Marisa Valentino


Last-Minute Long Island Summer Staycation Guide

Pack up the kids, it’s time for a staycation out east. (Getty Images)

A vacation is just what the doctor ordered to relieve the stress of the pandemic-induced quarantine, but since interstate travel is risky, a staycation is the best option.

Thankfully, the East End of Long Island has much to offer during the summer. With beautiful beaches, fun attractions, and amazing restaurants, there’s always something to do. 

Looking to plan a last-minute staycation out east before Labor Day? Here’s a few places that won’t break the bank.  

The Hampton Maid offers comfortable lodging and delicious breakfasts. The family owned resort is situated on parklike grounds in Hampton Bays. Guests can stay in charming cottages, each with their own unique architecture and interior. Its breakfast eatery is praised by locals and is open to guests and the public. Locally sourced ingredients are used to make everything on the menu, from Western omelettes to cinnamon swirl French toast. Guests can also enjoy the pool, playground, shuffleboard court, and tons of teak furniture. 259 E. Montauk Hwy., Hampton Bays, 631-728-4166, hamptonmaid.com

The Drake Inn in Hampton Bays is secluded and centrally located. It’s only minutes from picturesque beaches along Dune Road. The inn is situated directly on the water and offers dock space where guests can keep their boats — the perfect spot for fishing enthusiasts and boaters. Some of the many amenities are a complimentary shuttle to the beach, outdoor pool, bicycles for a daily rate, and free parking. 16 Penny Ln., Hampton Bays, 631-728-1592, thedrakeinn.com

Guests at The Ram’s Head Inn have access to the resort’s small private beach on Gardiners Bay. They can enjoy the water with sailboats, paddle boards, and kayaks or relax on hammocks and Adirondack chairs. Built in 1929, the inn still maintains its charming original appearance. A local musicians concert series is currently being offered to be enjoyed online or on the patios of the Inn. Visit during weekdays for the best rates and most availability. The inn offers 17 rooms, so book quickly! 108 Ram Island Dr., Shelter Island Heights, 631-749-0811, theramsheadinn.com

Located in Jamestown on the North Fork, the Bay Breeze Inn is near tons of restaurants and attractions, including award-winning vineyards and breweries. It’s also a quick walk from the Miamogue Point beach. Guests can choose to stay in the main house or the stand-alone cottage. The main house features six rooms, each named after a North Fork town, and the cottages offer two apartment-style units. There’s also a wraparound porch and cozy fire pit area at the main house, available to all guests. 46 Front St., South Jamesport,631-779-3454, baybreezeinnli.com

The Bayview Resort lives up to its name as the view overlooks the serene Tiana Bay in Hampton Bays. Guests will have easy access to Southampton town and Westhampton Beach, offering amazing restaurants and shopping. The resort’s new clubhouse features a fitness center, swimming pool, fire pit, and picnic area. Kayaks and small rowboats are also available for those who want to explore the bay. 53 W. Tiana Rd., Hampton Bays, 631-594-2370, bayviewresorthamptons.com

The Budget Host Inn in Riverhead is known for its unbeatable price. The rooms are furnished with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, wood-effect flooring, mini fridges, and microwaves, plus free parking for cars, trucks, and RVs. Guests can spend time at the hotel’s swimming pool or at the sun terrace. They can explore the nearby Hamptons and North Fork towns or Riverhead attractions like Tanger Outlets and Splish Splash. 30 Lake Ave., Riverhead, 631-727-6200, riverheadhotel.com

The unique Inn Spot on the Bay is located on the calming shores of Shinnecock Bay in Hampton Bays. Guests have the option of staying in the main house or in one of the seaside villas. The inn also offers fantastic dining at its award-winning restaurant run by the Hamptons’ first Platinum Chef, Executive Chef Colette. There’s also the Happy as a Hamptons food truck serving drinks, clams, and oysters. 32 Lighthouse Rd., Hampton Bays, 631-728-1200, theinnspot.com

Related Story: The South Fork: Not Just A Playground For The Rich

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Related Story: Riverhead: LI’s Breadbasket, And So Much More

Related Story: The North Fork: Farm Country Plus A Lot More

For more guides about things to do on Long Island, visit longislandpress.com/category/everything-long-island

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Buyers Face Seller’s Market on Long Island, Experts Say

An increase in home buyers shopping for properties on Long Island and limited supply in the region has turned the climate into a seller’s market, local real estate experts say.

