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 Now.com 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.

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, rvcny.us/PhillipsHouse), 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, stagnescathedral.org), 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, cstl.org), 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, parks.ny.gov/parks/31), 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, madisontheatreny.org) 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, challengeescaperooms.com) 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, turnofthecorkscrew.com), 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, caborvc.net), 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, hamptoninn3.hilton.com

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

Where To Dine

Press 195
22 N Park Ave., 516-536-1950, press195.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, americasfireboat.org), 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, eastendseaport.org), 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, rmli.org), 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, villageofgreenport.org), 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, villageofgreenport.org), 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, novaconstellatiogallery.com). 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, kontokostawinery.com) 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, greenportharborbrewing.com), 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, claudios.com), 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, rollingindoughpizza.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

119 Main St., 631-477-6666, lucharitos.com

136 Front St., 631-477-6720, chefnoahs.com

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

Sterlington Deli
3 Sterlington Commons, 631-477-8547, www.sterlingtondeli.net 

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, davisparkferry.com) and, historically, its Watch Hill Ferry Terminal (160 West Avenue, 631-475-1665, davisparkferry.com). 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, patchoguetheatre.org), 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, 89northmusic.com) 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, bobbique.com), the delicate, mouthwatering sushi and Japanese fare at 360 Taiko Sushi & Lounge (47 S. Ocean Avenue, 631-207-6888, 360taiko.com), 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, facebook.com/ToastCoffeehousePatchogue).

We’d also be remiss not to mention the waterfront surf & turf mastery of Oar Steak & Seafood Grill (264 West Avenue, 631-207-1953, theoar.com), the bold Caribbean flavors of Rhum (13 E. Main Street, 631-569-5944, rhumpatchogue.com) and PeraBell Food Bar (69 E. Main Street, 631-447-7766, perabellfoodbar.com), 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, bluepointbrewing.com), 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, patchoguetaproom.com), 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, harborcrab.com), 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, leewardcovemarina.com), home to Dublin Deck Tiki Bar & Grill (631-207-0370, dublindeck.com). 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, smithpointarchery.com), 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, bowllongisland.com), 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 history.pmlib.org/patchoguewalkingtour 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, amazingolive.com), 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.

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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.