Day in the Life of Long Island

An afternoon in the backyard with your dog. Running by the water. Spending a morning at the beach. Helping the kids set up a lemonade stand. Tasting local wine from the North Fork vineyards. Catching the sunset from the back of a boat.

Whatever makes you happy to live here, we want to see a picture of it!

During Labor Day weekend 2015, we asked readers to tag their Instagrams with #DayinthelifeLI and show us the very best of Long Island living.

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Pizza Smackdown: Round 2 Results

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Round 2 of 5

0%0 VOTES

chefsofny VOTE

Spinach pizza

Chefs of New York

508 Larkfield Rd.

East Northport

631-368-3156

The sesame-crusted spinach pizza, a favorite at Chefs of New York, features a rich, cheesy, garlicky cream sauce laced with lots of chopped spinach, and topped with mozzarella.
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littlevincents VOTE

Cold-cheese

Little Vincent's

329 New York Ave.,

Huntington

631-423-9620

Little Vincent's undisputed specialty is the cold-cheese slice, in which a fresh-from-the-oven regular slice is topped with a fist-size pile of cold shredded cheese.
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grimaldis VOTE

Margherita pizza

Grimaldi's

980 Franklin Ave.,

Garden City

516-294-6565

This slice is classic New York, almost lavishly topped with chopped tomato and fresh mozzarella that would sink a lesser crust.
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umbertos VOTE

Vodka pizza

Umberto's

633 Jericho Turnpike

New Hyde Park

516-437-9424

The crust of Umberto's Vodka pizza is thin; the mozzarella generous; the herbs fine. The sauce is exactly what you'd expect with that order of penne alla vodka, creamy and pink. It's surprisingly good and a real alternative for the curious.
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massas VOTE

Pizza No. 3

Massa's

80 Gerard St.,

Huntington

631-923-3473

Pizza No. 3 is the star at Massa's. It's topped with fresh mozzarella, scallions, pancetta, scamorza cheese and truffle oil.
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eddies VOTE

Bar pie

Eddie's Pizza

2048 Hillside Ave.,

New Hyde Park

516-354-9780

Eddie's famous "bar pie" is an extremely thin, flat pizza with no discernible rim and whose tomato sauce and cheese are melded to the crust with the strength of Super Glue. Neither the crust nor the cheese nor the tomato stands out on its own, but the sum of their parts is altogether addictive.
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emilios VOTE

Six-cheese bianco

Emilio's

2201 Jericho Tpke.

Commack

631-462-6267

Gorgonzola, fresh mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, Parmesan and fontina star in Emilio's harmonious white pie that gives a different taste with every bite.
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daangelo VOTE

Grandma pizza

Da Angelo

815 Willis Ave.

Albertson

516-741-8694

Grandma -- a thin-crust, square-pan pizza topped sparely with tomatoes and mozzarella -- is now a standard item at Long Island pizzerias, but the one that Angelo Giangrande makes is a classic among classics
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anthonyscoalfired VOTE

Roasted cauliflower

Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza

137 Old Country Rd.

Carle Place

516-877-7750

Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza (with 7 LI locations) can win your heart with its ovoid cauliflower pie. The usually pungent cruciferous vegetable is tamed into mellow submission after being roasted with olive oil and garlic, showered with Romano, mozzarella and bread crumbs and then baked in a coal-fired oven.
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satelite VOTE

Sicilian

Satelite Pizza

799 Montauk Hwy.

Bayport

631-472-3800

The old-fashioned Sicilian, a deep-dish masterpiece with savory marinara sauce, sweet sauteed onions, Pecorino Romano cheese and toasty bread crumbs, is a favorite at Satelite Pizza.
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kingumberto VOTE

Pizza arrabbiata

King Umberto

1343 Hempstead Tpke.

Elmont

516-352-8391

The Italian word for angry is arrabbiato, and King Umberto's arrabbiata pie definitely expresses itself. Hot cherry peppers are what turn it a bit irate. Broccoli raab makes the light, very-thin-crust disc a meal even better. It's finished with mozzarella, garlic and olive oil.
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sorrento VOTE

Rectangular pizza

Sorrento

255 W Park Ave.

Long Beach

516-889-4800

The pies at Sorrento are made in the Roman style, long and rectangular and served on wooden planks. The wood-burning oven invests them with smoke and char, and high-quality toppings come from the eatery's own Italian specialty store.
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princeumbertos VOTE

Potato-egg

Prince Umberto's

721D Franklin Ave.

