Nestled in the heart of downtown Wantagh is Eastline Theatre, a nonprofit, 42-seat black box theatre dedicated to providing its audience with the kind of offbeat, experimental stagecraft that is uncommon this far from Broadway.
Eastline takes a different approach than a standard venue might, eschewing bigger-budget, higher-profile Broadway shows in favor of a more left-field approach that speaks directly to the community it is a part of.
“We felt that the one thing Long Island lacked was that it did not have a theatre that was producing work specifically for Long Island,” says Executive Artistic Director Daniel Higgins.
The purposeful intimacy between performers and crowd allows Eastline to focus more on character-and-dialogue driven pieces with minimal use of set design in a smaller venue, forcing audiences to stay more focused on the actors themselves, rather than any stage pyrotechnics.
EastLine has gained some recognition, receiving a grant from the Huntington Arts Council. It achieved its nonprofit status in September 2018. Keeping the organization nonprofit is something Higgins believes in strongly, owing to his unwavering devotion to theatre for its own sake.
“No one should get into art to make a fortune,” Higgins says. “Our currency at Eastline is not money, it’s enlightenment and emotional catharsis.”
Eastline’s upcoming production is a stripped-back adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1882 novel Treasure Island, which runs July 13-28. Reconfiguring a beloved piece of adventure fiction into a stage show catering to a crowd of less than 50 without losing any of its emotional impact meant that the Eastline team’s viewpoint of theater as an extension of community was useful. As Higgins put it, when the audience is close enough to the cast to see them sweat, the transformative power of theatre shines through.
“Theatre is pointless without an audience,” he says. “But what makes it even more interesting is when that audience becomes the theatre.”
EastLine Theatre is located at 2123 Wantagh Ave. in Wantagh. It can be reached ay 516-749-5047 or eastlineproductions.com
In the hyper competitive world of children’s book publishing, it’s not only important to stand out, but also to give back, according to Roslyn native Stephanie Sorkin.
The children’s book author donated 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales of her first book, 2013’s Nutley, the Nut-Free Squirrel, to FARE, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to food allergy resources and education. It was a personal project for Sorkin, as two of her youngest children have severe food allergies. What began as a simple bedtime story blossomed into something more.
“Once I realized it had a beginning, middle and end, I was encouraged to publish it,” Sorkin recalls. “I really didn’t want to profit from it, especially because I was impacted from children with allergies, so that’s when I decided to make the move to donate.”
She continued the benevolence with her next two books. Chocolate Shoes with Licorice Laces donated part of its profits to Soles4Souls, an organization dedicated to providing footwear to those in need worldwide. For her most recent book, Frenemy Jane, the Sometimes Friend, Sorkin partnered with the national anti-bullying prevention center PACER.
Sorkin spent 25 years prior to her books’ publication as a freelance writer for various publications. She started writing children’s books in 2011 without financial backing AND shopped the “Nutley” manuscript to publishing houses, but decided to try the self-publishing route.
“Luckily, I was a mom of three children, so I knew what a book was supposed to look like, and I knew also what a book was supposed to cost,” she says. “To write a story, sometimes it’s just about being creative and sometimes it’s just about entertaining people.”
Sorkin believes in both entertaining her audience and educating them. Though she is aware that her audience is primarily school-age and younger children, she makes it a point to never patronize them.
“I would never want to sound preachy in my books, and I hope I never come across that way,” she notes.
As Sorkin continues to move forward in her career as an author and an advocate, she is hopeful that her work will continue to find an audience, not only because of her storytelling acumen, but for her ability to make a positive difference for children worldwide.
“I hope that there is no ceiling,” she added. “I just hope that it keeps growing and growing.”
Event planning company Lauren Sydney Events has been a consistent presence on Long Island’s party scene, planning lavish bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and luncheons with a confident sense of style.
The company was founded by Lauren Abate, 43, of Roslyn, whose path towards event planner extraordinaire began in an unlikely fashion.
