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Press Release

Long Island Role In Election 14

Posted On: June 03, 2014


ABLI Congratulates its president being named to UN Development Corporation by Governor Cuomo

Posted On: December 17, 2013

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has appointed Mr. Jan Burman, president of The Engel Burman Group, and the current president of the Association for a Better Long Island, to the board of The United Nations Development Corporation, a New York State public benefit corporation that assists the United Nations community with various real estate needs in Manhattan.

Mr. Burman has long been an advocate of leveraging progressive real estate development for the purpose of growing jobs and creating new investment in communities throughout the region.  While based in Garden City, Long Island, his firm has properties across the length of the eastern seaboard where they have specialized in repurposing buildings through pioneering advances in design and development.

The UNDC’s mission includes providing office space and other facilities that help meet the administrative needs in Manhattan.  In addition, the UNDC drafts studies and prepares analysis so that future needs of the United Nations in New York can be anticipated and met.

“I am honored to be appointed by the Governor to a board whose purpose is to ensure that the United Nations remains a potent economic force in New York, one that generates local jobs and additional investment.  It has been estimated that the UN’s presence adds billions of dollars annually to our economy, an achievement that should not just be sustained but strengthened,” observed Burman.  

In addition to his ABLI presidency, Mr. Burman is perhaps best known for his leadership role in creating the Bristal Assisted Living Communities, an extraordinary reinvention of assisted living that now provides an unmatched standard of excellence in caring for a growing retiree population in the New York metropolitan area. Today, there are 1500 units in eleven communities.

 Mr. Burman began his career as a certified public accountant working in the tax and audit departments of Touche Ross & Co.  His ongoing leadership of the Association for a Better Long Island, a property-owners trade group which represents over $20 billion of industrial, commercial, retail and residential properties in the Long Island metropolitan area, has made it a dynamic and respected force in the real estate industry.  He is a former recipient of the Developer of the Year Award from the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island, a current member of the board of the Community Development Corporation of L.I. and serves on the Board of the Nassau County Police Foundation. 


The Suburbs Are About to Fight it Out Under Midtown.

Posted On: September 19, 2012

By Desmond Ryan, Executive Director of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI)

The Long Island Rail Road has lost its title to Metro North as the nation’s busiest railroad, and that leaves it vulnerable to those who would use that reversal to swipe the LIRR’s precious track space at Penn Station.

 If there has been one constant in the region’s economic development it has been the Long Island Railroad. Originally built in 1834 to link New Yorkers with New England by running a train to a ferry, it quickly evolved into a strategic link that brought agricultural produce to Manhattan and commuters home to Long Island villages. By World War II it was bringing troops out to Long Island military bases and aircraft parts to Republic Aviation and Grumman.  In 1949, the Long Island Rail Road was moving some 91.8 million commuters a year, a number never equaled.

 Not only are those days long gone, but the economy, politics and technology have just dethroned the LIRR as the busiest commuter line in the nation. The latest MTA statistics report that Westchester based Metro North is now handling a larger passenger load, but there is much more to this statistic than a simple function of counting heads and awarding honors.

 Metro North has been eying space at Penn Station since 2009, convinced that west side access would improve its position with commuters who have been arriving for generations at that glorious masterpiece of urban train architecture, Grand Central Terminal. Until now they have been rebuffed because anyone who actually uses Penn knows just how difficult it is for the LIRR to move more than 500 trains a day in that space while competing for track space with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak.

 On the distant horizon is the completion of the East Side Access tunnel which will permit the LIRR to bring trains into Grand Central. It is one more opportunity for Metro North advocates to lobby for track positions at Penn Station, but they miss several crucial points.

 East Side Access will not significantly alter the LIRR train and passenger congestion at Penn Station. With its rail yards just to the west of Penn it still needs to move its commuter trains through the station in order to prevent them from making “dead end” runs to storage yards far out on Long Island.  While a spectacular engineering project beneath the East River, there are no Grand Central storage facilities for the LIRR. What comes into that complex must depart or risk clogging the rails. The simple reality is East Side Access will not strategically alter the role of Penn Station as the key New York terminus for the LIRR.

