We at the Long Island Press know there is only one way to determine what is truly the Best of L.I.—and it is the same way we have made that determination since the first year of this poll: We ask you to tell us. You vote. We tally. You decide. We tell the world.
This is the sixth year of the Long Island Press’ Best of L.I. poll, and it’s also by far the biggest. We have added nearly 30 new categories—now featuring a total of 283—and we had 748,082 total votes cast. It’s so big this year that we had to split our annual Best of L.I. issue into two issues. This week is Part 1, featuring Arts & Entertainment, Shopping & Services, Not-for-Profit and Sports. Next week, Part 2, features Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, People and Attractions. In the end, more than 900 winners were crowned.
Extraordinary measures were put in place to make sure your favorites were considered, and your votes counted. The first step was establishing a comprehensive nomination process, so that any company that does business on LI had an opportunity to be in the running. This nomination process was open to everyone, for two months, from July through August. The winners of our 2010 poll were automatically nominated again, so that they could defend their titles. The nominations were honed down to the top finalists in each category before the voting began.
The survey was third-party administrated by UPickEm Contests. (In fact, we’re proud to note that this year, the Long Island Press’ Best of L.I. was named the top “Best Of” contest by UPickEm!) All votes were cast for the Best of L.I. honors through our website, www.longislandpress.com. The official voting began on Oct. 1, and was open to everyone. People were allowed one vote per day, per category, per IP address, with a registered e-mail address. (“Vote early and vote often” was the slogan used by one Best of L.I. nominee, on his Facebook page.) Once the voting ended on Dec. 15, the results were added up, then double-checked for clearly fraudulent e-mail addresses or obvious abuse via a single IP address (those votes were then removed), then added up again.
Once again, we separated local and national winners. We gave local businesses first-, second- and third-place awards in each category. If a national chain was one of the three highest vote-getters in any individual category, that chain was noted on its own, as the first-place national winner, after the first-, second- and third-place local winners.
Be aware, of course, that what may be The Best to your neighbor may not be The Best to you—which is why we named at least three winners in every category. All these places have patrons who care about them and continue to give them business. All have found homes and customer bases on Long Island. And all are viable candidates to earn your vote for the Best of L.I. in next year’s poll, and beyond. We recommend you try all of them, as they all represent the Best of L.I.
Indeed, we hope you will use this as a guide, something to help you explore and find new favorites of your own. And when you find those favorites, send us some feedback; let us know. We hope you will keep this issue nearby all year round, return to it and reference it.
Here at the Press, we’d like to give a well-deserved round of applause to Long Island Press Executive Vice President Felice Cantatore for the incredible efforts he offers every day in constructing, maintaining and building our Best of L.I. program. We’d also like to tip our caps to the businesses that went out of their way to promote themselves, to lobby their patrons for votes, who went to great lengths to prove to our readership that they are the best. But, most importantly, we have to give a standing ovation to our readers, who voted in such incredible numbers and made sure their voices were heard.
You voted. We kept score. Now the results are in.