Franklin Square

516-872-9049

Prince Umberto's potato-and-egg pie is suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with a topping similar to a creamy omelet that's capped with perfectly cooked slices of well-seasoned potato.
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thepie VOTE

Margherita pizza

The Pie

216 Main St.

Port Jefferson

631-331-4646

The crust at The Pie has real integrity. It's puffy but substantial, and not too tender. There are some complicated pies here -- but you'd be advised to stick to the simplest, the textbook Margherita.
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lapala VOTE

Margherita pizza

La Pala

246 Glen St.

Glen Cove

516-399-2255

At La Pala, Sal Apetino makes pizza the way it's made in Naples. The crust is puffy and light, and the mozzarella and tomatoes meld beautifully.
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cafeeuropa VOTE

Baked-ziti pizza

Cafe Europa

504 Union Blvd.

West Islip

631-587-7000

A hearty pie, it’s made with imported pasta that comes out of the oven al dente, mixed with a bright house made tomato sauce, ricotta, Grana Padano cheese and both shredded and fresh mozzarella.
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SEE ROUND 1 RESULTS

Pizza Smackdown: Round 1 Results

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Round 1 of 5

0%0 VOTES

salvatores VOTE

Sausage pizza

Salvatore's

124 Shore Rd.,

Port Washington

516-883-8457

Out of Salvatore's 900-degree, coal-fired oven comes this perfect pie. The crust is a dream, crisp but pliant, and the topping is a balanced meld of fresh, milky mozzarella and chunky chopped tomatoes punctuated with blobs of crumbled sausage.
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chefsofny VOTE

Spinach pizza

Chefs of New York

508 Larkfield Rd.

East Northport

631-368-3156

The sesame-crusted spinach pizza, a favorite at Chefs of New York, features a rich, cheesy, garlicky cream sauce laced with lots of chopped spinach, and topped with mozzarella.
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0%0 VOTES

littlevincents VOTE

Cold-cheese pizza

Little Vincent's

329 New York Ave.,

Huntington

631-423-9620

Little Vincent's undisputed specialty is the cold-cheese slice, in which a fresh-from-the-oven regular slice is topped with a fist-size pile of cold shredded cheese.
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redtomato VOTE

S'mores sweet pizza

Red Tomato

6245 Northern Blvd.

East Norwich

516-802-2840

Red Tomato's s'mores sweet pizza is topped with Nutella, marshmallow and graham cracker crunch.
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grimaldis VOTE

Margherita pizza

Grimaldi's

980 Franklin Ave.,

Garden City

516-294-6565

This slice is classic New York, almost lavishly topped with chopped tomato and fresh mozzarella that would sink a lesser crust.
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ginos VOTE

Asparagus and bread crumb

Gino's Pizzeria & Ristorante

628 Willis Ave.

Williston Park

516-746-2860

The square pie has cheese baked into the crust, and the topping is very fresh, very tender asparagus, cut up like little logs, and a coating of crunchy, seasoned bread crumbs that gives it added texture and flavor.
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marios VOTE

Mac-and-cheese pizza

Mario's

1 Schwab Rd.,

Melville

631-385-7000

The delectably gooey-rich mac-and-cheese pizza served at Mario's has the power to make your day -- and crash your diet. You can get the pizza whole or by the slice, with or without bacon.
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umbertos VOTE

Vodka pizza

Umberto's

633 Jericho Turnpike

New Hyde Park

516-437-9424

The crust of Umberto's Vodka pizza is thin; the mozzarella generous; the herbs fine. The sauce is exactly what you'd expect with that order of penne alla vodka, creamy and pink. It's surprisingly good and a real alternative for the curious.
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massas VOTE

Pizza No. 3

Massa's

80 Gerard St.,

Huntington

631-923-3473

Pizza No. 3 is the star at Massa's. It's topped with fresh mozzarella, scallions, pancetta, scamorza cheese and truffle oil.
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ciros VOTE

Chicken parm pizza

Ciro's Pizzeria & Restaurant

298 Jericho Tpke.,

Floral Park

516-775-6237

For Ciro's Pizzeria & Restaurant's chicken parm pie, breaded and fried chicken cutlets are cut into postage stamp-size pieces and added to a thin-crust pizza, along with good red sauce and plenty of mozzarella.
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0%0 VOTES

eddies VOTE

Bar pie

Eddie's Pizza

2048 Hillside Ave.,

New Hyde Park

516-354-9780

Eddie's famous "bar pie" is an extremely thin, flat pizza with no discernible rim and whose tomato sauce and cheese are melded to the crust with the strength of Super Glue. Neither the crust nor the cheese nor the tomato stands out on its own, but the sum of their parts is altogether addictive.
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saverios VOTE

Mom's pizza

Saverio's Pizza Room

929 N. Broadway

Massapequa

516-799-4332

The simpler pizzas at Saverio's put the spotlight where it belongs: on an elegant crust that has the well-developed flavor of rustic bread. "Mom's pizza" has no cheese, only a thin layer of sweet, onion-rich tomato sauce.
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emilios VOTE

Six-cheese bianco pizza

Emilio's

2201 Jericho Tpke.

Commack

631-462-6267

Gorgonzola, fresh mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, Parmesan and fontina star in Emilio's harmonious white pie that gives a different taste with every bite.
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manninos VOTE

Eggplant pizza

Mannino's

40 E Main St.

Smithtown

631-724-0210

For this Mannino's pie, eggplant is sliced thinly, lightly seasoned, breaded, fried and added to the tasty crust along with ricotta, marinara sauce and basil.
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daangelo VOTE

Grandma pizza

Da Angelo

815 Willis Ave.

Albertson

516-741-8694

Grandma -- a thin-crust, square-pan pizza topped sparely with tomatoes and mozzarella -- is now a standard item at Long Island pizzerias, but the one that Angelo Giangrande makes is a classic among classics
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1943pizzabar VOTE

New Haven pizza

1943 Pizza Bar

308D Main St.

