What do Mariah Carey, Lou Reed, Blue Öyster Cult, Cyndi Lauper and Run-DMC have in common?
Besides numerous accolades and places in music iconography, they all have a spot in the new base of the Long Island Music & Entertainment Hall Of Fame here in Stony Brook.
Just five minutes from campus, the new hall resides on 97 Main Street in Stony Brook Village. Having recently opened its doors on Nov. 25, the establishment holds various memorabilia and tributes to artists who hail from or have lived on Long Island, as well as in Brooklyn and Queens.
Founded in 2004, the organization has inducted more than 100 musicians and music industry executives. The new hall in Stony Brook provides visitors with a look into Long island’s music history which celebrates the talent and influential figures who are from here.
“My friends and I had no idea all these artists came from Long Island,” Marcela Gallardo, a senior biology major at Stony Brook University, said. “It’s really interesting to learn about all the acts and [artists] that have been associated here and to see how the music scene was like in the ‘70s and ‘80s.”
The installation on the first floor, designed by Kevin O’Callaghan, is a tribute to “Long Island’s Legendary Club Scene,” specifically from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Walking in, visitors are bombarded with lively walls full of artist and band biographies. Visitors will also find sets depicting scenes of the past Long Island music scene, as well as props and memorabilia. Two notable props are Billy Joel’s motorcycle and Joan Jett’s Jaguar from 1983.
The exhibit also features significant places that made the music scene on the Island what it was, like the Oak Beach Inn (OBI), which opened in 1969. Owned by Robert Matherson, the locations in Smithtown, Hampton Bays, Island Park and Oak Beach were all places of gathering that were crawling with nightlife. It is rumored to be the place where the Long Island Iced Tea was invented.
The exhibit also featured places closer to campus, such as the Mad Hatter on Nesconset Highway, which hosted an array of bands and was a hub for SBU students. Their slogan was “Where the Fun Never Stops.”
On these dedicated parts of the exhibit, visitors can use the headphones given from the reception to listen to stories and see footage of the shows that once took place in those venues.
Another establishment that is featured is the famous venue My Father’s Place, which opened in 1971 in Roslyn. At that time, the shows were broadcasted live due to a partnership with WLIR-FM radio. The establishment presented more than 6,000 shows before closing in 1987.
Still on the first floor, the exhibit works as a time capsule with whimsical art and costumes of various artists. It also has walls covered in colorful information about life from the ‘60s to the ‘80s.
The exhibit features memorabilia of several costumes made by Suzette Snider that were worn by artists such as Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider and Carmine Appice of Long Island’s very own Vanilla Fudge.
In the middle of the exhibit also lies a stage with a sound system from the 70s which was brought by Randy Jackson, lead singer and guitarist of Zebra.
Norman Prusslin, a co-founder of the museum and lecturer at Stony Brook University, said “This [exhibit] will bring back memories, but as importantly [be there] for generations to come. It’s history and it will be an opportunity for people to learn the significant role that music has played on Long Island.”
Upstairs, there is even more to explore, with a watch area for music clips taken from the ‘70s and’80s, as well as more posters of musical acts. The second floor is where visitors can find all the inductees categorized by the class in which they were inducted.
The opening week in mid-November included many performances by Jen Chapin, Elliot Murphy, Zebra, Blue Öyster Cult, Carole Demas, Paula Janis from The Magic Garden and Mark Newman with Richie Cannata.
The VIP cocktail party for our grand opening had 250+ guests, plus performances by Jen Chapin, Elliot Murphy, Zebra, current and founding members of Blue Öyster Cult, and Carole Demas and Paula Janis from The Magic Garden. Don’t miss grand opening weekend: https://t.co/KsDKyD0aVr pic.twitter.com/HNkjt7ZV1d
— Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (@LIMEHOF) November 24, 2022
The gallery features portraits of many musical artists such as The Ramones, who formed in Forest Hills, Queens; hip-hop group Public Enemy, which formed when member Chuck D was studying at Adelphi University in Garden City; Lindenhurst native Pat Benatar and the queen of Christmas herself, Mariah Carey, who is from Huntington.
The upstairs gallery also features various whimsical mementos and souvenirs such as license plates, old signed CDs, music sheets and more. Records decorate the walls and highlight the epochs in which these artists defined themselves.
New classes are usually inducted every two years, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, inductions have been on pause since 2018. With this new establishment, it is safe to speculate that the next class can be announced in the coming years. The museum is also looking to expand the criteria of inductees to other entertainers outside of music, and possibly include comedians, and those in film.