Long Island Press

The Long Island Press

7 Beach Hacks: An Insider’s Guide to Long Island Beaches

Lovers stroll along the seashore in Long Beach in June 2014. (Photo by Joe Abate)

Editor’s note: this story has been updated.

Seasoned Long Island beach bums know better than anyone that natural highlights, sun-kissed complexions and carefree attitudes worn proudly by frequent beachgoers do not manifest overnight.

But, oceanfront homeowners aside, all of those trips to the shore aren’t free. It can take years to decode labyrinth park rules while trying not to break the bank 100 times over on parking fees alone. All while praying for the weather to cooperate.

For those who have never dared to venture beyond Jones Beach State Park, the Press has compiled this Insider’s Guide to Long Island Beaches, highlighting hidden gems, loopholes and savings.

And yes, this guide is specifically for south shore ocean beaches because, well, sand. Kick rocks, Long Island Sound.


Ask any Costco shopper or sports fan season ticket holder: volume discounts are worth their weight in gold.

An Empire Passport may cost a cool $80, but it spares drivers $8-$10 per vehicle at six LI ocean beaches run by the New York State parks department. They include Jones, Robert Moses, Hither Hills, Shadmoor, Camp Hero and Montauk Point. Go to these beaches any more than twice a month from May to September and it pays off—plus the pass is good for free entry to most state parks until Dec. 31.

The Suffolk County Green Key—$30 for residents, $200 for non-residents—offers reduced admission to county-run beaches, such as Smith Point on the eastern tip of Fire Island, Cupsogue in Westhampton, Shinnecock East in Southampton, Meschutt in Hampton Bays and Montauk County Park. Reduced rates are also offered for seniors and veterans. Entrance is free for disabled veterans.

The Nassau County Leisure Pass, available to Nassau residents only, costs $32. With it, access to Nickerson Beach in Lido is discounted from $35 to $13, meaning the pass starts saving money after just two visits. Discounts available for vets, elders, civic duty volunteers, and active military.


Rather pay nothing to go to the beach? Just wait until dusk. While the state-run beaches stop charging for entry at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on weekends, waiting until late afternoon when the town-run beaches stop collecting saves the most money.

That’s because many town beaches charge exponentially higher fees for non-town residents. The best example is the Town of Oyster Bay’s oceanfront park, Tobay Beach, which offers $60 season passes for town residents and charges non-residents a whopping $50 per visit on weekdays (non-residents not allowed during weekends collection times).

But, ticket agents stop collecting there at 6 p.m. and Tobay has three restaurants open til 11 p.m. The Crazy Oyster and the Mango Bay Latin Kitchen and Cantina, both on the bay, are open daily and oceanfront The Ocean Club is open 6-11 p.m. Saturdays.

Rivaling those rates is the Town of Babylon, where residents can buy a season pass for $45 and non-residents are charged up to $30 per visit on weekends and $20 weekdays to super-popular Gilgo and Cedar beaches (non-Babylonians are shunned altogether from Overlook)—until 5 p.m., that is. Dedicated after-hours Cedar Beach visitors who find the lot full can walk from nearby Overlook Beach immediately to the east.

Ticket collectors also go home at 5 p.m. at Town of Hempstead beaches, including Point Lookout, Lido, Lido West and Sands on the east end of Long Beach Island, where rates are $10 for residents and $25 for non-residents. Hempstead doesn’t have a town-wide park pass, but season passes are offered at individual beaches with deals such as 15 trips for $100.


East of those beaches is Fire Island, where—aside from Robert Moses and Smith Point—a $19 round-trip ferry trip is generally required to mid-island hot spots that don’t allow vehicles. That means struggling to find parking at the ferry terminals, where lots quickly fill up on summer weekends.

FI beachgoers who drive to the Bay Shore port can spare themselves ferry company parking lot fees if they find a free spot on a side street north of Montauk Highway and walk the half hour to the boats or hop a $5 cab, which is still cheaper than pay lots or fines. But, make sure it’s a 12-hour spot and don’t park there overnight or the summons will negate the savings. 

While that helps for those destined for communities between Kismet and Ocean Bay Park, parking at the Sayville train station also saves fees at that town’s FI ferry terminal to eastern FI destinations such as Fire Island Pines, Cherry Grove, Sailor’s Haven and Water Island.

Those heading for Davis Park, where beachgoers leave from the Patchogue terminal, find that being a Brookhaven resident with a $15 park pass ($5 for vets, handicapped, and elders) good for two years beats paying much more for parking without. Everyone else can park free at the Watch Hill ferry terminal—or the train station a block away if that lot is full—then take the Watch Hill boat to get across the bay and walk 15 minutes west to Davis Park. But watch out, there’s a 20-minute walk back to the car from the Davis Park ferry terminal if not returning via the Watch Hill boat, which stops running earlier.


There are a few bucks to be saved for those that don’t mind putting some work into it with these two tricks.

Save on ferry fare by parking at Robert Moses State Park’s field 5 and taking the scenic 1.7-mile stroll east to Kismet, the westernmost residential community of FI, home to two spunky bars/restaurants. Those game for adding another mile on that hike—or bring an off-road bicycle to ride down unpaved Burma Road—are rewarded with Fair Harbor, the only other western FI community with a restaurant before unpaved roads farther east make it impossible to ride without a fat-tired beach bike. Beachfront walkers beware: naturalists have been rebelling against a post-Sandy nude beach ban at Lighthouse Beach.

While that trick has been around, this one is new. The new pedestrian path connecting Jones and ToBay beaches is another way non-Oyster Bay town residents can avoid paying parking fees. The path starts at Cedar Creek County Park in Seaford, which makes it a good way to catch some sun without burning a hole in the wallet.


Most marina docking fees are around the same or steeper than parking lots, but Gilgo Beach and ToBay Beach offer boaters bargain pricing. At Gilgo, after purchasing a $50 boat-docking pass for the season, the daily fee is $5 for small boats. At ToBay, residents for can purchase full-season boating passes as low as $65-$90. Both vary with the size of the boat.

