The Long Island Comedy Festival, which won a thumbs-up from Newsday in 2009, sends laughing fits rippling through southeastern New York with showcases of some of the area's most accomplished comedians. The namesake festival spreads out across Long Island every summer, landing at venues that might range from an old-fashioned playhouse to a family amusement park. Many alumni return to perform year after year, making for a festive atmosphere that executive producer Paul Anthony likens to "a comedy party that the audience members have been invited to," rather than one that they sadly listen to through the floorboards. During the rest of the year, the organizers stay busy producing comedy series at other historic venues and exporting their team of comics to college shows.
A close look at the truffle selection tells you that XO Restaurant • Wine & Chocolate Lounge walks the tightrope between classic tastes and reinvention. Seated near the upstairs fireplace, you can sample a set of housemade chocolate truffles in classic milk, dark, and white variants, or nibble truffles dressed up as childhood treats such as oreos and s'mores. Alongside indulgent fondues, these desserts lend sweetness to the romantic atmosphere of the lounge, where live music plays every Friday and Saturday night.
Downstairs, the scene swings to a chic, brick-lined restaurant. The same spirit of experimentation is present in the menu, though: lobster pot pie, lamb and feta burgers, and flatbreads with toppings of fig and prosciutto are just a few of the kitchen's elegantly plated New American dishes. Wines have been sorted into flavor profiles such as "full-bodied and robust," saving patrons the trouble of asking each bottle for a character reference.
For the instructors and staff members of Rising Starts Equestrian Center, the chance to work with riders and horses is a professional dream come true. The center's founders—all from different horse-riding disciplines and backgrounds—aim to provide care for riders at any level, from those seeking the joys of casual riding to those welcoming the rigors of serious competition. Along the path toward equine excellence, the trainers welcome guests to enjoy the pictaresque scenery of the West Hills farm. With views akin to early-century paintings, the farm and its surroundings are enlivened by large, broad trees, hewn wood fences, and open green fields that smell like acrylic when scratched.
The Erin and John Lopez, the founders of Variations, believe in more than building up successful dancers?they also believe in building healthy bodies and attitudes through dance. Erin is a longtime dancer herself, having performed at Lincoln Center and as a dancer with a wide swath of companies. The instructors here are just as committed to their students as the Lopezes, leading classes as diverse as classical ballet, jazz, and hip hop for students of all ages. The adult curriculum also covers classic and contemporary dance styles, with Pilates and ballet barre fitness lessons as well.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Brands Used: Tanner Tees and L-screens, Diamond Baseballs, Rage Equipt
Pro Tip: Gatoraid, Water, Sweatshirt, and extra bat and mit
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Drills, Video Analysis, Live Pitching
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Oftentimes, there are so many TVs blaring ambient noise in a bar that you can't tell who's dunking what into where. Rookies Sports Club never has this problem. In addition to the restaurant's 10 big-screen and 2 projection TVs, each wood booth is decked out with its own personal monitor and speaker system. While watching, diners can partake in a full menu of burgers, wings, and flatbread pizzas, but they are discouraged from using the Gretzky jersey mounted on the wall as a bib. A full bar is also available.