Beachgoers react to Long Beach's new restrictions following Thursday's fight and shooting. NewsdayTV's Drew Scott reports. Credit: Newsday Staff

The scene on the Long Beach sand Sunday was remarkably normal: Couples lounged side by side on towels. Vendors hawked ice cream and chicken fingers. Children giggled as they buried each other in the sand.

It was a far cry from early Thursday night, when a group of approximately 2,000 teenagers, including some from New York City, congregated on the beach, causing a commotion that led to some fights, Long Beach officials said.

After police broke up the large crowd at about 7 p.m., officers responded to a shooting inside the nearby Long Island Rail Road station. Police on Friday said two people were taken into custody, including a 15-year-old charged after allegedly shooting an unidentified male in the abdomen. 

Long Beach acting Police Commissioner Richard DePalma said Sunday the shooting victim was hospitalized Saturday in stable condition but had no additional information. DePalma said the alleged shooter and victim had been part of the larger group ordered off the beach.

Long Beach police Thursday night as they closed down streets...

Long Beach police Thursday night as they closed down streets near the boardwalk. Credit: Jim Staubitser

The large crowd and subsequent shooting swiftly led to a pair of new regulations for beachgoers this summer, officials announced Friday. The beach will be closed from dusk to dawn, and passes for residents and nonresidents, already required on the weekend, are now mandatory on weekdays. A daily beach pass, which can be purchased at locations on the boardwalk, costs $12 for Long Beach residents with proof of residency and $15 for nonresidents. Previously, the summer weekday beach passes were to be required beginning June 27.

The new regulations hardly dampened the mood Sunday, as a light breeze wafted over the sunsplashed boardwalk and sand.

Daniella Novak, 39, a New York City resident, said she comes to the beach two or three times a week and is usually back on the LIRR by about 4 p.m.

“It doesn’t affect me,” she said of the new regulations. “Maybe if I was a teenager I might be annoyed.”

Novak said Thursday's unruly beach crowd was unlikely to alter her beach habits. She noted she has friends in Israel living their lives like normal amid the nation’s ongoing war with Hamas.

“They’re going to school, going to their jobs. I have a friend whose daughter is in the military right now,” she said. “For me to say, like, ‘There was an incident at the beach and I won’t go’ … I can deal with this.”

A few feet away, Sandi Gershowitz, 74, sat in a folding chair with an awning shielding her from the sun. She comes to the beach sometimes five days a week and agreed with the regulation requiring beachgoers to have passes. But she expressed mixed feelings about the city mandating people leave the beach by dusk.

“Maybe it’s the right thing, because there’s no lifeguards,” she said. “But can people sit on the beach and enjoy the sunset? Because 6 o’clock, it’s kind of still light out. So I don’t know how I really feel about that, because I think they deserve to enjoy the beach as well.”

Local business owners said they don’t expect the regulations to impact their bottom line. 

Included among them was Cliff Skudin, who runs Skudin Surf, which provides surfing lessons and sells sunglasses, hats and more from a boardwalk stand. He also expressed gratitude for the first responders who handled Thursday night's beach crowd and the shooting afterward.

“I like to call the ocean our best playground,” Skudin said. “The beach and the boardwalk are the backbone of Long Beach. We need to do everything we can to make sure it’s safe.”

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