Greenport

631-477-6985

Mozzarella, bacon and little piles of buttered mashed potatoes make the New Haven pie at 1943 Pizza Bar extremely appealing.
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anthonyscoalfired VOTE

Roasted cauliflower

Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza

137 Old Country Rd.

Carle Place

516-877-7750

Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza (with 7 LI locations) can win your heart with its ovoid cauliflower pie. The usually pungent cruciferous vegetable is tamed into mellow submission after being roasted with olive oil and garlic, showered with Romano, mozzarella and bread crumbs and then baked in a coal-fired oven.
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brunetti VOTE

Vongole Bianca

Pizzetteria Brunetti

103 Main St.

Westhampton Beach

631-288-3003

Pizzetteria Brunetti may be the most modest pizzeria on LI, but the pies are anything but. The absolute pinnacle is the Vongole Bianca, "white clam," pie, topped with nothing more than fresh-shucked local clams, garlic butter and herbs.
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satelite VOTE

Sicilian

Satelite Pizza

799 Montauk Hwy.

Bayport

631-472-3800

The old-fashioned Sicilian, a deep-dish masterpiece with savory marinara sauce, sweet sauteed onions, Pecorino Romano cheese and toasty bread crumbs, is a favorite at Satelite Pizza.
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sanmarzano VOTE

Caprino

San Marzano

38 Merrick Ave.

Merrick

516-546-3300

Paying less homage to Italy than to French and California cuisines, the Caprino is a surprisingly harmonious assemblage of fontina, goat cheese, caramelized onions, shiitake and button mushrooms, garlic and truffle oil. What really puts it over the top is the excellent crust, tender but toothsome and full of good, wheaty flavor.
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kingumberto VOTE

Pizza arrabbiata

King Umberto

1343 Hempstead Tpke.

Elmont

516-352-8391

The Italian word for angry is arrabbiato, and King Umberto's arrabbiata pie definitely expresses itself. Hot cherry peppers are what turn it a bit irate. Broccoli raab makes the light, very-thin-crust disc a meal even better. It's finished with mozzarella, garlic and olive oil.
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victors VOTE

Fried calamari

Victor's Pizza & Pasta House

712 Walt Whitman Rd.

Melville

631-351-1270

The "Palermo" is a thin-crust, round pizza that's topped with crunchy fried calamari and hot cherry peppers, plus a chunky tomato sauce, finished with fresh mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil.
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sorrento VOTE

Rectangular pizza

Sorrento

255 W Park Ave.

Long Beach

516-889-4800

The pies at Sorrento are made in the Roman style, long and rectangular and served on wooden planks. The wood-burning oven invests them with smoke and char, and high-quality toppings come from the eatery's own Italian specialty store.
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fattuscos VOTE

Italian flag pizza

Fattusco's

21019 Fort Salonga Rd.

Northport

631-651-9777

Fattusco's adds broccoli rabe to the combination of shredded mozzarella, ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. The result: a unification of flavors, and one of its top pizzas.
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grana VOTE

Rosa Bianca

Grana

1556 Main Rd.

Jamesport

631-779-2844

The supernal Rosa Bianca at Grana is made with thinly sliced local potatoes, local red onions and rosemary (when they're in season) and Parmesan cheese. A locavore-pizzavore dream.
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princeumbertos VOTE

Potato-egg

Prince Umberto's

721D Franklin Ave.

Franklin Square

516-872-9049

Prince Umberto's potato-and-egg pie is suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with a topping similar to a creamy omelet that's capped with perfectly cooked slices of well-seasoned potato.
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stroccos VOTE

Breakfast pie

St. Rocco's

4 St. Rocco Place

Glen Cove

516-427-5333

Rocco's Bakery has a wood-fired oven just for making pizza. For the breakfast pie, the pizzaiolo pulls it out of the oven when it is about half baked, cracks two eggs onto it and puts it back so the crust starts to blister, the cheese becomes molten and the eggs are perfectly sunny-side up.
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thepie VOTE

Margherita pizza

The Pie

216 Main St.

Port Jefferson

631-331-4646

The crust at The Pie has real integrity. It's puffy but substantial, and not too tender. There are some complicated pies here -- but you'd be advised to stick to the simplest, the textbook Margherita.
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nicks VOTE

Half-white, half-red

Nick's Pizza

272 Sunrise Hwy.

Rockville Centre

516-763-3278

Nick's Pizza creates a pizza for those seeking balance and for the undecided. One-half of the pie is mozzarella, ricotta and no tomato sauce; the other, tomato sauce, basil and a little fresh mozzarella.
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cafeeuropa VOTE

Baked-ziti pizza

Cafe Europa

504 Union Blvd.

West Islip

631-587-7000

A hearty pie, it’s made with imported pasta that comes out of the oven al dente, mixed with a bright house made tomato sauce, ricotta, Grana Padano cheese and both shredded and fresh mozzarella.
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lapala VOTE

Margherita pizza

La Pala

246 Glen St.

Glen Cove

516-399-2255

At La Pala, Sal Apetino makes pizza the way it's made in Naples. The crust is puffy and light, and the mozzarella and tomatoes meld beautifully.
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mammalombardis VOTE

Caprese pizza

Mamma Lombardi's

400 Furrows Rd.

Holbrook

631-737-0774

The Caprese pizza at Mamma Lombardi's is topped with fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic -- a cool antipasto in the form of a pie.
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SEE ROUND 2 RESULTS BACK TO VOTING

Serena & the slams

Grand Slam totals

Since turning pro in 1995 and making her Grand Slam debut in 1998, Serena Williams has put together one of the most impressive collections of statistics in major tennis tournaments. Click each number for more info.

