Is Long Island too boring for young adults?
Too pricey? Too isolated? Or just irredeemably uncool?
Whatever the combination of factors, Tom Suozzi had some statistics that proved the generational obvious: Long Island and young adults, what a difficult match they are.
“Eight-point-seven percent of the people in Nassau County are between 25 and 34 years old,” the county exec told a couple of hundred men and women of that age who’d gathered in Mineola for a gaze-into-the-future discussion the other night. “It’s 15 percent in New York City.” Some youth-magnet metros like Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas have even higher percentages.
But Long Island, with its single-family homes and drive-to shopping centers, was designed for families. Kids coming out of college and starting careers? They can’t afford to buy the houses they grew up in. With job opportunities lagging and student loans due, more and more just move off the Island – into New York and beyond.
But what if the ‘burbs could be spiced with youth-friendly condos and apartments, with walk-to bars and restaurants, with gyms and coffee bars and actual jobs nearby?
“Ninety percent of Nassau County needs to stay exactly as it is,” Suozzi cautioned, steeling himself for the nervous homeowner uproar sure to come. “But 10 percent needs to be completely re-imagined.”
What does that mean? Suozzi and the young people had ideas. Better transit. Stronger Wi-Fi. A large-scale test case with the Lighthouse Project on the 77-acre Nassau Coliseum site.
“Some people will consider this radical thinking,” said the county executive, who’s running for a third term in November. “But without it, we will not survive.”
WHY LEAVE NOW?
1. Free rent in Mom-and-Dad’s basement.
2. High-school friends are waiting at the bar.
3. Coffee-shop barrista asks, “The usual?”
4. Who’ll do my laundry in Williamsburgh?
5. Nick Cosmo’s living with his folks now.
HANDLE THE TRUTH: No matter how much is spent on LIRR security, America’s busiest commuter railroad – 124 stations, 700 miles of track – will never really be terror-proof. Just try strip-searching 280,000 passengers a day.
WELL, OK: If LI’s so polluted this weekend – the state has to issue an “air-quality alert,” urging “that individuals consider limiting strenuous outdoor activity” – then I guess I’ll just have to head inside, lower the thermostat to 70 and curl up for another long, languid nap. Always happy to do my part.
UNANSWERED: Carolyn McCarthy says back surgery is the “real reason” she isn’t running for Senate – but is it the whole reason? . . . How did a nice Long Island boy like Bryant Neal Vinas turn into an al-Qaida jihadist? Didn’t his classmates at Longwood High suspect ANYTHING? . . . With fresh evidence on their side, are safety experts gearing up for another driving-while-texting crackdown? . . . Be honest, when you first heard Comptroller Howard Weitzman report “unusual activity” in official Nassau County cars, were you thinking front seat – or back? What else, besides gunfire, can Nassau PD’s high-tech ShotSpotter accurately pinpoint? Peter King‘s Senate chances? Tom Suozzi’s Albany dreams?
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Category: In Print