Patrick Long


Chambers of Hell is Back in All Its Horrible Halloween Glory

Photo by Joe Ferrazano.

The days are growing cooler, the evenings are growing darker, the turning leaves have begun to decorate the streets, and Halloween is rapidly approaching. While last year’s festivities may have been marred by the ongoing (and still with us) Covid-19 pandemic, this year looks to mark a bit of a return to form for Long Island’s eerie attractions, namely Chambers of Hell, one of the country’s top-rated Halloween haunts located right here on the island at 1745 Expressway Dr. North in Hauppauge.   

After operating in an extremely limited capacity in 2020, Chambers of Hell is back in full gear for 2021 and is inviting anyone looking to get into the spirit of the season to return for three horrifying haunted attractions, as well as a brand-new haunted escape room. Inside each of these elaborately designed haunts, brave patrons will test their mettle against a host of strange and sadistic characters who lie in wait in grim and grisly settings to meet you face-to-gruesome-bloody-face. 

Recreational terror is a beloved Halloween staple for many, but Chambers of Hell has a special knack for leaving its patrons unsure of whether or not what they’re witnessing is macabre theater or the real disturbing deal. Of course, it’s all an act, right? That’s a harder question to answer when you’re stuck within the walls of one of these highly regarded haunts and your only option is to move forward into the darkness… 

JR Messina Photography

Chambers of Hell has been rated the number one haunted house in New York multiple times over, and you’ll see why if you can make it through all three haunts without turning tail.

The first stop on your way through Hell on Earth is Nightshade. Set in a secret laboratory beneath a water treatment plant in Brooklyn, this attraction takes you through the aftermath of a series of unspeakable experiments gone wrong. You’ll be trying to avoid an onslaught of plant/human hybrids that have overtaken the lab as you traverse your way past whatever horrors were left behind when all those who created them left.

Next up is Buried Secrets, where you’ll witness a battle of biblical proportions waged beneath the streets of New York City in darkened sewers, abandoned subways, and skeleton-stuffed catacombs. Start out on a doomed subway car that groans and thrashes before coming to a halt just outside an unholy battleground where hordes of demons attempt to drag you to hell, and all that stands in their way is a divine army known as the Archangels. 

Finally, you’ll be getting into the Christmas spirit—sort of—with Slasher 74. It’s Christmas Eve and you’re an unwelcome guest in the home of a murderous family who has a less-than-traditional way of celebrating the season. A grisly scene set to unusually unsettling classic Christmas music awaits around every awful corner, and so do your horrible hosts.  

Chambers of Hell 2021 is open Friday-Sunday every weekend in October, as well as the final two Thursdays (Oct. 21 and 28) and Columbus Day (Oct. 11). Escape the Haunt, its brand-new haunted escape room is the only one of its kind on the entire Eastern Seaboard. It’s open every Tuesday and Wednesday until Oct. 20. Times vary by the day. 

Tickets and more info can be found at chambersofhell.com.

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

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U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s Allie Long and Crystal Dunn Bring World Cup Win Home to Long Island

No. 20 Allie Longand No. 19 Crystal Dunn celebrate after the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team won the World Cup. (ISI Photos image)

The United States Women’s National Team are World Cup champions. Again.

They were no underdogs. In fact, the defending champs were the odds-on favorites to win it all, but there are no easy roads to greatness and the soccer players of the USWNT proved as much on their path to 2019 Women’s World Cup glory in France in July. 

Of the 23 women on the USWNT roster, two of them hail from Long Island: Defender Crystal Dunn of New Hyde Park and my sister, midfielder Allie Long, of Northport. 

They battled through controversy from game one, where the team’s sportsmanship was called into question after their exuberant goal celebrations in a 13-0 record-setting takedown of Thailand. Some called it classless, others called it competitive spirit. Regardless of international opinion, the women continued to dominate. 

After going undefeated in the group stages, the team moved on to a ruthless gauntlet of the best women’s soccer teams the world has to offer in the elimination round. They fought through Spain, France, England, and finally the Netherlands on their way to a record fourth World Cup title. In total, the women came up against three of the top five teams on the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. 

What followed their 2-0 defeat of the Netherlands in the final round was a victory lap for the ages. After overcoming another controversy over a dropped American flag during their post-game celebrations, the women boarded a plane to New York City, where they appeared on Good Morning America, traversed the Canyon of Heroes in their ticker tape parade, then flew out to Los Angeles for the ESPYs where they won the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award for Best Team, all while championing their fight for equal pay with support from the likes of Sandra Bullock, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, tennis legend Billie Jean King, and many others. 

Being the little brother of a spectacularly talented older sister has its perks. It earned me the opportunity to sit down with a world champion and talk to her about her team’s amazing World Cup victory, growing up on Long Island, watching previous USWNTs, and the afterglow of winning it all. Crystal Dunn, who was on a well-earned vacation, was unavailable for comment.

Allie Long (USWNST photo)

What’s your earliest memory of Youth Center Soccer? Well, you had a red or white interchangeable jersey. I loved those. I loved the orange slices at halftime. And I always had my grandfather, or mom, or dad. Someone was always at my games. Youth Center was just all about having fun and seeing if this something you wanted to do.  

Do you think the sport’s popularity here played a big role in two local women out of 23 in the entire country making the National Women’s Soccer League team?  Definitely. Six girls on my club team on Long Island were all drafted into the NWSL. I attribute that to Long Island being such a great pocket for really good soccer development. 

You went to the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 to see the USWNT play. What do you remember about that? My grandfather took me and my mom. The most important thing that I remember is just being inspired and wanting to be like [USWNT players] Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy and Michelle Akers and Brandi Chastain. 

You didn’t know you’d be making the roster until about a month or so before the World Cup began. How did that phone call feel? After our final exhibition game, [USWNT coach] Jill Ellis told us she was going to call us within two weeks. Once that began I was just waiting for that call. When I got the call I just instantly cried. 

