What this blog is about.....

Stories about Long Island....including --Long Island Dining, Businesses on Long Island & things worth doing on Long Island

About Me

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Hi, I am Deborah and "I LOVE NYC". I was lucky enough to move back for 2 years 2010-2012 and lived like a tourist in NYC for those two years in the Hudson Yards area at 505W37. Right now I reside on Long Island but stay at different hotels in NYC a few times a year. I hope to move back soon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Meet our Neighbor - RADD CrossFit NSLI in Glen Cove

The CrossFit philosophy is simple and sweet: You are never alone.

 “The journey of fitness is a long and difficult one,” says Diana Jimenez, Operations Director of RADD CrossFit NSLI in Glen Cove. “But CrossFit is different in that you are never alone, and when you embark on our journey, the level of support from the CrossFit community is monumental.  Dreading a workout quickly becomes a thing of the past and looking forward to pushing the limits with good company becomes your motivation.”

The way it works: “CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that is constantly varied, uses functional movements, and operates at a high intensity,” says Jimenez, adding, “there is no routine, we like to prepare your body for the unknowable by keeping your body guessing.”

CrossFit has a leg up on the fitness biz. “One of our members has a saying, and that is ‘legs all day,’” says Jimenez. “We incorporate leg movements into our routine with the purpose of increasing overall fitness, and let’s just say that this member does more movements to strengthen legs now than he was used to. In the beginning it was a challenge, but as his overall fitness improved, it became a necessity.”
Since it was founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman, CrossFit has grown by leaps and bounds. By 2005 there were 13 gyms affiliated with CrossFit.  Today, there are over 4,400 CrossFit affiliates worldwide, primarily located in the United States, and the number of affiliates continues to grow.  “We are passionate and firmly believe that this is a new age in fitness,” says Jimenez. 

“CrossFit has been life changing for me,” says Roberto Gutierrez, certified trainer and coach at the Glen Cove facility, along with his brother Daniel Gutierrez.  “I was an ex-athlete and had gained a significant amount of weight and I had let myself go in a terrible way physically as well as emotionally,” says Roberto.My brother introduced me to CrossFit, and after my first workout, I felt like I was back in the gym with my football buddies. Slaps of high fives and positive sayings made me fall in love with CrossFit.  From then on I began to challenge myself in every way and I started making the impossible, possible.”

Roberto’s brother and certified trainer and coach, Daniel Guterriez, also grew up playing sports and went on to become an elementary school teacher and coach. “Having a direct impact on a person’s life through guiding and teaching has always been my passion,” says Daniel, “and while working as a CrossFit coach began as a quest for something fun to do in addition to my teaching career, it is now my lifelong goal to inspire others to strive for a better quality of life through fitness, community, and support on the North Shore of Long Island.”


The coaches gauge a member’s fitness level and improvement with benchmark workouts. “Most of our benchmark workouts are named after girls and one of our most popular is ‘Fran.’ Fran is an intense workout that requires you to complete 21, 15 and 9 repetitions of thrusters and pull-ups. Your score is your time and if you improve on your time, we believe you have improved your level of fitness.”
RADD CrossFit had been vetting the perfect Long Island location for a year before the fitness and training company “fell in love” with the community of Glen Cove. “What attracted us most was the friendliness of the people and quaint appeal,” says Jimenez. “Our hope for the future is to move to the area.” She adds, “Other businesses here have been very helpful in our start up process by allowing us to post information and spread the word about RADD CrossFit.  Attending Chamber of Commerce meetings has also been a great way for other businesses to share what works for them and what could potentially work for us in our facility. We plan to promote their efforts and collaborate to plan and host various events that support each other’s endeavors.”