“I always had a passion for art,” Abate recalls. “After college, I taught art lessons out of my apartment.”
After a lean period in her 20s in which she was unemployed, Abate became a member of the Entertainment Committee at Fresh Meadows Country Club in Lake Success. She parlayed that opportunity into becoming the club’s ladies president, whose responsibilities included event planning.
It was at that point where her love for entertaining was first kindled. But it wasn’t until a friend asked Abate to plan her son’s bar mitzvah five years ago that she saw event planning as a feasible job on its own.
“It kind of spread like wildfire after that.” Abate says. “I knew as soon as I did her party that it was going to take off.”
Afterwards, Abate founded Lauren Sydney Events as a two-person business. She describes herself as a “team leader” for every party she’s hired to plan, working on aspects ranging from the vital, such as food, logos, flowers, and music, down to details like the design and type of cocktail napkins. But she leaves it to her clients to decide how involved she’ll be.
Nonetheless, being a part of the creative process means being available to talk to clients whenever needed, even at odd times of the day, as Abate pointed out.
“I get texts at 7 o’clock in the morning and at 10 o’clock at night,” she says. “From the time they hire me, even if it’s a year out, I’m there for them pretty much every step of the way.”
Even though Abate’s path towards entrepreneurship was somewhat atypical by her own standards, she relishes the opportunity she’s been given to provide everlasting memories for her clients, no matter the time and no matter the budget.
“It was just the next chapter in my life, and it came at the best time for me,” she says.
Lauren Sydney Events can be reached at 516-721-6045.
Legendary ’60s rock band Procol Harum, known for the 1967 hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” will play its first Long Island show in five years at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury on February 28. Lead singer and pianist Gary Brooker expects nothing less than a very warm welcome.
“I think Long Island has always had a soft spot for Procol Harum and vice versa,” the 73-year-old Brooker tells the Press from his home in London.
He’s long regarded LI as a staple of the band’s East Coast tour, but audiences should not expect only a play-the-hits nostalgia trip. The band has incorporated several cuts from its most recent album, 2017’s Novum, a collaboration between the band and songwriter Pete Brown.
The group in its current incarnation includes jazz-rock virtuoso Geoff Whitehorn on guitar, Jethro Tull bassist Matt Pegg, session organist and composer Josh Phillips, and ex-Manfred Mann’s Earth Band drummer Geoff Dunn. Despite the numerous lineup changes, Brooker’s dexterous, jazz-inflected piano work and soulful, plaintive vocals have been a hallmark of the band’s sound.
The son of a virtuoso Hawaiian steel guitar player, Brooker spent his formative years in Middlesex, a small county in southeast England, where he was fully immersed in music, his father’s influence readily apparent.
“My father sent me to piano lessons when I was five, but I grew up thinking that all music was Hawaiian,” he recalls.
But even at a very young age, Brooker was attracted to the American music emanating from the family radio and from café jukeboxes.
“The first records that really caught my attention were the early rock ’n’ roll records,” Brooker says. “It might’ve been something by Little Richard, or Jerry Lee [Lewis] or Ray Charles.”
Never once, however, did Brooker imagine that playing music would lead to a career in it, a feeling that followed him to the formation of one of his early bands, The Paramounts, along with his childhood friend (and future Procol Harum guitarist) Robin Trower.
“We used to do it just because we liked doing it,” Brooker says. “One day somebody actually paid us to do it, so that was quite nice.”
Earning his keep in the same rough-and-tumble British R&B scene that birthed bands like The Beatles, the Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones, Brooker eventually tired of performing covers and helped form Procol Harum, sporting a multilayered fusion of rock with progressive elements such as baroque and soul music. Every album that the band releases is meant to sound different from the last and push the group forward creatively.
“We always try to move forward in some way, rather than keep on doing the same old thing,” Brooker notes.
