In an uncontested election on Sept. 17, Nick Pinto became the newest member of the Sea Cliff village board of trustees. Pinto will enter his fourth year of public service in Sea Cliff, having spent the last three on the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
Pinto, 50, has lived in Sea Cliff since 2005 with his wife, Monica, raising their two children, Noah, 14, and Mia, 11. The couple lived in Bayside, Queens, after they married in 2002, but Pinto said they became enamored of Sea Cliff after their wedding at Sea Cliff Manor. Whether it is the beaches, Mini Mart or the village’s support of the arts, Pinto said, Sea Cliff is the place where he wanted to raise a family.
“We fell in love with it,” he said. “We had come here a number of times — it’s just that kind of place. Sea Cliff is a beautiful town.”
Born in 1970 in Whitestone, Queens, the third of John and Rosa Pinto’s children, Nick graduated from Monsignor Scanlon High School, in the Bronx, in 1988. He went on to Queens College, where he double-majored in music and philosophy, earning degrees in both disciplines in 1996. He graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 2000.
Pinto has a law practice in Manhattan. The practice, he said, has prepared him well for public service, because he has worked as an arbitrator and mediator in legal disputes. That, he said, makes him well-equipped to solve difficult situations involving conflicts of opinion.
Sea Cliff Mayor Edward Lieberman said that Pinto’s experience would help him in carrying out his trustee duties. “He brings legal skills and knowledge which are instrumental in our review of the village code and the implementations of those policies,” Lieberman said. “Specifically, he acts as an arbitrator who has the everyday experience of mediating various parties, positions and viewpoints, which is an essential ingredient in being able to govern properly.”
Pinto said that running for trustee was the next logical step following his tenure on the Zoning Board of Appeals, because it would enable him to help the village grow in a greater variety of ways. He wants to find a balance, he said, between maintaining Sea Cliff’s character and understanding residents’ changing needs.
“The number one reason why I would want to run is service to this community,” Pinto said. “We live here and want to make our community a better place. We want to make sure Sea Cliff continues to run in an efficient manner that progresses forward and never backwards.”
Trustee Dina Epstein said she was confident that Pinto’s work ethic and desire to help his community would make him a good addition to the board.
“He’s smart, he’s motivated, he’s involved with the community, he has a vested interest in the community because he’s been here [for 15 years] — he has roots here,” she said. “I think he’s very interested and involved, and he’ll make a good trustee.”
“You just have to be caring and wise, and I think he fits that bill,” Epstein added. “He’ll also roll up his sleeves and do whatever work needs to be done.”
When Pinto isn’t practicing law or involved in public service, he plays bass in the local band Ride, and band mate Dan Roth — a co-owner of the bar Still Partners — described Pinto as “the funkiest bass player on the North Shore.” Roth said that Pinto excels at explaining complicated issues and making them accessible to the layperson, and that he has the personality of someone who will make a great leader.
“Nick is the nicest guy,” Roth said. “He is a really sweet guy, really good at listening, and I definitely think he’ll be a good face to have and a good person to be on the board.”
Moving forward, Pinto said, the next six months will present challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic. He said that one of his focal points would be working with the North Shore School District to ensure that Sea Cliff’s children are as safe as possible while at home and school. This issue is personal to him as a parent and others like him, he said.
“I think that as a board member who’s got school-age kids,” Pinto said, “I would like to be an open ear for members of my community who are similarly situated as me.”
He said he hoped to expand Sea Cliff’s sewer project, and would like to determine what can be done with a Prospect Avenue property that the village is acquiring from New York American Water. Additionally, he said, he would like to work with public water advocates in helping bring municipal water to Sea Cliff to reduce water rates, which are the highest on Long Island under NYAW.