Brendan Manley

Brendan Manley is an award-winning journalist, screenwriter and content development/marketing professional. He has extensive experience in newspaper and magazine publishing, as well as digital media, covering topics including arts and entertainment, sports, lifestyle, news, technology, travel and history. He is an ongoing contributor to Military History, Hotel News and HOTELS magazine, as well as the Long Island Press, where he formerly served as Managing Editor and Lifestyle section head. He is currently developing several of his original scripts for Hollywood, and consults on various film and scripted TV projects for studios, producers and financiers. Brendan is based in upstate New York's southern Adirondacks region.

Long Beach: The City by The Sea

The City of Long Beach is among Long Island's most popular oceanfronts come summer.

The City of Long Beach, appropriately nicknamed “The City by the Sea,” has beckoned toocean-goers for centuries, from the generations of Long Island baymen who’ve plied their trade nearby, to beach-loving vacationers from Victorian times through today.

Shoehorned within Long Island’s westernmost South Shore barrier island, the city has grown consistently over time, and Long Beach now packs an incredibly diverse range of offerings in a tight geographic space.

“The City by the Sea has always been an oasis for visitors from all over,” says Ian Danby of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. “With three-and-a-half miles of beautiful white sand beaches and more than two miles of boardwalk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, you will fall in love the minute you arrive.”

English colonists purchased Long Beach from the Rockaway Indians in 1643, but the narrow island didn’t see year-round residents until centuries years later. Much had changed though by 1880, when Brooklynite builder Austin Corbin partnered with the Long Island Rail Road to lay track from Lynbrook to Long Beach. Corbin built the Long Beach Hotel the same year — the first resort on Long Beach — and some 300,000 visitors arrived by train for the first season. Development on the island continued steadily from there, and Long Beach became a city in 1922.

Here are some of the many reasons to visit Long Beach this summer.

The City by the Sea is known for its sunsets. Photo by Matthew Clark.


As its name implies, the heart of Long Beach is its waterfront, so don’t miss Ocean Beach Park (300 W. Broadway, 516-431-1021,, an idyllic stretch
of sand with 2.2 miles of recently rebuilt boardwalk. Parking may be a bit tricky during peak times, so you may want to consider Pacific Boulevard Beach (Pacific Boulevard and Shore Road) as an alternate. But if you do forge ahead to the boardwalk, a rewarding excursion awaits: There are myriad ways to spend an afternoon there, whether your inclination is dining, shopping, water sports, people watching, or just enjoying a seaside stroll.

“Our shining City by the Sea has something for everyone,” says Long Beach City Council President Anthony Eramo. “After you are done surfing, swimming, or taking a bike ride, you can visit our popular food truck market, dubbed ‘The Shoregasboard,’ or try one of the great concessions along the boardwalk. After an amazing meal you can visit one of our unique shops or live music venues.”

Many of those pursuits are active, whether it be on water, land, ice or in the air. For example, one of the more unique attractions to pop up near the boardwalk is I.FLY Trapeze (Riverside Blvd., 516-640-1579,, run by the LI flying trapeze and circus arts school of the same name. Would-be flyers ages 4 to adult, as well as all skill levels, can sign up for a session with one of I.FLY’s skilled trainers. Call ahead for reservations.

Or, test your balance on a longboard, windsurfer or paddleboard provided by Skudin Surf (1 Long Beach Ave./tents on the beach, 516-318-3993, The company offers board rentals, private surf lessons, adult camps, summer surf camps for kids and more, staffed by professional surfers and certified lifeguards. You can also rent and learn on a stand-up paddleboard, and even store your own gear at Skudin’s Hurley Surf Club facility.

Another established beachfront instructor is Surf2Live (830 Shore Rd., 516-432-9211,, which runs weekly surf camps from June through August for both adults and kids, as well as surf parties and private lessons. And if you need gear, look no further than Moku Surf NY (879 W. Beech St., 516-442-6900,, a virtual cornucopia of surfing swag with a collection of vintage boards available.

Perhaps all that sun and surf has you feeling a little balmy. Or you prefer your water frozen. Whatever the case, Long Beach also has one of the premier Long Island ice skating rinks — City of Long Beach Ice Arena (150 W. Bay Dr., 516-705-7385, — which is open year-round and offers public skating, group and private lessons, youth and adult hockey programs, birthday parties and more.

And if you’re really looking to upgrade your legs, the arena is home to the Long Beach
Skating Academy (516-705-7402,, which offers professional instruction to all age groups and skill levels.

P.T. Barnum’s circus elephants famously helped build the original Long Beach boardwalk.


Folks have been flocking to Long Beach for generations, for many of the same reasons visitors head there now. For an in-depth look at Long Beach history and its artifacts, take a brief Sunday afternoon beach break and visit the Long Beach Historical & Preservation Society (226 W. Penn St., 516-432-1192,, a local history museum housed in one of the original Estates of Long Beach summer residence villas, circa 1909. The museum is open Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment, and Sundays from 12 to 3 p.m. in July and August.

Continue your historical journey by driving past Cobble Villa, also known as Villa Clara (657 Laurelton Blvd.). The 2.5-story, asymmetrical Mediterranean Revival-style brick and stucco dwelling — listed on the National Register of Historic Places — is Long Beach’s first home, built in 1909 for Sen. William Reynolds. Since 1976 it has been the home of the late artist Clara Steele and her family, who still open its doors to the public every December, so guests may tour the house and enjoy Clara’s artwork and unique décor.

Long Beach is also home to Arts in the Plaza (1 W Chester St., Kennedy Plaza, 516-507-8383,, a weekly arts festival that runs from Memorial Day through Halloween. Every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., AITP features handcrafted art by Long Island artists, live music, cultural performances and a Kids Art Station, with displays of fine art, photography, custom jewelry and unique handmade gifts.

If all of that local creativity leaves you feeling inspired, pay a visit to Earth Arts Long Beach (162 W. Park Ave., 516-432-9000,, where you can paint your own pottery, take art classes, book a party or attend a summer art camp. Programs are tailored for adults, children and groups, and there are periodic special events, like its Mother Daughter Tea Party and Mother’s Day Brunch. The fairer sex can also enjoy the BYOB “Ladies Night Out” event held there two Friday evenings per month.

These are just a sampling of reasons why Long Beach remains a well-traveled LI gem, for both visitors and the roughly 33,000 residents who call the city home. As any real estate expert will tell you, it’s all about location, and Long Beach’s location — plus its many attractions — simply can’t be beat.

“Long Beach will continue to be a place where people want to raise their families because it is a fun, vibrant, and tight-knit beachside community,” says state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach). “The Long Beach of the future must be one that is resilient in the face of severe weather and that continues to remain affordable despite the rising prices in the New York metro area. Having a dependable and safe commuter rail system is also important because it allows folks to work in the city while still living at the beach — a winning combination.”

Long Beach from the air.


Grotta Di Fuoco
960 W. Beech St., 516-544-2400,

Lost & Found
951 W. Beech St., 516-442-2606,

255 W. Park Ave., 516-889-4800,

Laurel Diner
300 W. Park Ave., 516-432-7728,

16 W. Park Ave., 516-432-8193,

LB Social
62 W. Park Ave., 516-431-7846,

Swingbellys Beachside BBQ
909 W. Beech St., 516-431-3464,

Nagahama Sushi
169 E. Park Ave., 516-432-6446,


Allegria Hotel
80 W. Broadway, 516-889-1300,

Long Beach Hotel
405 E. Broadway, 516-544-4444,

New Hyde Park: A Commuter’s Paradise

New Hyde Park is one of Long Island’s oldest communities, dating back to an 800-acre land grant given in 1683 to Thomas Dongan, royal colonial governor of New York, who built a mansion overlooking “Dongan’s Farm” on what is now Lakeville Road.