The USWNT was the odds-on favorite to win it all, but you still met plenty of strong competition. Did you have to make a conscious effort as a team to not let those favorable odds go to your head? We work and we play as if we are the best team in the world. We train as if we’re going to win the World Cup. We don’t even think of second place. So, going into the tournament we don’t even think of [losing]. Even if we didn’t play like it at times, we still always had to believe that we’re going to get it done no matter what. 

Which was the more intimidating crowd: playing Brazil in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics or playing France in Paris during this World Cup? France in Paris. The entire stadium was unbelievable. When they scored their first goal in the 80th minute, I’ve never heard a crowd like that, or the momentum shift like that, in my entire career.

You had a wild run after winning it all: after-party in Paris, plane to New York, Good Morning America, ticker-tape parade, plane to L.A., ESPYs, after-parties in L.A., all in a matter of three days. How did you all manage to do that?  We’re not used to partying. We’ve been preparing for the World Cup for four months. That was almost just as tiring as going through the World Cup. What’s special about our team is that we’re friends for so long from so many different places and these relationships are authentic and genuine and run deep so what’s better than being able to go through all of that with your 22 best friends?

Crystal Dunn (USWNST photo)

You met a ton of celebrities and high-profile athletes along the way. Which one left you the most starstruck? LeBron James had us at his Uninterrupted Party honoring the USWNT and brought us up on stage. LeBron is someone I’ve always looked up to and is a pure sign of greatness. For him to honor us and take time out of his party to celebrate us and celebrate women was so special. 

Sandra Bullock, Secret Deodorant, and a number of other notable entities have now championed your fight for equal pay. Where do you think the World Cup victory now puts you in that battle? When you win you get a bonus. When the men’s team wins they make six times what we do. This brought that fact to light. Not only that, but this victory is going to inspire the next generation of women’s soccer players. How can you not pay attention to a team that has won more World Cups than any other country? 

Do you and the team discuss the controversies and negative press or is it more accepted as a byproduct of all the success? When we do something and people are talking about it we do wonder whether people would say the same things of a men’s team. They say soccer is boring, we score 13 goals, they say we’re too arrogant. You can’t please everyone and we know that. 

What about your flag incident? With me putting the flag on the ground and people saying it was intentional, I apologize if anyone felt offended in any way, but that was never my intention. I’m so proud and honored to represent the best country in the world. Every time I put that jersey on it’s so special for me and I do not take it for granted.  

Do you ever read comments sections? I actually turned my comments off after the Cup because the people who thought I dropped the flag on purpose were just relentless. It doesn’t bother me much but little girls are watching and looking at my page and if you’re going to alter the way they think of me that’s what bothers me because I want to inspire young girls. That’s what this is about, it isn’t about politics.  

What would you say to someone who doesn’t consider you and your teammates to be good role models for young girls? I’d say if we’re not good role models then who is? We represent unity, we represent inclusion, we represent love, we represent competitiveness, we represent discipline, hard work, sacrifice. Every single thing you’d want your child to look up to, that’s what we embody. We’re winners. For me, there’s no better role model than the USWNT. These women are powerful, strong, fierce females, and they stand up for what’s right. 

How did our parents influence you? Well, Mom played soccer, so growing up she was always someone I would practice with. Our dad was a rugby player, so I got my tenacity and competitiveness and fierce attitude from him. It was a good combination. 

What’s next? Well my National Women’s Soccer League season is going on right now and this league needs exposure. Needs more viewers, more fans, more writers writing about it, more money in it. Making that happen is my focus right now. Then there’s the Tokyo Olympics next summer. Next up is an Olympic gold medal.

9 Local Commercials Long Islanders Will Never Forget 

Local commercials have a special aura to them. 

Maybe it’s the low production value or the subpar sound design or the wooden acting, maybe it’s the goofy catch phrases or the hokey jingles, maybe it’s the fact that they’re mercilessly replayed over and over and over again for years at a time. There’s just something about them that tends to crawl inside our heads and cling to our memories far more effectively than any actually important information we may want to retain. 

Here’s a time capsule containing nine of the most infectious local commercials from decades past that are likely to inspire a sense of nostalgia in any Long Islander who remembers them.


Hold on. Is their couch an actual roller-coaster? 

This one is likely to stir some Saturday morning cartoon memories for Long Island’s children of the ’90s. It was on heavy repeat from 1998 into the early 2000s across all children’s networks. Just the “Mom, we’re so bored…” line can strike up a spirited discussion among the proper crowd. 

FunZone was an indoor amusement park in Farmingdale with a number of rides and games as well as bumper cars, a laser tag arena, and a special area for birthday party attendees to gorge themselves on pizza and ice cream cake. In other words: it was a childhood wonderland.

It’s no wonder then that these youngsters came out of the experience with smoke pouring from their ears and electricity coursing through their bodies, but it is a bit strange that they were unaware of the boredom-busting thrill ride in their own home that could send them hurtling down to Route 110 in the blink of an eye. 

Brothers 3 Pools

This one is still running today, but this list would be incomplete without it. It’s a modern classic. 

Short, sweet, and to the point, this little gem serves to promote a Long Island backyard staple: the swimming pool. BUt not just any swimming pools. These are Brothers 3 swimming pools. Made by this woman’s father and sold by her uncle. You can’t beat that combination, can you? 

Wait a second. Why exactly can’t you beat that combination? Who are these two brothers and what makes them such a pool industry powerhouse? And isn’t it called Brothers 3? Who’s the third brother? Why did we leave him out? He must factor in somewhere… 

So many unanswered questions, but one thing is for sure: this commercial is a local treasure.  

Zacharys Night Club

Zacharys in East Meadow was apparently a place of many lavish adjectives: elegant, exciting, exclusive, sophisticated. The kind of place where beautiful people with expensive cars meet up to drink champagne and ogle one another expressionlessly from across a well-lit dance floor.  

