Hundreds Unite to Celebrate 2024 Bethpage Best of Long Island Winners

Best of Long Island
Best Party and Event Entertainer winner Fluxion Entertainment

After a record number of more than 1 million votes were tabulated, more than 700 winners in myriad categories were celebrated at the 19th annual Bethpage Best of Long Island party March 26 at The Inn at New Hyde Park.

The results of the awards sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union were announced on Feb. 28 from among 10,000 businesses in the competition. The winners took a victory lap at this event with signs saying “Welcome Winners,” “Winners Way” among teal and orange balloons. 

More than 450 winners filled tables, ate, drank, danced, networked and congratulated each other as they became part of a club that, as customers search on the internet, has become increasingly important.  Many who won in the past said clients searching “the best” Long Island business in their category often found their name because of the award.

The winners were selected based on votes cast over 75 days ending on Dec. 15, before a third party counted, eliminating those deemed fraudulent before an independent auditor certified fairness and accuracy. The list is available at bestoflongisland.com and in the winners guide, a directory spanning services and products, distributed at the event and highly trafficked locations. 

“Everything we do at Bethpage is about giving back and ensuring the communities are thriving,” said Jenna Amato, Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s vice president of marketing. “By sponsoring this best of series, we feel like we’re bringing the best business, giving them visibility. There are a lot of people out there who feel strongly that these people are doing the best job within their specialties.”

People voted online at bestoflongisland.com in what has become an annual Long Island tradition, from psychotherapist winner Wavelengths Psychology to Nursing Home winner Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Winner Marotta Plastic Surgery Specialists donated a gift basket with specialty items for the raffle.

“The Bethpage Best of Long Island is growing to be much more competitive than we’ve ever imagined,” said Celeste Alamin, Schneps Media’s vice president for Best Of programs. “To win it, you have to be devoted. It’s like the Academy Awards of Long Island.”


Companies ranged from the relatively new to those nearly a century old, such as 92-year-old Harry Katz Carpet One Floor and Home in Mineola, which won for Best Carpet and Flooring Store. 

“It’s getting close to a hundred years. We’ve had a good reputation all along,” owner Gary Katz said. “It had all been word of mouth. With the millennials, things changed. They’re computer savvy consumers. The younger generation researches everything they do. Having our name pop up as the Best of Long Island has helped us to reach out to the younger generation.”

Best of Long Island
QuackerJack with Best Orthodontist winner Island Orthodontics

While companies selling products appealing to homeowners won, those appealing to children also were honored. Long Island Ducks winner Best Team Mascot QuackerJack strolled among the tables, orange beak, green hat and feathery suit with pinstripes attracting attention. “QJ” as the mascot is known is a familiar figure at games, attracting the youngest spectators.

“QuackerJack’s played every season,” said Gabrielle Hernandez, Long Island Ducks’ community relations coordinator. “The kids are excited to see Quacker Jack.”


Professional firms also could raise the “Best of” banner, such as the Melville-based Law Offices of Lawrence Cohen PC, led by Lawrence Cohen, who won for Best Elder Law Attorney two years running.

“It’s very impactful when they see I’ve won Best Elder Law Attorney two years in a row,” he said, adding that the event also provides opportunities. “It’s helpful in that it allows me to meet other people who ordinarily I would not have met. And it gets the word out about how I can help people.”

His company uses search engine optimization to promote the win to potential clients whom they must win over a second time to retain. 

Meanwhile, Neil Kaufman, of Kaufman McGowan, in Hauppauge, won for Best Cannabis Law firm on Long Island. “It’s very gratifying to see legal cannabis come to our home state and our hometown,” said Kaufman, who is also chairman emeritus of the Long Island Capital Alliance. 

“We represent a lot of the local cannabis companies.” 


Healthcare is an important part of the Long Island economy and there was a wide range of winners in this sector. Dr. Harvey Passes, of Passes Dental Care, in Great Neck, won for Best Dentist. 

“To be voted the Best Dentist on Long Island is very significant,” Passes said. 

He noted that this award, particularly online, brings in patients who find his practice when searching for the best dentists. 

“It’s helpful,” said Passes, who has won twice before. “I ask new patients, ‘How’d you come to us?’ They say, ‘I Googled Best Dentist on Long Island. This award came up.’”

He noted that the award gets clients to give them a try. They then have to win them over, to retain them as patients. 

“You got to keep it up,” he said.

Wavelengths Psychology, in Massapequa Park and Garden City, won for Best Psychotherapist. Sharon Grand, a licensed psychologist and Wavelengths’ practice owner, said demand is up.

The recognition, she said, provides a distinction in a crowded field, providing a welcome spotlight “This helps with our credibility,” Grand said. “It lets people know that we exist. And that we’re winners.”

Best of long Island
Best Radio Station Streaming winner The Grindhouse Radio


The Grindhouse Radio, a pop culture radio station at thegrindhouseradio.com, won for Best Radio Station streaming. 