Sold to provincial secretary George Clarke in 1715, the estate was then dubbed Hyde Park in honor of Clarke’s wife, Anne Hyde. Clarke eventually sold the land in 1783 and by the early 19th century, the region was a hub for cattle farming, until the mid-1800s, when ranch competitors out West began to overtake the market. When it opened its first post office in 1871 the area became known as New Hyde Park, to avoid confusion with Hyde Park further north in Dutchess County.

These days, New Hyde Park is primarily a commuter town, because of its close proximity and relatively short commute to Manhattan, with more than 75 percent of its land used for single-family residences. When residents and visitors alike are looking for some quality fun and food in the immediate area, sure-fire hotspots include:

Six-string enthusiasts are absolutely obligated to make a pitstop at the American Guitar Museum (1810 New Hyde Park Rd., 516-488-5000,, which is absolutely packed with vintage, rare and noteworthy axes on display, including one of the largest known collections of D’Angelico guitars, plus vintage pick-making tools donated by D’Andrea and blueprint reproductions of Andrés Segovia’s legendary 1937 Hermann Hauser. The museum is also home to a repair shop run by master luthier Chris “Guitar Doctor” Ambadjes, as well as a studio for guitar lessons. Be sure to bow down before the wall devoted to Les Paul and his iconic instruments.

Researchers say there’s a strong link between musical ability and math skills, so when you’re done checking out guitars, head over to the Goudreau Museum of Mathematics in Art and Science (Herricks Community Center, 999 Herricks Rd., Room 202, 516-747-0777,, founded by engineer and mathematics teacher Bernard Goudreau. The museum helps visitors “gain an understanding of mathematical principles through the practical application of modeling and geometric simulation,” according to its website. Activities and features include: building a math model; games and puzzles; exhibits demonstrating the use of math in the arts and sciences; specialized programs and workshops; a mathematics resource library; and a museum store stocked with games, puzzles, books and more.

Or, if calculating the best angle to sink that game-changing putt is more your speed, you’ll love spending some time at Romeo & Juliet Miniature Golf (377 Denton Ave., 516-739-0167,, located in the Spring Rock Golf Center. There are two 18-hole mini-golf courses to choose from (one is named “Romeo,” and the other is “Juliet”), with a variety of challenging features. The Golf Center also offers a driving range, golf lessons, an indoor simulator, a repair shop and a café. The driving range is 250 yards deep and offers 100 covered teeing booths, as well as a practice putting green and sand trap.

You can also spend some quality time rolling a ball, rather than hitting one, at New Hyde Park’s local bowling alley, Herrill Lanes (465 Herricks Rd., 516-741-8022, The family-run bowling mecca features 36 synthetic lanes, computer scoring, a full-service pro shop, coffee shop and the Chatterbox Lounge, offering drink specials nightly. There’s also Rock-N-Bowl with cosmic lighting every Saturday evening, set to music from the 1960s to the present.

Finally, after working up a sweat on the driving range and/or at the lanes, cool off on the shimmering ice at Iceland (3345 Hillside Ave., 516-746-1100,, one of Nassau County’s top destinations for figure skating, hockey and pretty much anything that happens on a frozen surface. There are public sessions offered several days per week, as well as skating school, house hockey leagues, open “pickup” hockey, clinics and more. Check out their special “puck shoot” events, where you can alleviate all that commuter stress by teeing off against real goalies, and don’t even need to apologize.


633 Jericho Tpke., 516-437-7698,

Luigi’s Italian Restaurant
265-21 Union Tpke., 718-347-7136,

Inn at New Hyde Park
214 Jericho Tpke., 516-354-7797,

Chef Wang
1902 Jericho Tpke., 516-354-2858,

Tavern 18
26511 Union Tpke., 718-347-4846,

Farmingdale: Long Island’s Hub For Food, Fun, Flight

Adventureland in Farmingdale is Long Island’s longest-running amusement park.

Farmingdale has long served as one of Long Island’s key “hub” destinations, first for rail and stagecoach travel, and later, for all things aviation, bringing with it a steady stream  of visitors.

Countless businesses have sprung up over the years, making the greater Farmingdale area a perennial hot spot for dining, retail and entertainment. A cruise down the Route 110 corridor — especially if you’re headed to the movies or Adventureland — is a quintessential part of the Long Island experience.

“Farmingdale has something for everyone,” says Dave Saul, a spokesman for Farmingdale village. “There’s a historic Long Island Rail Road station, a thriving Main Street with all types of dining and entertainment, and we cherish our Village Green, where during the summer you can relax and enjoy music by the Village Pops, or bring the family to enjoy a classic ‘Movie on the Green.’ We also have great outside activities, like Music on Main and Cultural Arts Day, parades down Main Street, great shopping, our own breweries and speakeasy, and we’re just minutes away from the famous Black Course at Bethpage State Park.”

The region was settled in 1687 by Thomas Powell, who acquired 15 square miles from three native tribes in 1695 in a deal known as the Bethpage Purchase. Developer Ambrose George built a general store and acquired substantial acreage in what was called Hardscabble in 1841. He renamed it Farmingdale and that moniker was then cemented in 1841 when LIRR service began at a stop named Farmingdale on the Greenport line.

The Village of Farmingdale was incorporated in 1904, the future Republic Airport was born in 1927 and Bethpage State Park opened in 1932, and Farmingdale has kept growing ever since.

These days, there’s truly no shortage of reasons to spend some quality time in Farmingdale, whether for food, fun, furniture, or higher education. Some of our favorite Farmingdale hangouts include:

A B25 Mitchell on display at the American Air Power Museum at Republic Airport in Farmingdale.

Farmingdale classics

For those that grew up on LI, Farmingdale is basically synonymous with Adventureland (2245 Broadhollow Rd., 631-694-6868,, the classic amusement park you can’t help but gaze at nostalgically every time you pass it on Route 110. Since 1962, Adventureland has been the go-to place for local roller coaster riders, and there’s still plenty to love about this local gem. In addition to classic favorites like the Pirate Ship, Wave Swing and Bumper Cars, this spring the park will debut its new two-story Mystery Mansion ride, replacing the 10-year-old Ghost House. Adventureland opens again for the season on March 24.

“We’re creating a happy place for generations of family fun,” says Steve Gentile, the general manager at Adventureland. “We’re creating memories.”

Another Farmingdale institution that gives the village its unique character is the historic Republic Airport, a smaller regional field now mostly used for private flights and flying schools, but also home to the American Air Power Museum (1230 New Hwy., Hangar 3, 631-293-6398,, which houses numerous heritage aircraft, many of which still fly. The museum is especially noteworthy for its deep collection of World War II planes, and hosts multiple special events and airshows throughout the year. And for the truly intrepid, there are even special ride experiences, where you can see firsthand what it was like to fly in some of the museum’s legendary warbirds.

You might also find yourself visiting Farmingdale to tour Farmingdale State College (2350 Broadhollow Rd., 631-420-2000,, a.k.a. “SUNY Farmingdale,” which seems to expand by leaps and bounds each year. The tech-focused college provides weekly tours of its 380-acre campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3 p.m., with stops at the new student activities building, campus center and bookstore, academic buildings, residence hall, Nold Hall Athletic Complex and Greenley Hall Library. Special tours of the Aviation Center are also available.

The Farmingdale street fair is known to draw a crowd.

Fun, food & drink

A popular Farmingdale hangout for food, drinks and conversation is the Library Café (274 Main St., 516-752-7678,, housed in the former Farmingdale Public Library Main Street Branch building. Patrons flock there for the unique ambiance, but inevitably fall for the upscale pub fare and creative mixology, featuring cocktails named for famous authors and books. And don’t worry, the village still has an actual library, too: The current Farmingdale Public Library has stood at 116 Merritts R.d since 1994 (516-249- 9090,

Some beer aficionados simply can’t get enough choices, and that’s where the venerable Farmingdale hangout Croxley’s Ale House (190 Main St., 516-293-7700, truly shines. The pub offers a dizzying array of 51 brews on tap and another 33 varieties available in bottles in cans, as well as a full menu of mouth-watering food options, from wings and mussels to burgers and sandwiches, to shepherd’s pie. They even do Sunday brunch, so start early and maybe you’ll be able to drink your way through a fraction of Croxley’s suds.