As goofy as this 1987 time warp of a commercial seems now, one has to imagine that it served its purpose. It knows its target audience and how to reach them: opulence, decadence, big hair, and gaudy jewelry. The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous crowd must have eaten this one up. 

The only thing that’s truly off-putting about this ad is that strange synth music. It sounds so foreboding, like Jason Voorhees or Patrick Bateman are somewhere in the shadows, just waiting… 

Citywide Plumbing 

Dan, Dan, the Citywide man. What a guy. 

So astute at clearing clogs and retrieving lost wedding rings that entire families eagerly anticipate his arrival on their porch.

So irresistibly dependable that he inspires domestic daydreams in his housewife clientele. 

So renowned for his plumbing prowess that he has his own hokey theme song.

If you’re having toilet troubles, Dan is your man. Unless you’re the jealous type. Then you might want to seek out a plumber who isn’t so darn charming.

2 Brothers Scrap Metal

Another modern classic, this time for all of those teenage girls who just can’t seem to figure out what to do with all their scrap metal. 

There’s something about the cadence of this couch-bound father’s assertive recommendation that has captured the hearts of Long Island television viewers everywhere and turned this commercial’s catch phrase into a local version of McDonald’s, “ba-da-ba-ba-ba, I’m lovin’ it.”

Go ahead and approach someone on the street, anyone at all, and say, “Just tell her to call…” and odds are they’ll be able to come back at you with, “…2 Brothers Scrap Metal!”

Okay, on second thought don’t do that. This is reality, not a low budget local commercial. But do call 2 Brothers Scrap Metal next time you’re sitting on some extra aluminum siding. They deserve the business after crafting this gem. 

Oh, and bonus Long Island points awarded to the father for prominently displaying an Optimum cable remote.

King Kullen 

This song should have you swelling with Long Island pride.

“From the lady in the harbor to the lighthouse on the ocean. From the farms out east to the city streets, it’s the place that we call home.”

Can we have Billy Joel record a version of this to be played at all Ducks games? 

So what if it’s actually a commercial? It’s a commercial for King Kullen, the beloved local grocer recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as “America’s First Supermarket.”

This heartwarming 1988 song-ad is reminiscent of the intros to some of the family sitcoms from around that era: Full House, Family Matters, Family Ties. It’s warm with nostalgia and full of smiling faces. Michael J. Fox may even play the butcher if you squint and use your imagination.

That mysterious meal the woman is serving her family is a bit concerning, but even so, this commercial deserves a 10/10.   

Crazy Eddie

Now that is how you sell electronics. 

These commercials were a TV and radio staple in the tri-state area for more than 15 years. The auctioneer-tongued madman in the used car salesman suit is not actually Eddie, though. He’s DJ Jerry Carroll. The frenetic pitchman starred in countless ads from 1972 to 1988 that helped to grow the Brooklyn-based consumer electronics chain into a 43-store behemoth. They were so popular that they even inspired a Dan Aykroyd spoof on the original Saturday Night Live

The most interesting part of the story, however, is the real life Eddie.  

While DJ Jerry was cranking out high quality maniac advertising, owner Eddie Antar was busy skimming millions from the company and stuffing it away in offshore accounts. His various white collar crimes included securities fraud, tax evasion, insider trading, racketeering, and a money laundering scheme that came to be known as the “Panama Pump.” Yikes. 

When these crimes came to light in the late 80s, Crazy Eddie stores began liquidation in order to pay off debts to suppliers and in 1997 Antar was sentenced to 8 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges. He was ordered to pay $150 million in fines in addition to over $1 billion in compensation from civil suits.  

Okay, maybe that’s not how you sell electronics. 

The Wiz 

Nobody beats the Wiz! Except Best Buy, of course.

The Wiz was an incredibly popular electronics chain that had its heyday in the ’80s and ’90s. Unlike Crazy Eddie, their business practices were seemingly on the up and up and at one point they reported an annual revenue of $1.4 billion across 94 stores in five different states. 

It’s of little curiosity that they found such dazzling success with endearing advertisements such as this one, tugging at the heartstrings of Long Islanders with references to beloved Jones Beach and their then-dynasty NHL team. Although, this historical resume does feel a bit incomplete… 

No mention of the Battle of Long Island or the Washington Spy Trail? Walt Whitman writing Leaves of Grass? Charles Lindbergh taking off on his legendary trans-Atlantic flight from Roosevelt field? Peter Frampton recording “Show Me the Way” at a gig in Commack? None of that stuff is worth mentioning in the same breath as the opening of an electronics store in Valley Stream? 

Historical exclusions aside, this ad is still bound to put a nostalgic smile on the face of any Long Islander who remembers The Wiz. 

Optimum Triple Play

Mermaids, palm trees, kooky pirates, banana boats, dancing lifeguards, a rapping sea serpent. It’s clear that the producers of this commercial did not fully understand what type of island they’d be advertising to when they took the job. That’s just fine though, because this commercial for Optimum’s Triple Play package is an exhilarating ride anyway. 

The knock-off Pitbull (Mr. 631?) does a fantastic job of laying out the basics of the monthly cable, Internet, and phone plan in the most danceable way possible. Then the lady singers add some reggaetón to your dial tone with that infectious 877-393-4…4…4…8 routine. Finally, the aforementioned rapping sea serpent turns the internationally connected viewer on to the possibilities of Optimum Voice World Call. It’s an unforgettable advertising symphony.

The big budget flash of this one separates it from the other nine and perhaps reduces a bit of the local advertisement charm, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. Go ahead, try and forget that phone number. It’s going to be with you forever.  

In Floyd Harbor, Author Joel Mowdy Brings Mastic Beach To Page

Left: Joel Mowdy (Photo by Alfredas Motiejunas). Book cover courtesy of Catapult.

Author Joel Mowdy has lived many lives.

