All American Hamburger Drive in Chosen Best Burger on Long Island

The All American Hamburger Drive-In was chosen one burger on Long Island by The Best of Long Island for the seventh year in a row on February 9th.

The Massapequa based burger shack has been open since 1963 and hasn’t experienced a major menu change since then.

“They are decently priced, it’s cheap enough where you can still get another burger,” Bryan Antonoff, a senior from Saint Joseph’s college and a customer at the All American Burger said.

Burgers from the restaurant look a little flat in their wrapping but that doesn’t take away from the taste. “I didn’t really look at it much I just ate it,” Antonoff said.

“It actually tasted like real meat. It had more consistency,” Antonoff said.  It didn’t taste like it was that processed.”

The All American Hamburger Drive-in is a family owned business currently managed by the grandson of the founder, Rich Vultaggio; his father managed the restaurant before him.

“Since the beginning everything has been the same. We haven’t changed many things since 1963,” Vultaggio said. The restaurant is still housed in its original building. Even the types of condiments offered have remained consistent

The menu includes only 11 items. Hamburgers go for $1.40 and cheeseburgers cost 20 cents extra.

“Everything we have here is fresh. Our beef is delivered six days a week. The produce comes in three days a week,” Vultaggio said. “We are able to keep the prices low and it keeps the people coming in.”

The Massapequa location is the only All American Burger in existence. “If there was one out by me I’d go to them over normal fast food,” Antonoff, who lives in Shoreham said.

The Bethpage Credit union sponsors the Best ff Long Island program to promote local businesses. This year over 50,000 businesses were nominated and 2,000,000 votes were cast according to the Best of Long Island Press website.

There are 480 categories in which winners are chosen. In each category only first place wins. The winning business is announced early each year and is featured on the Bethpage Best of Long Island Press website.

The Suddenly Popular Practice of Archery

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On the subject of most popular sports archery isn’t typically the first thing that comes to mind. But thanks to pop culture icons and fictional characters like Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games or Oliver Queen from CW’s The Arrow, archery is enjoying a new surge in popularity.

Film viewers who see characters like The Avenger’s Hawk Eye or the Hobbit’s Legolas become inspired to visit archery ranges and are encouraged by trainers to improve their accuracy and skill by practicing daily.

Although the popular media that created the fascination with archery might fall out of the lime light as early as next fall, the interest in archery has a good chance of surviving for many years. That’s because it’s not just adults taking up bows and arrows. Spend a few hours at an archery range and you’re likely to see more kids practicing than anyone else.  A strong youth presence is a vital life line for any sport or activity.

Imagine an elementary school age kid with a bow and arrow. Better yet imagine 20 of them; that might sound like the beginning of a disaster waiting to happen but for Smith Point Archery in Bayshore that is a typical weekend. The range and store hosts birthday parties at which all the guests are given a lesson in safe and fun archery practice.

“They can shoot as long as they can hold a bow and follow instructions” said a volunteer working at Smith Point Archery. The birthday party guests are given recurve bows and aluminum tipped arrows (that’s right, real arrows). They typically host 2 parties a month, but the range is open and visited by enthusiasts young and old daily.

Craig Wagner who has worked at Smith Point Archery for 13 years marked the change in the public’s attitude to archery. “On average 50 people come to the store, some to buy, some to shoot. There are days when we get more and other days when we get less.”

“It’s gone up lot in the last couple of years. Various movies like hunger games have brought in a lot of kids and women. We used to be mostly men and hunters.”

The only downside of having Hollywood inspire archers is that they might take up the hobby with Hollywood degrees of expectations, but Wagner didn’t seem too worried about that.

“The girl who played Katniss [Jennifer Lawrence] took professional lessons. How she shot the bow is very realistic” said Wagner.  “The scene where she puts a rock on a string and shoots it to make the deer move is totally Hollywood, that doesn’t really work.”

The jump from film archery to the actual practice means that fans will have to decide on their preferred equipment. With the exception of CW’s the Arrow most fictional archers popular today sport a simple more traditional recurve bow.

