Bernadette Kilkelly


Massapequa Kids Hold Lemonade Stand For Charity

L. to R.: Sean and Kyle

Sean and Kyle Griffin of Massapequa were all smiles Friday as they kicked off their third annual fundraiser for the Answer the Call: The New York Police and Fire Widow’s and Children’s Fund.

Pouring lemonade for all who donated, hundreds and hundreds of people came to their lemonade stand to raise money for a good cause and beat the previous years’ fundraising amount, which was more than $16,000.

“The boys love doing this every year,” said the boys’ mom, Debi Griffin. “And it’s so wonderful to do it in Massapequa, where there are a great number of police officers and other first responders. It’s such a supportive community.”

Since 2017, the Griffin brothers have set up a lemonade stand for one day during the summer to help raise money for the families of police officers and firefighters in New York City who have been killed in the line of duty. The nonprofit they raise money for, Answer the Call, has been operating since 1985, and was founded by former New York Mets’ baseball player, “Rusty” Staub.

The Griffin brothers were inspired to start the stand by their father, Matthew Griffin, who is an NYPD sergeant, as well as having immense respect for first responders in the NYPD and NYFD. So much so, that during the fundraiser, Sean and Kyle have donned police and firefighter uniforms, respectively. As part of their support, the Griffin family pays for the lemonade and snacks provided themselves, so all of the funds raised can go directly to the Answer the Call fund.

Friday was a wonderful time had by all, with many different guests and special treats for all who came out to support. Earlier on in the festivities, NYPD cadets came marching by the stand, as well as police officers riding horseback (the horses’ support animal, Peanut the Pig, also made an appearance). Furry members of the NYPD K-9 unit were also there, which according to the elder Griffin brother, Sean, was his favorite part of the day.

In addition to the pomp and circumstance, the stand also offered more than just lemonade. The Griffin brothers also had snacks, like chips and popsicles available for all to enjoy. Additionally, those who donated could participate in raffles, with things like a beach basket, a technology and video games basket, or a girly basket to be won.

As the day started to come to an end, the boys shed their uniforms for more comfortable clothes, and guests had started to head home for the afternoon. But the day had been simply perfect, and the lemonade all the sweeter for having been a part of a good cause.

6 Magical Ways To Celebrate Harry Potter Day on Long Island

Photo by Dave Catchpole

On July 31 (or, for the British, 31 July), fans of “Harry Potter” celebrate the birthday of its titular character. Filled with magic and heroism, the series appeals to young children and grown-ups alike and has done so for more than 25 years since the release of the first book in 1991. In honor of this magical day, here are six things Long Islanders can do to celebrate The Boy Who Lived.


One of the latest crazes for all ages gets a Harry potter twist! In 60 minutes, up to eight players can escape form wizard prison, collect magical objects called Horcruxes, and defeat the dark wizard Voldemort. Reservations required. Escape Zone Long Island, 872 Middle Country Rd., St. James, 631-645-8906, escapezonelongisland.com $28 per person. 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. daily.


Even though this isn’t a Harry Potter location, the gardens and beautiful architecture at the Sands Point Preserve certainly feels like Hogwarts, the magical school. Perfect for photography, picnics, and tours of the buildings and landscaping. Sands Point Preserve Conservancy, 127 Middle Neck Rd., Sands Point, 516-571-7901, sandspointpreserveconservancy.org $15 per car, plus tour fees. 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day weekend.


Fans of the series that are more interested in real-world witchcraft might be interested in this magic shop that offers all things metaphysical. Additionally, it hosts classes on meditation and spiritual counselors. A Time For Karma, 14 S Village Ave. Rockville Centre, 516-442-3200, atimeforkarma.com Prices vary. Open daily, times vary.


For fans that are disappointed by the lack of flying broomsticks in the Muggle (non-magical) world, why not learn to fly on a trapeze instead! Witch two locations across Long Island, open for children and adults of all ages. I Fly, Merrick Ave, East Meadow, or 5 Riverside Blvd, Long Beach. Prices vary. Open Tuesday through Sunday.


Though not inherently magical, the Long Island Children’s Museum staple can encourage young people to find their own magic. Of special note is the fan-favorite bubble exhibit, which helps encourage creativity through its uses of (bubble) wands. Long Island Children’s Museum, 11 Davis Ave., Garden City, 516-224-5800, licm.org $14. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Sept. 1.


