Hammock-loving LIers ready to get into the swing of National Hammock Day on July 22

Ryan Blunden, 11, kicks back on the hammock

Ryan Blunden, 11, kicks back on the hammock that has been in his family for 40 years, at his late grandparents' house in Farmingdale on July 12, 2014. (Credit: Daniel Brennan)

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It's been one month since those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer started rolling out, and on Tuesday the laziest will take center stage on the calendar.

July 22 marks National Hammock Day, a chance to kick back, gaze at the sun or the stars, read, relax and catch a few zzz's in the comfort of a hammock.

Anita Leibowitz, of Commack, has been there and done all of that over the years since her parents purchased a hammock when she was a teenager.


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"I sit looking up at the magnificent view of nature and count my trees and my blessings," she wrote in an email. "My hammock is my refuge. I lay in it wearing my Life Is Good T-shirt. . . . I love my hammock."

The roots of National Hammock Day are unknown, according to Marlo Anderson, website developer of National Day Calendar, the Mandan, North Dakota-based operation that registers everything from National Crème Brûlée Day (July 21) to National Threading the Needle Day (July 25).

"It was probably designated 50 or 100 years ago by a company that makes hammocks," Anderson said.

Hammock manufacturers also are celebrating the occasion. Every day since July 1, Chicago-based Grand Trunk has been giving away a hammock on its Facebook page, and will do so through Tuesday. San Francisco-based Yellow Leaf Hammocks, whose motto is "Change the world from the comfort of a hammock," also is having a giveaway.

Longtime hammock owners on Long Island know what the have-nots are missing and don't plan to let July 22 go by without swaying in their beds of paradise.

 

Vincent Maggio, East Setauket

Many times Vincent Maggio has slept like a bear in the hammock in his backyard, perhaps inspired by the two nearly 7-foot-tall bear sculptures that serve as the posts. The sculptures were carved from a pair of oak tree stumps left over after Maggio, 53, had the trees cut down following superstorm Sandy.

In fact, the trees were a huge selling point when he went house-hunting 11 years ago. "I looked at the proximity of the trees and said, 'hammock,' " recalls Maggio, a property claim trainer. "Many a night, I look up at the stars and the moon, and it's just awesome."

And the bears, which cost $750 apiece to sculpt, add to the awesomeness, he said. "I get my firepit going and the bears are holding torches, and I light the torches."

 

Katie Damp Blunden, West Babylon

Buying a hammock was a big deal for Katie Damp Blunden's dad, John Damp. He even knew that the best place to buy one was on Pawleys Island in South Carolina.

"The hammocks made there had a particular type of netting that he wanted," said Blunden, 53, a registered nurse. "He didn't want it to get beaten up by humidity or rain or anything. He even took it in every night."

Blunden said her dad bought the hammock in the '70s for her late mom, Gloria, but she used it less than anyone. "She had four kids and she worked as a nurse, so she never had much time to go in it," she said.

Though John Damp died last year, Blunden hopes to inherit the hammock, which is still at his home. "If I don't get it," she said, "I'm going to get my own, that's for sure."

 

Robin Block, Massapequa

Maybe it doesn't take a village to raise a child, only a hammock.

"Last year, my children were quiet and reading in the hammock, and I thought I might never see this sight again," she recalled. Block, 45, immediately took a picture to capture the moment.

Even though Block and her husband, Jeremy, 45, bought the hammock long before their children Abigail, 9, and Jason, 8, were born, they didn't actually start using it until last year. But they still seem to get less hammock time than the kids do. "Once I get in it, usually somebody else wants to get in it, too," said Block, who works for a credit union. "And then, it becomes what my kids call 'action adventure time.' When they try to tip each other out of the hammock, it's my turn to exit stage left."


Susan and Luis GarciaValley Stream

Whenever Susan and Luis Garcia's long-haired dachshund, Bluebell, gets dog-tired, she has the perfect place to wind down -- in the hammock, taking a siesta with her owners.

"Of course, she's too small to go up on her own, so we put her up there with us, and she loves it," said Susan Garcia, 67, a retired schoolteacher.

The Garcias got their hammock, which is at their summer home in Pennsylvania, seven years ago as a present from Luis' mother. They had wanted one after visiting Puerto Rico, where hammocks and siestas are a part of life. Theirs has a rope that can be pulled to rock you to sleep.

Garcia said the whole family probably will be celebrating National Hammock Day in a very appropriate way: "I'm sure all three of us -- Mommy and Daddy and Bluebell -- will all be swinging in the hammock."

GREAT PLACES TO HANG AROUND

Don't have a hammock? Don't worry -- you can lounge in one at Hammock Grove on Governors Island (with views of Lady Liberty) off Manhattan, or the Solé East Resort in Montauk.

Or you can hang from a silk hammock and perfect your yoga moves at the same time during an antigravity aerial session at Emerge Yoga & Wellness in Bellmore.

But hammocks aren't just for people. Pooches and primates enjoy them, too. A pair of gibbon sisters -- they're part of the ape family -- at the Long Island Game Farm in Manorville had one specially made for them by retired firefighter Tom Lambui. The material of choice was an old fire hose donated by Firematic Supply Co. in East Yaphank.

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