 CrossFit will hit a new benchmark in 2013, with 100,000 people registered to compete in “The CrossFit Games,” says Jimenez. The Games began in the summer of 2007 in order to find the fittest man and woman in the world.  There are three stages to the games that include the Open Sectionals, Regionals, and The Games.  “The greatest part is that anyone can compete in the Open Sectionals,” says Jimenez, adding, “the top 48 people from each region are invited to compete in regionals.  From there the top three individuals from each region are invited to compete in The Games. “Competing in the Open Sectionals is a good way to see how you rank in terms of fitness against the world.”  
RADD CrossFit also hosts nutritional seminars and events throughout the year that are offered to members. “The classes are free and help to inform our members of current nutritional habits that are recommended by the CrossFit community.”

Everyone can participate in CrossFit’s general-fitness program, “from high school students to adults of all ages,” says Jimenez. “Every movement is modifiable so anyone can benefit.” And young kids are getting into the action, too.  “We recently introduced our RADD Kids program for children ages seven-to-fourteen years-old, which meet once a week on Saturdays,” says Jimenez. 
The biggest challenge for CrossFit? “Leaving at night would be the biggest challenge for us,” says Jimenez. “We love what we do and finding time to end the day is a challenge. We want to continue to improve the quality of our service for everyone in the Glen Cove community and we continuously seek out ideas and innovative methods to do so.”

RADD CrossFit NSLI, 65 Sea Cliff Avenue, Glen Cove, NY 11542, 516-855-7348 or www.raddcrossfitnsli.com

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"Meet Our Neighbor" Justin’s Toys - Glen Cove, NY

I am excited to feature April's “Meet our Neighbor” series. Each month, I spotlight one of our fabulous North Shore business neighbors. This month, we kid around with Justin’s Toys. 


Justin’s Toys in Glen Cove is a perfect example of do what you love, love what you do. “There is nothing more gratifying than a child coming in for the first time, wide-eyed and in awe, ready to play with everything,” says owner Robert Lee, who opened the store last summer. “And let’s be serious, we’re all kids at heart, so what’s cooler than playing with toys all day?”

Mayor Suozzi with Rob Owner of Justin's Toys

Although not yet a parent, Lee imagined his store to be stocked with toys that he’d want his own kids to play with someday. “I understand how important play time is, and wanted to impact the community in a positive way by offering games and toys that are both fun and educational.”

The biggest sellers? “Classic toys have come back and, surprisingly, Melissa and Doug is our most popular brand,” says Lee.

The Glen Cove resident is no stranger to the business world, or to the local Glen Cove business community. “I was born into an entrepreneur household,” says Lee. “My family owns Glenco Liquors, located in the Glen Cove Stop & Shop Center. When KB Toys went out of business five years ago, my father suggested I open a toy store.” At the time, Lee was a Stony Brook University graduate and working as an actuary in corporate America. “I jumped when the timing was right and I am so happy I made that decision.”

One of the perks of owning a toy store is attending the annual Toy Fair in NYC, which takes place in February. “It is the most outrageous event anyone could ever have the opportunity to experience,” says Lee. 

On the flip side, there are challenges to the business. “We do not purchase many of our toys at the same price as department stores,” Lee explains. “We carry many of these items as a convenience, but it is impossible to offer them at the same price as franchises.” Of course, that’s especially hard for children to understand. “There was a kid who chose one of the biggest Lego sets we have and asked us if he could change the price because his mom said that it wasn't in the budget. We asked how much we should change it to and the boy replied ‘one dollar.’ Out of the mouths of babes.”

Justin’s Toys may be a local Glen Cove toy store, but it has a far reach. “We have a popular online website which we launched this past holiday season,” explains Lee. “Most of our website sales are specialty items that are either hard to find or discontinued and, believe it or not, Australia is one of our biggest purchasers for 1Direction Dolls!  In the future, we hope that sales online will be as frequent as sales in our storefront. And, there may be a time where we evolve into becoming toy distributors.”

In the meantime, the Glen Cove store will evolve into hosting kid’s parties. “We had a tie-dye party and it was such a success,” says Lee.  “We will certainly have more crafty events in the near future and we will be kicking off our first birthday party soon. We are going all out with glitter tattoos, arts and crafts, pizza, dancing and Pin the Tail on Eeyore.”

The best kept secret about Justin’s Toys? “We have free gift wrapping for birthdays.”