He is currently a teacher at Green School in the jungles of Bali, Indonesia where students learn, among other things, how to be environmentally conscious. It’s a career path dreamed up during time spent in his wife Simona’s home country of Lithuania, where he still owns a forest homestead and where his son, Oskar, was born. It came after unsuccessfully seeking employment in Nottingham, England while he and Simona lived off of dwindling savings. The two moved there a few years after meeting one another and falling in love in Southampton, where they both worked in the same restaurant after he graduated from Hofstra University.   

Mowdy’s post-grad life seems the stuff of novels, but his new book, Floyd Harbor, out May 14 from Catapult, harkens back to the time before all the journeying began. The collection of 12 short stories, set mostly in the 1990s, reflect his youthful days on the South Shore of Long Island.

The author was born and raised along with 12 brothers and sisters in Mastic Beach. It was a youth spent, “playing in the woods, camping on the Sound, crabbing, and swimming in the Atlantic.”

But the subject matter the book breaches is not that of warm summertime recollection. Its focus lies more in the perpetual struggle of the marginalized Mastic Beach residents Mowdy came to know in his teenage years. People living in broken homes and afflicted by poverty.

“I’d go to friends’ houses and never once see a parent around,” he recalls. “They’d have one parent working, one in jail or just gone, or their single father was working full time, going to weekly drug counseling meetings and taking a taxi to the clinic every day to get their dose of methadone.”

These are the same trying circumstances that arise in the world of Floyd Harbor, and its inhabitants deal with them in myriad ways. Some kick around in dead end jobs, some look for ways to game the system, most dream of a more favorable situation. They find themselves mixed up in drug use, money making schemes, sordid sexual experiences. They yearn for youthful thrills, cool cars, love, recognition.

The stories in Floyd Harbor present a number of weaving interconnections: characters reappear, events reoccur, and perspectives are subsequently altered.

“My plan was simply to write the kinds of stories I wanted to read, and the connections happened organically,” the author says of the book’s correlating narratives, “scene, setting, or character in one story would suggest another story. Two stories would suggest a third.”

When asked how much of the book is autobiographical, Mowdy is reluctant to tip his hand.

“Somewhere between zero and one hundred percent,” he quips, but there is no denying that his fictional world is based primarily in reality.

Characters cruise up and down William Floyd Parkway, Sunrise Highway, and Guy Lombardo Avenue. They shop at King Kullen and Handy Pantry. They dine at New Rooster Kitchen and John’s Pizzeria, both still standing on Neighborhood Road in his hometown.

Some of the experiences within are primarily his own, too. Much like many of the characters in the book, he once “took on whatever soul-sucking job” he could in order to make ends meet. He too felt the tightening grip of the post-high school hometown trap and dodged recruitment commercials like Will in “Salty’s.” He experienced firsthand the heart-wrenching effects of his Vietnam veteran father’s PTSD just like Sal in “The Shaft.”

The big difference between Mowdy and many of the people who inhabit the Mastic Beach portrayed in Floyd Harbor is that he eventually left. His experiences as an educator in Bali and on his forest homestead in Lithuania will be what informs his writing going forward, but his first book will stand as a tribute to that former life on faraway Long Island. Twelve true-to-life stories stemming from a revelation brought to him by his first English professor at Suffolk County Community College.

He learned that he didn’t have to write about, “a certain class of people who held enviable jobs, went to weekly therapy sessions, and had epiphanies in exotic locales.”

“Not that these were bad stories,” he says. “They were just not my stories. My characters too could suffer from broken hearts, disappointments, self-doubt, loss, trauma, and embarrassment, but with the additional pressures of rent or tuition due, unemployment, no phone service, an empty fridge, fractured family, addiction, and a lack of transportation,” he realized, “I could write about Mastic Beach.”

Floyd Harbor is out May 14 on Catapult. Joel will be doing signings at McNally Jackson Books on 52 Prince Street in Manhattan at 7 p.m. May 15 and at Brickhouse Brewery on 67 West Main Street in Patchogue on May 17.

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls Bringing Positivity to The Paramount

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls play The Paramount on May 11.

English singer-songwriter and bestselling author Frank Turner, who offers both poetry and prose that is uncommonly uplifting, will be bringing his philosophy of optimism to The Paramount on May 11 along with his band, The Sleeping Souls. He recently spoke to the Press about his eastern European fan base, finding silver linings, and the creative process in both his new album, Be more Kind, and his new book, Try This At Home.

You’ve played on Long Island before, right? We have yeah, although I think it’s been a while since we’ve been through. We came through with Dropkick Murphys in 2012, I think playing the same venue actually. We’re all excited to come back again.

How did you like the Paramount? I remember it being one the best shows of the whole tour, and I’m not just saying that because I’m talking to you (laughs). We all had an amazing time. Somewhere in my wardrobe I have a Strong Island t-shirt that I got that day. I’m going to try and dig it out for the tour so I can wear it that night.

Did you get to spend any time here outside of the venue? Passingly. You know it’s the nature of the beast on tour that I only see a lot of car parks and dressing rooms and hotels. I try my best to make time to have a look around and take advantage of my privilege of being in different parts of the world, but I also have a job to do.

Are there any spots you’ve gone to on tour that took you by surprise? Yeah, I think one of the things I would say is that quite often the places that are further off the beaten path on the touring scheduling can be the more exciting places to play because there’s this sense of appreciation for you actually having made the journey out there. I’ve toured in eastern Europe a lot, particularly in the Baltic states in Latvia and Lithuania, and the crowds there are just bananas, and a big part of it is that the kids there are just like, “We’re so glad that you took the time to come.”

Can you tell me about the new album, Be More Kind? Well, one of the interesting things about this record from my point of view was that for the first time pretty much ever in my career I had the time, the money, and the inclination to really take my time in the studio. In the past quite often I’d arrive in the studio with my band and we know exactly how the record is going to sound. There’s not really a lot of experimentation. This time around, when we arrived at the studio in Fort Worth, Texas, I had the songs written but the arrangements were still kind of nebulous in my head, so we really spent a lot of time kind of messing around with different sounds, different textures, different instruments, that kind of thing. It was a really rewarding and creative experience. I’m not sure I’d want to do that every time I make a record but certainly it was a fun thing to do one time around.

