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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Anthony Iovino
Person of the Year
Anthony Iovino: the Herald's 2013 Person of the Year

Anthony Iovino says that all of his good ideas come to him in bars.

So it was with the Oceanside Summer Gazebo Reading Program, which is held every Monday night during the warmer months at School House Green and has become a community favorite since its humble beginnings in 2007.

“I was sitting in the Telephone Bar in Manhattan, listening to writers read from their works,” Iovino recounted. “… Three writers were each given 20 minutes to read whatever they wanted from what they had written, but they had to bring five guests to get the chance to read.

“I thought that was a good idea for a Kiwanis fundraiser,” he continued, “and I took it to Bob Transom, who was then president of the organization. We started with local people reading anything they wanted — the newspaper, favorite books, whatever. It was hard to get people to come, but the word spread, and soon we had a waiting list of people who wanted to read their own work — poetry, novels. Today, most of the authors who read during our Monday night sessions are published writers.”

Iovino added that he never expected more than 10 or 15 people to show up, and for the first two years of the program, attendees were treated to a barbecue or pizza. By the third year, however, the crowds had grown to the point that the menu was dessert only.

Now, every Monday night at 7 ifrom June until it gets too cold, upward of 100 locals gather at the gazebo to listen to some of Long Island’s most prestigious poets, authors and comedians, as well as community members, share their favorite literature.

Although Iovino, a 55-year-old attorney, lives in the Rockville Centre zip code and works in Garden City, he lives and breathes Oceanside. A quick look at his commitments to the community shows why he is the Herald’s 2013 Person of the Year.

He is the pro bono attorney for the Oceanside Sanitary District, negotiating a contentious contract between the sanitary board and its workers. He works for no fee for the Fire District, advising its officials on elections and contracts, as well as the Board of Education, consulting on a number of legal issues.

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