Serena year by year

A look at how far Serena Williams advanced in each of the grand slams during her nearly 20 years on tour.

1998

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 53 Serena Williams lost to No. 16 Venus Williams in the Round of 64, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 27 Serena Williams lost to No. 5 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the Round of 16, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
WIMBLEDON: No. 20 Serena Williams lost to No. 47 Virginia Ruano Pascual in the Round of 32, 7-5, 4-1 (retired).
U.S. OPEN: No. 20 Serena Williams lost to No. 8 Irina Spirlea in the Round of 32, 6-3, 0-6, 7-5.

1999

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 26 Serena Williams lost to No. 15 Sandrine Testud in the round of 32, 6-2, 2-6, 9-7.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 10 Serena Williams lost to No. 37 Mary Joe Fernandez in the Round of 32, 6-3, 1-6, 6-0.
WIMBLEDON: Missed tournament because of injury.
U.S. OPEN: No. 6 Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam by defeating No. 1 Martina Hingis in the final, 6-3, 7-6.

2000

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 4 Serena Williams lost to No. 18 Elena Likhovtseva in the Round of 16, 6-3, 6-3.
FRENCH OPEN: Missed tournament because of injury.
WIMBLEDON: No. 8 Serena Williams lost to No. 5 Venus Williams in the semifinals, 6-2, 7-6.
U.S. OPEN: No. 5 Serena Williams lost to No. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-2.

2001

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 6 Serena Williams lost to No. 1 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, 6-2, 3-6, 8-6.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 7 Serena Williams lost to No. 4 Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
WIMBLEDON: No. 5 Serena Williams lost to No. 4 Jennifer Capriati in quarterfinals, 6-7, (4-7), 7-5, 6-3.
U.S. OPEN: No. 10 Serena Williams lost to No. 4 Venus Williams in the final, 6-2, 6-4.

2002

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Missed tournament because of injury.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 3 Serena Williams beat No. 2 Venus Williams in the final, 7-5, 6-3.
WIMBLEDON: No. 2 Serena Williams beat No. 1 Venus Williams in the final, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.
U.S. OPEN: No. 1 Serena Williams beat No. 2 Venus Williams in the final, 6-4, 6-3.

2003

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 1 Serena Williams beat No. 2 Venus Williams in the final, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-4.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 1 Serena Williams lost to No. 4 Justine Henin in the semifinals, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
WIMBLEDON: No. 1 Serena Williams beat No. 4 Venus Williams in the final, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
U.S. OPEN: Missed tournament because of injury.

2004

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Missed tournament because of injury.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 7 Serena Williams lost to No. 6 Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
WIMBLEDON: No.10 Serena Williams lost to No. 15 Maria Sharapova in the final, 6-1, 6-4.
U.S. OPEN: No. 11 Serena Williams lost to No. 8 Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

2005

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 7 Serena Williams beat No. 1 Lindsay Davenport in the final, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.
FRENCH OPEN: Missed tournament because of injury.
WIMBLEDON: No. 4 Serena Williams lost to No. 85 Jill Craybas in the Round of 32, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
U.S. OPEN: No. 8 Serena Williams lost to No. 10 Venus Williams in the Round of 16, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.

2006

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 15 Serena Williams lost to No. 17 Daniela Hantuchova in the Round of 32, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).
FRENCH OPEN: Missed tournament because of injury.
WIMBLEDON: Missed tournament because of injury.
U.S. OPEN: No. 91 Serena Williams lost to No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo in the Round of 16, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2.

2007

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 81 Serena Williams beat No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the final, 6-1, 6-2.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 8 Serena Williams lost to No. 1 Justine Henin in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-3.
WIMBLEDON: No. 8 Serena Williams lost to No. 1 Justine Henin in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
U.S. OPEN: No. 9 Serena Williams lost to No. 1 Justine Henin in the quarterfinals, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1.

2008

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 7 Serena Williams lost to No. 4 Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-4.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 5 Serena Williams lost to No. 24 Katarina Srebotnik in the Round of 32, 6-4, 6-4.
WIMBLEDON: No. 6 Serena Williams lost to No. 7 Venus Williams in the final, 7-5, 6-4.
U.S. OPEN: No. 3 Serena Williams beat No. 2 Jelena Jankovic in the final, 6-4, 7-5.

2009

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 2 Serena Williams beat No. 3 Dinara Safina in the final, 6-0, 6-3.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 2 Serena Williams lost to No. 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals, 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 7-5.
WIMBLEDON: No. 2 Serena Williams beat No. 3 Venus Williams in the final, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.
U.S. OPEN: No. 2 Serena Williams lost to unranked Kim Clijsters in the semifinals, 6-4, 7-5.