A running theme of the new album and in much of your music is maintaining a sense of optimism in spite of harsh realities. Is voicing that idea something you have to make a conscious effort of or is it just your natural disposition? It’s a funny thing. It’s not something I sat down and planned in any way…but it’s definitely true looking through my songs, particularly over the last four albums or so, that there is a kind of optimistic angle in a lot of it, but I think that that’s normative as much as it is positive in the sense that I’m not entirely sure that I am inherently all that optimistic. It’s more just that, if I’m going to spend the time and the energy singing about something, then I want to try and make something positive out of it.

When we interviewed Dennis Casey of Flogging Molly, who you’re doing the Salty Dog cruise with this year, he described you on a previous cruise walking around with an acoustic guitar doing impromptu poolside shows. Don’t you do that sort of thing when you’re on tour as well? (laughs) Yeah, well I mean at the end of the day I love to play, you know what I mean? I’m so lucky to do what I do because playing songs on guitar is my favorite thing in the whole world. I understand the necessity for us to have shows in a venue that are promoted ahead of time but pretty regularly, when we’re on tour, if there’s an opportunity for me to grab a guitar and just go to a bar and play some more I’ll do that, too.

Can you tell me a bit about your new book, Try This At Home? It’s a book about songwriting. I wrote a book a few years ago about touring and to everybody’s surprise, including mine, it went over really well and it was a successful publication and all this, so everybody was interested in me writing another one. I didn’t want to repeat myself, I felt like I’d said what I had to say about touring, and I hadn’t written anything about songwriting. I’m always thinking about songs so there was plenty to write about, shall we say. It came out in the UK a few weeks ago and it’s done very well this time around as well so, yeah, I’ve got two books under my belt, I guess that makes me an author.

The Paramount, 370 New York Avenue, Huntington, paramountny.com $25-$70, 7:30 p.m. May 11

Flogging Molly Guitarist Dennis Casey Talks Up Long Island Roots

Dennis Casey of Flogging Molly has local ties.

L.A.-born Celtic punk band Flogging Molly has been blending traditional Irish sounds with politically conscious punk rock since 1997. They’ll be bringing their notoriously frenetic live act to the Paramount in Huntington on February 26 in support of their new album, Life is Good. Guitarist Dennis Casey took a moment out of the European leg of their world tour to talk about life on Long Island, the birth of the new album, and the state of modern music.

So you’ve spent some time as a Long Islander? Yeah I lived in Greenlawn. I married a Long Island girl so that’s what brought me out there.

Any interesting observations about the Island? It’s a beautiful place with the beaches and then out east and being close to the city, although Greenlawn was just far enough that it wasn’t so easy to get in. There’s a lot there. I had the same complaint I think everybody does: property taxes. That was the only bum out.

Do you have any favorite places out here? My favorite place is Long Beach. I spent a lot of time there and that’s a really beautiful beach. Reminds me of California.

You guys have played the Paramount a few times before. How do you like it? I’m not just saying this because I lived there but it’s one of the better venues. They really take good care of us. The backstage is so cool and set up great and there’s a pool table and lots of room. What’s the brewery that brought us a whole keg of beer? I think it’s called Long Ireland. And you know, the promoter and the people who own the venue, they take really good care of you, and then you’ve got the Founder’s Room downstairs, that’s a cool hangout.

Are there any little underrated spots that you love to visit on tour? There’s a city called Rothenburg in Germany that was spared being bombed [in World War II]. One of the top general’s grandmother was from there, I guess. He instructed not to bomb the city. It’s absolutely gorgeous; surrounded by a medieval wall and the architecture is almost a thousand years old. It’s so beautiful, it’s like a little fairy tale place. We played a festival there a couple years ago and that’s how I found it.

Can you tell me a bit about the newest album, Life is Good? It sounds a bit more rock ‘n’ roll than the others. Yeah, it’s funny. It’s interesting how people perceive our music because I think since the day we started this it’s been “this one sounds more punk rock than the other one” or “this one sounds more Irish than the other one.” It’s hard for me to tell, you know, we don’t sit down and intend to do anything like that, it’s just kind of what happens. This record is kind of a document of a band that’s been together 20 years, touring all over the world. The way I would describe it is more mature perhaps, tighter, and more. I don’t know, I always like to say a record is like a document of the band at this point in our career. I think the music we make and the experiences we have are just reflected on it. Like [singer Dave Best’s] mom died during it, my father passed away while we were writing it, so that’s all reflected in it.

You started out a Zeppelin and AC/DC guy, right? Yeah when I first started out of course guitar music is what turned me on. I don’t come from a musical family so I discovered stuff on my own. When I discovered Dead Kennedy’s I was like “oh my…” and that changed my whole trajectory.

Dead Kennedy’s have a lot of politics in their music. You guys do too, maybe not as aggressively, but it’s all in there, right? Yeah, Dave always seems to address that. I think coming from [Ireland], a country that was occupied for many years, I think he’s really more sensitive than some, or most, others on that.

Are there any big influences that may not be directly reflected by the sound of the record? I don’t think there was anything new, but there are seven of us and we’re from all over the place. We weren’t like The Ramones who grew up in Forest Hills together. We’re from all over and we’re different ages and I think there’s a lot of different influences that are always peeking in and out.

Life is Good came out in June 2017 but you’ve since released a few new songs (“Going Home” and “There’s Nothing Left, pt. 2”). Is that in keeping with the modern music landscape? Yeah, the music business has been changing rapidly for what now, 10 years? 15 years? You have to kind of go with it. Having said that I think we will always make full length records. I think that’s just something us and our fanbase is into. I think, as well, we did that this time because there was a six year gap between records so there was a lot of extra material. Instead of putting 19 songs on a record you can, with Spotify, sort of put out 12 and then release some other stuff.

