High school and college students making the most of their last few weeks of summer are facing an interesting predicament: Too young to get into "21 & up" venues that host live bands... too old to hang at home with friends in mom and dad's basement. Indeed, what's a group of older teenagers to do?
Whether your clan is in the mood to sit down and unwind or get out and play, here are inexpensive ways teens can spend a summer evening.
1. ALL-AGES CONCERTS
"Ninety percent of our shows are all ages," says Rick Eberle of the Crazy Donkey. That means the under-21 crowd is welcome to see bigger bands such as Emery (Aug. 23) and Cobra Starship (Aug. 27).
The Bay Stage at Jones Beach: 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh, 516-221-1000, livenation.com
New this year - The Bay Stage at Jones Beach in Wantagh is the area's largest general admission venue with a capacity of 5,000. Shows are geared to the MTV generation - Long Island's own Taking Back Sunday plays at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 ($27.50).
2. SPORTS WITH A TWIST
East Islip Lanes: 117 E. Main St., East Islip, 631-581-6200, eilanes.com. Cost: $12. Open 6 p.m.-midnight Fridays.
"It's a zoo in here," says Joan Giordano, promotional manager at the bowling alley, which hosts local bands on Friday nights along with bargain-priced unlimited bowling. Even cheaper: "Quarter Mania" on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when patrons pay a $6 cover, then a quarter per game to bowl ($3.50 shoe rental).
United Skates of America: 1276 Hicksville Rd., Seaford, 516-795-5474.
For a different kind of retro pleasure, go roller-skating - for free - 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays. If you need skates, it's $4 to rent them. On Aug. 26, the rink's teen night will run 8-11 p.m. - it's "a big dance party," according to sales manager Karen Palermo, with a DJ, laser light show, music videos projected on a big screen and a fog machine ($10 admission).
3. TEEN OPEN MIC NIGHT
Cool Beanz Café: 556 Rte. 25A, St. James, 631-862-4111, Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. Cost: $1 cover (applied toward purchase)
Cool Beanz's regular Tuesday open mic night is geared to teens who want to play music, read poetry, do stand-up comedy or put on some other kind of performance at this coffee shop, which recently added panini and salads to its menu of coffees and baked goods. Business partner Wendy Degaray says all ages are welcome at the venue's free Monday game night, and local bands play on Fridays.
4. OUTDOOR MOVIES
Eisenhower Park: East Meadow, 516-572-0223. Dusk Friday, Aug. 7. Also Thursdays through Aug. 27. Free.
Spread a blanket - and bring some snacks - for the last crop of free outdoor movies screening at Eisenhower Park this summer, which happen to be particularly appealing to teen audiences - "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" screens Friday, followed by "Back to the Future" (next Thursday), "The Mummy" (Aug. 20) and "Ironman" (Aug. 27).