“We have a very large following,” said Brimstone, who broadcasts on Grindhouse. “We talk about everything from pop culture to celebrity to food to what’s going on in the world, like current events.”

“We’re proud to be a part of the Best of Long Island event,” Brimstone added. “Long Island is where we’re from. I’m born and raised here.”

While various winning businesses doled out free samples, The Mystic Band, voted Best Cover Band on Long Island, played “New York State of Mind” and much more.

“They’re very versatile,” Amy Bello, who books the band’s dates, said while they played. “Everything they do sounds like the original recording.”


The Deer Park Fire Department won for Best Fire Department, as part of a culture of volunteerism. They have about 100 people in the department. 

“It’s an ongoing family tradition, helping to better serve the community, gaining friends and having family bonding, “said Robert Macaluso, Deer Park Fire Department chief, who succeeded his father.

Macaluso, who works as a paid career firefighter at the Northport VA, then volunteers in Deer Park.“It’s a continuous recruitment drive,” he said of Deer Park, which includes about a dozen who join.

Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum, winning for Best Cemetery, notes, “A lot of care goes into maintenance of the grounds,” said Alexandra Locke, Pinelawn’s executive vice president. “We’re really a memorial park.”

Pinelawn, designated an Audubon International Classic Sanctuary, provides nature features, including an osprey nest to help people who want to come and reflect on their loved ones. “It’s peaceful, beautiful,” Locke said. 

Best of Long Island
Best Bubble Tea winner YAAAS Tea


While the Bethpage Best of Long Island awards spans many categories, food is certainly one that attracts a lot of attention.

Kelly Zhou, CEO and founder of Yaaas Tea, with roughly a dozen locations across Long Island, won for Best Bubble Tea for the past four years. They provide fresh boba, a bubble tea ingredient, every hour. 

“We do everything with the best quality,” Zhou said. “That’s what ‘A’ represents, top-of-the-line quality product and service.”

Winning, she said, gives Yaaas Tea an additional distinction, as she continues to grow her business, adding new locations. 

“It’s great. It’s awesome,” she said, noting that the gathering itself is good for business. “It’s an event that connects the winners who care about their business and do things the way they’re supposed to.”

Ray Ruffino, president of Levittown-based pretzel maker Knot of this World, won for Best Pretzels. They make stuffed, Bavarian, braided and other pretzels sold at retail stores, festivals, wholesale outlets, breweries and pubs.

“I’ve been doing it since I was 5. My father told me to start a business. So I started selling pretzels,” he said, noting that he started making his own 25 years ago. “There are no preservatives. It’s got the old New York-style taste that no one makes anymore. “It’s old school.”

Best of Long Island
Best Soft Pretzel winner. Knot of this World Pretzels

Knot of this World has won more than a half dozen times.

“Two cities are known for pretzels, New York and Philadelphia,” Ruffino said, noting that frozen pretzel purveyors permeated the region. “New York fell off. I brought them back.”

Vanessa Wilson, owner and CEO of Van’s Country Style Potato Salad, founded her company three years ago in Calverton with a recipe from her grandmother and aunt.

“So many people were asking me to make it for events. They would come over. They would taste it and say this is the best,” Wilson said. “I decided to see if I can market it. So far I’m doing pretty well.”

She said her biggest competition is stores and delis that make their own, although she got good reviews from people trying free samples at the Best Of event. 

“I hope this takes me and my business to another level,” Wilson added.


The winners also included the event sponsor, who won goodwill from attendees and publicity through the awards. 

“We’re looking to assist any of the businesses with their financial goals,” Amato, of Bethpage, said. “If we can get our name out there and they’re aware of us and what we can offer to them, that’s a win for us.”

While the 19th awards are over, the process has already started for the 20th awards, with nominations accepted through Aug. 31 at bestoflongisland.com and polls open Oct. 1 through Dec. 15.  Some of this year’s winners likely will win again, along with many new winners for a new year. 

“Nominations are now open for 2025,” Alamin said. “If you missed getting in last year, you can try to get in this year.”

Best of long Island
Best Radio Station Streaming winner The Grindhouse Radio
Best of Long Island
Keith Fiocca with raffle winner Salvatore’s of Elmont receiving the Marotta Plastic Surgery Specialist gift basket
Best of Long Island
Best Veterinarian winner Dr. Michael Funk, DMV, receiving the raffle prize for Islanders tickets.
Best of Long Island
Best Happy Hour and more winner Grandpa Tony’s mixing BOLI-tini’s.
Best of Long Island
Best Mattress winner Mikey Mattress
Best of Long Island
Host Jill Wagner
Best of Long Island
Dance floor
Best of Long Island
Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Best of Long Island
Best Cover Band winner The Mystic Band
Best of Long Island
Best Potato Salad winner Van’s Country Potato Salad
Best of Long Island
Best Soup winner NY Bone Broths
Best of Long Island
Jenna Amato with Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Best of Long Island
Best Plastic Surgery Group winner Marotta Plastic Surgery Specialists