Breaking down docking fees in even greater detail are the experts over at Boating Times Long Island, who regularly update their handy Marina 411 feature. The editor also notes that boaters can also simply anchor their vessels for free in areas such as Hemlock Cove near Cedar Beach, wade to shore and then walk to the beach.

For those without a boat to call their own, Long Island Rail Road offers combined ferry fare and cab packages. For under $50, it includes ferry fare and three-course meal at one of three Ocean Beach restaurants: McGuire’s, The Island Mermaid or Bocce Beach. The catch is the deal is only offered Monday through Thursday, but that’s a steal for the notoriously expensive barrier island.


Rivaling the celebrity of its residents are some of the Hamptons famed beaches, which have ranked in recent years on Dr. Beach’s prestigious nation-wide Top 10 list, including Main Beach in East Hampton and Coopers Beach in Southampton.

The rate at Coopers Beach is $50 per day, but drivers can park on Halsey Neck and walk across to skip the parking fee, notes Nicole B. Brewer, executive editor and publisher of Hamptons.com. Otherwise, drivers should check the signs to ensure parking is allowed on side streets, as it usually isn’t. Every other beach requires a permit, including Main Beach, which charges $30 for residents and non-residents alike.

Park at the Montauk Lighthouse to save on parking fees at Ditch Plains Beach, the Montauk home of the famous surf spot and infamous Ditch Witch truck, or take advantage of the Hamptons Free Ride from Southampton to Montauk and beaches along the way for free from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, added Brewer.

Of course, an even better idea is finding a friend or relative who rents or lives on the South Fork to save on the parking tickets that wind up on vehicles driven by tourists that inevitably confuse the rules. That doesn’t mean be like the stalkers who were arrested after making themselves at home in mansions owned by Sean Combs and Jennifer Lopez.


This one is for those looking for more nighttime fun at the beach can stay at the shore beyond the park-closes-at-dusk rules.

There are three oceanfront Tiki Joe’s (formerly Beach Huts) on the barrier islands, including ones in Smith Point, Meschutt Beach and Cupsogue Beach. All are open until 9:30 p.m.—plenty of time to chill out after the 5 p.m. free entry starts. Most locations offer live music nightly, same as the above-mentioned restaurants in Tobay open til 11 p.m.

The eponymous Gilgo Beach Inn that also sits bayside hosts the occasional live band and stays open until sundown, too. 

Baldwin’s Chris Weidman Defending UFC Title vs. Brazilian Lyoto Machida

Baldwin's superman Chris Weidman celebrates his middleweight championship victory July 6, 2013. The Long Island hero will be defending his title against Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida July 5, 2014. (Photo credit: Chris Weidman's Facebook profile)

Baldwin-native Chris “The All-American” Weidman is defending his middleweight title against former light heavyweight champion and Brazilian standout Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida in a hotly contested international Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bout riding the wave of patriotism whipped up in the World Cup.

Dubbed “International Fight Week” by UFC, Weidman (11-0) will be tackling one of his hardest challenges in Machida (21-4), a national hero of Brazil, on Pay-per-view at UFC 175 on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. It comes about a year after Weidman, the odds stacked against him, defeated the former pound-for-pound king, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, in a “Rocky Balboa”-type of moment, knocking out the champ in the second round on July 6, 2013. Shocking the mixed martial arts (MMA) universe, his win was criticized by many as a fluke, but Weidman laid his critics to rest as he went on to beat Silva in a rematch to retain the title at UFC 168 in December.

“I had a lot to prove in the second fight, I knew I was a better fighter and now I’m going to move on in the middleweight division,” said Weidman at a press conference for UFC 175. Having double-knee surgery after the Silva fight, Weidman added he “never felt better.” As of Thursday, Weidman is a 9-to-5 favorite to retain his title, with Machida getting 8-to-5 odds to win.

Known as a full-contact combat sport, MMA uses both striking and grappling techniques from a variety of other combat sports and martial arts. The fight isn’t just regulated to standing up, as practitioners in jiu-jitsu and wrestling utilize their ground game to take opponents down. Judging is based on a 10-point scoring system with each round lasting five minutes for a total of five rounds in a championship match and three rounds in a non-championship tilt.

Chris Weidman
Nassau County Community College (NCC) alumni/wrestler/former UFC fighter Jay Hieron (L) and veteran NCC wrestling team coach Paul Schmidt pose alongside MMA superstar champion Chris Weidman while he accepts one of his many accolades. (Photo from Weidman’s Twitter account)

Weidman’s storied career began during his years attending Baldwin High School, as he helped win both Nassau County and New York State wrestling championships. After graduating, he earned four All-American wrestling honors, two at Nassau Community College and two at Hofstra University. It was during his time at Hofstra that Weidman was introduced to MMA coach Ray Longo and former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra of East Meadow.

Weidman attempted to make a run at the Olympics after his college years, but it didn’t come to fruition as he found his niche as a wrestling coach and then a fighter for Longo’s gym. Fighting under the Serra/Longo Competition Team, both Serra and Longo have MMA schools on Long Island. Ray Longo Mixed Martial Arts is located in Garden City while Serra’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools are based out of Levittown and Huntington.

At 24-years-old, Weidman made his professional debut in a minor organization called Ring of Combat in 2009. After a successful run, he was called by the UFC and won his first fight for the company two years later. He went on to beat world-class competitors before eventually receiving his title shot at UFC 162 for the middleweight belt against Silva.

MMA organizations having deals with Viacom, NBC and NewsCorp have brought the sport from a fringe event to the mainstream. With that star power, Weidman has given back to Long Island. Last month, he helped raise money for Isaiah Bird, a 6-year-old who was born without legs who is currently living in a Glen Cove shelter, and after Sandy Weidman held a fundraiser for the storm’s survivors.

Still, the sport isn’t for everyone. Since the UFC’s first event in 1993, the company, now owned by Zuffa LLC, has gone through great lengths to appease opponents, and representatives say they have worked diligently to create a safer environment for their employees.