“There are a lot of people getting into archery with a recurve. But the compound bow, because of the hunting population is more popular” said Wagner.

“I was a rifle hunter, then I wanted to hunt Long island, you have to be a bow hunter to hunt long island for deer so I took up archery and then fell in love with it’ Said Wagner. “No longer do I hunt with a rifle.”

“It’s more challenging; it requires a discipline that’s not required with rifle hunting” said Wagner about hunting with a bow. “You have to be very stealthy about when you move and how you take a shot, there is a certain amount of precision required to get that clean kill. It’s a lot more intense than rifle shooting, that’s what I like about it.”

Draw My Story Line: Dancing

Country music and line dancing are typically categorized under things you experience in old western movies or thriving bars in modern day Tennessee, but believe it or not one could find that country atmosphere here on Long Island, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays no less.

Colleen Mcree is a regular at the Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale. The Irish pub has an unusually diverse schedule of weekly events; Ladies night Thursdays, Friday Night Party (The DJ plays party music the whole night), and every Tuesday the pub plays host to local country bands, a line dancing instructor and an entire crowd of line dancers cutting a rug on the modest Nutty Irishman dance floor.

For the 22-year-old country music fan line dancing is a form of escape. Dancing and being around the people is where she feels comfortable. “You’re just there to dance and nothing else matters” said Colleen. “It’s a place to go and you just forget everything for a little bit… It boosts your confidence.”

“Everybody ends up in a huge group of people, because there is not that much room on the dance floor,” said Colleen. The Country night crowd fills the entire bar as well making getting anywhere difficult without getting to know some stranger fairly well. Luckily the point of Line dancing is to move in unison so there is minimal shoving on the dance floor.

Line dances are all about timing and the choreography. For someone who doesn’t know the moves that go with the song it can be a little bit difficult. That doesn’t stop first-timers and novices from joining in with the experts.

Edward Martinez, a 23-year-old who has been line dancing for only a year prefers line dancing because of the comfort that planned choreography offers. “You can follow whoever knows what they’re doing and you’re dancing,” said Martinez. “A few people that go to every country night know a majority of the dances. You’ll see them at the beginning thinking of each song and what dance goes best with it.”

“I’m a die-hard country fan and this is actually my first time [line dancing]” said Joshua Beiling, a tag-along friend of Martinez. “It was a little tricky at first but I caught right on and I was able to get into it.”

“It’s definitely more fun doing it with people who like this music and know what they are doing” said Bieling.

Unfortunately for Bieling the nearby Nutty Irishman in Bay Shore is temporarily closing for renovations next week. That doesn’t mean there will be any shortage of bars featuring a country night on Long Island.

Boot Scootin’ at Who-Ville bar and grille, Country Tuesdays at Revolution, Hump day Hoedown at Dublin Deck. Bars on Long Island can’t seem to help designating Tuesday or Wednesday to a country themed catch phrase and a night of Line Dancing.

santa dancer the gearnutty irishman

Trailer for Draw My Story: Line Dancing featuring Colleen Mcree

This trailer details how it is supposed to work: She speaks I draw, and the two are supposed to match. It’s sort of a novel idea in journalism. The concept needs some polishing but that’s the case with any new idea. I can’t wait to unveil the finished product tomorrow, I’m actually depending on the feedback for this one since I really want to make this a thing and it’s been a process of steering blind with it, having nobody to model after or bounce ideas off of.

How Not to Mess up Mapping

If you want to laugh a little check out this blog post from Vox. They list 27 hilariously bad mapping jobs by journalists. Some of the mistakes are fairly benign but others are quite egregious. It wasn’t just amateur offenders either. CNN, the Wall Street Journal and Fox [News]  have some mistakes featured and it’s the kind of easy stuff that you really wouldn’t expect seasoned professionals to miss.

Funny as this is it points out some simple mistakes that beginners like us will probably make the first couple of times we try mapping. I’ll sum up some of the mistakes that are easier to miss but can still totally mess up a good map.

