By Michael Tessler
Admittedly my definition of fun has always been a bit out-of-sync with my fellow millennials. What do I mean by that? Well, my perfect evening entails a glass of scotch whiskey, a small group of friends and an invigorating game of Risk (yes that board game from Seinfeld). We wouldn’t just play with normal rules either, we’d add elements of intrigue, diplomacy and politics. It’s quite literally the nerdiest way someone could spend an evening BUT there are plenty of valuable life lessons to be learned from the game: camaraderie, collaboration, but most importantly … never fight a land war in Asia! (Napoleon and Hitler probably wish they had gotten that memo). So yes, I’m not your average 23-year old, not by a long shot.
In the name of faux investigative journalism, I decided to venture outside of my comfort zone and into the sprawling mini-metropolis that is Port Jefferson Village after dark. Together with my partner-in-crime and honorary investigator, Sarah, we began our journey. Being an avid “Pokémon trainer” Sarah insisted we visit Port Jeff’s biggest Pokémon location, Harborfront Park.
For those who don’t know, Pokémon GO is a mobile game that connects the real world with the digital one, allowing people to “catch” animated Pokémon by visiting real places across the country and globe. It’s a whole lot of fun and rewards players for exercising by giving you special access to rare Pokémon. With that being said: Madam Mayor, I strongly urge you to establish a Pokémon Preserve near Harborfront Park so that we can protect the rare indigenous Pokémon that call Port Jefferson home!
Honestly though, it was pretty wonderful seeing all those families and young people outside. After some 15 years of hibernation, the children of the ’90s have finally reemerged in search of pikachus and pizza!
Afterward we made our way over to Theatre Three. This wonderful local theatre offers not just mainstage musicals and concert series but is also home to an excellent troupe of improv artists. Each week they put on a tremendous live show known as Friday Night Face Off (FNFO). These professionally trained comedians break up into two teams and battle each other in various improv games. Styled similarly to the “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” I can guarantee it’ll leave you in stitches! Having seen their shows well over a dozen times, I can tell you that each performance is unique and filled with new hysterical material. Although the show isn’t child friendly (16 years old and up please), it is the perfect way for adults to end or begin an evening! There’s even a bar right in theater so you can enjoy a drink during the performance.
After a great show we visited several of Port Jefferson’s late night hot spots. Schafer’s was a real treat. Complete with a DJ, dance floor and all of the latest party equipment, it felt less like your conventional bar and more like an upscale club in Manhattan. Following some dancing, catching up with old friends and an impromptu freestyle rap battle (I owe my skills to “Hamilton the Musical”), it turned out to be a pretty wonderful evening. Port Jefferson, while a quaint village by day, truly transforms into a popping late-night paradise when the sun goes down. There’s no age limit to the fun as there’s a venue for everyone!
Now I’ve already made my plans for next weekend! Anybody wanna join me for a rousing game of BATTLESHIP? No? That’s alright. I strongly advise taking a visit to beautiful Port Jefferson during one of these beautiful summer nights!
Michael Tessler is the Special Projects Manager for TBR News Media, a former political consultant and Disney cast member and mostly unsuccessful Pokémon trainer.