Off of Main Street, one of the few brew pubs on Long Island calls Farmingdale home. Black Forest Brew Haus (2015 New Hwy., 631-391-9500, features an extensive menu of German delicacies of both the food and beverage varieties. They also regularly host live music, dualing pianos and host a month-long Oktoberfest party.

Farmingdale is such a hub for commerce these days, it’s even home to one of just two of the Island Stew Leonard’s locations (261 Airport Plaza, 516-962-8210, The famed New England grocery store chain — born from a small dairy business — offers the antidote to the massive supermarket experience, carrying only 2,200 items, “chosen specifically for their freshness, quality and value,” according to the company, as opposed to traditional supermarkets, which sell an average of 30,000 various products. Enjoy a fresh-made Maine lobster roll, or sample the vast cheese selection and fantastic ice cream, both made with milk from Stew’s own legion of prized cows.

The PGA Tour has made a recent stop at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale in 2016 (Photo by Kevin Kane) (1)

Active pursuits

There are also great options for working off all that food and drink. Although a good portion of it is located in Old Bethpage, the 1,477-acre Bethpage State Park (99
Quaker Meeting House Rd., 516-249-0700, is officially part of Farmingdale. It is best known for its five world-class golf courses, including the legendary Bethpage Black Course, which hosted the U.S. Open Championship in 2002 and 2009. The park is also highly popular for its picnic facilities, playing fields, tennis
courts, bridle paths and hiking, biking and cross-county skiing trails. In addition, the park offers a restaurant and catering facilities, a golf pro shop and a driving range.

But hey, if a day on the links sounds too relaxing for you (or frustrating, depending on your handicap), you can make those golf cart riders eat your dust at RPM Raceway (40 Daniel St., 631-752-7223,, an all-electric indoor go-kart track and entertainment complex guaranteed to satisfy your need for speed. Drivers of all ages and ability levels can race state-of-the-art Italian-made go-karts, including no-hassle “arrive and drive” races, group head-to-head racing (by reservation), leagues and more. There are even 1-on-1 clinics and summer camps available for future racing pros.

And finally, to really travel the Farmingdale area and beyond in style, consider joining the long list of Farmingdale-based aviators, and take a flying lesson (or many) at Academy of Aviation (7150 Republic Airport Main Terminal, Room 101, 631-777-7772, which trains students for private pilot licenses all the way up to commercial certifications. It may cost a few bucks, but soaring in the air over the Long Island Expressway — especially during rush hour — is a sure-fire way to feel like LI royalty.

That’s how they do it in Farmingdale.


Courtyard Republic Airport Long Island/Farmingdale
2 Marriott Plaza, 844-631-0595,

TownePlace Suites Republic Airport Long Island/ Farmingdale
1 Marriott Plaza, 844-631-0595,

Hollywood Motel
400 NY-109, 631-694-7100,


Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar
282 Main St., 516-586-8542,

Vinoco East
223 Main St., 516-927-8070,

Farmingdale Diner
17 Hempstead Tpke, 516-777- 3377

The Rolling Spring Roll Shop
189 Main Street, 516-586-6097,

Caracara Mexican Grill
354 Main St., 516-777-2272,

RPM Raceway is billed as “America’s ultimate all-electric indoor go-kart and entertainment destination.”


Port Jefferson: From Shipbuilding Hub to Tourist Haven

Dickensian characters such as Father Christmas roam the streets of Port Jefferson during the village’s annual Charles Dickens Festival. (Photo by Ron Ondrovic)

The Port Jefferson we know today is a thriving hub for tourism on Long Island’s North Shore, drawing countless ferry-goers, shoppers, diners and bar patrons to the village’s brimming enclave. For many Long Islanders it is the go-to spot for a romantic date, and few simple pleasures can match spending a sunny day enjoying an ice cream cone and a walk down its colorful streets.

Port Jefferson has changed dramatically over the last two centuries, transforming from a rural community in the 1700s to a vibrant shipbuilding town in the 1800s, to the nightlife and leisure destination of modern times. The village’s ferry line to Connecticut, as well as its Long Island Rail Road station, ensure a steady stream of visitors year-round.

“When they come for the day, they can actually stay for the weekend,” Port Jefferson Village Mayor Margot Garant says while inviting visitors to try the dining, entertainment and hotel options.

Each December, tourists descend upon the village for the annual Port Jefferson Village Dickens Festival, complete with revelers dressed in 19th-century clothing, house tours, winter-related poetry readings, caroling and booths featuring local businesses. The village also hosts an annual outdoor concert series and film screenings at Harborfront Park throughout July and August. And of course, its its own annual boat race series — the Village Cup Regatta — with proceeds benefiting cancer research.

But that’s just the beginning of the village’s many charms. Other perennial Port Jefferson draws include:

The Port Jeff ferry shuttles travelers across the Long Island Sound to and from Bridgeport, Conn.

The Back and Forth

Port Jefferson is a bustling Long Island ferry port, which means there’s a constant flow of passengers departing and arriving, especially during summer months. For a quick and easy trip across the Long Island Sound to Connecticut (and vice versa), the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company (102 West Broadway, 888-443-3779, has multiple trips available per day. Arrive early and grab a bite at one of the neighboring eateries while you wait.

Arts & Culture

Port Jefferson is the kind of venerable waterfront community that screams maritime history, and an informative and engaging overview of that heritage — primarily geared toward kids — can be found at the Maritime Explorium (101 East Broadway, 631-331-3277, overlooking the harbor. It offers hands-on exhibits devoted to the historical, scientific and artistic aspects of the area’s seagoing past and the Long Island Sound’s unique ecosystem, where children can learn at their own pace through playful experimentation. There are also several exhibits devoted to emerging nanotechnologies and their application to oceangoing life and industry.

You can also step back in time at the Mather House Museum (115 Prospect St., 631-473-2665,, the former home of the Mather family, circa 1840 to 1860, who were prominent shipbuilders in the area. The museum complex includes the Mather House, featuring period furnishings, fine and decorative art, model ship hulls and an early kitchen, as well as the Craft House & Museum Shop, the Country Store, the Marine Barn and Sail Loft, the Tool Shed and the Thomas Jefferson Perennial Garden. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m., from May 27 to Oct. 8. A docent guided tour is available for the main museum and complex buildings.

For theatergoers, local theater is alive local theater is alive and well in Port Jefferson at Theatre Three (412 Main St., 631-928-9100,, which presents a wide range of performances through its Mainstage, Second Stage, Cabaret and Children’s Theatre productions. It also hosts Friday Night Faceoff, Long Island’s longest-running improv troupe, as well as its Dramatic Academy, offering three instructional semesters each year, plus a diverse summer concert series. Upcoming performances include A Christmas Carol, I Hate Hamlet and 12 Angry Men on the Mainstage, and Barnaby Saves Christmas, Rapunzel: The Untold Story! and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit in the Children’s Theatre.

Hundreds of performances annually grace the stage of Theatre Three in the historic Athena Hall.

Drink Me

Strolling through the village can make you work up a terrific thirst, but luckily Port Jefferson offers several renowned watering holes where you can duck in for a frosty pint and maybe even some grub, if the mood hits you. Start with the Port Jeff Brewing Company (22 Mill Creek Rd., 877-475-2739,, which uses a seven-barrel system to produce 217 gallons (about 86 cases) of remarkable beer per brew. The tasting room is open all year, serving up tasting flights, pints and beer to go, poured from 11 taps that change daily (check the website for the day’s selections). The brewery also hosts a free summer concert series every Wednesday night June through August.

