Taylor Herzlich


Malverne’s Tony Danza Starring In Reboot of Who’s The Boss?

Tony Danza (DWNews Recent Celeb Gallery)

Who’s the Boss? has recently joined the ever-expanding list of classic family sitcoms that are confirmed for a reboot. Sony Pictures will be developing the series starring Tony Danza, a Malverne High School graduate.

Both Danza and Alyssa Milano, another of the show’s original stars, have shared their enthusiasm over returning to the cast and contributing to the continuation of the storyline. 

“Very excited to bring Who’s The Boss back to television!,” Danza shared with his Instagram followers. 

The show, which aired in the mid-80s and ran through 1992, focused on flipping the gender norms usually displayed in television at the time. Danza will be returning to his character of Tony Micelli, a former pro-baseball player who takes a job as a housekeeper in an effort to support his daughter, Samantha Micelli, played by Milano. Tony, a widowed single father, was shown working for an ambitious businesswoman named Angela. 

While both Judith Light, who played Angela, and Danny Pintauro, who played her son Jonathan, have shown support for the reboot, there is no confirmation of either being involved in the show so far.

The original series finale, which ran on April 25, 1992, left many questions unanswered about Tony and Angela’s relationship, seeing as viewers were shocked not to see a marriage between the two characters. There are also many questions surrounding the beloved character of Mona, Angela’s mother. Katherine Helmond, who played Mona, passed away in February 2019 due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

The new show will be centered more around the father-daughter relationship between Tony and Samantha. Taking place exactly 30 years after the original series, Samantha has now taken the place of her father, living as a single mother in the same house in which her father raised her. As the show’s theme song says, she’ll be embarking on a “Brand New Life.”

“I am so excited! #WhosTheBoss is coming back!!!” Milano tweeted of her return to playing Samantha. “I’ve wanted to share this for so long and now I can! We feel the time is right to tell the story of where these amazing characters are today. Can’t wait to share their stories with you. So happy.”

Related Story: The Wonder Years’ Long Island-Native Co-Creator Consulting On Reboot

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Huntington Musician Pens New Tune To Support COVID-19 Relief Effort

Huntington musician Joe DeJesu performs. Photo by Marianne P. Stone

An up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Huntington recently wrote a moving new tune about people who have persevered through the coronavirus pandemic to help raise money for the nonprofit United Way of Long Island. 

Joe DeJesu collaborated with The United Way of Long Island on the new song, “United Together (We Will Survive),” for United Way’s most recent fundraising appeal video to show how the organization has aided people through the crisis.

“Long Island is my home,” explained DeJesu. “If there’s anything I can do to help, I’ll jump at the opportunity.”

The United Way of Long Island is the local chapter of the 133-year-old global nonprofit that partners with dozens of local businesses to fuel its many health, education, and anti-poverty projects. DeJesu credits Billy Joel’s band member Mike DelGuidice with mentoring DeJesu and helping him relaunch his music career.

“A song like this can only produce beautiful results,” said DelGuidice. “Especially when it comes from the heart of a songwriter that is channeling his deepest emotions into the lyrics.”

The lyrics capture the emotional roller coaster of the quarantine while offering a ray of hope, like so: “We will survive this crazy time; with each day, a little better. And when the sun begins to shine, we know we’ll always be united together.”

DeJesu’s song was created wholly from home while working remotely during the COVID-19 shutdown. He went through multiple edits of the song, sending different versions back and forth with his colleagues, Kenny Friedman who recorded piano and Bob Stander who produce the song.

“When we’re all stuck in the house, it’s hard to think about what others are going through,” said DeJesu. “It’s easy to forget that we need to rely on each other. What better time is there to help out than now?”

In addition to the new song, DeJesu frequently hosts Facebook livestreams during which he encourages people to donate to the United Way of Long Island through links on his page, and recently hosted a birthday fundraiser for the organization. The fundraiser exceeded his goal, raising $2,140. 

“Joe’s original song is a true gemstone of a fundraising asset for our organization,” said Theresa A. Regnante, president and CEO of United Way of Long Island. “We are pleased to collaborate with local musician Joe DeJesu, who exemplifies our motto to Live United and help uplift our neighbors.”

Watch the video here.

Related Story: United Way of Long Island President and CEO Theresa Regnante: Leading The Way

Related Story: How United Way of Long Island Helps Fulfill Unmet Need

Related Story: United Way of Long Island Builds House Of The Future in Patchogue

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The Book Fairies Hosting Virtual Read-a-Thon in August

Amy Zaslansky founded The Book Fairies.

The Book Fairies, a Freeport-based nonprofit that donates reading materials for those in need, is hosting a virtual Read-a-Thon in August to engage kids after the coronavirus pandemic interrupted their education.