New York is the only state with an athletic commission that doesn’t allow the regulation of MMA. The state Senate has passed legislation to regulate MMA for five straight years, most recently this May, but it has yet to pass the state Assembly.

“It’s disheartening, it doesn’t make any sense at all, you can fight pretty much anywhere in the world but cannot in New York,” said Weidman, noting that besides him and Serra, the state is home to a third champion, Jon Jones. “It’s a complete joke and it has gotten to the point where it’s past frustrating….The fans should have a show that they deserve.”

He’ll have to channel some of that anger this weekend. Brazil has roots in MMA dating back many decades. Machida, who uses a karate-style and is not only one of the best counter-strikers in the game, he’s close friends with the former champ Silva, was asked at the press conference about bringing a belt back to his home country.

“There’s always pressure but I can change that pressure into motivation for Brazil.” Machida said. “This isn’t personal to me at all….It comes down to whoever can use their discipline better, anything can happen in MMA.”

Do This: Long Island Events July 3-9

The Go-Gos
Break out the jean jackets and the hoop earrings. These pioneering Los Angeles-based all-female new wave rockers who rose to fame in the 1980s will rip through all their infectious hits, such as “We Got The Beat,” “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels.” Dancin’ and boppin’ guaranteed. With supporting act Laura Stevenson. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $45-$91.75. 8 p.m. July 3

The Fest
Georgia-based country rocker Brantley Gilbert headlines this Southern-sounding soiree. With supporting acts Thomas Rhett, Tyler Farr, Cole Swindell, American Young and Leah Turner. Pennysaver Amphitheater, Bald Hill, 55 South Bicycle Path, Selden. pennysaveramp.com $30-$187. 2 p.m. July 3

Fat Joe
The Bronx-born Latin rapper will break out some of his hits, such as “Lean Back,” “Make It Rain” and What’sLuv?” for Throwback Thursday with DJ Class, Odel Young, Smooth City, Click Da Cosigner, Killa K, Scott Camello. The Emporium, 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue. theemporiumny.com. $10, $15 DOS. 9 p.m. July 3

What better way to ring in the true start of summer on Long Island—Fourth of July weekend, when school is finally out—with the beachy good SoCal vibes of this Sublime tribute band. Love is what they got! Mulcahy’s, 3232 Railroad Ave, Wantagh. muls.com $15. 9 p.m. July 3

Paint Night
“Drink Creatively” at a fool-proof two-hour instructional painting event intended for both the artistically inclined and eh, not-so-much. Join instructor Rachel Kremidas as she walks eager painters through their unique renditions of the “Lone Cherry Blossom” painting originally created just for Paint Night. Brooklyn Fire Proof, 119 Ingraham St., Brooklyn. Brooklynfireproof.com. $65. 7 p.m. July 3

Read More: Long Island Fourth of July 2014 Fireworks and Events Listings Here

The Scofflaws
This is the gig you want to hit as the sky turns violet, the brews are cracked and the explosions paint the sky. Trust us. These legendary Huntington-based rude boys pick it up with rocksteady and ska at an outdoor waterfront show before the fireworks. Their songs are ferocious. Their groove is magnetic. Their vibe is electric. You won’t be able to control yourself. Skank, skank, skank, skank, skank! Patio on the Dock, Northport Village Park, Main Street, Northport. 7 p.m. July 4

Nancy Atlas Project
When the fireworks die down and the night heats up, ride the wave of patriotism with this Commack-born, Southern-styled Americana songstress billed as the missing link between Lucinda Williams and Sheryl Crow. The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main St., Amagansett. stephentalkhouse.com $30. 10 p.m. July 4.

Amagansett Fine Arts Festival
Hamptons at its artsiest. This colorful and imaginative celebration features a smorgasbord of artistic works for sale: sculptures, paintings, drawings and mixed media, including reproductions and original works. Truly inspiring. American Legion Amagansett, 15 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett. amagansettfinearts.com Free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Closes at 5 p.m. Sunday.) July 4-6

The Beach Boys
Fun, fun, fun! It doesn’t get much more fitting than watching “America’s Band” play on Fourth of July weekend at everyone’s favorite seaside amphiteater. With supporting acts Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals and The Lovin’ Spoonful. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeach.com.$29.50-$79.50. 7:30 p.m. July 5

Zongo Junction
Free album release show supporting already fast-growing Brooklyn-native afrobeat style band, Zongo Junction. Electrifying dance floors with five horns and a six-piece rhythm section. With Chicano Batman. Brooklyn Night Bazaar. 165 Banker St., Brooklyn. Bkbazaar.com. Free. 7 p.m. July 5

Freestyle Explosion  
Starring the Miami dance scene legend Stevie B. With supporting acts Quad City DJs, Debbie Deb, Timex Social Club, C-Bank, Rob Base, Laura Enea and Nayobe. Bump and grind the night away! Pennysaver Amphitheater, Bald Hill, 55 South Bicycle Path, Selden. pennysaveramp.com $25-$84. 5 p.m. July 5

Anyone who missed Lionel Ritchie play Jones Beach last month can get their Motown fix with the rest of the Commodores, featuring original member and lead guitarist Thomas McClary as they play their hits, including “Easy,” “Brick House” and “Nightshift.” 76 Main St., Westhampton Beach. whbpac.org $95-$150. 8 p.m. July 6

Snoop Lion, aka Snoop Dogg
For those who didn’t get the memo, West Coast hip-hop bad-boy Snoop Dogg has altered his bark and released his first reggae album, Reincarnated, under the name Snoop Lion after being blessed by a Rastafarian priest. Don’t worry, he’s still sure to play “Gin & Juice.” The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $45. 8p.m. July 8

Long Island International Film Festival
The 16th annual LI film fest “warm up” starts with blocks of short films on July 7 ahead of the official opening night reception and first round of awards that Friday night. Panels throughout this nine-day cinematic celebration include workshops on script writing, financing and acting. Closing night award ceremony July 17. Bellmore Movies, 222 Petit Ave., Bellmore. longislandfilm.com Prices, times vary. July 9-17

Sky Ferreira
The synthpop siren serenades about love and chaos to benefit the David Lynch Foundation, which funds transcendental meditation programs for a host of people in need, ranging from at-risk students and veterans suffering PTSD to domestic violence survivors and diabetic American Indians, among many others. With DJ sets by Ladies Night, Vito Roccoforte (The Rapture) & special guests. Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 North 6th St., Brooklyn. musichallofwilliamsburg.com $25 ADV/$30 DOS. 8 p.m. July 9

Travel Diary: Experience The Magic of Saratoga Springs [Sponsored]

Escape to the races with the top down. Visit NY Auto Giant today and drive home the car of your dreams. Now that's a win-win.

