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Long Island

Beaches to bikes, LIers enjoy unofficial last day of summer

Cade Culver, 32, of Roslyn Harbor and Camilla,

Cade Culver, 32, of Roslyn Harbor and Camilla, 4, escaped to Harry Tappen Beach in Glenwood Landing for some father-daughter time on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. Credit: Newsday / Valerie Bauman

Blue skies, light breezes, comfortable temperatures. Monday marked the unofficial end of summer in a perfect way and Long Islanders took advantage of it, heading to parks, picnics and parties — or to work — in celebration of the Labor Day holiday.

The park

At Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, a park ranger circled the nearly deserted parking lot in his vehicle as a bike rider or two crossed his path. Another security guard walked the wide park on foot, happily greeting the occasional passer-by.

Labor Day is the first summer holiday for which the park has been open after it closed in May 2014 amid an investigation for toxic-material dumping.

Five cars were parked in the lot as a pair of teens shot hoops, and several children squealed gleefully as they played on the slide.

In one of those cars was Raven Joynes, 18, of Bay Shore, who said she came to the park to spend some time with her two younger sisters.

“We had nothing better to do,” Joynes said as she reclined in her car seat. She said she had played in the park when she was younger and was disappointed when it closed.

Monday was the first time she had returned to the park since it reopened.

“I saw other people had been coming, so I decided to give it a chance,” she said.

— Deborah S. Morris

Fit for fall

Most people aim to get fit in time for summer, but for Jeannine Thompson of Huntington Station, there was no better time than the unofficial end of summer to get back to her healthy regimen.

“Instead of going to a barbecue or backyard party, I decided I needed to get serious about my health and start exercising,” she said.

Thompson, 48, a sales support coordinator, rose early to take several laps around Huntington’s Heckscher Park — something she plans to do three or four times a week.

“It’s beautiful here, close to home,” Thompson said.

Thompson, a breast cancer survivor, said lately she has not been physically able to do things she used to do. She has adult twins that she wants to see get married, and she wants to be alive to meet any future grandchildren.

“Better late than never, and what better day to start than Labor Day?” Thompson said.

— Deborah S. Morris

Grill buddies

Norm Horowitz, 75, of Wantagh, and Tom Keenan, 57, of Merrick, used a collaborative, assembly-line strategy on a grill at Bethpage State Park. The two are members of the Faith Riders motorcycle club — part of Centerpoint Church, which has locations in Massapequa, Bay Shore and Long Beach.

They were grilling for the congregation, which had about 400 people celebrating the long holiday weekend at the park.

“It’s a pleasure to feed all these people,” Horowitz said.

The church’s founding pastor, Brian McMillan, 40, of Bellmore, said the end of summer is not something to be sad about.

“Fall is the best time to be out here,” he said.

— Valerie Bauman

The beach

Cade Culver, 32, and Camilla, 4, escaped to Harry Tappen Beach in Glenwood Landing for some father-daughter time.

“We let Mommy and the other baby have some time to hang out,” Cade Culver said. “We’re just out, getting some fresh air.”

The family moved to Roslyn Harbor two weeks ago from Monterey, California, Culver said. Labor Day was a chance for a few final moments of relaxation before Camilla was to meet her teachers on Tuesday and start preschool on Wednesday.

Camilla said her favorite part of the beach was “all of the swing sets.”

— Valerie Bauman

Soaking up the sun

Jones Beach was covered in a vibrant patchwork of umbrellas Monday afternoon, with families and sun worshippers turning out for a final day of summer fun.

“My sister is going to help bury me in the sand,” 8-year-old Justin Ventura announced.

The Ventura family traveled to Jones Beach from Glen Cove to enjoy the warm weather before school starts, Emily Ventura, 15, said.

“We thought it would be fun to take out my brothers and to play in the sand for a while,” she said.

She added that she was feeling “stressed” about heading back to school because she had several Advanced Placement assignments to complete before classes start.

— Valerie Bauman

The job

Paulette Plant, 46, said she had the holiday off from her full-time job in Hauppauge, so she signed up to work a 12-hour shift at her second gig as a cook at Carlyle Seafood Shack on Harry Tappen Beach in Glenwood Landing. The Copiague resident said she enjoys the work and being on the beach.

“It’s a holiday; nothing else better to do, so I said instead of sitting home and relaxing, I’d come out and enjoy all the people,” she said.

“It’s very beautiful here,” Plant said. “Especially at night. Sometimes we get off work and we sit back, we watch the sky and we talk.”

— Valerie Bauman

The farm

Every Labor Day marks the beginning of apple-picking season at Harbes Orchard in Riverhead.

Families packed the idyllic family-owned farm off Sound Avenue Monday to listen to live music and enjoy some apple cider before hopping on the “Apple Express,” a line of carts pulled by tractor to reach an area of the orchard where families can pick their fill of apples.

Jessica Pasquarellio, 29, of Seaford, lifted her daughter, Madison Richards, high above her head so she could reach a bright yellow variation called a Blondie.

“It’s my favorite!” said Madison, 4.

Sadiana Maldonado, 9, of Brentwood, plucked a crimson apple from a small tree and plopped it into her bag. She had spent the afternoon picking apples with her parents, Josh and Jacquie Maldonado.

“We decided to come out here at the last minute, but I’m glad we did,” Jacquie Maldonado said. “It’s a lovely day.”

— Rachel Uda

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