2010

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 1 Serena Williams beat unranked Justine Henin in the final, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 1 Serena Williams lost to No. 7 Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals, 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 8-6.
WIMBLEDON: No. 1 Serena Williams beat No. 21 Vera Zvonareva in the final, 6-3, 6-2.
U.S. OPEN: Missed tournament because of injury.

2011

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Missed tournament because of injury.
FRENCH OPEN: Missed tournament because of injury.
WIMBLEDON: No. 25 Serena Williams lost to No. 9 Marion Bartoli in the Round of 16, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).
U.S. OPEN: No. 27 Serena Williams lost to No. 10 Samantha Stosur in the final, 6-2, 6-3.

2012

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 12 Serena Williams lost to No. 56 Ekaterina Makarova in the Round of 16, 6-2, 6-3.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 5 Serena Williams lost to No. 111 Virginie Razzano in the first round, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
WIMBLEDON: No. 6 Serena Williams beat No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska in the final, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
U.S. OPEN: No. 4 Serena Williams beat No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the final, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

2013

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 3 Serena Williams lost to No. 25 Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
FRENCH OPEN: No. 1 Serena Williams beat No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the final, 6-4, 6-4.
WIMBLEDON: No. 1 Serena Williams lost to No. 24 Sabine Lisicki in the Round of 16, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.
U.S. OPEN: No. 1 Serena Williams beat No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in the final, 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1.

2014

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Top-ranked Serena Williams lost to No. 14 Ana Ivanovic in the Round of 16, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
FRENCH OPEN: Top-ranked Serena Williams lost to No. 35 Garbine Muguruza in the Round of 64, 6-2, 6-2.
WIMBLEDON: Top-ranked Serena Williams lost to No. 24 Alize Cornet in the Round of 32, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
U.S. OPEN: Top-ranked Serena Williams beat No. 11 Caroline Wozniacki in the final, 6-3, 6-3.

2015

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: No. 1 Serena Williams beat No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the final, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
FRENCH OPEN: No. 1 Serena Williams beat No. 13 Lucie Safarova in the final, 6-3, 6-7 (7-2), 6-2.
WIMBLEDON: No. 1 Serena Williams beat No. 20 Garbine Muguruza in the final, 6-4, 6-4.
U.S. OPEN: Serena Williams lost to unseeded Roberta Vinci in the semifinal, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

(Note: Numbers listed above are WTA rankings at the time, not tournament seed.)

Grand Slam finals

serena williams

Chris Evert (34), Martina Navratilova (32) and Steffi Graf (31) are the only women to appear in more Grand Slam singles finals. Williams’ 84 percent win rate in finals is the best ever (minimum five titles).

Grand Slam wins

serena williams

Serena Williams won her most recent Grand Slam event at Wimbledon in July, and at age 33, became the oldest woman to win a major.

Serena’s Grand Slam match wins

serena williams

Serena Williams, with her 285-40 record, has won 88 percent of her Grand Slam matches, which ranks third behind Steffi Graf (89.7 percent) and Chris Evert (89.0 percent).

‘Serena Slams’

serena williams

After winning the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open in 2002, Williams won the 2003 Australian Open to become the fifth player to win four straight Grand Slams. Upon victory at the Australian Open, Williams was the active title holder in all four majors, a feat dubbed the “Serena Slam.” She did it again with wins at the U.S. Open in 2014 and the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2015.

Australian Open

serena williams

Serena Williams has won the most Australian Open titles in the Open Era. She is 68-9 (88 percent) at the tournament. Her 2003 championship also made her the ninth woman to complete the career Grand Slam.

French Open

serena williams

Serena Williams is 54-11 at Roland Garros (83 percent) and 3-0 in the final.

Wimbledon

serena williams

The All-England Club has seen the Williams sisters meet in a final four times, with Serena winning in 2002, 2003 and 2009, and Venus winning in 2008. Serena is 79-10 (89 percent) at Wimbledon.

U.S. Open

serena williams

At the 1999 US Open, a 17-year-old Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam by beating Martina Hingis. She is 84-9 at the U.S. Open.

Wins as a higher-ranked player

serena williams

She also has only 19 losses against lower-ranked opponents, with the most recent coming in 2014 as No. 1 at Wimbledon against No. 24 Alize Cornet. She is 12-2 in finals as the higher-ranked player. She is 98-7 overall when playing as the world’s No. 1 ranked player.

Wins as lower-ranked player

serena williams

The 2012 Wimbledon final marked the last time Williams has faced a higher-ranked player in a Grand Slam. As the No. 4 ranked player, she defeated No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska in the final. She is 8-2 in finals against higher-ranked players and 35-19 in all matches as the lower-ranked player.

Serena vs. Venus

serena williams venus williams

Venus Williams won their first three Grand Slam meetings, but Serena has won nine of their last 11. Serena is 7-3 against her sister in finals, including four straight championship wins between 2002 and 2003. This was the only time in the Open Era two women met in four straight Grand Slam finals.

Serena vs. players who have been ranked No. 1

serena williams

Venus Williams, Justine Henin and Jennifer Capriati are the only players in this group to defeat Serena more than once at a Grand Slam. Her most frequent victims have been Victoria Azarenka (No. 1 in 2012; 0-10 against Williams), and Maria Sharapova (No. 1 in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012; 1-6 against Williams).