Continue the excitement and momentum of the Kentucky Derby with a trip up to Saratoga Springs. A few hours in the car puts you right in the heart of the Northeast’s racing country, just in time for opening day at famed Saratoga Race Course on July 18.

And there’s no better way to cruise there than behind the wheel of a sleek, stylish 2014 Infiniti Q60 coupe or convertible from NY Auto Giant. The summer is the perfect time to put the top down and take in the sights, sounds, and ambiance of one of the United States’ most authentically quaint towns. This car is as gorgeous, comfortable and powerful as the experience you’re in for on this amazing trip.

There’s plenty to see and do when you get there.

The world-famous racetrack, which has been featured in such films as The Horse Whisperer and Seabiscuit, boasts daily live races through Sept. 1 (except Tuesdays) including several invitational and special challenges.

On Mondays the course is home to weekly family festivals. Admission is free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult and these day-long events include free arts and crafts, face painting, bouncy inflatables and mascot appearances, along with additional activities ranging from puppet building workshops to reptile exhibits.

Click here to learn more about NY Auto Giant

Besides the horses, there’s so much to do in this historic and picturesque town it really becomes just a matter of what you and the family feel like on any particular day.

Saratoga is home to a bevy of mineral springs renowned for their legendary healing powers and health benefits. Locals swear by the springs’ magical effects, attributing soaking in the “egg water” (as it’s called due to its unique aroma) with helping alleviate stress and even melting away skintags, among so many other benefits.

Approximately 17 mineral springs create a network of spas and bath houses perfect for rejuvenating your family’s spirits following the roughly four-hour trek here from Long Island.

What’s that? It’s relaxation, fine dining and great accommodations you seek!? Check into a room at the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa and thank us later! Beautiful grounds, great food and several mineral spas and baths make this a must-go for any visit to ‘Toga.

Then of course, there are the myriad shops, restaurants and bars lining Saratoga’s vibrant downtown main drag Broadway and popular Caroline Street.

Delve into a loaded SF Mission Burrito and steaming Fajitas platter at Cantina—the strip’s choice go-to for fresh, quality authentic Mexican. These things are monsters, replete with lime-zested rice, Tecate simmered black beans, fresh chicken or steak, peppers, onions, guac and oh-so-soft and scrumptiously satisfying tortillas. Wow.

Stop in at your pick of watering holes, ranging from the Tin ’N’ Lint—where Don McLean is alleged to have written his classic “American Pie” over a few pints—to the sports-themed Caroline Street Pub and always-fun Desperate Annie’s. Be sure and play a quick game of foosball at the latter.

9 Maple Avenue is known for its world-class jazz and wide selection of local beers, and for the best hole in the wall down-home barbecue this side of the Mason Dixon, don’t miss Hattie’s Chicken Shack. Order up the award-winning chicken and waffles that sent Bobby Flay home with his tail between his legs when he dared to challenge them with a “Throw Down.” Slather them with both hot sauce and maple syrup. Dunk a few tidbits in your steaming cup of fresh-brewed coffee on their way down. Trust us. Yum.

Change it up and stay at the historic charming Union Gables B&B, voted Best three years in a row. This elegant mansion has been at the heart of Saratoga Springs since 1901 and was renovated in 2005 to include all of the updated luxuries you’d expect: flat screen televisions, high speed Wi-Fi, in-room refrigerators and robes for each guest. In the mornings, enjoy a cooked-to-order full breakfast.

Nearby, you’ll find the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Perfect for picnics, concerts, Frisbee-tossing and people watching.

Cruise to Saratoga Springs behind the wheel of a 2014 Infiniti Q60 from NY Auto Giant. We promise you, you'll love it. Game on.
Cruise to Saratoga Springs behind the wheel of a 2014 Infiniti Q60 from NY Auto Giant. We promise you, you’ll love it. Game on.

For authentic Irish beer hall seating, check out the Parting Glass. And you can’t leave the area during horse season without a cocktail and a bite from Gaffney’s, billed as “Saratoga’s Place to Be Since 1978.”

Saratoga is also home to the famed Yaddo artist colony, which has hosted the likes of 68 Pulitzer Prize-winning authors including Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Saul Bellow and Leonard Bernstein.

Recite some poetry, celebrate life or embark on a day-long adventure through Saratoga’s gorgeous nature trails—you’ll never want to leave this place, but as you get back in your Infiniti Q60, the summer breeze blowing through your hair, know this and be comforted: Once you’ve immersed yourself in the wonder that is Saratoga, it never really leaves you.

For more information on how you can get a 2014 convertible Infiniti Q60, call Troy Calabrese at Lynbrook Infiniti.

