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LifestyleLong Island Events

Tuesday is cruise day in Oyster Bay

People gather with their antique and classic cars

People gather with their antique and classic cars on Oyster Bay Cruise Nights, held every Tuesday evening during summer. (June 30, 2009) Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Billy Joel may not be cruising Manhasset's Miracle Mile nowadays. Instead, he often adds his star power to the horsepower at Oyster Bay's car cruise.

"He [Joel] brings his bikes," says Carmine Pirolo, 60, of Commack, cruise co-chair and vice president of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event.

Joel's motorcycle gallery, 20th Century Cycles, is located in a storefront on Oyster Bay's Audrey Avenue. So, it's not unusual to spot the famous rocker -- who grew up on Long Island and still resides here -- amid other Long Islanders showing off their vintage rides.

Cruising the waterfront

Other than Joel's involvement, this is indeed a classic car cruise. You can hang out and chat with other car enthusiasts, or talk to car owners -- some dressed in vintage clothing to match their vintage autos.

"It's very family oriented," says Pirolo. "People can leave their cars and walk to restaurants." Nearby are a food stand selling chili dogs and several fine dining restaurants.

You can also hang out and listen to live classic rock in front of the bandstand.

"It's great for a summer night," says Sam Caust, 22, of Plainview, as a four-piece band played "Dead Flowers" by the Rolling Stones on a recent Tuesday night. Their music almost drowned out the car engines purring and occasionally roaring in the background.

About 175 vehicles participated, including a 1928 Model T and a 2011 Lotus.

And that doesn't count the vehicles from Joel's museum, where about 70 of the composer's cycles gleam in rows under bright lights.

The cruise is usually held on Audrey Avenue around the village gazebo but moves to the Long Island Rail Road station parking lot when there's a town hall meeting.

Weekly tradition

Mike Snyder, 26, was sitting in one of the lawn chairs scattered throughout the lot. He'd brought his 1964 Dodge 440 over from his home in Bayville.

Snyder says he's gradually fixing up the old muscle car and drives over regularly to show off his progress in reconditioning the vehicle.

"This car is my time capsule," says Snyder, who was dressed for the occasion in his version of early 1960s attire -- a two-tone shirt and checkered shorts.

With local eateries offering discounts, some folks turn the gathering of road relics into a night out of dining and socializing.

Maureen Buscemi of West Hempstead and Kathleen Voellm of Franklin Square, who both said they were in their 30s, had eaten an Italian dinner at a local restaurant. Around 9 p.m., they were hanging out amid the roving autos.

They've traveled together -- husbands in tow -- to Paris and Disney. And then there's this weekly trek to see the cars in Oyster Bay.

"We love the vibe of this town," says Voellm.

"We met some friends and new people here," Buscemi adds. In the spirit of the night, they'd arrived as passengers on the backs of their husbands' motorcycles.


Classic Cruise Night

 WHEN | WHERE 5:45-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through September along Audrey Avenue Oyster Bay

INFO 516-922-6464,

ADMISSION Free for spectators ($5 with car)

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