You also can’t go wrong at the Tara Inn (1519 Main St., 631-828-5987) a bona fide Port Jeff classic adored for its friendly atmosphere, reasonable prices and massive food portions. In a world of increasingly foofoo fanciness, bask in Tara’s simple oldschool charm while ordering from its menu, displayed on chalkboards and paper plates hung on the wall. There’s no takeout offered, no substitutions or special orders allowed, and no credit cards accepted. Deal with it.

If you prefer vino to suds, you don’t need to trek all the way out to the East End for winetasting, thanks to the Pindar Vineyards Port Jefferson Wine Store (117 Main St., 631-331-7070,, featuring a range of the winery’s incredibly popular varietals and seasonal wines. For just $10 you can sample five different wines, or if you’d like a souvenir, too, toss in an extra buck ($11 total) and you can keep the glass. The shop also sells wines produced by its sister winery Duck Walk Vineyards, although those labels aren’t available for tasting. Be sure to check out the special seasonal mulled wine, which is only offered during the winter.

No trip to Port Jeff is complete without a meal at The Steam Room.

Brain Teasers

The proliferation of “escape rooms” throughout the region has reached the shores of Port Jeff, too, where there are two options for cramped, mind-melting fun: Hour Escape (1303 Main St., 631-403-3030, and Know Escape (1518 Main St., 631-241-1239, Hour Escape offers two different escape scenarios: Café Lorenzo, a mafia-themed challenge set in an Italian restaurant; and Exit Protocol, a hacker-themed setting in which you must locate classified documents in a top-secret government facility. Know Escape, meanwhile, takes a somewhat different approach, with one mystery spread throughout three rooms that teams must navigate. The current scenario there is called Sunderland Hollow, and focuses on the bizarre, chilling events in a mysterious town.

Harborfront Park is the hub of entertainment in downtown Port Jeff.

Shopper’s Haven

High-end olive oil shops have become a burgeoning trend on Long Island and elsewhere, and Port Jeff hasn’t been left out of the bread-dipping frenzy. The Amazing Olive (213 Main St., 631-509-4596,, which also has a shop in Patchogue, is celebrating its five-year anniversary in Port Jeff, and from the looks of things, there are many more years of gourmet goodness ahead. The shop carries the finest extra virgin olive oils, vinegars, herbs, salts, rubs and seasonings in the area, perfect for luxurious gifts or your own day-to-day pantry. Stop in and sample more than 50 award-winning oils before making a decision. The shop also holds private tasting parties Monday through Thursday after closing, complete with appetizers, a balsamic-inspired drink and dessert for each guest ($20 per person, six to 14 adults). After the tasting you get the entire store to yourself to browse and buy, plus a free sample bottle of oil to take home.

And that’s just the beginning. There’s a bounty of fine shops in the village that literally offer something for everyone. If art is your forte, there’s the Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery (128 Main St., 631-642-0607,, displaying and selling a compendium of the artist’s works, including his popular creations for Disney and DC Comics. Or, explore spirituality, metaphysics and New Age dogma at Breathe (116 E. Main St., 631-642-2377,, the local mecca for everything from crystals to essential oils to tarot cards. The shop also offers psychic and medium readings, guided meditation and a range of classes and workshops.

Danfords Hotel in Port Jefferson also operates a spa and marina in the heart of the village.

The Great Outdoors

While visiting Port Jefferson, don’t forget to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area. A favorite spot for stunning views and photo ops is McAllister County Park (200 Cliff
Road), a Suffolk County park that runs along the beach, sometimes called “Pirates’ Cove” by locals. The only downside to this hidden gem is the limited parking, but if you’re lucky enough to find an open spot, the park offers an oasis of waterfront tranquility, perfect for a romantic walk or contemplative stroll. Amid all the fun and food in Port Jeff, you’ve also got to take a moment or two to let the simple joys soak in.

Where To Stay In Port Jefferson

Danford’s Hotel, Marina & Spa
25 E. Broadway, 631-928-5200,

The Fox and Owl Inn
1037 Main St., 631-509-3669,

The Ransome Inn B&B
409 E. Broadway, 631-474-5019,

Holly Berry Bed and Breakfast
23 Dickerson Ct., 631-331-3123

Golden Pineapple Bed and Breakfast
201 Liberty Ave., 631-331-0706,

Where To Dine In Port Jefferson

Toast Coffeehouse
242 E. Main St., 631-331-6860,

The Fifth Season
34 E. Broadway, 631-477-8500,

Pasta Pasta
234 E. Main St., 631-331-5335,

Slurp Ramen
109 W. Broadway, 631-509-1166,

The Steam Room
4 E. Broadway, 631-928-6690,

Rockville Centre: Boom Town With Shops, Eats and Pubs Aplenty

Rockville Centre firefighters protect the ninth most populous village in New York State.

The Village of Rockville Centre, located on the South Shore of Long Island in Nassau County, has been an ideal community since pre-colonial times, when it was a Reckouackie Indian settlement, and its allure for residents has continued ever since.

Over the centuries its growth as a hub for various trades, public services and transportation vaulted the modest-sized village (measuring just 3.4 square miles) into one of the county’s most successful and vibrant neighborhoods, attracting upper-middle class families and producing a lengthy and diverse list of celebrities, including Joan Jett, Sandy Koufax, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Amy Schumer and Howard Stern.

“Our mission [is] to make it the best community to live, work and play,” said two-term Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray, whose father, Eugene, held the village’s top job for a quarter century.

Dutch and English colonists settled the region in the 1600s, dubbing it “Near Rockaway,” which back then also included present-day Oceanside, Lynbrook and East Rockaway. Homes and businesses continued to spring up in the area and the hamlet was formally christened Rockville Centre in 1849, when businessman Robert Pettit named the post office in his general store after local Methodist preacher and community leader Mordecai “Rock” Smith. In 1867 it truly entered the modern era when it was connected with the Long Island Rail Road, and in 1893 it was officially incorporated as a village.

Today, the village is a retail and entertainment haven, with more than 400 shops, scores of dining options for foodies looking to explore, an abundant night life and bar scene, a generous assortment of parks and public spaces, and a palpable commitment to education and the arts. And while Rockville Centre has long been renowned as a great place to live, it’s also a fine spot to visit. Some suggestions for a rewarding RVC experience include: 

The restored 1882 Phillips House holds one of New York’s finest small museums.

Historical Leanings

Sometimes – especially in space-constrained Nassau County – great things do come in small packages. For example, take the Phillips House Museum (28 Hempstead Ave., 516-764-7459,, considered one of the top small-sized museums in all of New York State. A restored 1882 Victorian home furnished with period furniture, the Phillips House (once the abode of Capt. Samuel Phillips) is now home to the Museum of the Village of Rockville Centre, which depicts life in the village during the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection includes a vast array of antique kitchen and carpentry tools, as well as numerous period items that decorate the home’s restored Victorian front and back parlors, dining room and bedrooms. It is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment.

It’s tough to cruise through Rockville Centre without noticing the towering, ever-impressive stone façade of Saint Agnes Cathedral (29 Quealy Pl., 516-766-0205,, built in 1935 to mirror 15th-century Norman Gothic style. It’s actually the parish’s third church on the site, which has been used for service as far back as the 1890s, but clearly, the third time was the charm. Stop in to bask in the architectural and spiritual grandeur of the place, taking note of the stunning stained-glass panes seemingly everywhere, particularly the Windows of St. Agnes. There’s more eye-candy in the exterior (which was significantly restored in 2016), particularly the eerie Gothic gargoyles that peer down from the corners of the Cathedral’s tower. 

Scenic Tanglewood Preserve contains The Center for Science Teaching and Learning.

Wide Open Spaces

Aside from enjoying just the simple, natural beauty of Rockville Centre’s Tanglewood Preserve, the park is also home to The Center For Science Teaching And Learning (450 Tanglewood Road, 516-764-0045,, which offers a range of educational activities and special events for kids and families. The center offers a year-round live animal exhibit, featuring birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates, in a more intimate and interactive setting than your standard zoo. There’s even an outdoor butterfly and hummingbird garden, which you can explore in addition to the preserve’s 17 acres of ponds, streams, forests and walking trails. Don’t miss the Sunday Science program for kids, held two Sundays per month from November through March.