Best pizza: The search for the best Long Island pie

Our critics selected 32 of their favorite LI pizzas, which battled it out, bracket-style. You voted, the pairings shrunk, and a winner reigned supreme.

Congrats to PRINCE UMBERTO’S and its potato-egg pizza for capturing the popular vote!

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Also, a big round of applause for all 32 delicious pizzas. Scroll down to see the results of all five rounds of voting.

FINAL RESULTS
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Pizza No. 3

Massa's

80 Gerard St.

Huntington

631-923-3473

Pizza No. 3 is the star at Massa's. It's topped with fresh mozzarella, scallions, pancetta, scamorza cheese and truffle oil.
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Potato egg

Prince Umberto's

721D Franklin Ave.

Franklin Square

516-872-9049

Prince Umberto's potato-and-egg pie is suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with a topping similar to a creamy omelet that's capped with perfectly cooked slices of well-seasoned potato.
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Pope Francis in the United States

Pope Francis was in New York City from Sept. 24-26, 2015, making stops at the United Nations, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Madison Square Garden and more. The pontiff began his historic trip Sept. 19 in Cuba. On Sept. 22 he traveled to Washington, D.C., where he stayed until Sept. 24. His journey wrapped up in Philadelphia on Sept. 26-27.

Pope Francis in Philadelphia: Sept. 26-27

Pope Francis analysis, commentary and opinion

In-depth features

Pope Francis in New York City: Sept. 24-26

Pope Francis in Cuba: Sept. 19-22

Long Island impact

Pope Francis visit photos, video

The Wonder Wheel: An NYC icon endures in Coney Island

Superstorm Sandy had stampeded through Coney Island the previous night, its surge drenching amusement rides and leaving behind mud and debris. The electricity was dead. Now it was the morning of Oct. 30, 2012, and a fearful Steve Vourderis was focused on the magnificent treasure that belonged to his family: The nearly century-old, 150-foot-high Wonder Wheel.

Would this beloved mechanical marvel ever turn again?

While the 200-ton Bethlehem steel structure had been tied down with dozens of ropes to keep it safe from the storm’s powerful winds, the Wheel’s 24 cars had been stowed away in the underground workshop that was now filled with gallons of corrosive salt water. And its computer-controlled system had been rendered lifeless by the surge.

Reviving the Wheel was more than a matter of fixing the signature ride at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park. It was a matter of family pride and legacy — for three generations, the very lives of the Vourderis family have revolved around the Great Wheel. They are the caretakers of a city icon that has shaped the summertime thrills of millions of people.

During their stewardship of the Wheel, the family had restored it from a state of near ruin in the 1980s to make it one of Coney Island’s most famous rides and have continued a spotless safety record with no major accidents or injuries to passengers stretching back to 1920.

A BEACON AT CONEY ISLAND

This year, the Vourderis family kicked off a summerlong celebration of the anniversary of the Wonder Wheel, with a birthday celebration on Memorial Day marking the day when it opened 95 years ago. Two generations of the Vourderis family that has owned Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park gathered to sing “Happy Birthday” and handed out party hats and favors.

Besides the Cyclone, the Wheel is the only large thrill ride of its kind still operating from the heyday of the 1920s, and is among the oldest pleasure wheels in the United States. Its fame has spread globally, its image appearing in movies like the cult-classic “The Warriors” and on television shows like this summer’s cable hit “Mr. Robot” with Christian Slater. It has even inspired sibling rides in Japan and at Disney California Adventure. More than 30 million people have experienced it.

To this day, the ride largely remains the same as it did back when it first thrilled passengers with its unusual design.

Unlike a typical Ferris wheel, only eight of the Wonder Wheel’s cars remain stationary; 16 others swing on rails. Its inventor, a little-known Romanian-born engineer named Charles Hermann, had wanted to combine the excitement of the early rollercoasters with that of the Ferris wheel.

Because of the design, riders can choose from two very different experiences of the Wheel.

In the white, stationary cars, passengers experience an almost meditative journey as the car slowly rises to the topmost arch where they can get a view of the expanse of Coney Island, the beach and Atlantic Ocean on the left, while on the right the skyscrapers of the Manhattan skyline come into focus. It’s so pleasant a baby can ride it without alarm (there are no height restrictions).

Choose one of the red or blue swinging cars and the experience is more like a catch-your-breath thrill. As the car swings forward along the rails, it seems perilously fast, before dipping. “You feel like you are going to just fly off,” said first-time rider Tyler Richards, 25, of Harlem, who admitted to being terrified of such rides.

An estimated 200,000 people take the ride each year, when the it is open from Palm Sunday to late October. The record for the most people riding in one day was set July 5, 1947 when 14,506 passengers were recorded, going only one rotation at a time. Nowadays it costs $7 a ride (or less with package discounts) and goes for two rotations.

Steve Vourderis is often standing less than 25 feet away whenever the Wheel is in operation, keeping an eye on the wheels of the swinging cars, or listening for the telltale screech of metal-on-metal that could mean something needs to be adjusted or replaced. This is how Vourderis, 53, spends his summers: in a nearly all-day, all-night vigilance that sometimes keeps him at the park until the very early morning hours. On weekends, he sometimes stays the night in a full-size RV parked just steps from the Wheel.