It’s always great to shop locally, says Lee. “Local helps local. When we renovated the front of our store we bought a runner from Glen Floors in Glen Cove, and that weekend a handful of new customers came in saying they’d heard about us through that store.” Lee is also appreciative of the savvy business help he’s received. “It’s so great working with Deborah Orgel-Gordon, the owner of Gem Craft Boutique in Glen Head. She’s a wealth of knowledge and her vast experience with multiple businesses is unmatched.”

Justin’s Toys is located at 114 Forest Avenue, Glen Cove; 516-801-3931, www.justinstoys.com.

Friday, March 29, 2013

"Relay for Life" of the North Shore - June 1st 2013

What exactly is Relay for Life and why join? Relay for Life is all about communities across the globe coming together to honor cancer survivors, to remember lost loved ones, and to fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. The funds we raise truly make a difference in the fight against cancer – just ask one of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors who will celebrate another birthday this year! Relay teams camp out overnight and take turns walking and running around a track or path at local high schools, parks, and fairgrounds. Relay for Life events are 24 hours because cancer never sleeps.

If you’ve ever been told, “You have cancer,” we are honored to invite you to attend your local Relay for Life event. As a cancer survivor, you’ll be a distinguished Guest of Honor, cheered on by your community. Cancer patient caregivers are also honored for their support at Relay for Life events. So, whether you’re a survivor or a caregiver, becoming involved in your local Relay for Life will introduce you to others who are facing the same challenges, and provide opportunities for learning, sharing, and friendship. 
2012 Survivors Dinner
Gem Craft Boutique's owner, Deborah Orgel Gordon, was eager to jump in and help Relay for Life raise money for American Cancer Society. “My mom has beat breast cancer twice and many other family members and friends have been stricken by cancer over the years,” she says. “I felt it was time to help.” Deborah’s popular shop, Gem Craft Boutique, located in Glen Head, will once again, raise money for the Relay event, with a percentage of the proceeds going to ACS at her fundraiser event on April 9th at Gem Craft Boutique.  “This year, I hope to reach out even more to the community to make them aware of fundraisers, like Relay for Life.”

You can donate to Deborah’s ACS page at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/DeborahOrgelGordon
For more details on Gem Craft Boutique's - April 9th Fundraiser please click here

Meet Our Neighbor: Power Fitness - Long Island Businesses

I am excited to feature this month's "Meet Our Neighbor" series. Each month, I spotlight one of our fabulous North Shore business neighbors. This month, we have a workout with Power Fitness

To ring in a new century of fitness, lifetime Glen Head resident, Justin Miller, did one of his favorite things. He took action and opened Power Fitness in his hometown in January, 2000.
“When I was 19 years old, an amazing man named Tony Robbins indirectly saved my life,” says Miller. “Someone who worked for Robbins literally pulled me from a car wreck, brought me to the hospital and saved my life. He handed my mom his business card in the ER. We lost that card and I never got a chance to thank him but, as a result, I took interest in, and began to study, Tony Robbins.”

Miller actually started out in the fitness business as a personal trainer when he was just 16 years old, after answering a help wanted ad for front desk help at a small gym in Syosset. “The owner was impressed with my knowledge and made me a personal trainer. I have expanded on that knowledge over the last 24 years of my life with many athletic achievements, certifications and working with thousands of people to help them improve their lives through fitness.”

What’s behind the name, “Power Fitness?” Miller explains: “Tony Robbins defines ‘power’ as the ability to take action. It’s one thing to know what to do but it’s another thing to do what you know. The power in our lives comes from taking action.”

Robbins wasn’t Miller’s only inspiration for lunging into the fitness business. “Jack LaLanne is my idol,” says Miller, “and before he died, I promised him I would carry on his life’s work.”

