I am a Long Islander and proud of it. Growing up in the small hamlet of Holbrook in Suffolk County, my parents and family has always talked about Long Island becoming a state. After my parents splitting up, moving to Florida, and the recent death of my father, I can see see the growing need for statehood within my own life.
Statehood has been a big question for Long Islanders, practically since the formation of the United States. Can this truly be the time of our rising? Okay, enough with the sappy intro. This is my interpretation of Long Island statehood, including my opinions and ideas to make this new state great.
Why should Long Island become a state? This is the question for most Americans. For Long Islanders, it is quite obvious: bossism. That's right... "bossism." When I first heard this word in "Lost States," I thought it was a joke. But I kid you not, it is a real word, and without knowing what it exactly is, I can tell you all that it is by far the best word to describe Long Island's desire for statehood.
In a nutshell, bossism sounds like being ruled by a boss. This is true for Long Island. Long Island is either in the shadow of Albany or New York City. Not to say this isn't the same with other parts of the state, or within other states as well, but LI is a special case. Excluding the counties that make up New York City, Nassau and Suffolk rank as the most populous counties of New York State, as well as being the only counties exceeding a million residents (hell, Suffolk boasts a larger population than the Bronx in the 2010 census).
This large population equals large amounts of money for the state, but at a great cost. I don't know the exact numbers, but together, Nassau and Suffolk residents pay about 8 million dollars in taxes, while the state only give back less then half of that. In short, how you you like it if you purchase an item that is one dollar with a ten dollar bill. In change, you would only get back four dollars. How is that fair? I also bet that if this happened to you, you would get your money back and the clerk would have a bloody nose. Sadly, Long Islanders can't do this, which is where the statehood calls come from.
For the record, this movement isn't old. Statehood calls have probably existed since the end of the Revolution. But the clearest move for Long Island statehood began around the 1890s. This was also the time that the Greater City of New York came to exist. It was also this time period where "bossism" came into being. So imagine, the same story has been happening for well over a century. How long would it take to piss you off?
|County||Population||Area (sq mi)||Note|
|Subtotal||2,832,882||2,826||Nassau and Suffolk only|
|Total||7,568,304||3,101||All of Long Island|
As of recently, Long Island would likely become a swing state.
The following sections just describes my thoughts and ideas on a potential State of Long Island (SLI for short). This section is clearly just my opinions.
Despite a united Long Island spirit, us Long Islanders have no flag to stand behind. However, one Long Islander has come up with an interesting design, and it is quickly becoming a popular flag in the statehood movement. Or is it?
Long Islander Cesidio Tallini is a micronationalist, known mostly (within the statehood movement) for his micronation Independent Long Island. The flag he designed is quite unique in my opinion. Blue and orange obviously represent Long Island's Dutch and New Yorker origins. The four stars represent the four counties (Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk). The "eels tongue" (as quoted by Brian Unger) can represent the forked-shape of Long Island itself.
Tallini's flag is quickly becoming a symbol for Long Island statehood, and is quickly growing on me. I initially hated the idea, due primarily to:
- The flag was designed for an INDEPENDENT Long Island in mind (not a state).
- Most statehood proposals would not include Brooklyn and Queens in it (see below), and may include a potential third county called Peconic (also see below), so not really four stars.
- While I love the use of Dutch blue and orange, I wouldn't have chosen the shades that Tallini used (primarily because those combinations tend to hurt my eyes).
I also had my doubts about Tallini himself (primarily because he supported independence). But after reading more about the guy in the news, I believe we probably have more in common. When the History Channel series How the States Got Their Shapes came out, Tallini was interviewed about Long Island statehood. When his segment wasn't put in the final cut, he made it clear he wasn't happy. His segment would eventually come out... in an episode about dialects (seriously). Knowing me, I would have done worse if I were in his shoes. I also felt that he should have wore something better than a jogging sweater. But I will give him credit where credit is due, I could feel his enthusiasm when describing his ideals and his flag, making me feel more proud to be a Long Islander.