 The transfer of  bragging rights as “busiest” railroad from LIRR to Metro North is a reflection of an economic cycle that has seen the heavy construction industry lag in Manhattan and many middle level Wall Street employees lose their jobs; many of these men and women have been LIRR commuters. Coupled with Internet commuting for those in media and marketing, it is no surprise the Long Island Railroad has been experiencing a downward cycle in passenger loads. But it is a cycle, and given its far larger population base, it is only a matter of time before the LIRR retakes its place as the Number One commuter line in the nation.

 It is during this time of political vulnerability that Metro North advocates on the MTA Board will look to make the case that they deserve a larger share of scarce capital funds,  that billions should be spent to build them rail access to Penn Station and that LIRR trains should be eliminated to make it all happen. Those actions would irreparably harm the ability of the Long Island Rail Road to do its job of getting commuters to the jobs that help power New York City’s economy.


Strengthening a Core Industry: ABLI Plays Defense

Posted On: March 07, 2012

(Hauppauge, NY) - Michael Polimeni, chairman of the ABLI’s defense industry advocacy committee, today met with Congressman Steve Israel and executives of Northrop Grumman to expand the group’s role in strengthening the region’s aerospace and defense business sectors“Long Island is home to a billion dollar plus defense industry but few in the region appreciate that fact or that it continues to play a substantial role in our economy. Too many believe that when the F-14 production line was shut down 25 years ago it took the region’s future with it. That is the furthest thing from the truth as Northrop Grumman and dozens of companies like it advance high technology systems that are both manned and unmanned. Our challenge is to enlist Long Islanders in advocating on behalf of a business sector that generates jobs, investment and value throughout the bi-county region.”

Congressman Steve Israel stated, “Long Island’s defense industry does indeed play a significant role in our region’s economy with thousands of local jobs. We must work together to ensure the continued strength of our country's national security. I am honored to partner with ABLI to advocate for these local jobs and Long Island’s robust defense tradition.”

Welcoming Polimeni to their Bethpage offices was Pat McMahon, Northrop Grumman’s Sector Vice President and General Manager of the company’s Military Aircraft Systems business unit.

She noted, “Northrop Grumman is a proud and dynamic company with roots that go back for generations on Long Island. Our aircraft and weapons systems have helped defend America for over 80 years--from the darkest days of World War II to today’s support for America’s troops and allies around the world. The ABLI’s recognition of an industry that continues to employ some of the best and brightest on Long Island is not only welcome but reflects a new and potent ally in securing the future of the Long Island aerospace and defense industries.”

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) represents some $15 billion in commercial, industrial, retail and residential real estate. It has advocated on behalf of orderly economic growth, a reduction in the cost of government, progressive energy policies and strategic investment in the region’s infrastructure.

ABLI President Jan Burman stated, “Among our most recent actions was ABLI’s public questioning of a Pentagon decision to shut down the production line for Air Force Global Hawk surveillance aircraft when the generals have repeatedly stated that they are depending more and more on these types of sophisticated unmanned aircraft. Northrop Grumman has been a leader in this field and no one can provide us with an answer as to why the Pentagon has created this self inflicted wound.”


ABLI Endorses County Executive Mangano’s RFP that would Reinvent Mitchel Field, Creating Jobs, Taxes and Investment

Posted On: February 07, 2012

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) today endorsed the decision by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to dramatically reinvent the future of Mitchel Field by challenging the real estate industry to respond to an RFP that would redevelop the property.

Immediate past president of the ABLI Mitchell Rechler of Rechler Equities, stated, “Innovative development funded through private investment dollars has the means to create a powerful new economic engine for Nassau County. We believe the County Executive’s actions can harness the power of the marketplace to create the types of proposals that will benefit the county’s economy and the county taxpayer while bringing significant investment, new tax revenue and job creation.”