That was the takeaway from The Real Deal: Moving to Long Island, a virtual panel discussion hosted Tuesday by Schneps Media, the parent company of the Long Island Press. The panel was sponsored by Daniel Gale Sotherby’s International Realty.

“We’re in a very aggressive sellers market,” said panelist Chris Jelani, an associate broker for Daniel Gale Sotherby’s International Realty. “But that does not mean that there aren’t any buying opportunities. There are some fantastic buying opportunities.”

Real estate is among the many businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has triggered a massive shift to online services. Electronically signing documents, virtual open houses, and remote meetings have become a customary part of the real estate industry. 

“This is our new norm and we have to figure out a different way of doing business,” said Jelani.

Rounding out the panel was Jeanne Posillico-Leonard, an associate Brokers for Daniel Gale Sotherby’s International Realty, Nataly Goldstein, an attorney from the law firm Pardalis & Nohavicka, and Director of Sales at Contour Mortgage Danny Pisani. 

The group recommended potential Long Island home buyers from New York City beware of the real estate market differences. Chief among those differences are the taxes on LI are generally higher than in the city, but buyers get more property for their money on the Island.

Another difference is the preliminary requirements to purchase a home. The title search, which is basically a search on the seller, purchaser and property itself, is more in depth for buying a home in Long Island than it would be for buying a co-op or condo in the city.

The four pros also shared some helpful advice for those looking to explore the real estate market. Pisani advised sellers and buyers to make sure their finances are in place. Buyers should talk to a mortgage broker to figure out what they can be approved for and what they’re comfortable spending. 

“People just have to be very prepared,” said Posillico-Leonard.

She said her best advice for a seller is to make sure they price their property well because it is a very price-sensitive market. She suggested buyers be aware that if they’re in a competitive price range they will be competing with other buyers. 

Jelani added that having a team of professionals and experts is essential. This team should include a real estate broker and attorney. Pisani agreed and stressed the importance of qualified and experienced professionals with an analogy.

“I have a very good friend of mine who’s a neurosurgeon, but if I break my toe, I’m not going to him,” he said, adding that he’d go to the specialist who does that kind of work regularly and is less likely to overlook major issues. 

Goldstein urged purchasers to educate themselves.

“Know what you’re getting yourself into, know what the market looks like, know who you’re dealing with, do an inspection, and just take the necessary steps,” she said. 

It seems this increased demand for homes on LI will become part of the new normal.

“The virus has impacted the way we spend money, the way we shop, and definitely the way where we want to live,” said Jelani.

For more real estate news, visit longislandpress.com/category/real-estate

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Billy Joel Plays Discarded Piano In Impromptu Live Performance

Billy Joel played a discarded piano in Huntington.

Billy Joel lives up to his title of The Piano Man yet again. 

In a recent viral YouTube video the Hicksville native and Centre Island resident is shown giving an impromptu live performance on a discarded piano in Huntington.

“It’s a perfectly good piano,” said the successful singer-songwriter after testing the keys. 

Like many musicians, Joel’s monthly Madison Square Garden residency concerts have been postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. This was his first live “gig” in months. 

Joel was on a motorcycle ride in Huntington when a piano on the curb caught his attention, according to reports. With his helmet still on he skillfully played an uplifting ragtime melody for a few onlookers, one of whom filmed it. As of this post, the video got nearly a million views since it was posted June 26.

“Not bad. The action is good. It just needs tuning and the finish is beat,” he said after checking out the instrument. “It’s a shame to throw it out, should at least be donated to St. Vincent de Paul or something.” 

Fans identified the tune he played as Shelton Brooks’ 1917 ragtime roll “Darktown Strutters’ Ball,” according to the New York Post.

This may be Joel’s last in-person show for a while but fans can watch his recent performances from various COVID-19 Relief Benefits such as “Rise Up New York” and “Robin Hood Relief Benefit.”

Watch the video below.

Related Story: Billy Joel ‘Arc-thology’ TV Series In Development

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Plainview Street Renamed Heroes Way To Honor Pandemic Responders

Nassau officials renamed a street in Plainview Heroes Way on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

Nassau County officials and community leaders renamed a local street in Plainview to honor healthcare heroes, first responders, and essential workers who fought to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials changed a section of Old Country Road between Kalda Lane and Central Park Road to “Heroes Way” during a rededication ceremony Tuesday.

“On behalf of the residents of Plainview Old Bethpage Community we owe you a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid,” said Nassau Legislator Arnold W. Drucker (D – Plainview). “What we can do is dedicate a small token of our appreciation by permanently saluting your heroism for all to see. Each and every day when we drive, jog, or walk past this road our grateful community will be reminded that we are blessed because true live heroes work here day in and day out to come to our rescue whenever duty or need calls.”

