Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame Debuts

The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (LIMEHOF) now has a permanent home in Stony Brook, where the public can learn about local music and entertainment legends upon its grand opening Friday.

This nonprofit organization founded in 2004 with a mission to celebrate Long Island’s musical heritage has been searching for the right space to call its home. They finally found it at the Ward Melville Educational and Cultural Center, a stately 8,800-square foot colonial style building anchoring Stony Brook Village, located at 97 Main St.in Stony Brook.

The melding of LIMEHOF with WMHO is the brainchild of Gloria D. Rocchio, president of Ward Melville Heritage Organization who said, “When I heard that LIMEHOF was looking for a permanent home, I called its chairman, Ernie Canadeo, and the rest is history.”

This Stony Brook Village location is the perfect spot for the home of the Hall of Fame with its active, picturesque center abounding in restaurants, shops, parks and near other LI cultural attractions including The Long Island Museum, The Jazz Loft and The Reboli Center.

On Nov. 22, the media was invited to a star-studded ribbon cutting ceremony that included previous inductees to the HOF including members of Twisted Sister, Blue Oyster Cult, Vanilla Fudge, Zebra, Bonnie Parker, Paula and Carol Magic Gardens, Jen Chapin and Elliot Murphy. Also in attendance to celebrate the festivities were Supervisor of the Town of Brookhaven, Edward P. Romaine, and Brookhaven Town Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich. Acclaimed music journalist Wayne Robins, who had his finger on the pulse of the music and pop culture scene for over 50 years, was honored as the latest inductee during this preview event. Topping off the evening, the crowd was treated to performances by Zebra, Paula and Carol Magic Gardens, Jen Chapin, Elliot Murphy, and members of Blue Oyster Cult.

The transformation of the Cultural Center into a true celebration of the LI music scene was placed in the hands of world-renowned designer, Kevin O’Callaghan, who has created an exciting experience for visitors. O’Callaghan’s vision is to rotate exhibitions representing the history of music on Long Island. The premier exhibit titled “Long Island’s Legendary Club Scene – 1960s-1980s” features the façades of iconic clubs such as Hammerheads in Levittown, Action House/Speaks in Island Park, The Mad Hatter in Stony Brook and My Father’s Place in Roslyn. A peak inside shows visitors videos of artists who played there including Twisted Sister, Zebra and Blue Oyster Cult. A wide range of memorabilia are on display including vintage ads, posters, instruments, and an exact replica of a typical 1960s stage, with classic equipment and sound system.

Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame
Ward Melville Cultural Center now the home of HOF (Photo by Barbara Krasner)

A facsimile of the bar from My Father’s Place that doubles as a glass showcase displays mementos from the Long Island bar scene such as matchbook covers, coasters and cocktail menus. There is also a wall of old ticket stubs, as well as a 10-foot-long map of Long Island showing the locations of the clubs back then. 

“Instead of focusing on one inductee, we decided to highlight the clubs that gave birth to all these artists on Long Island,” said O’Callaghan. “It’s a nice way to introduce the museum.”

The permanent Hall of Fame displays plaques and exhibits recognizing over 120 inductees. There is a section for a library, classrooms for educational programs and master classes, a surround-sound theater and a gift shop with music and entertainment themed memorabilia.

Inducted artists including Billy Joel, Joan Jett, Debbie Gibson, and families and estates of Harry Chapin, Guy Lombardo, John Coltrane have donated visual elements and rare artifacts such as their musical instruments, performance outfits, motorcycles, rare posters and photos, handwritten lyrics, and much more. Of special note on display at the Malibu Club replica is Joan Jett’s vintage first car.

“People really want to relive old times. Nothing does that like music. Hearing a song could put a smile on your face that brings you back to your old girlfriend or boyfriend. That’s what this whole first exhibition is about.”

Helping to make this new home for LIMEHOF possible is LI Catholic Health Care System. Joe Carofano, senior vice president of strategy and chief marketing officer, said, “Catholic Health is committed and rooted in LI and we like to partner with like-minded organizations who celebrate the successes of LI.”

The public is invited starting Nov. 25 to the permanent home of LIMEHOF where they will take part in all the excitement of Long Island’s phenomenal music scene and luxuriate in the nostalgia of those awe-inspiring times.

The Hall of Fame and Museum is open Wednesdays-Sundays from 12 noon through 5pm. Admission prices are: Adult $19.50, Seniors (65+) and Veterans $17.00, Students (w/ID) $15.00. Children under 12 are free. Tickets can be purchased online at the LIMEHOF.org website and at the door.

Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame
Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame ribbon cutting (Photo by Barbara Krasner)