Kidz Bop at The Space at Westbury [Review]

This past weekend, hundred of Long Island kids and parents turned out to The Space at Westbury for the 2014 edition of the Kidz Bop tour.
Recently named Billboard’s #1 kids artists for the fourth consecutive year, the KIDZ BOP Kids are bringing their nationwide “Dream Big, Sing Loud!” Tour across the country and this was a stop along the way. This year’s group featured Ashlynn Chong, Bredia Santoro, Grant Knoche, Matt Martinez, and Jayna Brown; who are all between the ages of 10 and 12; these kidz can really sing, dance, and play Instruments!
Ashley is from California, Bredia is from Illinois, Grant from Texas, Matt is from New Jersey and Jayna is from Maryland. These five extremely talented kids were chosen out of thousands who auditioned to sing on albums, appear in commercials and music videos, interact with members on KIDZBOP.COM and perform live on tour, year-round – and they really pulled it off in person at the show. 
The KIDZ BOP Kids perform kid-friendly versions of today’s biggest hits in a high-energy and interactive show, complete with live tweeting on a screen behind the band as they play. The “Dream Big, Sing Loud!” live show is the ultimate family concert experience that guarantees to get everyone singing and dancing along, and the Space was moving to the beat all afternoon.
KIDZ BOP is a perennial best seller with more than 14 million albums sold, and their most recent album KIDZ BOP 25 debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 (and as the #1 Kid Album) and has remained in top 5 since its release. Their next music release, KB 26, is set to be out on July 15, 2014
Fun fact: In 2013, KIDZ BOP outsold some of today’s biggest artists including Miley Cyrus, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. They have 18 Billboard Top 10 debuts. Only 8 artists in history – such as Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Madonna – have had more. 
Watch the Safe and Sound Music Video from KB 25 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3N5gYH6moc
For more information about the “Sing Loud, Dream Big!” Tour, visit: www.kidzbop.com/tour

Long Island Fourth of July 2014 Fireworks and Events

What better way to celebrate the Independence Day than by attending one of the many fireworks shows hosted across Long Island this weekend? Round up the friends and family and make some Fourth of July memories at one or more of these events:


Southampton Annual American Picnic with Fireworks by Grucci
Games for kids, food carts with popcorn, ice cream, hot dogs and other delights. Fireworks over Shinnecock Bay at sundown. 1030 Meadow Lane, Southampton. 7 p.m., July 4.

New York Lizards vs. Florida Launch
Hero Night for the New York Lizards, Long Island’s lacrosse team. The game will acknowledge honorary people who have served. In addition, the police and the fire departments will face off, followed by fireworks. James M. Shuart Stadium at Hofstra, 900 Fulton Ave., Hempstead. $10-$75. 7 p.m., July 3.

July 4th Concert
The Denice Given Band will perform before the fireworks at sundown. West Beach, Port Jefferson. Free. 7 p.m., July 4.

Ducks Game and Fireworks
Ducks take on the Riversharks followed by post-game fireworks show. Bethpage Park, 3 Court House Dr., Central Islip. $11-$15. 7 p.m., July 4.

Asharoken Fireworks
Asharoken Beach on Asharoken Avenue, Asharoken. Free. 9 p.m., July 4.

Bald Hill Fireworks Extravaganza
Captain Jack, a Billy Joel cover band takes the stage at 5:30 p.m. followed by UNcovered, a cover band that rearranges classics before the fireworks. Pennysaver Amphitheater, 55 South Bicycle Path, Farmingville. Free. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m., July 4

Valley Stream’s Annual 4th of July Fireworks Show
Pre-fireworks show begins at 8 p.m. Firemen’s Memorial Field, East Fenimore Street and Albermarle Avenue, Valley Stream Park. Tickets are free in advance. 9:15 p.m., July 4.

Fireworks Show
Variety of food will be offered on the Great Lawn starting at 5:30 p.m. and the band Stages will perform before the fireworks. The Park at East Hills, Roslyn Heights. Free. 9:15 p.m., July 4.

July 4th Concert, Children’s Bicycle Parade
Annual patriotic-themed children’s bicycle parade starts at Finley Middle School at 10 a.m., heads down School Street and ends at Village Square. Northwinds Symphonic Band performance starts at 7:30 p.m. before the fireworks show. Morgan Park, 1 Landing Rd., Glen Cove. Free. Fireworks at 9 p.m., July 4.

Go 4th on the Bay
Fireworks over Great South Bay between Oakdale and Great River. 9 p.m., July 4.

Stars Over Montauk
Umbrella Beach, Montauk. Free. Fireworks at 9 p.m., July 5

Fireworks Extravangza
The Story Tellers musical performance at the bandwagon at Long Beach Boulevard starts at 8 p.m., an hour before the fireworks show. Food vendors will be serving International fare on the boardwalk. Free shuttle buses from the East and West Ends to Riverside Boulevard and back 7-11 p.m. Precedes weekend-long Arts & Crafts Festival on the boardwalk with 200 vendors 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday. Long Beach. Free. Fireworks at 9 p.m., July 11.

Fireworks Celebration and Concert
Food and entertainment at 6 p.m., South Shore Symphony performance at 7:45 p.m. Mill River Park, 295 South Park Ave. Rockville Centre. Free. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m., July 12.

57th Annual Fireworks Show
Crescent Beach, Shore Road, Shelter Island. Free. 9:30 p.m., July 12

Salute to America
Performance by Dean Karahalis and the Concert Pops Orchestra, plus a salute to veterans and active military before a fireworks show. John J. Burns Town Park, 4990 Merrick Rd., Massapequa Park. Free. 7:30 p.m., July 12.

Annual Carnival and Fireworks Show
Carnival opens at 6 p.m. July 1-5. Polo Grounds, Greenport. Fireworks at 10 p.m., July 4-5.


Port Jefferson
Sponsored by the Port Jefferson Fire Department. Main Street to Barnum Avenue, Port Jefferson. Free. 10 a.m., 12 p.m. July 4.

July 4th Parade and Festival
Parade and Festival in the Village of East Hills. 209 Harbor Hill Rd., Roslyn. Free. 10 a.m.-12 p.m., July 4.

Starts on Walker Street and finishes on Park Boulevard. Parade goers are encouraged to wear festive attire. Walker Street, Massapequa. Free. 11 a.m., July 4.

17th Annual 4th of July Parade, Main Road, Boisseau Avenue to Tuckers Lane, Southold. Free. 12 p.m., July 4.