The charming café Witches Brew offers noteworthy pastries, teas, and other hot beverages, or more hearty fare in a quaint atmosphere. The decorations and clever menu item names give this location an extra magical feel to it. Witches Brew, 311 Hempstead Tpke., West Hempstead, 516-489-9482. Prices vary. 12 p.m.-12 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday, 12 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Hocus Bonus: Wizard Fest is coming to Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville on Oct. 19 and 20. Get tickets here

Long Island Moon Landing Anniversary Event Roundup

Astronaut Edwin E."Buzz" Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module pilot, is photographed during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity on the Moon on July 20, 1969. (Photo by Neil Armstrong/NASA Photo)

As the 50th anniversary of the moon landing approaches Saturday, Long Island has much to celebrate, given locally based Grumman Corp.’s leading role in building the lunar module.

Related Story: Long Islanders Recall Leading Role in Moon Landing

This weekend, Long Islanders of all ages can get a chance to remember and learn about the first moon landing, with events all over the island, from Centerport to Garden City and places in between.

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with astronaut encounters, a countdown, Apollo 11 documentary screening, virtual reality experiences, model rocket launches, telescopes, Lunar Module exhibit and simulators, and much more! Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City, cradleofaviation.org 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. July 20. 

The museum rolls out special Apollo-centric programming July 15-21 including Apollopalooza, with activities for kids ages 3 and older centred around the milestone mission. Long Island Children’s Museum,  Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City, licm.org $14. 12-3 p.m. July 20.  

After the family friendly activities of the day, adults can celebrate the moon landing with dinner, dancing, and champagne, the night ending with the countdown to the official first step at 10:56 P.M. Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City, cradleofaviation.org $125.7 p.m. July 20.

The Long Island Concert Orchestra and a live chorus present out-of-this-world works from Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, E.T., Star Trek, and more, set against cinematic space-scapes from NASA archives and Apollo missions. Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 East Main St., Patchogue, patchoguetheatre.org $25-$553 p.m. July 21. 

Together, the Montauk Observatory and Stony Brook University present a five-hour event, complete with lecture from SBU professor Timothy Glotch, a Grumman Roundtable discussion, the screening of the documentary Apollo 11, and more. Avram Theater, Stony Brook University (Southampton Campus), 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, eventbrite.com Free. 1 p.m.-6 p.m. July 20. 

In this movie from 1978, Capricorn One is the first manned mission to Mars — or was it a conspiracy all along? This showing also features food, beverages, and prizes, with a bonus mix CD for early attendees. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington, cinemaartscentre.org $5-$7. 10 p.m. July 20.

Programs include a presentation by a Grumman design engineer who worked on the Lunar Module that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon; a live Planetarium lecture; space-themed craft workshops for children, and viewings of a new documentary, CapCom Go! The Apollo Story. 180 Little Neck Road,
Centerport, vanderbiltmuseum.org $11-$14. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 20, 12-5 p.m. 21.


Pride on The Beach Parade Attracts Thousands

Volunteers and supporters of the LGBT network march together.

Under clear blue summer skies, the City of Long Beach hosted the annual Long Island Pride Parade on Sunday, attracting what festival organizers described as the largest crowd to ever attend a Pride event on Long Island.

David Kilmnick, president and CEO of the LGBT Network, which sponsors Long Island Pride activities, estimated that 30,000 people came to watch more than 100 organizations parade down West Broadway. The grand marshalls were several participants of the Stonewall riots, the 50th anniversary of which is on June 28.

“It’s important to be a part of the LGBT community from a younger age and perspective, because when our generation enters the workforce and the voting booths, we get to make the changes we’ve wanted to see since we were kids in middle and high school,” said one student marching with her local GSA, who preferred to remain anonymous.

At opening ceremonies before the parade, Kilmnick welcomed local politicians who marched, including State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

A wide variety of organizations marched to show their support for the LGBT community, with charities like the Red Cross and Planned Parenthood joined by health care providers Northwell Health and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and major businesses including Target and Walgreens.
Up and down the parade route, there were colorful participants and floats, with enthusiastic volunteers giving out goodies such as whistles, stickers and of course, rainbow flags.

Paradegoers noted that many of the parade participants were LGBT youth, including groups who marched with their high school’s GSA, or Gay-Straight Alliance. Among the GSA groups marching were groups from high schools across Nassau and Suffolk counties, including Long Beach, Oceanside, Uniondale, Copiague, and West Islip.

After the parade concluded the spectators flocked to the Pride Market on the boardwalk, which featured dozens of vendors with a variety of goods to purchase, from pride related flags and apparel, as well as information on health and related services from groups such as Planned Parenthood. Local sports teams including the New York Islanders and New York Mets also had booths, with the Mets promoting the upcoming Pride Night at Citi Field on August 10.

The Pride festivities ended with a concert on the beach, starting with singers including Brian Justin Crum from America’s Got Talent and Ada Vox from American Idol. At 6 p.m., the concert’s headliner, Macy Gray, took the stage to entertain the crowd. Gray is best known for her hit song, “I Try,” which was released in 2000 in the United States and was an international hit.