The organization normally hosts its many events in person, but had to adjust its programming to align with social-distancing mandates designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We have had to alter almost every aspect of how we work,” explained Eileen Minogue, executive director of The Book Fairies. 

Founded in 2012, the nonprofit dedicated to combating illiteracy celebrated its 2 millionth book donation in September and broke the Guinness World Record for the longest line of books in November. 

The idea for a Read-a-Thon came about as a way of compensating for the cancellation of an in-person scavenger hunt that was planned pre-COVID-19. 

The virtual Read-a-Thon challenges participants to read for 30 minutes for 30 days. Individuals of any age can participate in this month-long reading event and launch their own campaign. The fundraiser is especially important during this challenging time, when plenty of the organization’s usual fundraising streams have dried up and limits have had to be placed on volunteers.

“The work we used to do in a day now gets done in a week or more,” said Minogue. 

The Book Fairies used to receive a majority of their book donations from school drives, but have now had to ask individuals to host book drives from their homes. Their warehouse, which usually accommodates up to 30 volunteers, is now down to six to maintain social distancing. 

But the advocates are still pushing forward, and its determination is shown in the work that has been put into the Read-a-Thon, which will host activities like Wacky Word Wednesday and Trivia Night, and will feature some celebrity book readings. Sponsors will receive benefits such as social media promotions and being featured on T-shirts. 

“It’s all about leveling the playing field and making sure that children in low-income areas have… access to the tools they need for success,” said Minogue. “And it’s so simple because it starts with the books.”

The Book Fairies remain true to their mission to break the cycle of illiteracy. To participate in their fundraiser, visit classy.org

For more education coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/education

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Southampton Restaurant Owner Torches Table Where Epstein, Weinstein Dined

Zach Erdem, the owner of 75 Main, burns the table where Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein dined.

A Hamptons restaurateur decided revenge is a dish best served hot when he torched a table once frequented by convicted pedophile and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein.

Zach Erdem, the owner of 75 Main, a chic spot in Southampton, made his thoughts on the disgraced duo clear when he recently destroyed the table in front of his staff to the sound of cheering and jubilation. 

“When I thought about it, like Jeffrey Epstein used to sit at this table, all I could think was I need to burn this f****** table and make sure nothing is going to stain my restaurant,” Erdem told CNN.

Epstein and Weinstein’s crimes have been front and center during the #MeToo movement, where survivors of sexual harassment and assault have been emboldened to increasingly come forward in recent years.

Epstein, a powerful figure in the world of finance and registered sex offender, allegedly sex trafficked and abused dozens of girls who were minors over the years. He died by apparent suicide Aug. 10. in his Manhattan federal jail cell following an earlier attempted suicide.

Weinstein was a film producer whose world came tumbling down when about 100 women alleged that Weinstein sexually abused or raped them. In March, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison after a Manhattan jury convicted him of rape and criminal sexual act. 

Erdem set fire to the table where the two sex offenders ate to make it clear where the restaurant owner stands on the issue of powerful men abusing their influence to manipulate women.

“People who abuse women are not welcome here,” Erdem said.

Related Story: Long Island Native Tapped To Handle Epstein’s Will

Related Story: Long Island Woman Who Testified Against Harvey Weinstein Speaks Out

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Hugh Jackman Volunteers at Hamptons Nonprofit

Australian actor Hugh Jackman waves to fans during the red carpet of his latest film, a musical directed by Michael Gracey called "The Greatest Showman", in Mexico City, Mexico December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme

Actor Hugh Jackman, well-known for his roles in X-Men and The Greatest Showman, was recently spotted volunteering for Share The Harvest Farm, a nonprofit that fights food insecurity on Long Island. 

Jackman posted a photo of himself on his Instagram feed Monday wearing a face mask, hat, and sunglasses as he helped to transport a bucket of vegetables from the field of the East-Hampton-based organization.

“I’ve been volunteering at @sharetheharvestfarm,” Jackman wrote in his caption. “An amazing organization that helps feed families in need on the East End of Long Island.”

Share The Harvest Farm, founded in 2010 on a half-acre of land, helps to grow and donate thousands of pounds of fresh, healthy food to those in need. 

Their mission to end food insecurity on the East End is especially important right now, with the number of people seeking assistance skyrocketing as a result of the pandemic. 

“We’ve been honored to work with the wonderful [Hugh Jackman] and his family this summer,” the organization shared on their Instagram account. “Thank you for all the help and enthusiasm, Hugh, even on the hottest of days and dirtiest of tasks, and for keeping us all well-caffeinated this season.” 

Share The Harvest Farm emphasized how important their volunteers are to them. It takes a lot of help to complete their mission in delivering not just food, but fresh, nutritious vegetables and herbs to anyone who needs it. 