The Colors:

Fun fact; there are almost an infinite number of shades of each primary color. Most of them look incredibly similar to each other. We are talking about the difference between off-white and cream color here. If you can tell the difference you are either a paint prodigy or you are clinically insane. That said, using similar colors to define values on a map is a bad idea. If people can differentiate the colors then wont be able to understand the data and your map is doomed to be quite useless.

The Shapes:

Most maps incorporate user generated shape files. That is to say, somebody went in and drew a map of the counties of Florida. The humans who did that are as capable of mistakes as you are so its possible that they missed a county or two while they were drawing it. That said, it would be a good idea to double check all of your shape files to minimize error. If your using shape files from a source that you trust (like Google Maps) this isn’t THAT important. but keep in mind you are responsible for everything you publish. Even if it was somebody else s mistake the buck stops with you if you hit the publish button.

Location Location Location: 

If you mark an address on a map you better be sure. The stakes are higher if your talking about states or countries or continents. Mislabeling something could easily be the most embarrassing mistake. It’s easy to do but also easy to avoid. Just be careful and precise.

The Point, The Thesis, The Main Idea, The Cheese, The Stuff, The Thing.

Much like a paper your map should have a point. The data sets and the geographical representation should be showing the viewer something that they wouldn’t understand as well or at all if you just wrote it. If you’re map doesn’t have some kind of central thesis it will be as lost as a map that shows how far all 50 states are from Ohio.

Story Map and ArcGIS

I tested out Story Map software. It operates using ArcGIS which is a very widely used mapping software. Fortunately the web app that Story Map utilizes is way more user friendly and accessible then the desktop version of ArcGIS.

How easy it is to use is at the expense of versatility. There aren’t any shape tools or variations in types of data points. Your basically locked into inputting a picture, a title, and a blurb with a data point of which there are 4 or 5 different colors.

The world map used looks as if it’s a Google Map based on the zoom interface. The zoom itself works pretty well, there is hardly any lag in moving around the map. Clicking on data points brings up the meta data quick as well.

I believe that Story Map is most applicable to picture based geographical stories, since each data point has to have a picture. It is a very casual program so if you have a more ambitious and complicated project in mind you might want to look at other options.

I’m currently trying to master ArcGIS software for two of my final projects. It’s really good because it has Photoshop levels of versatility. The downside is that ArcGIS desktop program requires one extremely beefy, fast running, over achieving, physically fit, unwavering, heroic, and at times dangerously powerful computer.

Street Art and a Better Place

This video story is advertised by its creator, Freddy Angell as a short documentary. Indeed it is roughly five minutes of videos and narration that portray the city of Sheffield and its various graffiti street art exhibits. The central narrative is a vocal re-enactment of an interview with Rocket01, a tagger from Sheffield.

What really works for this story is how many shots there are of graffiti in the city. All of the shots are taken from unique angles or feature some strange camera movement that keeps it interesting. The video might be a little dizzying at times but appreciating all the artwork is as simple as getting clever with the pause and play button.

Also a plus is the amount of voices that Angell included in the story. He got a lot of different people to endorse street art. they did this while standing in front of different examples of artwork. I thought that was a good idea because it shows support for the diversity in artwork.

Angell’s subject, Rocket01 does not neglect the other side of this story. There is an unlawful and unethical side to street tagging that is disrespectful and undesirable. That fact is well communicated in the videos second half.

Fans Respond to Marvel and Sony Partnering Up

Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios Leveraged a deal that allows Marvel to produce movies using Sony’s intellectual property: Spider-Man. Fans have had mixed reviews of Sony’s past Spider-Man films. The news that Marvel will finally get to take a whack at producing a web-head movie has taken the comic book community by storm. Some fans are excited and optamistic while others are not so enthused.

Interested in the Science Fiction Forum? Check them out here

Need more information on this partnership? Check out Marvel’s story.

**Disclaimer. This project is not actually sponsored by a jar and a leaky water faucet.