The token of appreciation comes after Long Island recently entered the fourth and final phase of reopening from the coronavirus shutdown while cases are on the rise in other states nationwide. The street renaming follows similar thanks such as buildings being lit up to show gratitude and ribbons being hung to show gratitude.

The Hero’s Way dedication ceremony began with the pledge of allegiance led by local girl scouts followed by a moment of silence for the more than 575,000 lives lost globally to COVID-19. Officials also acknowledged the heroic efforts of various community members including Plainview School District officials, Nassau police officers, and ambulance crews.

“I always say that this crisis did not create heroes; it revealed the heroes who were already among us,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. 

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said true heroes are those who leave their homes and their families to go out and protect others. 

Then the crowd began counting down from three and while cheering “one” members of the fire department lifted a black cloth revealing the gleaming white street sign with the words “Hero’s Way” in blue. 

“We are renaming this road as Heroes Way because here on Long Island, born out of the darkness of a once in a lifetime pandemic, lifelong heroes emerged,” said Nassau Legislator Josh Lafazan (D-Syosset). “May this sign serve as an enduring reminder that when called to respond, our communities can find heroes in all walks of life and that all of us can when we need it most find heroism in our hearts.”

Curran praised the location of the sign saying, “I could not think of a better place, this is right where the Central Island Nursing Home, the Plainview Fire Department, and Plainview Hospital all converge.” 

The ceremony ended with Drucker presenting citations to some important community members commemorating their efforts during the pandemic. 

“We will always remember the hardworking men and women who got us through this,” said Curran. 

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus

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Long Island Malls Begin Reopening From Coronavirus Shutdown

Shoppers returned to some Long Island malls this weekend. (Photo by Mira Lerner)

Indoor malls on Long Island began reopening this weekend in the latest sign of the region emerging from the coronavirus shutdown. 

In order to reopen, malls must follow new safety procedures to ensure the wellbeing of customers and employees. Officials hoped that the return of malls would help ease the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Here on Long Island and in many parts of our state and country malls are a real economic anchor,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told reporters Friday. “The financial toll on our local economy has been devastating.” Although in some areas of the nation COVID-19 cases are rising, causing a roll back of reopenings, the rate of new cases on LI continues to decline, ensuring Nassau and Suffolk counties reached the fourth and final phase of reopening this week. 

“I expect that we could be a national model.” Curran said. 

Safety measures enacted to ensure malls could reopen include improved air filtration systems that can clean the air of COVID-19 and other contaminants, as required by New York State. Malls will also be limiting capacity to 50 percent, closing high-risk common areas, regularly testing employees, and requiring face masks to be worn by employees and customers. They will have one-way aisles and walkways, and new cleaning protocols with focus on high touch areas as well.

“I know that Simon Properties along with other mall operators take safety very very seriously,” Curran said. “They have worked hard to make sure both their customers and employees can come back to the mall minimizing the risk.”

Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, and Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington, all owned by Simon Properties, are among the malls that reopened Friday.

“The health, safety and well-being of those we serve will always be our highest priority, and we have developed a thorough and detailed set of protocols highlighting the exceptional measures we’ve implemented to safeguard shoppers, retailers and employees as we reopen,” said John Rulli, President of Simon.

Their dedication to safety motivated them to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control policy with the help of a team of leading experts in epidemiology and environmental health and safety.

“Reopening provides a much-needed economic boost to the local communities impacted by COVID-19.” said Rulli. “The properties are important economic engines for their local communities.”

Simon-owned malls alone provide more than 9,800 jobs and contribute $148.3 million of sales tax and $50.2 million in property tax revenue to the state. The tax revenue is used to fund education, infrastructure, health, and safety services. 

Many mall-goers were happy about the malls reopening. 

“I’m excited to be back,” said Smith Haven Mall shopper Grace Cherry. 

Store owners are also looking forward to it. 

“It’s good to be back to something like normal,” said Elizabeth Torres, owner of I Heart Mac & Cheese, a new addition to the mall that will be opening in two weeks. “As long as everyone wears their masks and follows the protocol, we’re very excited to be opening our new store and getting the word out.”

-With Dana Cheiuh

Related Story: Filters May Be Key To Reopening Malls, Which Were Bumped From Phase 4

Related Story: Long Island Malls Cleared To Reopen on Friday, With Air Filters

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