Fellow ABLI board member and past president Alan Eidler of Spiegel Associates, said, “It is no secret that we respectfully disagreed with a plan that would have used county bonds to rebuild the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. We believe it is the responsibility of the private sector to put its investment dollars on the line in the expectation that a Mitchel Field re-development project will bring an appropriate measure of return for its companies and the community. This RFP begins to set the stage to do exactly that.”

Rechler noted, “The County Executive should be commended and supported for his sustained commitment to reinventing Mitchel Field.  He sees it as we do, an extraordinary opportunity to recharge Nassau County’s economy.”

The absolute need for county and town to design the process and zoning parameters

Other ABLI leaders endorsing the county’s plan to introduce an RFP to the real estate industry include the group’s President Jan Burman of Engel Burman, Edward Blumenfeld of Blumenfeld Development Group, Mark Hamer of Harvest Real Estate and Vince Polimeni of Polimeni International.

Mr. Burman said, “This will be one of the most important projects in a generation and the ability to ensure an integrated approach on the governmental level will be nothing less than crucial. We believe the Town and County must sit down together and create the specific zoning parameters that the development community can respond to. An affirmative response to the RFP will be as a result of a clearly defined process presented in a coordinated manner by two different levels of government. That approach may be unprecedented but so too is the need to finally break ground at Mitchel Field.”

Mr. Rechler agreed. “History has shown that bidding on this site with ambiguous development parameters has led to years of time and money wasted by a number of administrations.  In order for the redevelopment of the Mitchel Field property to occur, the county must sit down with a professional real estate consultant and the Town of Hempstead and negotiate their vision for the site.  From that effort an RFP can be produced that will result in a developer paying the maximum price for a viable project and also allow for this project to move forward, once and for all.”

What will attract private investment on public land?

Mr. Polimeni observed, “This RFP requires a clean piece of paper. Recognizing that the Town has already specified their density requirements, does that instruction actually work within the realities of the marketplace and is the Town willing to amend that regulation?  These are just some of the questions any developer will be compelled to ask.”

Equally important is the question of the Coliseum and its role before and after the hockey season. Mr. Hamer stated, “The Islanders, the Coliseum and the future of both are embedded within this RFP. The development team needs to look at this as a business model and analyze what it means to the County’s economy and this project’s viability regardless of whether the team and the arena stay or go.”

Ed Blumenfeld said, “There is a unique window of opportunity for the Mitchel Field site. The Mangano Administration is committed to making it a cornerstone of economic growth in the county and the development community wants to make that mission succeed. We welcome his steadfast efforts and his willingness to find the formula that allows the taxpayer, the county and the private development community to be winners.”

The ABLI represents some $20 billion worth of Long Island commercial, industrial, retail and residential housing.


ABLI Stands Firm on Governor’s Commitment to Education and Obtaining Value for the Taxpayer’s Dollar

Posted On: February 01, 2012

Desmond Ryan, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) today stated, “Governor Andrew Cuomo has changed the conversation on education to focus on the students and results instead of the process and past funding paradigms; and, we support this change. For too long the educational establishment has asked for more without demanding accompanying improvements in student achievement and graduation rates. This type of thinking has led us to where we are today: facing the potential loss of $700 million in federal education funding. “

ABLI President Jan Burman underscored the group’s position. “Long Island’s students and their families know that a sound education is the foundation for a strong, productive future for children and their communities. The days of demanding more without demonstrating how achievement will improve are over now that the Governor has made performance a key focus for funding increases. The Governor’s proposal to reward districts that improve student performance will benefit the students of Long Island and we applaud his efforts,” Burman said.

 The ABLI represents some $20 billion worth of Long Island commercial, industrial, retail and residential housing throughout the bi-county region and whose members represent some of the largest property tax payers on the island.


Jan Burman returns as ABLI President “Long Island can’t wait for Washington to Improve the Economy…”

Posted On: January 25, 2012
ABLI’s President Jan Burman (left) is congratulated by prior ABLI leader Ed Blumenfeld of BDG, Ltd.

