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Sharing A Piece Of The Good Life

Park Boulevard Restaurant Gives Back To Community After Sandy

It was less than 24 hours after Hurricane Sandy had left the area. Peter Mangouranes, owner of the Good Life, looked down Park Boulevard and saw an empty business community. The street which is usually filled with cars, shoppers, and the hustle and bustle of a business district, was much more subdued. Most of the businesses were closed as power had been knocked out, and would not return for days.

However, Mangouranes was fortunate. Power was returned to the restaurant he is a co-owner of rather quickly. That night The Good Life was buzzing, as it was one of the few establishments with electricity, and was therefore able to open for business. Residents of Massapequa, Massapequa Park and surrounding communities descended on the restaurant hoping to enjoy a hot meal, good conversation, a warm place to stay for an hour or so, and perhaps most importantly, the chance to escape the devastation that the storm had left in its wake.

“We were doing numbers that we shouldn’t be doing,” said Mangouranes. “We felt guilty.”

The restaurant is quite popular and is usually crowded. However, because it was one of the few businesses in the area that was able to open, Mangouranes said the size of the crowd on the weeknights following the storm was similar to that of a Friday or Saturday night. While Mangouranes and his partners Anthony and Paul Oliva were happy to serve the community in its time of need, they also wanted to give back to help an area that was hit so hard.

Therefore, on Nov. 13, The Good Life held a fundraiser with all of the revenue from that evening being donated to local churches and Tunnel to the Towers. Mangouranes says that within 10 minutes of the event being posted on Facebook, there were more than 100 responses of volunteers wanting to participate. And even though The Good Life wanted to absorb all of the expenses, others were quick to participate. Brewers donated beer. Mayor Altadonna lent a hand serving as a guest bartender. In addition, Sugar Rush, on Park Boulevard donated the bread for the sausage and pepper heroes which were being sold on the sidewalk outside of the restaurant, along with pretzels. On the inside, the owners of Sugar Rush, Andrew Mincher and Greg Hendershot, sold cookies and cupcakes with all of the money from the sales also being donated. The bakery was not as fortunate as The Good Life as it was without electricity for a much longer spell, but the owners nonetheless decided to help give back.

“We lost power just like everyone else, but we felt it was better just giving back,” said Mincher as customers lined up in The Good Life for one his tasty treats. He later added, “It feels awesome [to give back to the community]. We’re going to start our own charity because of this.”

“We’re trying to help out with what we do best,” added Hendershot.

Around 7 p.m. the restaurant was already packed. Mangouranes estimated that already, about 150 people were in attendance. Except for the sales t-ax, every penny collected that night, including all sales and tips would be donated to the charities. Mangouranes expected to raise about $15,000-$20,000, which would be given back to the community through the charities.

“This is the fun part,” he remarked as he shook hands with the patrons who came down to lend their support. “Just the response, shaking hands and participating in a little bit of the community.”