The farm serves multiple organizations, delivering organically grown food to local women’s shelters, senior citizen centers, etc. 

The farm also operates a farm stand, which is located on 55 Long Lane. The stand is open for pre-order pickups to comply with social distancing regulations. The farm stand, which is stocked with jellies, jams, teas, and more, uses its profits to fund the organization’s mission to end food insecurity. 

Whether it is through volunteering, donating, or simply picking up some local groceries or a snack from their farm stand, Share The Harvest has made it easy for others, including Hugh Jackman, to help aid them in their mission. 

For more entertainment coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/entertainment

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Interfaith Nutrition Network Steps Up To Feed The Neediest Amid Rising Food Insecurity

Adelphi Deli helps deliver food for The INN.

The Long Island homeless and food insecure population has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, what with rising unemployment rates and food shelters struggling to remain open under new health regulations. The Interfaith Nutrition Network of Hempstead, or INN, is one organization that has adapted to deal with this struggle firsthand. 

Although the pandemic has been a shock to the region and the world, the determination of volunteers and staff members at The INN to aid those in need never wavered, according to Jean Kelly, executive director of the INN. 

“It is safe to say that the pandemic has caused many more people to find themselves in dire situations, seeking help they may not have needed just one year ago,” she explained. Not only does The organization focuses on aiding those struggling on Long Island, it will provide them with essential skills for self-sustainability. 

The INN provides vulnerable populations with soup kitchens, emergency shelters, long-term housing, and its Center for Transformative Change. The Mary Brennan INN, the organization’s largest soup kitchen, normally provides hot meals to 200 to 350 people a day, five days a week. Displaying the severity of the pandemic, the kitchen has served 8,412 more meals to those in need this year than during the same period of time in 2019. 

Because the soup kitchen is not able to operate due to pandemic regulations, the INN shifted to a grab ‘n’ go system where volunteers distribute bagged lunches to those waiting outside the building. This has helped to limit direct contact between INN staff and those in need during the pandemic. 

Dana Lopez, the nonprofit’s director of marketing and communications, said that the new bagged lunch system, while a quick fix, has allowed individuals to bring meals to more vulnerable members of their family. Since March 18, close to 40,000 bagged lunches have been handed out. 

The number of volunteers at the INN has remained steady, but the organization is always looking for more people to help. There are plenty of other ways to help as well, such as donating monetary funds or goods.

Information about volunteering can be found on the website, the-inn.org.

Related Story: Nassau Hosts Its Largest-Ever Food Distribution Event

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The Wonder Years’ Long Island-Native Co-Creator Consulting On Reboot

Huntington-native Neal Marlens’ classic coming-of-age TV show The Wonder Years is being rebooted, but instead of a white family in the suburbs, the new version follows a black family in the South.

The original series, which premiered in 1988 and ran through 1993, took place exactly 20 years prior, with a grown version of the 12-year-old main character, Kevin Arnold, narrating the trials and tribulations of growing up throughout the chaotic late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The reboot is set in the same era, but with characters in Montgomery, Alabama. 

“I’m really telling a story that’s a mixture of my mom’s and dad’s experiences, who were adults of age during that time,” Saladin Patterson, who is writing the pilot for the series reboot, told the Montgomery Advertiser. 

Marlens, co-creator of the original series, will be working as a consultant on the new show. He originally wanted to set The Wonder Years in his hometown, but the network decided it would be best to allow the Arnold family’s suburb to remain nameless. 

Nonetheless, similarities between the creator’s and the characters’ neighborhoods emerged. Kevin’s junior high, for example, sported the same school colors and mascot as Marlens’ own school, Stimson Middle School in Huntington Station. Even the name of the main character derived from Marlens’ own childhood friends, Paul Arnold and Kevin Gilwa. 

For the reboot, the family will clearly be living in Montgomery and will similarly focus on a family facing the struggles that come with growing up, but this time, during the midst of the civil rights movement. 

The team behind the new show includes some other familiar faces in addition to Marlens, such as Fred Savage, the actor who played Kevin, who will be directing and producing the pilot episode. The plot for the new show, however, came from Lee Daniels, creator of Empire.

ABC officially approved the pilot production of the series, along with the show’s official synopsis, which describes the show as “how a black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama in the turbulent late 1960s…made sure it was The Wonder Years for them, too.”

Related Story: 23 Movies Shot on Long Island That Won Oscars

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$7M In Gaming Upgrades Debut At Jones Beach

Central Mall West Games Area, And Landscaping Improvements at West Bathhouse and The Central Mall And East Games Area.