Another nearby bastion of precious natural tranquility is Hempstead Lake State Park (Lakeside Dr., 516- 766-1029,, located at the village’s western edge. This well-equipped multi-use recreation area offers 20 tennis courts, basketball courts, children’s playgrounds, bridle trails for horseback riding, biking and hiking trails, shady picnic areas and a historic, hand-carved wooden carousel. There is also a picnic pavilion, available for hosting large parties. There are three bodies of water where fishing is permitted: Hempstead Lake – the largest lake in Nassau County – McDonald Pond and South Pond, all stocked with trout, as well as wild species like largemouth bass, chain pickerel, black crappie, perch, tiger muskies, carp and sunfish. Dogs are permitted, on a leash, in a designated dog-walk area. 

Joan Jett rocked a sold-out hometown crowd at Molloy’s Madison Theatre on Apr. 26, 2013.

Arts & Entertainment

Rockville Centre’s Molloy College isn’t just a pillar of learning in the area; it’s also a strong supporter of local arts and entertainment, with the Madison Theatre at Molloy College (1000 Hempstead Ave., 516-323-4444, serving as the linchpin. The six-year-old, 550-seat theater regularly hosts a wide range of top-flight performers and artists, including notables from the worlds of theatre, music, dance, cabaret and comedy. Upcoming events include the 50+ Comedy Tour, The Rockville Centre Guild for the Arts/Leggz Ltd. NUTCRACKER, Billboard Live’s New Year’s Eve Concert, Sleeping Beauty (ballet) and jazz icon John Pizzarelli, who turns up in February.

One of the larger entertainment trends sweeping the nation is the rise of “escape rooms,” where you and a group of friends are (willingly) locked in an environment where teamwork, problem-solving and good old-fashioned ingenuity are required in order to secure your freedom. (At least, in the allotted amount of time.) Rockville Centre is home to one of the three local-area Challenge Escape Rooms locations (203 Sunrise Hwy, 516-888-0202, featuring three different themed rooms: The Art Gallery, The Game Room and The Virus. Each room accommodates groups of up to 10 people and makes for an interactive, often head-scratching experience.

It’s crucial now more than ever to support local, independent bookstores, and you won’t have any complaints about doing your literary part at Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine (110 N. Park Ave., 516-764-6000,, owned by Borders Books expatriates Carol Hoenig and Peggy Zieran. The shop features an extensive wine list of small-batch vintages you can enjoy while leisurely reading in the store, as well as a café serving light meals and snacks. Turn of the Corkscrew also holds special events like concerts, talks, readings and book signings, helping to foster community and culture in the village.

Bigelow’s fried clams and seafood offer an unsurpassed taste of RVC.

RVC after dark

Finally, Rockville Centre offers plenty of options for kicking back with a cocktail or pint and some fine grub after a busy Long Island day. Try Monaghan’s Bar & Restaurant (48 N Village Ave., 516-764-6372) for a touch of the  Irish; sample the seafood chowder topped with puff pastry, the Monaghan’s Shepherd’s Pie and the lobster quesadilla, washed down with a tall Guinness, or if you’re really adventurous, a mug of hot port.

Or, if your drinking/eating desires run south of the border, stop by Cabo (3A N. Park Avenue, 516-255-0065,, where the frozen drinks flow and the guacamole is prepared tableside. Their massive Coronita Margaritas are an undertaking worthy of the most seasoned imbibers, and all the better to compliment the first-rate nachos, tacos and fajitas. You might run into a bachelorette party or two, but who’s complaining? The more, the merrier.

The options don’t end there, either. A favorite among the after-work crowd is Lindsay’s (59 N Park Ave., 516-442- 3344), popular for its classy, upscale ambience, friendly bartenders and fine selection of reasonably priced single-malt scotch. Or for a more laidback, hometown feel, give North Village Tavern (40 N Village Ave., 516-766-0181) a whirl, where the food and drinks are equally appreciated and the large-screen TVs are either showing sports or music videos synched with the jukebox.

The best part is, if one spot isn’t your special happy place, there are several more in the immediate area you can stumble over to and try. It may be just 3.4 square miles in size, but Rockville Centre truly does have it all.

St. Agnes Cathedral was built in 1935 to mirror Norman Gothic designs.

Where to Stay

Hampton Inn & Suites Rockville Centre
125 Merrick Rd., Rockville Centre. 516-599-5700,

Best Western Mill River Manor
173 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre. 516-678-1300,

Where To Dine

Press 195
22 N Park Ave., 516-536-1950,

Tum Thai Cuisine
274 Merrick Rd., 516-543-5078,

Front Street Bake Shop
51 Front St., Rockville Centre. 516-766-1199,

George Martin the Original
65 North Park Ave., Rockville Centre. 516-678-7272,

George Martin Burger Bar
209 North Long Beach Rd., Rockville Centre. 516-208-6100,

Chadwicks American Chop House & Bar
49 Front St., Rockville Centre. 516-766-7800,

Tony Colombos
208 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre. 516-678-1996,

Vines and Branches
80 North Park Ave., Rockville Centre. 516-608-2200,

Bigelow’s New England Fried Clams
79 N Long Beach Rd., 516-678- 3878,

Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray outside village hall.

Greenport: A Whale of A Destination

In addition to its historic harbor, Greenport has lovely, walkable beaches.

Long Island’s Greenport Village dates to the mid-1600s, when colonists from New Haven crossed the Long Island Sound and settled in Southold township. Thanks to its deep, well-protected harbor, the village has been an integral part of the North Fork’s economy and maritime tradition ever since, driving local whaling, fishing and oystering in the 19th and 20th centuries, then becoming a tourism hub in modern times.

Today, the village offers bountiful options for beachfront relaxation and activities, as well as a lengthy list of historical attractions spotlighting Greenport’s rich heritage.

Whaling became a massive industry in Greenport between 1795 and 1859, helping to also drive a shipbuilding boom. The mid-1800s also saw the zenith for menhaden fishing, and later in the first half of the 20th century, oyster harvesting hit its peak. Perhaps the most pivotal development in Greenport’s early years, however, was its selection as the first-ever LI destination on the embryonic Long Island Rail Road, which connected Greenport to Brooklyn in 1844. The new railroad line provided a turbo boost for North Fork growth, allowing local farmers to ship their products with unparalleled convenience and speed, while bringing city dwellers east for sun and respite.

Today, Greenport celebrates its history by making museums, galleries and landmarks foremost among its cultural offerings, providing an intellectually stimulating alternative to beachgoers seeking vacation variety. Wineries, brewpubs and fine dining also take center stage here. So, when you’re not lounging by the waterfront, be sure to sample the area’s top-flight cuisine and award-winning libations, while checking out Greenport’s many historical gems. 

The East End Seaport Museum is a must-see on any visit to Greenport.

The Museum Scene

To experience an intriguing component of Greenport’s long maritime tradition, spend some time at the Fireboat Firefighter Museum (Wiggins Street, Greenport Commercial Pier, 631-333-2230,, featuring the nearly 80-year-old Fire Fighter, the world’s most award-decorated fireboat. Designed by renowned naval architect William Francis Gibbs in 1938, Fire Fighter fought over 50 major fires during her career, including blazes aboard the SS Normandie, El Estero, Esso Brussels and Sea Witch, as well as several dozen major pier fires throughout New York Harbor.

Fire Fighter also led the FDNY Marine Unit response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, supplying water for three weeks to emergency crews fighting fires at Ground Zero. A National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Fire Fighter is now a memorial and teaching museum, while still a fully operational vessel. She’s open for guided and self-led tours from April to October, on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Another Greenport hotspot for oceangoing history is the East End Seaport Museum (3rd Street, 631-477-2100,, honoring the area’s longstanding relationship with the sea. Attractions include a 750-gallon saltwater aquarium featuring flora and fauna from Peconic Bay, a display of two Fresnel lenses, and exhibits devoted to subjects like LI’s

Baymen, oyster harvesting, devastating storms and artifacts salvaged from the wreck of the steamer Rye Cliff, as well as a sampling of the museum’s collection of miniature ships. Call or check the website for the latest open hours; admission with or without voluntary donation.