One of the things that Brooker has learned in his nearly 52 years in the business is how to forge a personal connection with the audience. In his view, getting to know the crowd, even if only for a short while, makes for better music. In the end, it is the positive reactions he strives for while under the bright lights.
Garden City’s new barbeque sensation brings all manner of smoked meats to the table.
All of the usual suspects you’d expect in a barbeque joint are present and accounted for, from smoked chicken ($10), pulled pork ($11), brisket ($14) and baby back ribs ($20-$32), to some internationally-inspired surprises, like Porchetta ($13) and beef and lamb gyro ($16). All can be served a la carte or part of group meals.
Be sure to order the wings ($6-$12) dressed in your choice of four different sauces. Add to that a litany of sides, from fries and mac-and-cheese to falafel and guacamole, and you’ve got an outside-the-box choice for some down-home favorites.
Nassau County’s newest pizza spot is no run-of-the-mill slice joint.
These purveyors of pies specialize in authentic Roman-style Pizza al Taglio, a regional cross between Sicilian and Grandma-style pizza, served in huge rectangular pans and sold by the slice. Their specially-formulated dough is fermented for up to 36 hours before being topped with all manner of meats, cheeses, sauces and vegetables.
Be sure to check out the White pizza ($3.50 slice, $19 pie) here slathered with fresh ricotta, mozzarella and parsley. For the adventurous, there is the Sausage and Broccoli Rabe ($4.50, $25), studded with fresh hunks of Italian sausage and garlicky broccoli rabe.
Taglio Pizza also specializes in all manner of panini, served between fresh baked bread.
This new fast-casual joint gives a little Greek-American flair to Suffolk County, offering homemade hummus and tzatziki spreads ($5.50-$6) served up with warm pita chips.
Other Greek specialties include chicken or pork souvlaki ($8.50), Gyros with lamb, beef, chicken or pork ($8.50) and specialty moussaka, an amalgam of potatoes, ground beef, marinated eggplant and creamy bechamel sauce, layered and baked like a casserole.
Save room for dessert, which features the walnut-stuffed, honey-sweetened Greek Pastry Baklava ($5) and a selection of hand-spun milkshakes, from the standard vanilla, chocolate and strawberry to the more decadent cookies and cream or brownie.
Experience the flavors of Mexico at this Rockville Center joint slinging tacos and other south-of-the-border fare.
While the space is cozy, interiors are bright and colorful, festooned with murals dedicated to Dia de los Muertos and artist Frida Kahlo.
All tacos are served on house-made corn tortillas with fillings ranging from the familiar ground beef ($3.95) to the strangely inventive hot dog taco ($3.95) here nestled with refried beans, caramelized onions, peppers and cheese. The ingenuity doesn’t stop there, as Rock A Taco also pumps out left-field options like the mia-milla ($8.95) a quesadilla stuffed with Muenster cheese, spinach and hummus.
280 Merrick Rd., Rockville Centre. 516-992-0477
Ever see a restaurant that serves pancakes with craft beer? At this breakfast-and-lunch-only spot, all the heavy hitters of the morning and afternoon are plated up with a delightfully left-of-center aplomb.
The decor fuses modern layout with classic greasy-spoon aesthetic, sporting granite countertops and warm, welcoming lighting.
Both the breakfast and lunch menus offer that same diner-meets-gastropub flair, featuring fresh buttermilk pancakes stuffed with Nutella or peanut butter ($12.95), golden-brown brioche French toast slices sandwiched between layers of cannoli cream and chocolate sauce ($12.95) and the flamethrower breakfast burrito ($13.95) packed with eggs, Sriracha-marinated chicken and blue cheese. Come lunchtime, check out the specialty Buttermilk’s chicken sandwich ($13.95), featuring a crispy chicken breast topped with Cheddar, lettuce and tomato and drizzled with homemade ranch.
At this Mineola eatery, authenticity is the name of the game, as Kaiyo features more than 40 kinds of sushi, sashimi and specialty rolls.
