned community members sparked the investigation after students told their parents what the teachers had done during the Pledge. A spokesperson for The Center for Constitutional Rights told the Press that the teachers were protected by the First Amendment and that they shouldn’t be punished for their actions since a silent form of protest by its nature can’t disrupt a classroom.

Copiague residents are still rallying for a strong turnout at the next board of education meeting. Some have indicated it’s a way to make their displeasure known, while others plan to show support for the two long-time teachers.

The protest and the district’s response were expected to be among the topics of discussion at a Copiague school board meeting scheduled for Jan. 23, but that meeting was rescheduled due to a nor’easter that hit Long Island. The meeting was rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 30 at Copiague Middle School.

Copiague Teachers Kneel During Pledge on Trump Inauguration Day, Sparking Probe

Donald Trump

By John Dundon

Two Copiague high school teachers kneeled in protest during the Pledge of Allegiance in class on Friday before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, sparking an internal investigation by school administrators, the Press has learned.

The two teachers who took a knee during the morning announcements were identified as long-time social studies teachers, according to sources with knowledge of the protest. The incident outraged some in the community and is expected to be among the subjects discussed at the next Copiague school board meeting.

“The district is aware of an incident that occurred Friday morning involving two high school staff members who interrupted the educational process of a first period class in Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School by engaging in a form of personal protest,” the district said in a statement posted online Sunday morning. “We take this matter very seriously, and an internal investigation is continuing to ascertain all of the relevant facts. Please be assured that neither the Board of Education nor District Administration condones such conduct in the classroom in any fashion, and will take appropriate action in response.”

Taking a knee during the salute to the flag became a widespread form of political protest after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick grabbed national headlines last year by kneeling during the national anthem at the start of NFL games to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Copiague students informed their parents of the protest shortly after it occurred, sources said. The reaction was nearly immediate in the community’s Facebook groups, where dozens of people posted irate messages detailing the incident. These posts prompted phone calls to the district from outraged parents.

“Teachers are to educate and not pass along personal beliefs,” wrote one commenter, who said they were appalled at the protest.

Kathleen Bannon, Copiague School District superintendent, declined to comment on the incident beyond its statement.

“The district has received many complaints from concerned residents regarding these staff members,” the administration said. “Because this is a personnel matter, we are limited by law regarding the information we can share about the nature of the district’s response. We assure the public that the district is addressing the matter and we intend to bring the matter to a close as soon as possible.”

Asked for perspective, Darius Charney, senior staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, told the Press that kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is constitutionally protected free speech. Charney wondered how the teachers’ kneeling could have disrupted the class since it is a silent form of protest.

“The First Amendment of the US Constitution clearly protects this kind of protest on matters of serious public concern,” said Charney. “So unless there is evidence that the kneeling actually caused a real disruption in the classroom—which, given its silent nature, seems highly unlikely—the school authorities cannot discipline these teachers for exercising their constitutional rights.”

The next Copiague school district board meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Copiague Middle School was rescheduled due to the weather. A new date has yet to be announced.

—With Timothy Bolger and Rashed Mian