The Jones Beach State Park gaming area recently got $6.6 million in improvements, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

The renovations include a new mini-golf course, refurbished and new court games, new benches, tables, fencing and lighting, and additional site improvements. Some newly installed games include cornhole, pickleball, shuffleboard, and paddle tennis courts. 

“Jones Beach is more than just a park, it is a living testament to New York ingenuity and a historic public attraction that has brought joy to New York families for generations,” the governor said. “These new and improved gaming areas will give families a chance to relax and have fun even during these unprecedented times, and we will continue our work to make Jones Beach an exciting destination for every New Yorker.”

The renovations are part of the NY Parks 2020 Plan aimed at improving the entire state parks system. The Jones Beach work is partly funded by $1.9 million in federal Land and Water Conservation Funding.

“This park is a jewel that is shining brighter than ever,” State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulle said. 

Jones Beach ranks as the second-most visited state-run park in New York and the most popular park on Long Island. But it too has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with the cancellation of the annual Fourth of July fireworks show and Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, as well as social-distancing mandates that limit capacity. The park also features the region’s first drive-through COVID-19 test site.

Officials noted the importance of maintaining the park’s amenities in order to provide an escape for families cooped-up due to the pandemic.

“This opening is yet another important step in our commitment to keeping Jones Beach the jewel of New York’s state parks system and the number one destination spot for families across our great state,” said state Sen. John Brooks (D-Massapequa). 

Related Story: A Comprehensive Guide To Jones Beach Island

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Officials Urge Women To Schedule Breast Cancer Screenings

A doctor assists a woman undergoing a mammogram x-ray test. (Photo by Tyler Olson/Shutterstock)

Women are being urged to resume their annual breast cancer screenings now that coronavirus is no longer overwhelming medical facilities on Long Island.

Since the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are more manageable than during the recent peak, the risk of potentially catching the virus no longer requires putting off cancer screenings, officials said.

“Since this pandemic began, our residents … have been urged to delay routine mammograms while on lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “Those days are over. We encourage you now … to get tested.” 

Cancer screenings are dangerously low, with screenings for breast, colon, and cervical cancer having dropped between 86 and 94 percent, officials said. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in New York State. 

“We are so better off today, [but] I fear we are going to go backwards,” warned Geri Barish, executive director of Hewlett House and president of Breast Cancer Action Coalition. 

Barish encouraged patients to put their trust back into the hospitals and resume their testing, noting that people should not have to choose between cancer or coronavirus. 

For those unable to make it to a clinic, the Nassau University Medical Center offers a mobile breast cancer screening vehicle.

“Behind me is a state-of-the-art mammogram van…for easy access for our patients to get screenings,” said NUMC CEO Dr. Anthony Boutin. 

The mammovan is for those who still feel uncomfortable entering a hospital, even though hospitals across Nassau are taking significant sanitization measures. The mammovan is a highly accessible, low-cost service equipped with 3D screening technology.

“Don’t let the fear of COVID keep you from getting the care you need that could end up saving your life,” said Curran.

Related Story: Healthcare Systems Offer Expert Breast Cancer Care to Long Islanders

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Nassau Hosts Its Largest-Ever Food Distribution Event

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran holds a news conference on Thursday, July 2, 2020.

Advocates and officials launched Thursday what was billed as the largest-ever food distribution event in Nassau County history.

The county partnered with the nonprofit Island Harvest to distribute 100,000 pounds of food to an estimated 20,000 families outside the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. That’s in addition to the county partnering with Long Island Cares on other efforts to feed the hungry.

“As we work to revive our economy, Nassau County will remain committed to addressing the food insecurity crisis triggered by COVID-19,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

Demonstrating the increase in need is a 41 percent increase in requests for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, commonly known as food stamps, last month compared to June of 2019. That’s down from 300 percent in April 2020 over April of 2019. To help, Nassau has set aside $1 million in federal grants for food banks to collect, distribute, and purchase food.

“We’re here because of this absolutely crazy pandemic that has forced so many people to question whether they could put food on the table for their families,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, CEO of Island Harvest.

Shubin Dresner explained that it was a combination of different stresses from the pandemic that have caused so many new people to rely on food banks for survival. The inability of children to rely on school for some of their daily meals, the newfound unreliability of finding food at grocery stores, and the sudden loss of jobs leading to entire families being stuck at home together created the perfect storm for food insecurity. 

Although the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food insecure populations has been severe, and speakers made sure to illustrate that it will take a long time for Long Island to be able to recover, volunteers and staff members were still optimistic in their efforts to aid those in need. 

“While the road to recovery…may at times be uncertain, I think what’s not uncertain is that we will, in fact, recover,” said Frank Pusinelli, CEO of RXR Realty.  “Long Island is resilient, we come together as a team…and we help each other get through a crisis.” 

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