Baby Parade
Children’s parade in which kids ride their patriotic-decorated wagons after the fire department marches through downtown. Bay Walk, Ocean Beach, Fire Island. Free. 11 a.m., July 5.


24th Annual Southampton Firecracker 8K Run and 3M Walk
All proceeds benefit the Southampton Rotary Scholarship Fund. Pre-registration fee: $25, $30 DOS. 8 a.m., July 4.

Shoreham-Wading River July 4th Run
All ages. One-mile run for ages 12 and younger 8 a.m. One-mile run for children 13 or older at 8:15 a.m. 5K at 8:45 a.m. 3 Miller Ave., Shoreham. $15, $20 DOS. July 4.

Oakdale Firecracker 5K
Supports the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund. Dowling College, 150 Idle Hour Blvd., Oakdale. 9 a.m., July 4.

Bellmore Striders Independence Day Run
Dedicated to Matthew Warkala, a former Striders member and Mepham High School alumnus who died of brain cancer in 1987. Pettit Avenue, Bellmore. $20 per adult. $10 per child. 8:30 a.m., July 4.


Fireworks and Fine Dining
Three-course dinner to celebrate Independence Day. Crescent Beach Club, 333 Bayville Ave., Bayville. $125 per person. 6:30 p.m., July 4.

Canterbury Ales Oyster Bar and Grill
Special menu for the Fourth of July with several unbeatable discounts. 46 Audrey Ave, Oyster Bay. July 4.


Sousa March Concert
During the village parade, Atlantic Community Band will perform patriotic marches such as “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by Philip Sousa, an American composer and conductor known particularly for American military songs. In front of The Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 E. Main St., Patchogue. Free. 9:30 a.m., July 4

Oceanside Summer Festival
Food, vendors, collectibles and arts and crafts. Schoolhouse Green, Foxhurst Road and Long Beach Road, Oceanside. Free. 11 a.m-6 p.m. July 5-6.

1864 Independence Day Celebration
A replication of the 1861 July Fourth celebration during the beginning of the Civil War. 1303 Round Swamp Rd., Old Bethpage. $7 adults, $5 seniors and kids ages 5-12. Tots free. 10 a.m., 4 p.m., July 4.

Main Street Independence Day Celebration
Includes arts and crafts, face painting, balloons, cookies and ice cream. Main Street, Bay Shore. Free. 1-4:30 p.m., July 4.

Fourth of July Holiday Concert
Long Island Brass Band performing since 1975. Connetquot Public Library, 760 Ocean Ave., Bohemia. Free. 7-8 p.m., July 3.

Independence Day Fireworks Cruises
The more than dozen boats in the Captree Fleet of recreational fishing and party boats will set sail before sundown, offering some of the best views of the fireworks possible. Captree State Park, 3500 Ocean Pkwy., Babylon. Prices vary. 7-11 p.m., July 4.

Bayville Midsummer Nights Dream Cruise
See the fireworks from the Long Island Sound. Ransom Beach, Bayville Avenue, Bayville. 5:30-9 p.m., July 4.

Peconic Bay Medical Center Family Festival
Rides, games and concessions. 6164 Route 25A, Wading River. Free. 6-10 p.m. July 4-7. Fireworks at 10:15 p.m. July 6

Fireworks Cruises
Cruise under the fireworks. Freeport Water Taxi Tours, Richmond Street, Freeport. $30. 9-11 p.m., July 4.

Long Island Farmers’ Markets Summer 2014

The summer is upon us, dear Long Islanders, and that means—yep, you guessed it—Farmers’ Markets are back! This list will be updated as new confirmations roll in.

Amityville: 9/11 Memorial parking lot, Route 110. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. June 14-Oct. 25

Babylon: Train station parking lot. Sundays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. June 1-Nov. 23

Bellport: 471 Atlantic Ave. Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 12-Oct. 18.

Bridgehampton: 151 Mitchell Ln. Fridays, 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Memorial Day Friday-Labor Day Friday

Deer Park: Tanger Outlets at the Arches. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 7-Nov. 1

East Hampton: Nick & Toni’s parking lot, 136 N. Main St. Fridays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 23-Aug. 29

Farmingdale: Village Green on Main Street. Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 1-Nov. 23

Flanders: Crohan Community Center, 655 Flanders Rd. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. June 21-Oct. 18.

Freeport: Freeport Recreation Center, Merrick Road. Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 12-Oct. 25.

Garden City: 101 County Seat Dr., behind Supreme Court. Tuesdays, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. June 3-Nov. 25

Great Neck: 125 Community Dr. Sundays, 9 a.m.-2.p.m. July 13-Oct. 26

Greenport: United Methodist Church, 622 Main St. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 24-Oct. 11

Hampton Bays: St. Mary’s Church, 165 Ponquogue Ave. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 24-Aug. 30

Hauppauge: 102 Motor Pkwy. Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. June 5-Oct. 30

Huntington: Route 25A, East of Route 110 North. Sundays, 7 a.m.-12 p.m. June 1-Nov. 3

Islip: Town Hall parking lot, 655 Main St. Saturdays, 7 a.m.-12 p.m. May 31- Nov. 22

Kings Park: Municipal Lot 25A on Main Street, across from fire department. Sundays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 18-Nov. 23

Locust Valley: Train station parking lot, 115 Forest Ave. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. June 7-Nov. 22

Long Beach: Kennedy Plaza, 1 W. Chester Street. Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 3-Nov. 26

Malverne: Crossroads Farm at Grossmann’s, 480 Hempstead Ave. Thursdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 15-Nov. 20

Mattituck: Parking lot of Mattituck Florist, 95 Love Ln. Fridays, 3-6 p.m. May 9-Oct. 31

Montauk: Village Green on Montauk Highway across from Chamber of Commerce building, Thursdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. June 12-Oct. 9

Nesconset: 127 Smithtown Blvd. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. June 7-Nov. 22

New Hyde Park: Municipal lot across Village Hall, 1441 Jericho Tpke. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. May 31-Nov. 22

Northport: Cow Harbor parking lot on corner of Main Street and Woodbine Avenue. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. June 7-Nov. 22

Patchogue: 7-Eleven parking lot, 225 E. Main Street. Fridays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. July 4-Nov. 21

Port Jefferson: Parking lot at corner of East Broadway and Main Street. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 4 through November

Port Washington: Town Dock off Main Street. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. June 7-Oct. 25.

