Newly unveiled art museum in Stony Brook honors late Long Island artist
Navy SEAL Michael Murphy, other veterans honored at Stony Brook ceremony
Stay connected with our community by visiting the following websites:
Gold Coast's new bank status lifted. The state's Department of Financial Services and the FDIC on Feb. 28 ended its "new bank" status. Read up on the rest of this story at http://libn.com/2015/04/07/gold-coasts-new-bank-status-lifted/
John Tsunis, Chairman of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association, and Suffolk County Legislators Robert Trotta and Steve Stern were among many at the Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook to support "Kari's Law", which encourages hotels and motels in Suffolk County and New York State to eliminate the necessity of dialing 9 before dialing 911 from the phone system for the safety and well-being of their guests.
Full articles on the press conference can be found at:
NY State Hospitality & Tourism Association Chairman, John Tsunis, quoted on sportsillustrated.cnn.com, startribune.com, and thenewstribune.com about The Belmont Stakes!
And then Belmont Park's director of racing operations thought about everything else: the tens of thousands of additional people who show up for the Belmont Stakes whenever a horse has a chance at history; the millions more in expected wagers; and the need for more of everything, from seating, concessions to bathrooms, security and about 1,000 additional workers.
Local officials and business leaders celebrated too, seeing the race and the added interest of a Triple Crown contender as a boon of sold-out hotel rooms, dinners out and free publicity, so long as the writers and broadcasters were aware the track is actually on Long Island, as NBC's Bob Costas noted Wednesday, and not in New York City.
If California Chrome triumphs, it will happen on Panza's turf — or rather, his dirt — at an marquee New York-area event that the track's new management team reimagined earlier this year as a fusion of sports and entertainment worth attending even when the Triple Crown is not on the line.
They have filled the undercard with high-stakes races, increased the day's total purse to $8 million — the second-richest day in American horse racing behind the final slate of the Breeder's Cup — and surrounded the action with music from rapper and actor LL Cool J, former New York Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams and Frank Sinatra Jr. singing "New York, New York."
"For the first year of us doing this, under this new format, it's not going to get any better than this," Panza said in an interview near his track office, which was filled with boxes of Belmont Stakes caps and bags of other race souvenirs.
"From our end, what we need to do now is observe how the day goes and see what we can do for next year, always thinking that there could be another Triple Crown on the line."
California Chrome is the 12th horse to reach Long Island with wins in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, since Affirmed won all three in 1978.
Attendance for those 11 races averaged nearly 30,000 more than in years without a contender — going from a low of 37,171 in 1995 when Thunder Gulch and Timber Country split the Derby and the Preakness, to a record 120,139 in 2004 when Birdstone upset Smarty Jones in the last of a three-year stretch of Triple Crown contenders in the Belmont Stakes.
On-site wagering on the race-day program also surged in those years, according to track records, jumping from $6.8 million in contender-less 1996 to $9.2 million the following year when Silver Charm took the first two races, and from $8.8 million in contender-less 2007 to $13.3 million when Big Brown raced for history in 2008.
I'll Have Another's wins in Louisville and Baltimore sent attendance for the 2012 Belmont Stakes to nearly 86,000 and on-site wagering to $13.8 million even though the horse was withdrawn the day before the race due to a leg injury.
The head of the track's management team said ticket sales for this year's Belmont Stakes, with its emphasis on high-level racing and daylong entertainment, were already brisk before California Chrome broke from the gate at Churchill Downs in May.
More than 70 percent of tickets and premium tables for the race were sold before the Derby and all were gone before the Preakness, according to New York Racing Association president and chief executive officer Christopher Kay.
After the Preakness, Kay said, they added a trackside tent and additional seating to accommodate the surge of interest in a potential California Chrome coronation.
General admission and grandstand tickets costing $10 remained available through the track late in the week and more than 3,000 tickets, ranging from $12 for grandstand to $2,300 for a table for two at the Garden Terrace Restaurant, were available on the secondary ticket sales website StubHub.com.
Good weather — 82 degrees and sunny, according to the National Weather Service — could push the crowd into record territory.
"Our intent is to make Belmont Stakes day an important day year in and year out," Kay said.
This year it has been an important day — and week — for business.
The largest hotel on Long Island, a Marriott with more than 600 rooms in Uniondale, and the ornate Garden City Hotel — where management said all of the owners, trainers and jockeys in the Belmont Stakes were staying and where the menu includes a cocktail named for each horse — have sold out under race-related demand.
Other hotels were also booked solid, officials said, forcing some out-of-town fans to find lodging in Suffolk County, about 20 miles east, or stay in Manhattan, about 15 miles west.
"This Triple Crown opportunity doesn't come too often," state hotel association chairman John Tsunis said. "But, whoever wins in the race, the real winners will be Long Island and New York State."
John C. Tsunis, Chairman of Long Island Hotels, Officially Takes Office As Chairman of NY State Hospitality & Tourism Association
John C. Tsunis, Chairman of Islandia-based Long Island Hotels, formally began his tenure as Chairman of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association (NYSH&TA), effective January 1, 2014.
Long Island Hotels is comprised of the Marriott Courtyard Republic Airport and Towne Place Suites by Marriott Republic Airport, both located in East Farmingdale, New York. Other properties in Mr. Tsunis' portfolio include Holiday Inn Express - Stony Brook, which was the first Holiday Inn Express franchise in the United States.
"We are excited to have someone as respected as Mr. Tsunis take over the leadership position of our Association in 2014," said Jan Marie Chesterton, NYSH&TA President. "John's vast hospitality experience and business expertise, will serve the Association well as it positions itself for continued growth in 2014."
During his long association with NYSH&TA, Mr. Tsunis has a served in a variety of capacities including: Chairman of its Political Action Committee; which assists in fundraising efforts and fund distribution to political candidates; Vice Chairman of its Education Foundation; which assists in the development of hospitality students by offering educational scholarships; and as Chairman of its Finance & Audit Committee.
In addition to his work in the hotel industry, Mr. Tsunis is senior partner at Tsunis Gasparis Lustig Ring & Kenney, LLC of Islandia, which specializes in real estate, zoning, commercial transactions and banking law. He is also Chairman of the Board of Gold Coast Bank in Islandia, and serves as a member of its executive and loan committees.
Mr. Tsunis received a Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law, and is a graduate of New York University with Honors in Banking and Finance.
NYSH&TA is a not-for-profit trade organization representing nearly 1,300 member businesses and individuals in the lodging and attractions industry, whose mission is to provide a strong voice for the New York state hospitality and tourism industry, and to protect and enhance the financial welfare of the industry.