Fans of more terrestrial transportation aren’t left out when visiting Greenport, either. For all things pertaining to riding the rails, there’s the Railroad Museum of Long Island (440 4th St., at the LIRR Tracks, 631-477-0439,, famous for its intricate model train layouts, restored vintage train cars and rides on its World’s Fair miniature train. Your admission ($10 for adults 13+, $5 for children 5-12, kids under 5 free) is good for guided tours of both the Greenport museum and its Riverhead sister site, as well as a miniature train ride.

Sometimes, transportation just means going in a circle. In that spirit, old meets modern to the delight of children and parents alike at Greenport’s 100-year-old antique carousel in the Jess Owen Carousel House (Front Street, Mitchell Park, 631-477-2200,, named for Jesse Owen, the first operator of the ride.

Housed within a striking contemporary glass, steel and wood house, the 1920s Herschell Spillman portable carousel – a gift from former owners Northrup-Grumman – features 36 horses (all jumpers) plus two sleighs, including 18 hand-carved Herschell steeds, four turn-of-the-century carved Dare horses and 12 cast-aluminum horses dating to the 1930s. The carousel is open daily in-season (end of school through Labor Day) and on weekends the rest of the year, and costs just $2 for each magical spin back in time. Unless of course you catch a brass ring, which wins you one free ride. 

The Jess Owen Carousel House is home to a 1920s Herschell Spillman carousel.

Eye Candy

For a trip back into photographic history, be sure to check out Long Island’s surviving Camera Obscura (Front Street, Mitchell Park, 631-477-0248,, housed in its own dedicated building in Mitchell Park. The view outside is reflected by a mirror through a lens, which projects the image onto a viewing table inside. The mirror can be rotated, to see in all directions. Today there are approximately 50 public camera obscuras in the world, five of which are in the United States. (Available by appointment only, and weather permitting. Admission is just $1.)

Your eyes will be equally dazzled when gazing upon the stunning creations of contemporary realist painter Isabelle Haran-Leonardi, whose work is showcased at the Nova Constellatio Gallery (419 Main St., 516-443-0242, Haran-Leonardi specializes in large scale landscapes of Eastern Long Island’s vineyards and waters, winning multiple awards for her works in recent years. The gallery also serves as her working studio, so when you visit you may get the opportunity to witness a true artisan in action. 

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s two owners became buddies in college.

Drink Me

Wineries are a massive draw for the Greenport area (and Long Island’s East End, in general). The 62-acre, award-winning Kontokosta Winery (825 North Rd., 631-477-6977, is one of Greenport’s top spots for vino enthusiasts, and is the North Fork’s only waterfront winery and tasting room. Stop in to sample the latest favorites, and/or take a winery tour, which are offered every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tour lasts roughly 45 minutes and includes a tasting of four wines, a cellar tour and a barrel sample. Tours cost $35 per person; reservations are highly recommended. You can also enjoy their wines while sitting at one of the many picnic tables available along the winery’s quarter-mile of oceanfront.

Or, if you prefer your libations to originate from hops instead of grapes, hunker down at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. (234 Carpenter St., 631-477-1100,, popular for its “flight” of five different beers, served on a Long Island/whale-shaped board. The brewery stays open an extra hour until 9 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, to coincide with the Greenport Gallery Walks event. 

The world-famous Claudio’s Restaurant.

Historic EatsIn Greenport, even the restaurants are historic. None more so than Claudio’s Restaurant (111 Main St., 631-477-0627,, housed in a National Historic Registered Building circa 1845. Serving up fine seafood since 1870, Claudio’s is the nation’s oldest same-family-run restaurant, founded by descendant Manuel Claudio, a Greenport whaler from Portugal, who first opened the business as Claudio’s Tavern. When not gorging on shrimp and lobster, take a moment to peruse the restaurant’s Victorian bar dating to 1886, as well as its many local artifacts. 

Greenport’s downtown has been lively since the LIRR first stopped there in the 19th century. (photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr)

Other recommended spots include:

1943 Pizza Bar
Stirling Square, 631-477-6984,

Agave Grill & Cantina
110 South St., 631-333-2323,

American Beech
300 Main St., 631-477-5939,

Bruce & Son
208 Main St., 631-477-0023,

First and South
100 South St., 631-333-2200,

The Frisky Oyster
27 Front St., 631-477-4265,

Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market
37 Front St., 631-477-6992,

119 Main St., 631-477-6666,

136 Front St., 631-477-6720,

Salamander’s On Front
38 Front St., 631-477-3711,

Sterlington Deli
3 Sterlington Commons, 631-477-8547, 

NY Auto Giant
Experience all that is historic, breathtaking and fun-filled in Greenport

After Decade of Reinvention, Patchogue Once Again a Seaside Gem

Patchogue’s Alive After 5 summer street festival, which runs Fridays in July and August, attracts thousands.

Patchogue has been a destination of sorts since 1869, when the final stretch of South Side Railroad tracks were laid from Sayville and hotels and boarding houses sprang up to handle New York City residents looking to beat the heat.

The tourist boom went bust with Wall Street in 1929, however, and Patchogue retooled itself as a regional shopping destination, with scores of busy shops and restaurants complementing its traditional textile, paper and lumber industries. The malls killed that iteration of Patchogue in the 1960s, and the village went into decay for the next 30 years, cementing its reputation as the spot along Montauk Highway where travelers pressed a little heavier on the gas pedal.

The village’s current rebirth began in the late 1990s, when government, business and varied economic development agencies committed to a sustained program of renewal. Since then, the village’s acclaimed 1920s theater has been reclaimed, hundreds of new apartments have been built and downtown business has returned to levels of activity not seen since the 1950s.

If you’re spending the day or just passing through, you can’t go wrong with the suggestions that follow. 

A ferry from Patchogue filled with passengers sails on the Great South Bay to Watch Hill on Fire Island (NPS Photo)

Ferry to paradise

It’s true, one of the village’s main draws are its ferries to Fire Island, with ships departing daily from its Davis Park Ferry Terminal (Sandspit Marina, 80 Brightwood Street, 631-475-1665, and, historically, its Watch Hill Ferry Terminal (160 West Avenue, 631-475-1665, Fire Island’s Watch Hill Marina, however, is currently closed for repairs by the National Park Service, and will reopen for the 2018 season, along with corresponding ferry service. The Davis Park ferry takes beachgoers to its namesake on Fire Island, as well as Leja Beach and Ocean Ridge. Check the website for the latest schedule. 

Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts
The lobby of the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. (Photo by James DeLucia)

Patchogue’s got talent

A focal point of Patchogue’s downtown is the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts (71 E. Main Street, 631-207-1300,, a beautifully restored 1,104-seat, venue originally opened in 1923 as Ward & Glynne’s Theatre. As majestic today as ever, the theater, now owned by the village, is the largest of its kind in Suffolk County, and offers a busy slate of musicians, comedians, plays and more. Spacious seating upgrades installed in 2016 only further improved an already fabulous facility.

If you prefer your entertainment a bit louder and rowdier, Patchogue’s 89 North (89 N. Ocean Avenue, 631-730-8992, is the village’s current contribution to LI’s proud rock club lineage, singularly so since the sudden closing of The Emporium in May. At 89 North, the venue pairs its world-class sound, lighting and staging with a well-positioned bar and an upper seating area with table service. Whether you’re watching a local band or a national touring artist, every show here is an event. 