How do you find the musical landscape today as opposed to 20-something years ago when Flogging Molly began? Have internet and social media and streaming services made it worse or better or something in between? I mean we’re obviously selling less records but we’re also selling more tickets than ever so I would say it’s helping. The old days are not coming back so I don’t think someone should really wish or try to make that happen at this point in their careers. Putting out a great live show is very important.

What can we expect from the show with Lucero on February 26th? Yeah that’s a great lineup. You can expect a party-your-ass-off-have-a-great-time Flogging Molly show. Lucero is also a great band so I think it’s going to be a great night of music.

Flogging Molly with special guest Lucero will be at the Paramount, 370 New York Ave, Huntington, paramountny.com $37.50-$79.50, 8 p.m. Feb. 26

11 Questions With PUP Guitarist Steve Sladkowski

Toronto-based punk rockers PUP have racked up awards, been lauded by Rolling Stone and have performed on Last Call with Carson Daly. In anticipation of their Dec. 28 show at The Paramount along with Thursday and Frank Iero and the Patience, we spoke to guitarist Steve Sladkowski about endless touring, old school video games, his connection to Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things, plus sports, music and life.

Long Island Press: You guys have actually been out here to the Paramount and Jones Beach before, did you get to see Long Island at all?

Steve Sladkowski: Yeah a good friend of ours actually lives on Long Island and we’ve stayed with him a couple of times, we stayed with him after that Paramount show, and we were able to just hang out, you know get bagels and just sort of chill out. Yeah it was great. Paramount is a beautiful theater, the staff was great, I’m really excited to be back it’s nice to play kind of old historic theaters.

LIP: So you guys tour all the time, I saw in an interview you’ve done something like 600 shows?

SS: Yeah a couple of years back we did like 250 in a calendar year, which was a bit suicidal. I think at this point it’s sort of been so much of…how you grow a project and how you really connect with fans is by taking the project on the road, you know? People aren’t buying records kind of anywhere these days but especially not for bands that sound like us, because we are more album driven rather than single, and you know I’m cool with that, and it’s nice to tour and kind of grow a project that way. It’s very organic and there’s more people at every show we play so it doesn’t feel as rough as it could feel.

LIP: Yeah it’s interesting, no one buys records and that industry has declined but there is definitely a more grassroots feel to it now and it’s cool in its own way, although maybe there’s not quite as much money in all of it.

SS: Yeah if you’re looking for money then maybe you should be in finance…and I think the way it’s kind of broken has benefited bands like us who are willing to work hard and be dedicated to a project and a band for all the right reasons.

LIP: Are there any smaller towns that surprised you or impressed you at all?

SS: Yeah there are a lot, you know one of the places that we’ve consistently had great shows that we never would have expected is in the state of Iowa believe it or not. We’ve had a lot of really cool little shows there. You know any place you play where bands don’t come through as often as, you know, the coastal regions or some of the major cities…are always very, very appreciative. But yeah I feel like some of the small Midwestern states often are some of the most surprising. They’re very punk rock, you know, they take care of their own. You never have to worry about the mosh pit getting out of control because the people who control it are the ones who are in it.

LIP: What do you listen to?

SS: We listen to Sword and Scale obviously, there’s a current events podcast I listen to when we’re on the road, you know it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on in Canada, it’s called Canada Land. It’s just like a current events and media criticism podcast, and we were lucky to, we hung out with Roman Mars who does 99% Invisible in Oakland last time we were there. He’s super cool he’s like an old D.C. Dischord punk, which was an insane thing to find out, so we listen to that podcast and you know obviously This American Life is a great one. And you know music too, we try to listen to new music or stuff that we wouldn’t necessarily be encountering all the time in clubs. So that’s anything from you know your Kendrick Lamar to your Waxahatchee to Devo to all kinds of stuff.

LIP: It’s interesting how hip hop kind of influences any [genre of] music today.

SS: Yeah and it’s kind of the great, in my opinion, the great, like, cultural movement and artform of our generation…I’m 29, I’m almost 30, and hip hop has been such a significant part, and I wouldn’t even consider myself. I’m a bit of a head but I’m by no means a super big connoisseur and I love hip hop and I know a fair amount about it. But even just being on the periphery, it’s so influential and in Toronto now especially you know R&B and Hip Hop are such a force from Drake on down…our guy Daniel Caesar who we’ve played a couple of gigs with just got two Grammy nominations, which is amazing.

LIP: The DVP and Old Wounds videos are old school video game based, they’re awesome, do you guys still play those 8-bit and 16-bit games at all?

SS: A little bit, I still have an OG Sega Genesis but I want to get one of those new consoles that have an actual port for the cartridges. But you know I don’t have a ton of time for video games now, just because when we’re on the road I’m actually trying to, you know, stare less at screens? Trying to read just to kind of balance myself out, but I do really love the classic SNES and Sega Genesis. I still think that those are some of the greatest games ever made, I like games that feel like you can finish them.

LIP: Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things is in another two of your videos and that inspired him to start his own band, Calpurnia. Have you had a chance to see them perform at all?

SS: Yeah I saw them a couple weeks ago at the Horseshoe tavern, which is a legendary Toronto venue [currently] celebrating its 70th anniversary. It’s like an old country bar but sometimes there will be an unannounced gig like Spoon and it’s like an 180 cap venue.

LIP: I have an amazing quote from Finn: “PUP is probably the most influential band in the last 10 years of my life – them and the Beatles.”

SS: He’s way more influential and successful than we probably ever will be (laughs). I can’t wish success on someone [more]. We as a whole band have been able to watch him grow as sort of an artist and he’s passionate and hardworking and, like, kind of nerdy, you know? He just loves music and comedy and acting and I honestly do think he’s going to be that rare example of someone who finds success as a kid early and will translate it into something far more meaningful and powerful for people.

