what to do in Hempstead when you're poor
May 23, 2014 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Suggestions for gift cards (that I can purchase over the internet) for food and/or stuff for a Hofstra law student?

A young colleague of mine is leaving our company to go to law school at Hofstra on Long Island. Before he leaves town, he is working one-on-one with my son to establish a budget, goals, etc. & throwing in some low-key man-to-man life-lessons for good measure. It's pretty invaluable IMO and he is charging a ridiculously low amount for his time and expertise (credit union financial educator!)

So does anyone know of a good place to get a gift card for him that would be useful for him once he's in school?
posted by headnsouth to Shopping (10 answers total)
Depends on what he likes, but there's a Target about 5 minutes from Hofstra. Groceries, furniture, clothes, entertainment. If he might do the warehouse-club thing, there's a Costco a few minutes away, too.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:00 AM on May 23, 2014

I was thinking more about someplace local, like a pub/restaurant near campus, or local shop that caters to students.
posted by headnsouth at 9:06 AM on May 23, 2014

A couple of tickets to a local sports game for him and a person of his choice might be a good idea if he likes sports at all.
posted by xiaolongbao at 9:17 AM on May 23, 2014

And, afterthinking my answer...if you don't want to get him tickets to a specific event/game, what about a StubHub gift certificate?
posted by xiaolongbao at 9:19 AM on May 23, 2014

Indeed--if he's into hockey (or, uh, monster trucks)--Nassau Coliseum is within spitting distance of campus.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:30 AM on May 23, 2014

Grew up in Nassau County. Most of my family is still there or in western Suffolk.

I don't know the popular local hangout pub/bar spots -- I got the heck off of Lawn Guyland FAST after I graduated from college, with my alma mater 5 hours away. I wasn't of legal drinking age on LI for very long (and I don't drink much anyway).

Does he like hockey? Or live popular musical acts? As mentioned previously, Nassau Coliseum (where the NY Islanders play) is probably within walking distance of the Hofstra campus.

The area around Hofstra is pretty dense with big chain stores and shopping malls (Roosevelt Field and The Source). It's total suburban ho-hum. I'd be willing to bet more than a few national fast-casual chain restaurants have opened there in the nearly 15 years since I left, if not on Stewart Avenue, then DEFINITELY on Old Country Road.

If it were me, I'd maybe buy him some LIRR tickets and a Metrocard, so he can go into Manhattan on a weekend or something.
posted by tckma at 10:06 AM on May 23, 2014

I grew up about three miles east and slightly North of Hofstra. tckma sums it up well, there's nothing really special in central Nassau. Like tckma, I moved ... to the south shore of Long Island to an apartment on the beach in a town with a walkable downtown with kitschy local businesses that's a 40 minute express train away from Manhattan that I can walk to.

Don't limit yourself to "Hempstead", since if you drive 5 minutes in any direction, you'll be a two or two over (maybe three if traffic is light and it is late at night). You've got three big malls less than 15 minutes away:

Roosevelt Field

Plus all the big box stores: Target, Costco, Best Buy, Home Depot, etc.

Plus every generic chain restaurant ever all within a mile: Chili's, Applebees, Houlihan's, etc.

In short, the same stores by you are probably over here too.

There's local places that are awesome, such as, The Eggery, but they don't even do credit cards, so your friend will need to bring cash.

A round-trip off-peak LIRR ticket would get your friend into the city with tons of options.
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:22 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

You guys are great. I don't know why I didn't think about the LIRR/subway. He has a sister in the city so will be doing some back and forth for sure. Great idea.
posted by headnsouth at 10:24 AM on May 23, 2014

Mostly what's immediately around there is a couple of divey bars, fast food, starbucks, and a little farther away are a lot of big box stores and chain restaurants. If he's a hockey fan, he should know that the Islanders are moving to Brooklyn for the 2014-2015 season.

Vincent's is definitely the best Italian restaurant within a short drive from Hofstra.

LIRR tickets expire (ten trips are good for six months, round-trips are good for sixty days from the date of sale), so I'd be wary of buying any train tickets or metrocards--and depending on when he travels he will either need a peak or off-peak ticket which are different prices.
posted by inertia at 10:31 AM on May 23, 2014

Completely forgot about Vincent's, definitely recommended. There are neat things in the sea of homogeneity that is Long Island.

@inertia is right that LIRR tickets as a gift are a bad idea since they expire quickly, but they're still a Good Thing(tm).
posted by Brian Puccio at 11:06 AM on May 23, 2014

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