Riverhead: Along the Peconic River on the boardwalk behind Main Street. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 24-Nov. 1

Rockville Centre: Railroad Parking Lot No. 12 at corner of Long Beach Road and Sunrise Highway. Sundays, 7 a.m.-12 p.m. June 1-Nov. 23

Rocky Point: Depot Park at corner of Prince Road and Broadway. Sundays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Mother’s Day-Last Sunday before Thanksgiving

Roslyn: Christopher Morley Park, 500 Searingtown Rd. Wednesdays, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. June 4-Nov. 26

Roosevelt: Family Health Clinic parking lot, 380 Nassau Rd. Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 13-Oct. 26.

Sag Harbor: Corner of Bay and Burke Streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 17-Oct. 25

Seaford: East end of railroad station parking lot on corner of Washington Avenue and Sunrise Highway. Saturdays, 7 a.m.-12 p.m. May 31-Nov. 22

Shelter Island: Haven’s House Museum and Grounds, 16 S. Ferry Rd. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. June 7-Sept. 6

Southampton: 25 Jobs Lane. Sundays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 25-Oct. 12

Westhampton Beach: 85 Mill Rd. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 10-Nov. 22

Wyandanch: New Shiloh Baptist Church, 221 Merritt Ave. Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. July 12-Oct. 4.

Red Cross: How We Spent Sandy Money Is a ‘Trade Secret’

American Red Cross volunteers gave out food at Cedar Creek County Park in Seaford after Sandy.

Just how badly does the American Red Cross want to keep secret how it raised and spent over $300 million after Hurricane Sandy?

The charity has hired a fancy law firm to fight a public request we filed with New York State, arguing that information about its Sandy activities is a “trade secret.”

The Red Cross’ “trade secret” argument has persuaded the state to redact some material, though it’s not clear yet how much since the documents haven’t yet been released.

As we’ve reported, the Red Cross releases few details about how it spends money after big disasters. That makes it difficult to figure out whether donor dollars are well spent.

The Red Cross did give some information about Sandy spending to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had been investigating the charity. But the Red Cross declined our request to disclose the details.

So we filed a public records request for the information the Red Cross provided to the attorney general’s office.

That’s where the law firm Gibson Dunn comes in.

An attorney from the firm’s New York office appealed to the attorney general to block disclosure of some of the Sandy information, citing the state Freedom of Information Law’s trade secret exemption.

The documents include “internal and proprietary methodology and procedures for fundraising, confidential information about its internal operations, and confidential financial information,” wrote Gabrielle Levin of Gibson Dunn in a letter to the attorney general’s office.

If those details were disclosed, “the American Red Cross would suffer competitive harm because its competitors would be able to mimic the American Red Cross’s business model for an increased competitive advantage,” Levin wrote.

The letter doesn’t specify who the Red Cross’ “competitors” are.

The Red Cross is a public charity and occupies a unique place responding to disasters alongside the federal government.

Among the sections of the documents the Red Cross wanted redacted was “a two-line title” at the top of a page, one line of which was “American Red Cross.”

The attorney general’s office denied that redaction, writing that it “can not find disclosure of this two line title will cause the Red Cross any economic injury.”

Asked about the effort to have Sandy materials kept secret, Red Cross spokeswoman Anne Marie Borrego told ProPublica: “We sought to keep confidential a small part of the letter [sent to the AG] that provided proprietary information important to maintaining our ability to raise funds and fulfill our mission.”

Doug White, a nonprofit expert who directs the fundraising management program at Columbia University, said that it’s possible for nonprofits to have trade interests—the logo of a university, for example—but it’s not clear what a “trade secret” would be in the case of the Red Cross. He called the lawyer’s letter an apparent “delaying tactic.”

Ben Smilowitz of the Disaster Accountability Project, a watchdog group, said,

“Invoking a ‘trade secret’ exemption is not something you would expect from an organization that purports to be ‘transparent and accountable.'”

In agreeing to withhold some details, the attorney general’s office found that portions of the documents the charity wanted to redact “describe business strategies, internal operational procedures and decisions, and the internal deliberations and decision-making processes that affect fundraising and the allocation of donations.”

The attorney general’s office also found “that this information is proprietary and constitutes trade secrets, and that its disclosure would cause the Red Cross economic injury and put the Red Cross at an economic disadvantage.”

Another section the Red Cross wanted redacted was a paragraph that noted the charity’s “willingness to meet with the [Office of the Attorney General.]” The attorney general’s office denied that part of the request

Borrego, the Red Cross spokeswoman, declined to say how much the charity is paying Gibson Dunn but said, “we do not use funds restricted to Superstorm Sandy to cover those expenses.”

We’ll let you know when we get the documents we asked for 2014 at least the parts that aren’t trade secrets.

If you have experience with or information about the American Red Cross, including its operations after Sandy, email justin@propublica.org

Related articles: Read our other coverage about how the Red Cross’ post-storm spending on Sandy is a black box.


Ex-NYPD Cop from Copiague Admits to $10M in Burglaries

An ex-New York City Police detective admitted to his role in a burglary ring that stole more than $10 million in cash and property from Long Island homes and businesses over a four-year span.

Rafael Astacio pleaded guilty Thursday at Central Islip federal court to conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and filing a fraudulent tax return.

“What makes Astacio’s crimes even more disgraceful is that he committed them while he was a NYPD detective who took an oath to protect and serve our community,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

The 41-year-old Copiague man was arrested two years ago part of a five-man team that broke into 10 homes and three dozen businesses during their spree between 2009 and 2012, prosecutors said.