Oozy egg taco with crab, asparagus, and arugula (Photo courtesy of Rhum)

A foodie’s fantasy

Patchogue has quietly become one of Long Island’s top destinations for dining, from posh, big-ticket eateries to authentic, roll-up-your-sleeves street food. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re craving the smoky goodness of BBQ mecca Bobbique (70 W. Main Street, 631-447-7744,, the delicate, mouthwatering sushi and Japanese fare at 360 Taiko Sushi & Lounge (47 S. Ocean Avenue, 631-207-6888,, the down-home pub grub at Reese’s 1900 (70 N. Ocean Avenue, 631-289-1900) or a breakfast bonanza at Toast Coffeehouse (46 E. Main Street, 631-654-7091,

We’d also be remiss not to mention the waterfront surf & turf mastery of Oar Steak & Seafood Grill (264 West Avenue, 631-207-1953,, the bold Caribbean flavors of Rhum (13 E. Main Street, 631-569-5944, and PeraBell Food Bar (69 E. Main Street, 631-447-7766,, which serves impressive, global-inspired cuisine in a casual pub setting. 

Blue Point Debate Beer
Blue Point Brewery debuted Colonial Ale, a beer recipe created by President George Washington, at the 2016 Hofstra Debates (Timothy Bolger/Long Island Press)

Night life: Live and liquid

In addition to its vast array of top-rate restaurants, Patchogue offers several hybrid dining/brewpub/live venue locations that are seemingly always happening. One can’t-miss spot for dinner, drinks and live music is also one of Patchogue’s most iconic businesses: Blue Point Brewing Company (161 River Avenue, 631-475-6944,, soon to be celebrating its 20th anniversary. Long Island’s lone commercial brewery and home of its famous Toasted Lager (among a growing array of other varieties), Blue Point’s tasting room can get a little packed with beer-ficionados, but you’ll thank yourself for muscling your way to the taps, especially since you get three 5 oz. samples just for stopping in. Cramped quarters will no longer be an issue in early 2018, when Blue Point opens its expanded new facility on the corner of West Main Street and Holbrook Road, on the current Briarcliffe College campus.

Patchogue’s beer-topia also includes The Tap Room (114 W. Main Street, 631-569-5577,, an upscale brewpub renowned for its wide beverage selection and ultra-tasty burgers. (The mussels are also a local favorite.) Opened in 2011, the spot is considered one of the anchors of Patchogue’s downtown revival. Specials include $4 Long Island beers on Monday nights, as well as happy hour Monday to Friday from 3 pm to 7 pm, featuring $4 drafts and wine, and $5 mussels, served one of five different styles. The dizzying beer selection is regularly updated online, in case you need to strategically plan in advance.

Another sure-fire pick, great for a leisurely lunch or relaxing waterside dinner, is Harbor Crab Co. ( 116 Division Street, 631-687-2722,, a sprawling two-story boat/building berthed on the Patchogue River. Tourists and locals alike flock here for the fresh seafood and cozy ambiance, or to take in the nightly live music from one of the restaurant’s two vibrant bars.

And if you’ve got the itch for a tropical waterfront oasis, head over to Leeward Cove Marina (327 River Avenue, 631-654-3106,, home to Dublin Deck Tiki Bar & Grill (631-207-0370, Amid the ever-flowing food and drinks Dublin also presents live music daily on its outdoor stages, including a Calypso steel drum band on Sundays and live reggae on Tuesdays. Popular daily food specials include $6 Build-A-Burger Tuesdays and the Thursday Lobster Bake Luau. The adjoining marina also offers a host of paddle board, boat and water sport rentals if you can pry yourself away from the Deck.

No walking tour is complete without a stroll through the Archway at Roe Walkway, which
connects Main Street with Artspace and offers great murals

Shop, shoot and roll

If your idea of fun involves more than raising a pint of Blue Point lager, the whole family can try their hand with a bow and arrow at Smith Point Archery (315 Main Street, 631-289-3399,, a full-service archery pro shop, school and indoor range. (There’s also a new crossbow range, for those would-be Daryl Dixons.) Don’t worry if you don’t travel around with your bow; you can rent one for $25, which includes shooting for the day. The range/store is open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

A less lethal, but equally enjoyable option is to bowl a few frames at Bowl Long Island at Patchogue (138 West Avenue, 631-475-5164,, especially on those rainy afternoons when you’re not lounging by the water. And for evening action, the bowling alley holds a “Dollarmania” special every Sunday night from 6 p.m. until close, with each game costing just $1 per person ($5 cover, $1 shoe rental) plus $2 Miller Lites and $1 pretzels. There’s also unlimited bowling for $10 per person (shoes included) every Wednesday and Thursday from 9 p.m. to close.

The history minded can explore what’s left of Patchogue’s proud past via a walking tour, including such oddities as the former New York Telephone Co.’s switchboard operations, the Clinton Roller Skating Rink and the site of the Leroy Thurber Bottling Works, where ginger ale, sarsaparilla and soda were packaged for the hotels. The Thurber guarantee: “No dirt.” Go to for a PDF guide or an audio tour you can download to your device.

Too late for this year, but those who like to walk should pencil in next year’s Alive After Five program, during July and August, when large swaths of downtown are turned into one giant street festival.

Finally, if you’re looking for something special to remember your time in Patchogue, a favorite among shoppers is The Amazing Olive (35 E. Main Street, 631-307-9092,, a well-stocked local source for the finest extra virgin olive oils, as well as vinegars, herbs, salts, rubs and seasonings. At any given time you can stop in and sample more than 50 award-winning oils, selected each year from competitions like the New York International Olive Oil Competition, Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition, Yolo County Fair Olive Oil Competition, Napa Valley Fair Olive Oil Competition and the Central Coast Olive Oil Competition.

The shop even holds private tasting parties Monday through Thursday after closing, complete with appetizers, a balsamic-inspired drink and dessert for each guest ($20 per person, six to 14 adults). After the tasting you get the entire store to yourself to browse and buy, plus a free sample bottle of oil to take home.

Artspace Lofts is a vibrant arts community in Patchogue with live/work space for artists and a resident’s
gallery. It’s also home to the Patchogue Arts Council Gallery and Plaza MAC Cinema, an independent
movie house

An Oral History of LI Music Scene’s Class of ’02-’03

Taking Back Sunday
TAKING BACK SUNDAY: (Left to right) drummer Mark O’Connell, vocalist Adam Lazzara, guitarist Eddie Reyes, guitarist/vocalist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]arly in the millennium, around 2002-03, the underground music “scene” that had been steadily building for so many years on Long Island finally reached its watershed moment, thanks in no small part to the monumental records released during that period. Ten years ago, for both aspiring young musicians and their frenzied fans, Long Island was the place to be.

After years of LI’s punk, emo, ska and hardcore bands packing VFW halls and bowling alleys—including seminal, often-overlooked outfits like Kill Your Idols, Mind Over Matter, Inside, Neglect, Silent Majority and Clockwise—a new breed of bands had started to materialize, ultimately centered around the “Big Four”: Glassjaw, the Movielife, Brand New and Taking Back Sunday (with the latter perhaps the most commercially successful of the LI crop).

While the histories of these bands—and the tangled web of interconnections between members—are far longer than the space afforded here, 2013 seems the perfect time to take a look back.

This past year the recently reunited Taking Back Sunday toured behind the 10-year anniversary of their wildly successful Tell All Your Friends record, released in 2002, the same year as Glassjaw’s last proper full-length, Worship And Tribute. It didn’t stop there: Brand New’s game-changing Deja Entendu dropped in 2003, as did the Movielife’s final opus, Forty Hour Train Back To Penn, and that’s just mentioning the “Big Four,” and not the countless other acts you’d catch at the Downtown or the Vanderbilt back in the day.

Thus, to take stock of where the LI scene was a decade ago, and how it’s changed since, we tapped members of some of its most influential bands, who share their unique perspectives on a milestone period for Long Island music.

