Fully licensed by the New York State Department of Education, Allstar Bartenders Training educates students in the art and science of mixed-drink pouring and presentation. Apprentice mixologists get acquainted with the functions of different bar tools while learning which cocktails should be shaken, stirred, or whisked using a handful of uncooked angel-hair pasta. Allstar's seasoned tenders aid students in memorizing the recipes, garnishes, and matching glassware of the most popular concoctions. The school's classrooms resemble mock cocktail lounges with ample shot glasses and jukeboxes, giving students a realistic setting to practice drink vending. Allstar treats its graduates to complimentary lifetime job-placement assistance and refresher courses.
With more than 7,000 items in stock, Star Track’s warehouse brims with craft and party supplies for nearly every holiday and occasion. Pirate-ship piñatas wait to attack passersby with showers of candy ($14), and a set of six inflatable dinosaurs may suit employee break-room reenactments of Jurassic Park ($18). The more sedate color-your-own butterfly backpacks hang in shrink-wrap chrysalises ($20/dozen), dreaming of adornment with craft gems ($5/150) and color fabric pens ($6/dozen). Grads may opt to brave the slings and arrows of giant confetti poppers ($48/24), or take up arms against a sea of responsibility with graduation activity books and crayons ($4.80/dozen). New items every week keep inspiration fresh and ideas flowing, and top-notch customer service helps overwhelmed party planners find the consummate furnishings for their festivities. Customers may also apply the value of this Groupon to rent standout soiree gadgets, such as a cotton-candy machine ($125/3 hours) or a leap-frog game ($75/day).
The merrymakers at Mystique Gardens Hookah Lounge beckon guests inside the decadent, scarlet- and gold-toned drinking den to imbibe in exotic sips and flavored hookah puffs from the comfort of plush leather couches. Authentic fruit drinks ($4) sate dry palates in flavors such as mango, guava, or banana, and energy drinks ($5) fuel up lagging eyelids and commuter power packs. Curls of smoke drift from patrons’ lips in single shisha flavors ($15) including double apple, mint, or cinnamon, or exotic blends ($16) such as the Sahara Sunset’s mix of rose and vanilla. Patrons can share hookahs among friends ($5/person) and increase sensations with ice hoses ($3), which chill the smoke from spirited gourmet blends including the sour-apple martini ($25). On Thursday and Friday nights, belly dancers detract attention from the illuminated, trickling fountain by performing odysseys of movement and interpretive word problems.
"Saying a panino is just a sandwich is like saying a Lamborghini is just a car," says La Bottega owner Giuseppe Ruta. His passion for the Italian dish runs deep, and because it's one he shares with his wife, Marisa, they opened a panini shop in Long Island in 2003. More than a decade later, La Bottega now boasts nearly 60 paninis, ranging from a roasted portobello with mozzarella to a meaty Nycom with grilled chicken and Parma ham. Many of the paninis can be prepared gluten-free, rounding out a separate menu that also includes 15 gourmet salads. And it's clear that their food is a hit, as they've expanded to 14 La Bottega locations, including one in their home country of Italy, where paninis can be purchased with more paninis.
The shop may be called Taboo Video, but there's nothing forbidding about the people working there?they're happy to answer questions as guests browse a wide selection of lingerie and adult products. Late hours and a bright interior carpeted in a jungle-flower pattern extend the spirit of accessibility.
Hand-painted murals of surreal city skylines, rolling fields, and sunrise-speckled ocean views surround customers inside The Hub, a full service bicycle shop and service center. In the midst of the modern artwork, a dedicated crew works to equip riders with gear for pedaling past similar scenes in the natural world, relying on expertise they’ve gleaned from working in development and design with K2 bikes to maintain and repair rides. The knowledgeable staff guides cyclists through expansive show-room floors filled with parts, helmets, and bicycles of various styles including BMX, road bikes, mountain bikes, and beach cruisers from brands such as BMC, Kona, Bianchi, and K2. Bike riders themselves, the staffers work to educate each customer who walks through the door, championing the environmentally friendly form of transportation beloved by small, lazy dogs in baskets everywhere.