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Editorial: Hidden Gems Right In The Backyard

This week, I had the pleasure of speaking to Justin Abrams about his quest to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. While it was an interesting story on many levels, one thing I realized when preparing to interview him was that I had never heard of his home gym, Island Rock, despite the fact that it’s located right nearby in Plainview. For many years, a huge gym devoted to rock climbing had been located in my neighborhood, and I had no idea it was there; it just never came up.

To me, rock climbing always seemed exotic and dangerous—something fashion models and professional stunt doubles did to keep fit in Hollywood. Maybe if I knew I could try it out any time I wanted after a 10-minute drive, my assumptions might have been more in line with reality.

That got me thinking about how many interesting things there could be in this community that I have no awareness of, just because they’re located a tiny bit off the beaten path or don’t advertise much. Restaurants with cuisines I’ve never tasted, facilities like Island Rock that specialize in particular sports I’ve never tried, stores that offer wares beyond shoes, hardware and electronics: They could all be out there. There might even be a specimen of one of those endangered species, a bookstore or a record store (although I don’t hold out much hope for the latter.)

Do you know of a hidden gem in the community, something you were surprised to find out existed so close to home? If you think more people should know about it, let me know at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , however, there is one caveat: you don’t need to tell me about Center Coffee Shop on South Oyster Bay Road, where a burger is $6 and the wait staff has a combined 10,000 years of experience. That’s not a hidden gem, that’s just a gem.

—K.G.

News

One local playwright and his company — The Plainview Project — seem to be headed to the big leagues.

Claude Solnik of Plainview, the Plainview Project’s writer, is married with two children. While he has a master’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University, after graduating he ended up going into journalism, which currently remains his day job. But in his free time he indulged in his true passion, hammering out numerous play scripts until the day they he realized that he needed to stop sitting on these works he was creating and put them in the hands of actors that could give them life.

Even as they hoped the parties would reach a last-minute settlement, commuters across Long Island were scrambling last week to devise alternate plans for getting to work if Long Island Rail Road’s 5,400 workers go on strike July 20. And they were vocal in their anger with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The strike, it seems, has roused commuter ire over a wide range of LIRR issues, from timeliness to cleanliness to costs.

“I’ll have to figure out a new way home from work,” said Marco Allicastro, a 20-year-old Queens resident waiting for a train home at the Bethpage station after a day’s work at the local King Kullen. “Long Island doesn’t really have a lot of options in terms of transportation. Maybe I should get a new job.”


Calendar

Sonny And Perley

Saturday, July 26

Women Artists You Should Know

Thursday, July 31

Adult Summer Reading Club

Through Aug. 7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com