William Sullivan


Long Island Entrepreneur’s Vitamin Drink Brand, Hylux, Goes National

Photo by Brandon Grate.

Lamar Letts, a Long Island native, has earned his vitamin-enhanced water, Hylux, a spot in nationwide production on Walmart.com. The 27-year-old Northeastern graduate is one of the youngest CEOs to have a product sold by the world’s largest retailer.

Letts is a former athlete whose product is a result of his experience. After suffering a career-ending injury in collegiate track and field, he reassessed his nutrition process, which led the Black entrepreneur to create his low-sugar vitamin water.

“Particularly at a time when more people are reconsidering their lifestyle choices during the pandemic, being mindful of a healthy diet has never been more important — especially in the Black community,” Letts said.

After suffering a condition known as myocarditis, an inflammation of the middle layer of the heart wall, Letts has quickly turned his fortune around. He went from a college student hatching up ideas in a dorm room to acquiring notable investors such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and working with large beverage distributors to earn Hylux nationwide availability.

With his parents having immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica before he was born, Letts recognizes what this means for him as a Black entrepreneur, and for the community as a whole.

“To have Walmart be a part of that mission is a major milestone for the company and shows their desire to help people lead healthy lifestyles while supporting Black and millennial founded companies,” Letts said.

Hylux aims to provide athletes with nutritional benefits that are superior to traditional, sugary sports drinks. The drink includes B-Complex vitamins, 100 percent of the daily value of Vitamin C, and more potassium than a banana. It also comes in various flavors including strawberry kiwi, red dragon fruit, and pomegranate raspberry flavors. 

Letts also launched the drink on Amazon.com earlier this year.

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink.

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Eternal Con, A Celebration of Comic Books and Pop Culture, Returns Aug. 7-8

eternal con

Comic book connoisseurs can anticipate the return of Eternal Con, Long Island’s largest pop culture event of its kind, this summer in Hempstead. 

The two-day event, dubbed “the Long Island Comic Con,” will be held at Hofstra University’s David Mack Exhibition Complex on Saturday, Aug. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Frank Patz, the founder, president and producer of Eternal Con, knows how much it means to fans to have this event back. 

“We all need superheroes in our life, especially at this time,” Patz said. “Something like this brings back the hope that we’re going back to normal.” 

There will be cosplay aplenty at Eternal Con.

The return of Eternal Con marks the opportunity for people to share their love for all things pop culture, as well as the chance for small businesses to be involved after a challenging year. Comic shops will sell their items, and vendors who can’t make the event will be granted free advertising at the convention. 

“We want to help. We’re asking any other businesses on Long Island that need help at this time to contact us,” Patz said. “It helps everybody, and that’s something that is very important for us.”

The convention has a bevy of opportunities for fans to engage with some of the people behind the characters and stories they love. The stars that will be taking photos and signing autographs this year include Ray Fisher, known for his portrayal of Cyborg in the most recent Justice League film franchise, and Reb Brown, who starred as Steve Rogers in the 1979 Captain America film. Other names include Amy Jo Johnson, the original Pink Power Ranger of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” as well as Dean Cain, who is best known for his dual role as Clark Kent and Superman in the 1990s TV series, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Ray Fisher, of Cyborg 2, will make a special appearance at Eternal Con. (Courtesy Eternal Con)

Eternal Con’s cosplay contest will return for the fans who enjoy donning the look of their favorite characters. The event will include a pre-judging session and a walk-through display, while the judges will grade the costume itself, the workmanship, design, and inspiration of the ensembles. Interpretations of mainstream characters and self-creative originals are welcome from any and all genres.

Attendees will also be able to check out some iconic vehicles of pop culture at Eternal Con’s car show, including the DeLorean from Back to the Future, K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, several iterations of the Batmobile, and more.

On Sunday, Aug. 8, kids can partake in “Youngling Training.” A group of Jedi instructors will supervise a training session to learn basic lightsaber choreography and technique. Each padawan who participates will receive a free Jedi diploma. There will also be a “Kids Costume Showcase” at noon, meet-and-greets with professionals in the comic book industry, as well as many of the superheroes in attendance, and live illustration demonstrations and opportunities for kids to create their own art.

Reb Brown, who starred in the 1979 Captain America film, will make a special appearance at Eternal Con. (Courtesy Eternal Con)

Tickets for one-day entry are $20 on Saturday and $15 on Sunday, while children ages 9 and under are free. Proceeds from this year’s Eternal Con will help raise money for several charities in the Long Island community.

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New LIRR Travel Package to Breweries Continues Long Island’s Reopening

Great South Bay Brewery.

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is launching a discount travel package that will stop at two Long Island breweries and downtown Patchogue, LIRR President Phil Eng announced on Tuesday.

The new escorted tour will connect to Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore and Sand City Brewing Co. in Lindenhurst and include beer tastings at each location. Both small businesses are conveniently located near LIRR stations Great South Bay is a short ride away from either the Brentwood or Deer Park stations, while Sand City is a 6-minute walk from the Lindenhurst station.

“It highlights what Long Island is all about getting together and enjoying all the great businesses and beauty that we have right here in our own backyards,” Eng said.

The tour will make its first stop at Lindenhurst, where guests will try a flight of four beer samples. Then, the tour will stop at Great South Bay Brewery for another flight of four. The third location will be downtown Patchogue, where guests can explore the vibrant atmosphere, including locations for dining and shopping.

Sand City Brewery.

The tours will be happening on two Saturdays during the summer, July 31 and Aug. 21. Adult discounted tickets will be sold for $63 each beginning July 1, the same day all LIRR travel packages go on sale.

New LIRR-inspired specialty drinks will be available for a limited time. Great South Bay will debut the Long Island Ale Road on tap, while Sand City will serve the Cannonball IPA Ale. These Long Island specials will be available from July 26 to Aug. 1, and then again from Aug. 16 to 22.

Eng stressed the importance of breathing new life into Long Island’s businesses and downtown communities during the news conference at the Public Plaza of Lindenhurst Town Square. Village of Lindenhurst Mayor Michael Lavorata commended the collaboration between the government, the LIRR, and local businesses. Along with acknowledging the partnership, he noted an issue that the travel package aims to address. 

“Most importantly there can be no issues with driving while intoxicated, and we know what kind of problem we have on Long Island, so for me, that’s an important issue,” he said. “This takes away a lot of that.”

For more information about LIRR travel packages, visit web.mta.info/lirr/getaways.

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