The interior evokes a classic Tokyo sushi house, all clean lines and elegant use of wood and steel, extending all the way to the restaurant’s outdoor seating.
The menu sports various takes on Japanese fare. Order the Fluke usuzukuri ($12) featuring fresh-caught fluke and scallions with ponzu sauce, or for the more adventurous, try the Daruma ($12) with chicken tempura, cucumber and a spicy salmon topping. The menu also features a full lineup of udon noodle dishes, fresh dumplings and the panko breadcrumb-crusted katsu cutlet,($20) with a choice of pork or chicken.
Celebrate summer year-round at the newest neighborhood hang located right in the heart of Bay Shore, where everything is unfussy, unhurried and delightfully unexpected.
The décor is bright and breezy, evoking an East Coast gastropub with a decidedly West Coast flair.
All the usual bar food staples are here with a unique tropical twist, from the nachos ($14) studded with shredded chicken and house-made chipotle queso, to Coastal’s take on a Cubano sandwich ($15) presented with house-cured ham, Cuban roast pork and dark rum molasses mustard.
Wash it down with a fully stocked menu of cocktails and of course, daiquiris.
Pass the time with Coastal’s selection of games, from pool to darts and even shuffleboard.
New to Valley Stream is this Italian café cranking out Old World cooking in a dignified yet casual dining atmosphere. Reservations are a must.
This is no run-of-the-mill red sauce joint, as Pomodorino is slinging authentic Neapolitan pizza with familiar but fresh flavors. Noteworthy is the Amatriciana ($17.50), a pizza loaded with San Marzano tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella and cured pork jowl. Feeling adventurous? Try the la rosa ($18.50), a fried pizza topped with creamy burrata cheese, roasted red peppers and prosciutto.
Even pasta is given a twist, as in the spaghetti al pomodorino ($19.50), featuring cherry tomatoes and fresh garlic served tableside. Event and party packages are available, featuring unlimited wine and sangria.
Enjoy the best the ocean has to offer at this Westbury eatery sporting a bright, stylish décor and a -dock-to-dish ethos, with an emphasis on freshness and quality.
The menu features upscale takes on standard seafood fare, from the undersea charcuterie (MP) featuring an assortment of fresh-caught raw fish and octopus, to the tempura-fried cod fish and chips, presented in the authentic British style with mushy peas and malt vinegar-spiked remoulade. The menu and prices are subject to change, however, depending on what the tide brings in.
Kingfish is open for lunch Monday through Friday and Happy Hour features half-price drinks and oysters. Reservations are available via OpenTable.
Jane Bell of Merrick tragically lost her daughter, Jennifer, in 2009, but like many parents who’ve had to bury their children, she found comfort through the COPE Foundation (Connecting Our Paths Eternally).
The Roslyn-based nonprofit grief organization is dedicated to supporting families living with the loss of a child. Jane, a COPE Foundation board member, found support in her meetings with other parents who had experienced the same trauma.
“You realize that you thought that this was the worst thing that could ever happen, and it is, but these people understand,” she says. “I wasn’t alone.”
Lillian Julien founded the organization in 1996, four years after her daughter, Michelle, passed, meeting informally with other parents who’d lost a child. They gathered in the comfort and safety of each other’s homes sharing their grief. The organization grew, offering facilitated groups and additional programs until officially recognized as a nonprofit in 1999.
Today, the COPE Foundation serves more than 1,000 families across Long Island and New York City in 10 locations. According to COPE’s Executive Director Adam Rabinovitch, “We have a whole suite of programs and workshops which give family members the tools to live and the tools to grieve.”
Programs include healing workshops, meditation, yoga, writing, art and music therapy, along with Camp Erin® NYC, a weekend bereavement camp for children and adolescents who’ve lost a loved one. The camp was awarded the prestigious 2014 Roger E. Joseph prize. Julien also won the 2016 Imagine Award for Leadership Excellence.