In conclusion, great flag. In the end, it is the Islanders who should make the state.
I first came across the this idea from my Nana around 2005 or so. All she said was that there was an attempt to create a new country from Suffolk County. I didn't think much of it, until I really got into map making.
As early as the 1990s, the residents of the five townships of eastern Suffolk County proposed seceding to form their own county: Peconic County. Named after the bay which divided the north and south forks, the county came out under similar circumstances as to why LI wants to become its own state. Officially, Suffolk County's seat is located in Riverhead, but many of the county offices began to move towards the more populated west (Hauppauge to be exact). This caused many of the rural east to propose creating their own county.
Clearly making a county is much easier than allowing statehood. So why is Peconic not a county? I don't know how true this is, but from what I read, Albany feared that this would cause a wave of secessionism within the state. At the same time, Staten Island's attempts to secede from NYC were dying down, but adding a new county might have reignited hopes in the borough.
Despite not becoming a county, the "Peconicans" haven't given up yet. In recent polls, the majority of voters favor a separate Peconic County in a proposed SLI. My personal thoughts, why not. I see absolutely no reason why to not include it. The more the merrier. Come on Peconic, JOIN THE PARTY!!
One of the crucial things any state proposal needs is a capital (a place where the state government can run from). As you may (or may not) have guessed, Long Island has no defined capital. Or does it? According to Cesidio Tallini during his interview for How The States Got Their Shapes, he claimed Brooklyn as the capital of Long Island. Here is what he actually said:
Everyone voted for Brooklyn as the Capital of [Independent] Long Island. Brooklyn has the most votes for all factual purposes.
I call shenanigans on this. First off, Tallini himself just states that Brooklyn would become the capital because it "has the most votes". This is 100% true, and the dominant reason why it should not become the capital. Long Island would become the "State of Brooklyn" if it were the capital. Secondly (and the dominant reason why Brooklyn shouldn't become the capital), only Nassau and Suffolk are part of the current statehood movement. Brooklyn (and Queens) are left out, due primarily because they are boroughs of New York City. You can read my thoughts about Brooklyn and Queens below.
So for all intensive purposes (regardless of how big the eventually state will be), the capital should be in either Nassau or Suffolk. The closest equivalents would be Mineola and Riverhead, which are the county seats for Nassau and Suffolk (respectively). Hauppauge is also a county seat of Suffolk, but you can read more about that above. Other potential capitals I have heard of could be Hempstead and Massapequa.
But today, I have my own proposal for the capital. My proposed capital shall be: Holbrook. Holbrook located in Suffolk County. A hamlet divided by the townships of Brookhaven and Islip. For those of you who actually read the introduction, you can easily guess why I choose Holbrook. It is my hometown. Well, if Konrad Adenauer (the first Chancellor of of post-war Germany) can choose his hometown of Bonn to be the capital of West Germany, than why not choose Holbrook for a capital.
But in reality, I also chose Holbrook for a combination of reasons. First off, Holbrook is as close to the geographical center of Long Island as one can get. This will make it easier to govern the entire island, and show equality. Secondly, the Long Island Expressway runs right through the hamlet, making it highly accessible to the Islanders.
While I may see my hometown as a perfect capital, the end result will probably be beyond my control. So for now, and my map, Holbrook shall be the capital of the State of Long Island.
For those of you who don't know what Block Island is, don't worry about it. Block Island is a large island just to the east of Montauk Point. The town of New Shoreham encompasses the entire island. Oh... and it is part of Rhode Island (before I forget to mention XD).
So why am I mentioning part of Block Island in an article about Long Island statehood? Simple... Block Island apparently belongs to us. Well, according to How The States Got Their Shapes, it seems to be true. If you take a look at the TV screenshot I took with my digital camera, you can clearly see Block Island to the far right of Montauk Point.
Sorry, I found this so funny that I had to include it. But in reality, if the citizens of New Shoreham, Rhode Island really wanted to become part of Long Island, than why not?