Want to avoid gridlock before and after the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach? Here are some strategies for dodging people and parking woes:
1. PICK A SPOT Consider watching from fields 1, 2 and 6, or field 5 on Zach's Bay, all away from the bustle of the Central Mall. "You'll still have an outstanding view," promises state parks spokesman George Gorman Jr.
2. ARRIVE BY WATER Show-going boat-owners can raft up in Zach's Bay, but if you don't own a watercraft, try Freeport Water Taxi. The Nautical Mile-based tour boat operator will take 28 passengers each day to watch from the bay just north of the Jones Beach Water Tower. ($40, $30 ages 5-10; 516-521-7744)
3. GO BY BIKE Dodge the parking jams entirely by cycling the Jones Beach Bikeway right down to the show. If you don’t have your own, rent via Long Island Bicycle Tours, which will have pick-ups at the Wantagh LIRR station parking lot 9–10 a.m. Saturday, May 28-- $40 includes bike with a basket, helmet and lock. Reservations required (631-824-3360).
4. TRY YOUR LUCK It's an open secret: Many air show performers do practice runs over Jones Beach from noon to 5 p.m. Friday. It could be a good excuse to hit the beach early and get your Memorial Day weekend started.