For Julien herself, COPE’s work is a fulfillment of a dream. After her daughter passed she was inspired to reach out and help other families in grief so no parent or child had to grieve alone.
“When COPE first became a nonprofit, the goal was to help others with the healing tools that had helped me on my own grief journey. And in helping others, I helped myself,” Julien said.
Bayville Scream ParkWhere the thrills and gothic horror of a haunted house meet the sprawling expanse of an amusement park, there’s Bayville Scream Park. Joining the park’s bone-chilling repertoireof five scare-a-minute attractions is Bayville Haunted Asylum. Attractions in the daytime are much less intense for the younger set. 8 Bayville Ave., Bayville bayvillescreampark.com 516-624-4678. $21.75-$25.75, 6-Attraction unlimited ticket: $75. 6 p.m.-12 a.m. Fri.-Sat., 6-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. through Nov. 4.
Chamber of HorrorsVoted New York State’s No. 1 haunted house by newyorkhauntedhouses.com, the largest indoor haunted house returns. Featuring three haunted attractions, a horror stage show and over 40 live actors itching to go bump in the night. 1745 Expy Dr N., Hauppauge, chamberofhorrorsny.com 516-710-1845. $35, R.I.P. Pass: $45. Fri.-Sun. every weekend in October and Oct. 30-31.
Crypts of The Coliseum
Blood-curdling terror makes its way to one of Long Island’s most famous venues, the Nassau Coliseum, with Blood Manor’s attraction Crypts of the Coliseum. $30. 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale cryptsofthecoliseum.com 212-290-2825. 6-10 p.m. Sun., 7-11 p.m. Weds.-Thurs., 7 p.m.-12 a.m. Fri.-Sat. through Nov. 3
Darkside Haunted House
The legendary haunted attraction celebrates two decades in the business of scaring everyone with top-notch set design, special effects and realistic costumes and makeup guaranteed to fill patrons with cold, cold fear. 5184 NY-25A, Calverton, darksideproductions.com 631-369-7227. $30-$40. 6-10 p.m. Sun., 7-11 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 7 p.m.-12 a.m. Fri., 6 p.m.-12 a.m. Sat. through Nov. 3.
Darkness RisingThis intense horror experience is back in a new location, with several thousand more square feet to scare the stuffing out of patrons. Proceeds for the 2018 season will be donated in support of YES Community Counseling Center and Patient Airlift Services. 450 Commack Rd., Deer Park, darknessrising.org, 516-799-4747. $25. 7 p.m.-12 a.m. Fri.-Sat., 6-10 p.m. Sun., Wed.-Thurs. through Nov. 3.
Gateway’s Haunted PlayhouseWant to get scared for a good cause? Look no further than this Bellport haunted house that raises money for The Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County. Caution: Children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult. 215 South Country Rd., Bellport, gatewayshauntedplayhouse.com, 631-286-1133. $30-$45. 7-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7-10 p.m. Sun., Wed.-Thurs. through Nov. 3.
Haunted Trail NightsManor Farm returns to the Halloween game with this nighttime trail attraction. A less-intense, “Not-So-Spooky Trail” is open at p.m., while the main trail readies two hours later. $7-$10. 210 Manor Rd., Huntington, manorfarmhauntedtrailnights.webs.com7-10 p.m. Oct. 26, 27.
Joe Allocco’s Franklin Square Horror
Franklin Square Horror will scare your socks off! One of the biggest and scariest haunted walk-throughs on Long Island, Franklin Square Horror is a tradition for thousands of Long Island families and friends. Upon entering, you will be immersed in hundreds of feet of pure terror! See if your family and friends can make it through the different terror-filled chambers and pockets of fright without running for the hills. Every season, Joe Allocco’s Franklin Square is host to an exciting and terrifying array of ghoulish horrors that will give you an evening you will never forget. 1148 Norbay St., Franklin Square, Facebook.com/FranklinSquareHorror 6-10 p.m. Oct. 31.