His parents are amazing which I don’t think always gets out. His parents are always around and helping out and looking out for him and making sure he has, as much as possible, a regular teenage experience which I think is important. Yeah,he’s a good kid, man, I’m really, really glad that we were able to help him out and he’s obviously helped us out a lot.

LIP: I know you’re a huge fan of the Blue Jays and the Raptors, so, game 7, Rogers Centre, behind home plate or game 7, Air Canada Centre, courtside seats?

SS: Oh god…wow…the Jays have been around longer and that would be bigger for me. But if you asked my girlfriend it would be Raptors (laughs) so maybe it should be that. Yeah, that’s a hard pick but I’ve been a Jays fan since 1991, my earliest memories are of begging my dad to take me to the game when the Jays were in their first big championship push.

LIP: On your Instagram that you have a signed Michael Jordan baseball photo with a really interesting caption on it about “the impermanence of glory and success.” Can you elaborate on that?

SS: Yeah, I think part of that is a reminder to stay humble. There’s nothing more humbling than the greatest athlete to ever a play a sport failing spectacularly at another sport, and I think it’s a testament to the fact that you need to work hard. It’s very rare in this music thing to find people that are so prodigious that they just can get by on raw talent, and it’s just a reminder to keep your head down and keep working and not get trapped or wrapped up in your own bullshit and not let success define you.

PUP will perform with Thursday and Frank Iero and the Patience at The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $20-85. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28.


Long Island Oktoberfest Events 2017

The centuries-old, 16-day traditional German festival known as Oktoberfest starts Sept. 16 in Munich, but those unable to fly to Bavaria for it can join in the beer-soaked festivities on Long Island.

From authentic German restaurants serving up mouthwatering Bavarian delicacies such as sauerbraten to massive outdoor festivals under tents big enough to fit a circus, there are dozens of Oktoberfest-themed events across Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Sure, a few on this list are local pubs offering special Oktoberfest menus and others are simply fall-themed pumpkin beer and cider parties, but they’re all worth raising a glass to!

Fest biers, a Ceremonial barrel, traditional German accordian tunes and dinner specialties. This traditional Beer Garten offers German and craft beer, and is known for their award winning Pig Wings. They serve 24 beers on tap, and 19 bottled beers. Prost Grill and Garten, 652 Franklin Ave., Garden City. prostgrill.com Sept. 16.

Celebration of German-American heritage with lots of music including bands from Germany and Austria. Plattduetsche Park Restaurant and Biergarten 1132 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Square. Plattduetschevoksfestvereen.org $10. 11 a.m. Sept. 17.

Authentic Bavarian restaurant serving German specialties. Performance by accordionist Frank Rapuano. Oak Chalet, 1940 Bellmore Ave., Bellmore. oakchalet.net Prices vary. 6-9 p.m. every Thurs., Sept. 21-Oct. 26, plus Weds. Oct. 11 & 25.

10th Annual Oktoberfest
German beers under a giant Oktoberfest tent. Buy a beer, get a free one-liter stein. German food, music and stein-holding contest. TJ Finley’s, 42 East Main St., Bay Shore. tjfinleys.com 3-9 p.m. Sept. 16.

This authentic Bavarian Biergarten billed as “home of Das Boot” will have BB & The Polkas performing, plus raffles, giveaways, a special menu and, of course, German beer. Das Biergarten, 1148 West Beech St., Long Beach. dasbiergarten.com 12 p.m. Sept. 23.

Oktoberfest at Resurrection Lutheran Church
A day of German festivity to benefit the missions of the Resurrection Lutheran Church. Seven-piece Oktoberfest band die Schlauberger provides the music, the church provides the German food. Beer and wine purchased separately. Advance tickets sold thru Sept. 22, $35 for adults, $10 per children ages 4-12. Children under 3 are free. Day-of tickets are $45 at the door. Resurrection Lutheran Church, 420 Stewart Avenue, Garden City. 
6:30-10:30 p.m. Sept. 23.

Oktoberfest at Black Forest Brewhaus
A nearly month-long celebration of Oktoberfest including German food, beer, and music every day. Artists include Die Spitzbaum, Frank Rapuano, Bud & Linda, the Austrian Boys, and the Bratwurst Boys. Black Forest Brewhaus, 2015 New Highway, Farmingdale. Sept. 29-Oct. 21.

9th annual Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck Oktoberfest
Support this camp for disabled children at their 9th annual Oktoberfest celebration hosted by the Rotary Club of the Moriches. Festivities include traditional German food, vendors, and live entertainment. $10 admission includes a complimentary beer or soda for anyone age 21 and over and goes to benefit Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck. Free entry for anyone under 21 and a carnival for the kids. Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, 2 Chet Swezey Rd., Center Moriches. 6-11 p.m. Sept. 29, 12-11 p.m. Sept. 30, Oct. 1.

Oktoberfest at the Mansion
A weekend Oktoberfest celebration including German food and seasonal craft beers. Music from Eddie Forman and Josek Kroboth. Contests held by Sam Adams on Saturday and Sunday. Broadcast live with Uwe Riggers, host of 90.3 FM’s German Hit Parade. Family fest on Sunday with face painting, a clown, and shuplatter dancers. Glen Cove Mansion, 200 Dosoris Ln., Glen Cove. GlenCoveMansion.com $60 all you can eat and drink 1-8 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

Street fair on the main drag, beer garden at the gazebo in village square. Wellwood Avenue, Lindenhurst. 12-5 p.m. Oct. 1.

Oktoberfest Celebration
Dine on beer-glazed bratwurst, sauerbraten and German chocolate cake, and wash it all down with German-style brews in a communal atmosphere. Post Office Café, 130 West Main St., Babylon. lessings.com Prices Vary. Oct. 5-7.

