Where is Billy Joel when you need him?
Forget about the laudatory "New York State of Mind." Dueling parody videos of Nassau and Suffolk counties, set to the music of Jay Z's "Empire State of Mind," continue to draw hits on YouTube, with "Nassau County State of Mind" released in August by four local college students reaching more than 800,000 views.
"I definitely did not think we would become anywhere close to that," said Tyler Gildin, 20, a senior at Syracuse University majoring in radio, television and film. "It is nice that it took off as quickly and as well as it did."
Gildin, 20, of Woodmere; Evan Krumholz, 21, of Old Westbury; Cody Milch, 21, of Hewlett; and Nash Prince, 21, of Woodbury, chronicled Nassau County living in their hit YouTube parody, filming some location scenes around the Five Towns area while rapping of the virtues and not-so virtuous aspects of Long Island's westernmost county.
Not to be outdone, "Suffolk County State of Mind" videos have sprung up on YouTube as well, including one that references Smith Haven Mall, vineyards, farm stands, the Montauk Lighthouse and Villa Lombardi's, which has reached more than 460,000 views.
"We put Suffolk County in a new light. Nobody really represents Suffolk County. It touched a lot of people," said the video's creator, Brian Brennan, 22, a Hofstra University film major from Centereach. He made the video with his sister, Melissa Brennan, of Centereach, who sings the chorus, and his best friend, Joseph Toscano, of Ronkonkoma.
While these two parodies appear to be gaining in popularity, there are other, similar tributes to both a Nassau and Suffolk state of mind on YouTube. Some even are more local, such as the parodies "Carle Place State of Mind" and a similar song for Sea Cliff.
But Gildin's Nassau take is by far the most popular. The obscenity-sprinkled, 4-minute, 17-second video mocks some ethnic groups and parodies the stereotype of money and privilege, with references to Range Rovers, Ugg boots, iPhones and Bernie Madoff. The video, made during the summer, was posted in August.
Gildin, who also performs at comedy clubs in the New York area as a stand-up comic, said the makers did not want to offend. "It is a parody," he said Thursday. "We are poking fun at ourselves and the people we know and the town we grew up in. If you understand it, you love it."
Seeking to capitalize on the viral hit, the group is also selling Nassau County State of Mind T-shirts online and in some shops in Nassau. Part of the sale proceeds will go to Nassau charities, Gildin said.
Suffolk's version has gained a fan base too, with a following on Facebook and a recent live performance at Mulcahy's in Centereach. And while Suffolk's continually calls out on Nassau, Gildin said there's no offense taken.
"It's nice that we inspired them to make their own. Also, it's been good fun and I have no issues with it," he said. Brennan had kind words for the Nassau parody as well: "It was creative in its own way. We tried to keep it a lot more cleaner, but I liked it."