Milleridge Halloween Village and Haunted House
Visitors can enjoy a haunted house, tarot card readers, spooky rides, spooky story teller, a magician, pumpkin patch, spooky face painting, a fire eater, trackless train and stilt walker. Also, new this year is a wax museum, featuring Twisty the Clown from American Horror story, Freddy Krueger and assorted witches! 585 North Bwy., Jericho, milleridgeinn.com, 516-931-2201. Admission: Free. Pumpkin Patch, Haunted House, Tarot Cards, Wax Museum: $8. Train: $6. Bounce House: $4. 6-10 p.m. Fri., 1-11 p.m. Sat., 12-6 p.m. Sun. Oct. 12-28.
Sporting over 60 different carved pumpkins featuring all manner of art, this family friendly exhibit is primed to show off a Halloween staple, like you’ve never seen them before. 71 Old Westbury Rd. Old Westbury, therise.org, 516-252-3392. $22-$26. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 13, 19, 21, 26-28.
Restless Souls Haunted House Complex
Restless Souls returns to Long Island with a 3D show called “Klownkatraz,” a spine-tingling outdoor attraction and even an escape room. 301 West Hills Rd., Huntington Station, restlesssoulsli.com 631-319-9662. $27. 6-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5-9 p.m. Sun. Oct. 12-14, Oct. 19-21, Oct. 26-28.
Schmitt’s Farm Haunted House
A haunted mansion and a haunted corn trail are all on display at this staple attraction, sure to unnerve even the most seasoned haunted house veterans. 26 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, schmittsfarmhaunt.com, 631-271-3276. $15. 7 p.m.-12 a.m. Oct. 5-8, Oct. 12-14, Oct. 19-21, Oct. 25-28, Oct. 30-31.
Those looking for a less terrifying experience for the younger set need look no further, as this family-friendly Halloween exhibit features a walk in the woods, face-painting and a live animal exhibit. 1450 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre cstl.org/spooky-fest 516-764-0045. $10-$15. 6:30-10 p.m. Oct. 5-7, Oct. 12-14, Oct. 18-21, Oct. 25-29.
Feel sheer terror grip your spine as you walk down the 45-minute-long haunted trail, the longest-lasting walk on Long Island. All proceeds go to benefit Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, a camp for children and adults with disabilities. 2 Chet Swezey Rd., Center Moriches, spookywalk.com, 631-878-1070. $20. 7-9 p.m. Oct. 19-20, Oct. 26-27.
Vampires LairFor a limited time only, guests at Hempstead House will be in for a bloody good time as the grounds will be crawling with vampires as a part of this brand-new attraction. Evade these infernal creatures, and you just may survive the night. Children under 12 will not be admitted. 127 Middle Neck Rd., Sands Point sandspointpreserveconservancy.org
516-304-5076. $30-$35. 7-11 p.m. Oct. 25-26, Oct. 28-29, Oct. 30-31.
Yaphank Trail of Terror
Go on a guided tour with up to three people in your party as you encounter all sorts of apparitions and monsters in an elaborate attraction. 6 Laurie Blvd., Centereach, yaphanktrail.wixsite.com 631-676-4619. Free. 6-10:30 p.m. Oct. 19-20, 26-27.
A titan of local news has been lost as the publisher of the Long Island Advance, John T. Tuthill III, passed away at the age of 86 on September 22.
A graduate of Colgate University, Tuthill had been chief of the Advance since 1972, when he took over for his father Captain John Tuthill, Jr,.
Tuthill III was active in the Bellport and Patchogue communities as a private citizen, and a patron of local journalism in both his stewardship of the newspaper and as the president of the Board of Directors for the New York Press Association.
Tuthill passed away peacefully at Long Island Community Hospital surrounded by family. In addition to his son, Terry, he is survived by his wife, Lorelei.
A public memorial will be held Thursday, September 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Robertaccio Funeral Home in Medford, with a private memorial to follow on Friday.