[colored_box color=”grey”]


Alex Amiruddin (Guitar, the Movielife, 1997-2002; Guitar, Wiretap Crash, 2011-present)
Gary Bennett (Guitar, Kill Your Idols, 1995-2007; Guitar, Deathcycle, 2003-2009; Guitar, Black Anvil, 2007-present)
Larry Gorman (Drums, Glassjaw, 2000-2004; Drums, Head Automatica, 2003-2006; Drums, Asobi Seksu, 2009-present)
Mark O’Connell (Drums, Taking Back Sunday, 1999-present)
Brandon Reilly (Guitar, the Movielife 1999-2003; Guitar/Vocals, Nightmare of You, 2004-present)


Kill Your Idols
KILL YOUR IDOLS: (Left to right) vocalist Andy West, roadie Anthony “The Watch” Venticinque, bassist Paul Delaney, guitarist Tom Chapman, drummer Raeph Glicken, guitarist Gary Bennett, and M.A.D. Tourbooking tour manager Daniel Quade on 2000 European tour

Early Memories

O’Connell: I just remember getting into Eddie [Reye]’s van and going from city to city playing shows every night. I also remember thinking, “We can do this. We can become a really big band if we just keep on playing with the enthusiasm we are playing with.” I just knew something big was going to happen. We could feel it.

Amiruddin: Prior to 2002, the scene was an exciting and creative thing to be a part of. Both the bands and shows were diverse and people came out regardless of who was playing. Heavier bands played with the more emo, indie and punk bands. I made friends with people from all over the Island and it was a really good feeling.

Bennett: For me, the local scene was becoming a place I felt as if I had even less in common with than before…It had little or nothing to do with what Mind over Matter, Neglect, Berzerkers, Silent Majority and Clockwise were doing, yet in a lot of ways, it grew out from Silent Majority, Clockwise and Glassjaw.

Reilly: I have very warm memories of those days. It was such an exciting time. I’ve never been quite certain of the reason, but it always seemed like kids all across the States were so perpetually drawn to anything that the Long Island bands were doing. Kids wanted to move to Long Island just for the scene and what we had, and in fact, many of them did just that. Ironically, I was doing all I could just to get out of Long Island.
I remember leaving college in ’99 after only completing a half semester and then exclusively touring, writing and recording essentially 11 months out of each year for about four years straight with the Movielife. It was a great adventure, yet exhausting, and I look back on it not understanding how I achieved that sort of lifestyle. Surely, I had youth on my side.

O’Connell: At that time, [TBS] was just starting to tour full-time. It was a really special feeling. One crazy memory that I have is doing a tour with Brand New. In the beginning of the tour, we were playing to 150 to 200 people max, and what we were doing blew up so much during that time, that on the last show in Worcester, Mass., we played in front of 4,000 people.

Bennett: K.Y.I. had made the decision to stop touring as hard as we were…We all formed side projects—S.S.S.P., Celebrity Murders and Deathcycle—and all three bands were an attempt to be more extreme than what was currently going on here on LI.

Amiruddin: Around 2002 and 2003, I had quit the Movielife and was trying to find a different path outside of music. I still played in bands, but I didn’t have the same drive to be in a touring band that I had prior to forming the band. I cherish my experiences and memories from my time in the Movielife, but grew disenchanted with the new direction of the music, and my friendships with the other guys in the band suffered for various reasons.

Gorman: I remember mostly skipping school and going to shows.

The Movielife: (Left to right, back row first): Drummer Evan Baken, bassist Phil Navetta, guitarist Alex Amiruddin, guitarist Brandon Reilly and vocalist Vinnie Caruana
The Movielife: (Left to right, back row first): Drummer Evan Baken, bassist Phil Navetta, guitarist Alex Amiruddin, guitarist Brandon Reilly and vocalist Vinnie Caruana

Sudden Fame

Reilly: It was wild. It baffled me a great deal, and I still look back on it pretty dazed…[But] as far as Taking Back Sunday, Brand New and Glassjaw are concerned, that was a much higher level of fame and success. It’s hard for me to put the Movielife into the same category as the truly famous Long Island bands.

O’Connell: It came so quickly, that I didn’t really have time to have a reaction. I just remember thinking that this is crazy, and how could this actually be happening to us.

Amiruddin: I was really excited, but I was definitely overwhelmed with all of the attention. I liked being part of something that people were excited about, but I was a little weird when it came to being the center of attention. I would probably appreciate the attention more now. [laughs] I think I’m a little more well adjusted now than I was.

Bennett: When hard work pays off for anyone, I’m glad for them. Eddie Reyes of TBS is my friend. We met at Wilson Tech when I was in 11th grade. He was in Mind Over Matter back then. He gave me a demo and introduced me to all these new hardcore bands…I was in Clockwise with Ed for two years. TBS isn’t my thing, but I’m glad my friend was able to succeed and buy a house from playing his guitar. He’s earned it.

Reilly: I’m not sure why certain scenes and particular types of musical genres all of the sudden explode and ultimately fade away. I’d like to think the stars just align sometimes, or pandemonium, perhaps?

GLASSJAW: (Left to right) vocalist Daryl Palumbo; bassist Dave Allen, guitarist Justin Beck, guitarist Todd Weinstock, and drummer

O’Connell: Maybe it’s because what we were doing was special and original, and there was no other music at the time that sounded like that. When all the bands would play shows together, there was also a competitiveness to be the best, which made each band better and better.

Gorman: I think like most things, it just became a focal point for labels to cash-in on.

Bennett: I don’t know…Right place, right time? Hard work? Perseverance? All those things, I guess.

Amiruddin: I think it was due to the strong scene and work ethic of the bands. Relentless touring, label interest and talent formed some sort of synergy that spread. My band worked damned hard and sacrificed a lot to do what we loved. Not every band worked horrible temp jobs to save enough money to tour across the country and play in front of five people and have half of the shows canceled, just to do the same again when it was over, for years.

Present-Day LI Music Scene

Amiruddin: There is a great band called Playing Dead that I like a lot [featuring original TBS drummer Steve DeJoseph]. Iron Chic is great, too; They are becoming very popular on LI and around the country.

O’Connell: I make beats with a friend of mine, Kenny Truhn. He is a really talented engineer, singer, songwriter and producer. He has his own band, and has a very original sound, which is why I like him so much. I definitely think people should check him out.

Bennett: I will give a shout out to Polygon; they remind me of Sunny Day Real Estate. There’s a band called GANGWAY! who play real good hardcore punk. Primitive Weapons is from Brooklyn, but all those guys used to play in various LI bands. They are really awesome. Wiretap Crash is great.

O’Connell: [TBS] are going to start writing a new record in February. We are actually renting a farm in West Virginia, so it is just us five together, with no interruptions. We are all pretty excited about it.

Reilly: I just continue to write and record music for myself and Nightmare of You. We’ve slowly been releasing songs throughout the last few years. I’ve also been playing a few acoustic shows here and there, along with mini tours and a couple shows in Italy, where my wife is from. My main focus as of the last two years has been on my 18-month-old son. He finds a way to make sure that every moment of mine is accounted for.

Gorman: I’ve been playing with a band called Asobi Seksu for the last four years; I’ve also been working at a studio called Astoria Soundworks with A.J. [Novello], who used to play in Leeway, Both Worlds and is currently in the Cro-Mags; and also with Pokey, who also used to play in Leeway, and is currently the drummer for Agnostic Front. I’m right where I belong: back where I grew up and discovered hardcore music, chilling with all my heroes and peers, very content.

Bennett: Black Anvil is almost ready to record our third release for Relapse records. It will be called Hail Death!…Deathcycle will play the Acheron with Catharsis in January…I just quit Sheer Terror after a year of running around the world with them again…I’m much too focused on Black Anvil and that’s where my vibe is, mentally. My last show with Sheer Terror is December 30th.

Amiruddin: I’m playing in a band now called Wiretap Crash with George [Reynolds] from Mind Over Matter. We have an EP [Hand Over Fist]. They’re a group of some of my best friends…We all just love to hang, with writing and practicing as a way to justify the hang. We aren’t really a band looking to be rock stars. It’s all love.