Oktoberfest Celebration
A special Oktoberfest menu will be available, featuring Bavarian pretzel bites, sauerbraten sliders, potato soup, slow-cooked German short ribs, wurst platter and more! Maxwell’s, 501 Main St., Islip. lessings.com Prices vary. Oct. 5-7.

Folksbier will be providing the entertainment. Hoptron Brewtique, 22 West Main St., Pachogue. hoptronbrewtique.com 4-10 p.m. Oct. 7.

Featuring tractor rides, a pumpkin maze, live music, German food and beverages, bounce houses and vendors. Eisenhower Park Kite Field, Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow. nassaucountyny.gov Free. 12–5 p.m. Oct. 7-9.

More than 20 different varieties of pumpkin beers on tap and casks including local brews from Long Ireland, Fire Island Beer Co., Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. and Blue Point Brewing Co. First 200 guests drink out of mini-pumpkins. TJ Finley’s, 42 East Main St., Bay Shore. tjfinleys.com Free. 6 p.m., Oct. 14.

Oktoberfest Montauk 2017
Zum Schneider Bavarian Bierhaus and German Restaurant in Montauk invites you to come enjoy pork shank, broiled chicken, giant pretzels and a host of different imported Oktoberfest beers on two separate weekends in October. Music from Mosl Franzi and the JaJaJas from 2-11. Zum Schneider, 4 South Elmwood Ave., Montauk. ZumSchneider.com Oct. 14, 15, 21 & 22

Great South Bay Brewery holds their annual punk rock themed Oktoberfest celebration in their tasting room, in the brewery, and beneath an outdoor beer tent. Five TBA live bands, local vendors, brewers and several food trucks. Great South Bay Brewery, 25 Drexel Dr., Bay Shore. GreatSouthBayBrewery.com 1:30-5:30 p.m. Oct. 21.

Jaeger Schnitzel, apple strudel and other German menu items and beer. Library Café, 274 Main St., Farmingdale. lessings.com Sept. 28-30.

Oktoberfest Sunday! Music Fest
Enjoy homegrown food and home-brewed libations, including Roasted sweet corn and squash, fresh-squeezed lemonade, organic hot dogs and more. Plenty of family entertainment including hayrides, family fun fields, pedal kart track, maze, lavender labyrinth, farm animals, and pumpkin picking. Buddy Merriam and the Backroads provide live bluegrass music. Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market, 4558 Sound Avenue, Riverhead. 10-5 p.m. Oct. 29.

Lawn Island Farms: Babylon Couple Turns Yards Into Crops

Jim and Rosette Adams of Babylon are on a mission to bring locally grown food to Long Islanders tables, by growing it in their front yards.  

The Adams’ fledgling company, Lawn Island Farms, has been growing produce and selling it to farmer’s markets and local businesses for about a year, but their unique approach has attracted national media attention. They tout the health benefits of locally grown vegetables.

“Unfortunately too many people don’t even realize how corrupted or compromised [their produce is],” Jim said, noting cancer-causing pesticides as one of the most pressing concerns related to factory farming.   

Jim got the idea for the company after he met his wife, Rosette, in her home country of Uganda 10 years ago. There, he came to appreciate how she grew up in a culture of self-sustained farming. 

“She has the experience from growing up in Uganda and I got to see, kind of, the world through her eyes when she came here and that changed me a lot,” Jim said. 

This fresh perspective also alerted Jim to the perils of not knowing exactly where our food is coming from and how it’s being produced. After reading The Urban Farmer, he was inspired to begin farming locally. The book details how people can convert their property into a sustainable and profitable food source. 

“There are over 40 million acres of lawn in North America,” the book’s website states. “In their current form, these unproductive expanses of grass represent a significant financial and environmental cost. However, viewed through a different lens, they can also be seen as a tremendous source of opportunity.”

Jim and Rosette brought this idea to Jack Jack’s Coffee House in Babylon, where owners Mike Sparacino and Vanessa Viola pointed them to a community farm behind St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, effectively giving them the idea to launch Lawn Island Farms. 

The Adams’ then hung a sign in that same coffee shop asking for anyone with enough land to let them convert their lawns into crops, which led them to Bay Shore resident Cassandra Trimarco.  

For the price of $30 of produce a week as well as free landscaping, Ms. Trimarco allowed the Adams’ to transform the front lawn of her Hyman Avenue home into a miniature farm. The reactions of the community were varied, with some neighbors complaining that the lawn was now an eyesore. 

“We did get, in the beginning, a lot of gossip going around,” Jim said of the initial controversy surrounding the converted lawn. But that attention was what would eventually raise their profile. 

“That’s when CBS News and Fox came by,” he recalled. “That was the story, because it was controversial.” 

Currently, the Adams’ hyper-local farming endeavor consists of the land behind St. Peter’s and Trimarco’s yard, with the produce being sold to the Bay Shore Farmer’s Market and the Sayville Farmer’s Market, as well as Henley’s Village Tavern in Bay Shore, Empowering Goods in Lindenhurst, as well as Jack Jack’s, where it all began.    

Jim and Rosette have also begun to take a more tech savvy approach to their business. Lawn Island Farms can now be found on the Farmzie app, which seeks to create a network of small farmers and increase small farm sustainability. Users can connect to Lawn Island and buy produce directly from them. They also offer restaurants a grow-to-order option in order to better suit their specific needs.  

Lawn Island Farms’ approach to local farming has garnered interest from people all over the island, with inquiries coming in from Patchogue, Port Jeff, Middle Island, Wading River and elsewhere. But at the moment, the Adams’ simply can’t meet the demand on their own. 

“My plate is full, I’ve gotten a lot of offers which is amazing, but I hardly have time to even go look at them,” Jim said of the outpouring of requests they’ve received. That’s why they want others to take action and begin growing food on their own. 

“I want more people to do it, because it’s not just about us and our business,” he said. “It’s about local food for the people.”

To learn more about converting your lawn into a sustainable food source check out the website of Jim and Rosette’s friend Linda Borghi, Farm-A-Yard.com