Such intense focus has taken a toll, he said at one point, half-joking that he might only have a couple more years left in him. After all, he has been working on the Wheel since he was a teenager, when his father bought it in the 1980s. “It’s tough. It’s tough on family life,” he said. “I’m here all the time.”

Vourderis, who co-owns Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park with his brother Dennis, doesn’t think his business or Coney Island would be the same without it. “The Wheel attracts the people,” Vourderis said. “It’s a centerpiece, a diamond in the center.”

His brother, Dennis Vourderis, said people see a Ferris wheel moving and automatically are drawn to it. “It serves as a beacon for all the businesses in the area, not just ours. It signals that Coney Island is open.”

Today Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park stretches across two acres of prime Coney Island real estate, and is split between the kiddie park that Dennis Vourderis manages and the adult rides including the Wheel. In all, there are 21 rides, two arcades, two concession stands and two group games. It is the last family-owned amusement park in Coney Island. The only other amusement park, Luna Park, is owned and operated by Italian-based global ride manufacturer Zamperla. Other rides and concessions are independently owned.

Deno’s has also become something of a living museum to Coney Island.

It is home to the oldest arcade machine, Grandma’s Predictions, which has been telling fortunes since the 1920s; some of the earliest children’s rides ever built by the canny inventor William F. Mangels, all of which continue to attract hordes of kids each summer; and remnants of the famed Astroland Amusement Park that once neighbored Deno’s, such as the Scrambler ride. It also houses the Coney Island History Project.

It employs 100 people, 75 percent of whom are from the neighborhood.

Two generations of the Vourderis family continue to work there. Denos Vourderis, the patriarch, died in 1994. His wife, Lula, is living out her retirement.

Beside two of Steve’s sons, his wife, Stacey, is often working on site as a “cleaning lady,” as she puts it, but she also assists Steve whenever he needs help. The couple has been married 34 years, but she said she considers it a privilege to work there. Dennis Vourderis’ son Denos, 29, works at the concession stand, helps hire staff and does maintenance. His brother, Timothy, 20, also helps out at the concession stand. He has two other sons, ages 24 and 27, who come on busy days to help out along with his wife.

Dennis Vourderis said the amusement park has allowed them to have a comfortable life and to be able to put their children through school. But it’s also a commitment of 12 to 16 hours a day, six days a week. He even pitches in when needed to run rides or work in the sweet shop, the original concession stand his parents owned. They sell funnel cakes, churros, cotton candy, pretzels and other sweets.

“I just love to watch people dig into this stuff,” he said one day this summer as the park hosted a group of hundreds of summer camp children. Wearing a white polo shirt, red apron, baseball cap and aviator glasses, he took special pride in handing out sweets to the children, and whipping up pillows of cotton candy.

BETTER THAN A DIAMOND RING

The construction of the Wonder Wheel helped usher in an era of optimism that Coney Island could be restored to former glory after the traumatic destruction of the iconic Dreamland amusement park in a fire in 1911.

The wheel was built over two years by concessionaire Herman Garms, who built a forge on site. It was complete over two years, from 1918 to 1920. When he died in 1935, his son, Fred, took over. But by the 1980s, Freddy Garms was ready to part ways with it. He didn’t have to go far to find a buyer: Denos D. Vourderis, the operator of a kiddie park sandwiched between the Wheel and the boardwalk. The match seemed meant to be.

Vourderis, a Greek-born mechanical whiz, had proposed to his wife Lula in front of the Wonder Wheel in 1948. “I told her you marry me I buy you the Wonder Wheel,” he recalled for the Daily News in 1987. “I couldn’t buy it because I had no money.”

Vourderis worked as a hot dog vendor throughout the city before ultimately landing at Coney Island, where he was offered free space for a concession stand at what was then Ward’s Kiddie Park in exchange for fixing up the antiquated rides. By 1976, Vourderis was helping to manage the kiddie park, and by 1981 the owner had sold it to him.

Garms had been impressed with Vourderis’ work ethic at the kiddie park and his commitment to it at a time when the rest of Coney Island’s amusement attractions were sinking into disrepair. By the early 1980s, like the rest of the city, the fortunes of the area had reached a low point, and revenues were so scarce that rides like the Wheel were no longer regularly maintained.

But throughout this period, Vourderis had invested in the upkeep of the kiddie park, making it one of the few successes of the time. Garms sold the Wheel to Vourderis, for $250,000. The Wheel’s only operating instructions were on a hand-scrawled note on the back of a carton of cigarettes from Garms that included the helpful message, “Good Luck.”

A SHOT OF SCOTCH BEFORE A FIRST CLIMB

Anyone who is responsible for taking care of the Wheel has to climb to the axis at the heart of the machine to learn how it works.

The first time that Steve Vourderis went up, he recalled how Freddy Garms prepped him for the ascent with a shot of Chivas Regal. This was in 1983, and Vourderis was 19 years old. In a photo from that era taken of him standing astride the wheel, he is a lanky young man with tousled, dark brown hair and a trim mustache.

