Mike Tarascio's life changed forever in 1981 when a business partner offered him a ride to a conference in New Jersey—not in a town car or on a tandem bicycle, but in a small private airplane. The very next year, Mike bought an airplane of his own and founded the business that would eventually become Ventura Aviation. Today, he, his wife, and their sons operate their business out of Republic Airport, where they use their fleet of Learjets, Piper Warriors, and a helicopter to train a new generation of skyborne adventurers. Their goal is to introduce clients to the limitless lifestyle and freedom that comes with personal aviation, and inspire others to make the life-changing decision to learn to fly.
Long Island Fear Fest elicits screams with spooky rides and thrills orchestrated by Mr. Slim Chance II and his demented associates. Flashing lights and booming sounds re-create an old-fashioned carnival atmosphere as visitors explore the Chamber of Horrors Haunted House⎯a reworked haunted house that immerses horror lovers in a tortuous cavern of frights filled with Slim and his family of freaks' prized possessions and collection of vintage parking tickets. After a frightful house visit, fest-fiends can hop on the Montauk Monster Haunted Hayride and travel into Long Island’s checkered history, wheeling past terrifying tableaus and paparazzi disguised as hay bales.
Instead of relying on a tour bus, the licensed guides at Food On Foot Tours lead groups through New York's neighborhoods as locals: by taking the subway and by traveling, of course, on foot. The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence award-winning tour leads more than 15 specialty tours, each tailored to specific neighborhoods, culinary items such as a meat tour with vegetarian options, or aspects of local culture. Guides may lead groups to a single street in the East Village, Hell's Kitchen, or Union Square, to the city's range of ice-cream shops, to the diverse ethnic eateries of Queens, or to the waterfront streets and seafood restaurants of Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach. On Food for Fans tours, guides combine neighborhood food attractions with stops at CitiField or Yankee Stadium, where they take tours, play games, and learn how to scrape off gum from stadium seats. Food On Foot's tours always include three-six stops for food, including one sweet stop. Each stop offers multiple options, from a snack to a large meal, but guests are not obligated to make purchases; the average costs for all tour stops range from $15 to $20. Food on Foot tours also offer self-guided and sports tours as well as feasts and special events.
North Star II Fishing & Charter Boat's crew has learned to analyze the weather, tides, and times of day to deduce when fish will come out of hiding. To supplement their instincts, the crew also gleans wisdom from a fish-detecting GPS radar and a local grizzly bear. The company's fiberglass-coated Northstar 2 meets the standards of the USCG's annual inspections, and can accommodate up to 100 passengers on each chartered trip. Extensive seating options and a sound system with Sirius radio make fishing trips comfortable. The company's newest vessel, Nautic Star, fosters a more intimate brand of fish-storytelling on its 40-person capacity boat. Fluke, flounder, bass, and live eels are among the species hauled in from the deep, whether by fishing line or polite invitations to hop onboard.
Captain Frank Rizzo and his crew draw on 35 years of navigation experience to pilot the Freeport Princess along the placid waters of Freeport’s Nautical Mile. On the night of their dinner cruise, passengers stroll up the gangplank of the 105-foot Coast Guard–certified yacht to wave kerchiefs at land-bound friends or don mermaid costumes and clamber onto the prow for luck. Once at sail, patrons can settle into plush stools and couches lining the main deck’s sumptuous windowed lounge, and slide past the cash bar for libations (not included in the dinner cruise) to toast the luxurious evening. The steaming buffet tempts diners with four gourmet appetizers and entrees in the formal dining area on the lower deck ringed with clear lucite tables to protect guests from having their shoelaces tied together while eating. Passengers can mount the elegant glassed-in stairs to the upper level, where DJs spin tunes on a large dance floor sparkling with disco lights and an outer deck lets passengers relish ocean breezes and peaceful views of the Nautical Mile’s cozy harbors.
Captain Lou gives his guests two ways to explore the South Bay, but both are by boat. For the outdoorsman, he and his staff lead fishing tours out on the bay. Each boat is equipped with contemporary fish-tracking and navigational equipment, so it's easy to locate the best spots to anchor. Social butterflies, however, might opt for moonlight party cruises across the water in cruising yachts, which can each hold up to 149 guests.