What Miller loves most about the fitness business is “the ability to make a positive contribution to people’s lives, often in very dramatic ways. Power Fitness is a warm place that cares about your results and wants you to come use the facility and make positive improvements in your life. This increases our energy here as well.”
Miller does not necessarily subscribe to all the latest and greatest fitness fads. “No need to reinvent the wheel,” he says. “Results always come down to the basics and fundamentals and following through.”
In fact, Miller says, “The most important piece of equipment at Power Fitness is called ‘inspiration,’ and it’s a powerful one. It can change your life and the lives of those around you.”
It’s hard not to be inspired at Power Fitness with more than 400 inspirational quotes lining the walls and equipment. “We have quotes everywhere,” he says. “In fact, we have more quotes than any other gym anywhere in the world,” says Miller. “Sometimes people come in just to read the positive quotes on the walls, floors, ceiling and equipment. It’s funny, but I love it, it makes me feel like all the positive energy is getting out there in the community and our world.”

Friday, February 1, 2013

Meet Our Neighbor - "Jack's Shack" in Glen Head

Welcome to the “Meet Our Neighbor” series. Each month I will feature one of our fabulous North Shore business neighbors. This month, Jack’s Shack in Glen Head nourishes us with food for thought.

Almost 20 years ago, Jack’s Shack owner Willie Degel had a vision to open a steakhouse like no other. His restaurant would serve only the highest quality products and would provide uncompromising service.
Degel’s dream was first realized as a small store front restaurant fondly named Uncle Jacks Steakhouse in Bayside, Queens. He paid fanatical attention to detail and tweaked the menu until it was perfect. Service was elevated to an art form, with captains anticipating every need and whim to create an unprecedented dining experience. The restaurant was an immediate success with an A-list of customers including local sports stars, celebrities and politicians. Today, there are several Uncle Jack’s Steakhouses in New York City and Degel has received many awards and glowing reviews and is a star on the Food Network’s Restaurant Stakeout.

Residing in Old Brookville, Degel decided to open another restaurant concept and to open it locally with a focus on “helping his community grow by creating more jobs in the area,” says spokeswoman Navjit Sandhu, “and ultimately aiding in the growth of the town.”

Enter Jack’s Shack, Degel’s “baby” in Glen Head. Open just a little more than a year, the restaurant now employs 25 employees and serves Long Islanders “a healthy meal at an affordable price.”

Degel is very passionate about changing the way America eats and Jack’s Shack has given birth to a community emphasis on healthy, fresh food from identified, reputable sources in a setting that is primarily made from reclaimed or recycled ‘green’ building materials. “ This all natural, organic, casual eatery offers a healthier alternative to fast food, which appeals to the now more health conscious masses,” says Sandhu.

Wait, but who’s Jack? The restaurant is named after Degel’s late great-uncle Jack. In the late 1930’s, Degel’s uncle owned a restaurant in New York City, which was very popular with the locals. While growing up, Degel was regaled by tales of his Uncle and became fascinated by the man which got him to dreaming of one day owning a restaurant himself.

Jack's Shack's menu reaches across tastes and budgets with tacos, salads, sandwiches, soups and, the ever-popular Big Jack Burger, "a juicy cut of meat that has a lot of flavor and everone seems to love it."
We want our customers to know they “are in safe hands,” says Sandhu, “and, in a short amount of time, we’ve built a reputation for our honesty. A lot of times, restaurants use ‘mystery ingredients,’ but at the Shack, everything is out in the open. We only use the freshest fruits and veggies and only Grade A meat.”

The menu is always evolving 'to fit the needs of our customers," says Sandhu. "Chef Dan is very creative and always puts a fun spin on the food, expecially weekly specials."
Health-conscious customers line up for the salads, grilled chicken and fresh fruit and veggie smoothies. “Smoothies are especially popular with children,” says Sandhu. “It’s really great to see the children choose our smoothies over soda. We love that we are contributing to their good health.”
“We have all been blessed with this beautiful planet, it is our duty to keep it clean and preserved for future generations,” says Sandhu. “We now have resources to help our planet, and it is very important that we pitch in and do so.” Hopefully Degel’s enthusiasm spreads and “we all start becoming a little more careful,” she says.
It starts in the community. "The businesses around the Shack have been very friendly toward us," says Sandhu. "Gem Craft Boutique and Extravagant Realty have been so welcoming and more than helpful and we are lucky to have such caring neighbors. We look forward to a long lasting friendship with them."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Meet Our Neighbor - Kiddie City USA - Glen Head

I am excited to feature "Meet our Neighbor" series. Each month, I will spotlight one of our fabulous North Shore business neighbors. This month, we play around with Kiddie City USA.