The executive board of the Association for a Better Long Island has elected as its next president, Jan Burman, President and CEO of the Engel Burman Group. This marks the second time that Burman will lead a group that represents some $15 billion in commercial, retail, industrial and residential properties throughout Nassau and Suffolk.

Mr. Burman stated, “Let’s be clear, business as usual is dead and is never coming back. Long Island is at a crossroads. It will either direct its own economic future, leveraging one of the best educated work forces in the nation to reinvent our economy or it will become a region at risk, one that failed to appreciate that you can’t wait for Washington to bail us out of the recession. I believe there is now a growing realization by our municipal leaders that vision, combined with affirmative and sustained action, is the only means we have to protect and strengthen Long Island.”

Burman is president of a Garden City based full service real estate company that owns and develops industrial, office and residential properties on Long Island and throughout the eastern seaboard. Today he may be best known for his role in creating the Bristal Assisted Living Communities across Long Island and the New York area, dramatically raising the bar for a retired generation that wish to remain in the region while enhancing their quality of life.

Mr. Burman began his career as a certified public accountant working in the tax and audit departments of Touche Ross & Co. In addition to serving as President of the Association for a Better Long Island a decade ago he is a recipient of the Developer of the Year Award from the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island.

Burman’s legacy revisited

Ed Blumenfeld, of Blumenfeld Development Group, an ABLI founding member and a member of its executive board, said, “Jan has long recognized the role of the real estate industry to prime the economic pump of Long Island, generate needed taxes and provide a foundation for our orderly growth. More important, his prior ABLI tenure demonstrated his unique skill at creating public-private consensus for progressive real estate concepts that would strategically direct our region. That skill is needed now more than ever.”

ABLI Executive Director Desmond Ryan explained, “The economy, energy and the environment are the topics Jan is focusing on as the platform for his ABLI term. I would also suggest demographics, departure and direction because we need to understand why an entire generation of Long Islanders is threatening to leave the region because our young people do not see an economy or affordable housing policies that would keep them here.”

Mitchell Rechler of Rechler Equities and immediate past ABLI President, concluded, “Jan Burman enjoys enormous respect inside and beyond the real estate community. His appreciation of Long Island’s challenges and potential are unmatched and his skill at forging alliances that benefit the common good has been demonstrated time and again. As a result, ABLI will continue to be a force for progressive action during his tenure.”


ABLI commends Nassau County Executive Mangano for his Challenge to the Private Sector: “Show me your Best Plans for the Coliseum and Surrounding Mitchel Field

Posted On: August 03, 2011

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) today commended Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano for decision to seek proposals to redevelop the 77-acre site surrounding Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale. 

In a statement issued by his office, the County Executive is encouraging all parties with privately-financed proposals to submit them to the County immediately.  He said proposals must address job creation, quality of life and revenue.  Although all proposals will be considered, the County is seeking development that complements existing recreational, sporting and commercial assets at Eisenhower Park, Mitchel Park and Museum Row. 

ABLI Executive Board member Vincent Polimeni stated. “The County Executive and ABLI have always shared a common goal of economic development and the preservation of the Islanders on Long Island. How we achieve that goal was the point in dispute. Today the County Executive has said to the development community, `Show me.’”

“He has appropriately challenged the development community to present to him innovative ideas and options. We accept that challenge and look forward to working in whatever way possible to move forward in creating an economic environment for growth, private investment and union jobs,” said Polimeni.  

The ABLI board member observed, “The referendum was nothing more than a passing milestone in how best to achieve our mutual purpose. We salute Mr. Mangano for his continued commitment to the future of the county and his dogged persistence in finding a path that works best for the taxpayer.” 

For over twenty years, the ABLI is one proud to be one of the region’s most forceful advocates for responsible business growth. Its members represent some $20 billion in commercial, residential, industrial and retail space throughout Nassau and Suffolk. Their members also include some of the region’s leading land use attorneys as well as tax and financial experts. The organization is uncompromising in its pursuit of public policies that encourage environmentally sustainable development projects, the ability to create new jobs, permit new investment opportunities throughout the region and the retention of existing industries on Long Island.