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*Sponsored Content: I was provided complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.
Nostalgia can sometimes be a journey of its own. Walking into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame’s exhibit on Billy Joel, aptly named “Billy Joel | My Life, A Piano Man’s Journey,” was a flood of wistful memories.
For those of you who grew up on Long Island, you might relate to so many of the 120+ musicians inducted into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. Memorabilia from musicians, producers, and composers can be found on both floors. From Twisted Sister and Salt-n-Pepa to Simon & Garfunkel, there are a wide variety of faces you will recognize in the hall. Numerous memorabilia from vintage concert posters to MTV Video Music Awards are encased upstairs. The concert costumes from Dee Snyder and others were cool to see. There’s even a small theater playing concerts to sit in and enjoy some music.
The new Billy Joel exhibit includes 50 years of memories, very personal ones to Billy Joel, and dedications to those who have inspired him over the years. From the time you walk in, to when you step out, you get to enjoy his music. I found myself singing quite a few times as we walked around! One of the first things you see is an old-school television with “that one performance (that) changed (his) life.” In 1964, when Billy Joel was just 14 years old, he saw The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. He knew then he was going to be in a rock band. And he was. Throughout the exhibit, you get to see some of the bands he was in, as well as, famous posters like the one with 1960s fashions from his time in The Lost Souls.
I know when I take my kids places, they love when there are hands-on displays. What’s great is that even big kids get to enjoy the interactive exhibits here. From playing records on two real record players to multiple headphones playing various songs along a music timeline, attendees get to interact with so many parts of the exhibit. There were even a few spots to take selfies. I half wished I could walk into the huge old-fashioned television designed by LIMEHOF Creative Director, Kevin O’Callaghan. (He also designed the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame and the Billy Joel Exhibit.) The TV brought back many memories as a kid trying to wiggle bunny ears to improve the picture of the show.
If you’re my age, you’ll remember what 8 track tapes are. My kids barely know what CDs are, much less cassette tapes and 8 tracks! It was fun to show them so many of the different memorabilia items around the room. From older instruments and recording devices to vinyl records. Laser Discs, music reels, sheet music, and more can be found encased in glass. You’ll also find the original piano from the Billy Joel and Elton John concert spinning around below a projected video like a model car at a car show! (Believe it or not, I was at one of those concerts. My best friend at the time loved Billy Joel and we went to New Jersey to see the concert.) There are guitars and other instruments from Billy and his band members. Even a smashed seat from the USSR concert, signed by the band. If you are lucky enough to remember the original MTV, his MTV Music Award, the astronaut holding the MTV logo flag, is encased in the middle of the room. There were fun items to see, too, like baseball cards, sports shirts, comical character statues, and collector pins.
The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame lies in the back of the shopping parking lot. With ample parking and timed tickets, the venue should not get overcrowded. This allows you to walk around slowly and enjoy the interactive features. There’s a small gift shop off to the right when you walk in and clean bathrooms with changing stations on the left. So long as you can appreciate music, you can appreciate the exhibit, however, interactives might be preferred by older children. My 11-year-old enjoyed herself.
General admission includes all aspects: The Billy Joel Exhibit, LI Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, and State-of-the-Art Theater. While online pricing includes fees, their walk-in pricing does not. Annual memberships are also available.
If traveling from afar or without a car, there is a train station nearby and a special relationship with the Three Village Inn. Patrons can enjoy accommodations at the Inn, dine in one of the restaurants in the area, and tour the exhibit at the Long Island Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame. Make a day of your visit by also visiting the Long Island Museum or eating at one of the local eateries. There’s a local park to walk around near the water and a boardwalk to enjoy the view.
Tickets: Select a date and time frame from 11 am to closing. Tickets and gift packages can be purchased at https://www.limusichalloffame.org/billy-joel-exhibit/
Location: 97 Main Street, Stony Brook, NY 11790
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 11am-6pm; (Closed Monday and Tuesday)
Special thank you to Chris Collora, Public Relations Manager, & Barry Fisch, LIMEHOF General Manager, for our tour.
Editor and Event Liaison at Long Island Family Adventures
Tina Villalobos is a multi-certified teacher, mother of three, and published author. She has been writing reviews of local businesses, putting on community events, and keeping parents informed of the best activities to do on Long Island each week for over 10 years. A native New Yorker, she loves chocolate, traveling with her family, and singing in the car.
January 10, 2024