The biggest compliment Kiddie City USA has received was, not from a parent, but from a child who asked if they could "move in and live at Kiddie City USA." Talk about a happy customer testimonial-it doesn't get much better than that!
Kiddie City USA doesn't kid around when it comes to pleasing children-not to mention parents. The Glen Head-based party place offers a kid-friendly lineup of exciting classes, hosts the coolest birthday parties, offers everyday Open Play and, is even a drop-off (three hour max) center.

The popular play place is actually the brainchild of a bunch of parents who felt the need for a facility in Glen Head. They were tired of travelling to Great Neck, Plainview, Syosset and Melville to entertain their children. They felt the need was strong enough in Glen Head to serve the North Shore area and found their space at 262 Glen Head Road in Glen Head after the former Russian Community Center vacated their space in May. The partners are from all different backgrounds and all hail from the North Shore. They include an investment manager, an educator, an event producer and business owners. They all bring a special element to the table.

The inspiration for Kiddie City USA began in a basement. Grandparents of one of the owners transformed their basement into a huge playroom for their grandchildren. Kiddie City USA came to life in that basement. The Glen Head facility is set up to reflect a mini-Manhattan. There are five out coves: a gourmet market/restaurant, a construction zone filled with cars, trains, work tables and benches; a brownstone built to reflect a home with a slide that drops you off in the school (equipped with a chalk board and chalk spinner); and a boutique filled with tons of dress-up items. There is a stage set with a TV and camera to broadcast the children much like the Megatron in Times Square, and a park type-setting in the middle of the room. You'll also find a lunchroom for snacks and food with a vending machine, an arcade and a retail store.

Kiddie City USA also offers a babysitting/drop-off service. They simply ask that parents call ahead of time to make a reservation (516-399-2525). The babysitters are actually part of their staff and are a local group of girls who come highly recommended. There is a maximum of 3 hours for this type of service; still plenty of time to run some errands, enjoy a meal and movie, or just relax! It beats a trip to the grocery store with meltdowns for sure.

Open Play time is a Godsend for parents who have active kids! "Come play in our city where it's safe to cross the street!" is their motto. They host children from six months to five years-old during school hours and have after school hours for kids up to 10 years old. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm. These hours are subject to change so they ask that you check the website daily for hours.

Kiddie City USA has hosted milestone parties for kids celebrating their first birthday up to the big 13. They have quite a number of different themes, including arts and crafts parties, dance parties and, for the girls, spa and dress-up parties, and fairy and princess parties. The boys love pirate and Superhero-themed parties, and Angry Birds and Legos are also a big hit! The zaniest birthday party request was for a sleepover party.

Kiddie City USA is also a cool place to shop for kid's gifts. They have a great retail store filled with toys and clothes, jewelry and hair accessories and much more. Featured brands include Melissa and Doug, Zadeh Toy Imports, Bling it on Baby, Fish Face, Fiore Collections, Jamm Couture and Melina's Bowtique. They are constantly looking for fun, new items. The biggest seller? Piggy banks that are shaped like cars, cupcakes, and other fun designs. The retail store offers Open Play Passes (10 Open Plays plus one free for $100 as opposed to the $12 visit price) and gift certificates of any denomination.

Kiddie City USA is always on the hunt for new, exciting shop items and is also constantly adding new classes, hours and party themes. They are currently accepting enrollments for Spring 2013 classes (check the website for details.) They are open to ideas and new options that parents would like to help make their lives easier and welcome ideas, suggestions and criticism.

Kiddie City is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm (open on Sundays only for private parties and events.) Kiddie City USA is located at 262 Glen Head Road; 516-399-2525, www.kiddiecityusa.com.

* Prices subject to change