Out of his other four co-defendants, Leonard Repka of Lindenhurst pleaded guilty last month and Michael Figueroa of Mount Vernon pleaded guilty earlier this month. Nikitas Margiellos of West Babylon and Victor Arias of Copiague are in the midst of negotiating plea bargains, court records show.

One heist was worth over $3 million, involved 45,000 pairs of expensive Hobie sunglasses and Under Armour gear at a warehouse in Plainview. In another big score, they stole more than $2 million in cash from the office of a plastic surgeon in Nassau County.

Other communities that were targeted by the crew include Carle Place, Hicksville, Mineola, Baldwin, Freeport, Laurel Hollow, Syosset, Woodbury and Westbury. Establishments included perfume and cigarette warehouses, restaurants, high-end goods store and a coin shop. Investigators said they used the word “fishing” as a code for their burglaries.

The well-equipped crew used sledge hammers, wire cutters, blow torches and crowbars, as well as police scanners and cell phone jammers, authorities said. In addition, they staked out potential victims to determine when they would be out of their homes and businesses. Astacio’s assignments would be the lookout, monitor a police scanner and transport the stolen merchandise across state lines to be sold on the black market.

Astacio was a 20-year veteran of the force nearing retirement when he was charged. The NYPD suspended and then fired Astacio, who could have collected an $80,000 annual pension. He facing up to eight years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000 and $200,000 restitution when he’s sentenced.

Repka will be sentenced in October, followed by Figueroa in December.

Long Island Recalls WWI Past for Centenary

Clockwide from left: Hofstra University has old black-and-white photos of Camp Mills, The New York Times covers after the assassination that sparked World War I a century ago Saturday and a Camp Mills historical marker at the northeast corner of Commercial Avenue and Clinton Road in Garden City.

When future U.S. President Harry Truman arrived at Camp Mills on Long Island at the end of World War I after fighting in Europe, the then-artillery officer sent a telegram to his wife-to-be, Bess Wallace, about how glad he was to be back on the homefront.


Now-defunct Camp Mills, which also hosted the likes of General Douglas MacArthur and The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald, has since been redeveloped by colleges, offices and malls. But, local historians are reflecting upon the former military base for the 100th anniversary of the start of what was then dubbed “The War to End All Wars.” Saturday marks a century since the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, which sparked the First World War.

“Right after the beginning of the war, Mitchel Field and Long Island were centers of activity for soldiers who were training to fight this war,” said Andrew Parton, the executive director of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. “Long Island had an instrumental role in early aviation and the use of aviation in warfare for the first time.”

Camp Mills was a National Guard training site that was established nearby what later became Mitchel Field, a former U.S. Air Force base, where the museum now sits. Mitchel Field and nearby Roosevelt Field were two of the largest airbases in the nation during WWI—the first war in which aircraft were used in combat. The First Aero Squadron of the U.S. Army—the nation’s first military aviation unit—sailed for England from Mitchel Field during WWI. And military planes were built by the Ordnance Engineering Corporation in Baldwin, the Lawrence Sperry Aircraft Company and the Breese Aircraft Corporation—both in Farmingdale.

More than 80,000 soldiers came through Camp Mills, making it a major embarkation point during WWI, which the US didn’t enter until April 2, 1917 after a German submarine sunk the RMS Lusitania, killing 128 Americans. Troops were also trained at Camp Upton, which is now the site of Brookhaven National Laboratory, before shipping out to fight in Europe. That’s in addition to bases in Huntington and Bay Shore as well as Forts Michie, Terry and Tyler on islands off the East End.

When active, Camp Mills was a crowded city of tents with few amenities, where soldiers had to take precaution to avoid catching the Spanish flu during the epidemic of 1918. It was also the birthplace of the 42nd Infantry Division—the first of its kind, composed of National Guard regiments from 26 different states—known for its distinctive rainbow insignia.

In his memoir, A Doughboy with the Fighting 69th, Albert M. Ettinger recalls his experiences as a soldier in the “Rainbow” Division staying at Camp Mills. He witnessed the racial tension between the 4th Alabama Regiment and the African-American 15th New York National Guard Regiment. It turned out that the fighting wasn’t always reserved for the battlefield.

“Our boys from the 69th received those of the 15th New York as buddies,” Ettinger wrote. “Not so the Alabamians. They resented Blacks coming into camp. Hell, they resented us! The first thing you know fights erupted all over the place, and the 69th guys usually stood up for the 15th men and fought alongside them against the Alabamians.”

Camp Mills was abandoned in 1920 after the last troops returned from overseas. The military used Roosevelt and Mitchel fields during World War II before private developers took over the former in the in the ‘50s and Nassau County acquired the latter in the ‘60s.

But, historians are making sure that LI’s WWI past has not been forgotten.

The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook has WWI-era local artifacts on display for an exhibit called “Long Island at War.” The exhibit opened May 23 and will close Dec.28.

“We set up a recreation of a camp barrack, and we have some old uniforms and photos from Camp Upton,” said Julie Diamond, the museum’s spokeswoman.

Telecare is going to rerun a recent episode of “Exploring Critical Issues” dedicated to WWI at 10 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. Sunday, 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

“All colleges were expected to be on board when the war started,” Jennifer Fleischner, an Adelphi University professor who discussed the war’s local impact on the show, said. “Adelphi was a women’s college at the time, and while men’s colleges had officer’s training and accelerated courses, women’s colleges had a lot of volunteering, fundraising and [American] Red Cross work.”

The Long Island Skyhawks Club’s annual contest for pre-1919 airplane giant-scale models will commemorate the WWI centenary this year on the club’s field in Eastport from Aug. 1-3.

“We’re expecting to see some British World War I fighter planes and different types of civil planes like the Curtiss Jenny,” Mike Gross Sr., the event’s contest coordinator, said.

More can be learned at The American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale and The Cradle of Aviation Museum, which is housed in some of the old Mitchel Field hangars, where exhibits include aircraft flown by WWI soldiers.