“I was nervous,” Vourderis said. “I saw it as a challenge. Not one I wanted to back down from — but it was a challenge.” He knew he was being groomed by his father Denos to take over the Wheel; he had spent his childhood growing up at the kiddie park, watching and helping his dad take care of the rides.

By the time Vourderis was standing at the axis halfway up the Wheel behind its neon sign that can be seen from miles away, he might have been shaking “a lot more” if it hadn’t been for the Scotch. “I didn’t understand it at all when I got up there. It was too windy. I was holding on for dear life,” he said. If you looked up just a second and saw the Wheel rotating, you’d get dizzy. He recalled Garms asking him, “Junior, how are you doing up here?” By the time he got down, his legs were wobbly.

The Garms family stayed for about a month in the 1983 season, he said, teaching them how to run the wheel and how to maintain it.

By the next summer, Vourderis was overseeing maintenance of the Wheel with his father.

But it wasn’t just a matter of fixing minor problems. Years of neglect had taken their toll, and the Wheel needed a complete overhaul. The family invested tens of thousands of dollars into repairing and refurbishing the Wheel over several years. Old photos of the Wheel’s cars showed that they were rusting and weathered. They had to be rebuilt with new parts and refinished. The Wheel had to be refinished and repainted. After years spent maintaining the Wheel, Steve Vourderis wrote a proper manual for it and had it certified by a civil engineer.

Jim Futrell, the author of “Amusement Parks of New York,” credits the family’s restoration of the Wheel for the city designating it an official landmark in 1989.

But even today it requires year-round maintenance: There is no off-season for Vourderis and his crew, which includes his sons Denos (who goes by the initials “D.J.”) and Teddy, as well as longtime workers who have also become lifelong friends.

“Now it’s preventive,” Steve Vourderis said. “We’re fighting the elements. You’re dealing with the salt water.”

EMERGING FROM A STORM OF RUIN

Salt water was among the biggest threats after Sandy.

According to D.J. Vourderis, Steve’s son, the first thing they did after pumping the water from their drowned workshop was to pull the Wheel’s cars out of the inundated storage area. The cars were cleaned, their bearings changed, he said. But anything electronic that had been submerged was destroyed.

Dozens of dumpsters would ultimately be filled with parts and electronics that were rendered useless by the storm. Dennis Vourderis, who at 56 manages operations for the entire park, said he lost track of the cost to the family when it got past half a million dollars.

“We had borrowed money to stay afloat,” he said. They received financial assistance from National Grid and from the city’s Small Business Services. But, ultimately, the family had to put up their own money. “We had no choice.”

D.J. Vourderis said when it came to the Wheel, there was nothing to do but rely on the 1918 control system that had been replaced by the now-dead computer-controlled system in the 1990s.

“We hosed off that 1918 controller and got the salt out of that because it’s a big block of copper,” he said. “We wire brushed it, we scraped it. It was a lot of work.”

Finally, they got the Wheel running again, relying on a hand crank from the original 1918 design; when power had been restored to the park, they found the antiquated control system also still worked.

KEEPING THE THRILL ALIVE

At 34, D.J. Vourderis is the heir to the mechanical wizardry that his grandfather passed down to his father. He is lanky and tall with tousled brown hair. He sometimes rides his Harley-Davidson to work; he first climbed the Wheel without his father’s permission at around 14 years of age. His wife is expecting their first child.

And after Sandy, D.J., who tinkers and repairs most of the electronics, stepped up.

Not only did he repair the 1990s controller that the floodwater had destroyed, he decided to go a step further and build a new one that would give them a lot more control over the Wheel. He built a new computer server and raised it two feet above the flood line from Sandy. A longtime “Star Trek” fan, he added speed control buttons on the new control panel that go from Warp 1 to Warp 9. Though having finer speed control doesn’t affect the experience of the ride, it provides a way to get people down faster in an emergency.

On most summer days, D.J. Vourderis is at the controls of the Wonder Wheel. He spends hours on his feet. As passengers queue up in the two lines – one for swinging cars and the other for stationary cars – he steps forward and opens the door to let passengers on to the swinging cars. Another worker helps the passengers into the stationary cars. The doors are locked shut and then they are off on their ride. Coming down for the second rotation, Vourderis is listening to the Wheel.

“You have to listen to the motor to feel where the weight is,” he said. “Everything tells you a little bit about the story.”

As one of the swinging cars hits its last curb in its rotation, he leans backward with one arm and pulls on a lever — from the 1918 design –- to apply the brakes. It’s the end of the ride for the passengers.

Vourderis, who went to drama school and even appeared in an Off-Broadway show, is courteous with the riders. “Here you go, guys,” he says, letting in people who are queued up.

He also jokes with the customers. One passenger is a bit nervous after one rotation, and as her car passes by him, she yells out, “It’s twice?” He responds, joking, “The button is stuck!” pointing at his control panel.

Later, when asked about how he sees the future and the potential that he may become the caretaker of the Wheel when his father retires, he isn’t sure. But he wouldn’t mind having normal hours. Now that he is going to be a father himself, he also thinks about missing time with his daughter.

What Vourderis knows for sure is that the Wheel is like a member of his own family. And for now it is up to them to keep the Wheel turning, so that it can keep thrilling the masses. “One time maybe it will be our time to go. Until then, we’re there.”