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Boats, beaches and blistering heat bring an unofficial end to summer

Heat and humidity returned to Long Island for Labor Day Monday, sending people to boats, beaches and shady spots for relief as they made the effort to squeeze one more day out of summer before its unofficial end. (Credit: Newsday / Rachelle Blidner, Keshia Clukey)

Heat and humidity returned to Long Island for Labor Day, sending people to boats, beaches and shady spots for relief and to squeeze one more day out of summer before its unofficial end.

STONY BROOK

Stony Brook Harbor was dotted with bright kayaks and stand-up paddle boards Monday afternoon.

Sydney Antonawich, 20, and Jillian Brauer, 19, took their kayaks to the harbor, saying they hoped it would be cooler on the water. As students at Stony Brook University, they had the day off and hoped to get outside before the school year ramped up.

But Antonawich and Brauer, both of Selden, said they didn’t find any relief in two hours of kayaking.

“It was just as hot on the water,” Brauer, a clinical lab sciences student, said as she and Antonawich loaded the kayaks into a truck.

— Laura Blasey

OYSTER BAY

Labor Day marks a turning point at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, from summer tourists to students on school field trips.

On Monday afternoon, park visitors — some with families, others alone or with their dogs —  wandered the grounds of President Theodore Roosevelt’s home, taking tours of the historic house and museum, and making stops at the nearby beach to cool off.

“Today has been fairly busy, this weekend has been busy,” said park ranger and education technician Tyler Kuliberda. “I think a lot of people who are coming this weekend, maybe it’s something they had on their minds to do.”

Tour groups slow down a bit in September, when people tend to “hunker down,” but pick up with school field trips in October, he said.

On a typical summer day, about 200 people take a tour of the home, Kuliberda said.

On Monday, a park ranger gave a talk about music that the Roosevelts would have listened to, as well as songs about the former president.

Ana Simon, 39, and her husband, Jay Loomis, 42, of Oyster Bay, are frequent visitors to the site, but went Monday specifically for the music program.

“Usually we just would have gone for a long walk at the beach and come here later,” he said. “Any time friends come, we bring them here.”

Keith and Lynn Caruso of Northport took their 12-year-old daughter, Coletta, to Sagamore Hill Monday to have fun before she starts seventh grade on Thursday.

“We haven’t been here in years,” said Keith Caruso, 62. “We had been talking about this. Let’s give it a go today.”

They joined tourists from England, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin during their tour of the house.

— Stefanie Dazio

EAST FARMINGDALE 

The Farmingdale State College campus was quiet Monday, except for the school’s secluded driving range, tucked away amid a shady patch of trees on the northeastern edge of campus.

More than a dozen golfers toted buckets of balls to get in a morning practice session before it got too hot and plans turned to barbecues and family gatherings.

Golfers took breaks at the picnic tables and slathered themselves with sunscreen.

The range is one of the last publicly available ranges left in the area after the Skydrive Golf Center on Route 110 closed.

Mike Lawrence and his neighbor and longtime friend Phyllis Borow, both of Wantagh, make a trip to the range every week or two. Neither had plans Monday and it was Lawrence’s 77th birthday, so they decided to spend Labor Day practicing their swings.

“It’s a little hot, but not terrible,” Borow said. “Considering they said it was going to rain all weekend, this is actually nice.”

But Lawrence said he was considering heading home soon — the heat was becoming intense.

“I don’t love anything over 70 [degrees], he said. "I could wear a T-shirt when its 30."

— Laura Blasey

KINGS PARK

Ronkonkoma resident Nicole Wright relaxed under a tent at the Sunken Meadow State Park beach Monday.

It was the first time she’d been there in a few years and she wanted to celebrate the day playing in the water with her two sisters.

“It’s the end of summer, that’s why I’m here,” Wright said after ordering food from the concession stand. “I’m trying to get a tan.”

West Babylon teacher Debbie Goodwin said she had one final chance to enjoy the summer.

“It’s the last day before school,” said Goodwin, 65, who wanted to enjoy the beach weather. She spent the morning people-watching with her husband, but had more planned for later.

“We’re going to go for a walk and then get some ice cream — might go for a swirl,” she said.

Being at the beach comes naturally to Goodwin.

“I’m a water person,” she said. “I grew up on a boat. I love being by the water.”

— Deon J. Hampton

NORTHPORT

The Canfield family of Northport had a Labor Day picnic by the harbor, celebrating with family members who boated in from Westchester.

“I’m a little upset that summer is over,” said Cameron Canfield, 15, who will start 10th grade at Northport High School this week. “But I’m glad to be going back to school,” he said, adding that he’s excited to catch up with friends after the summer vacation.

The end of summer isn’t as big a deal as it used to be when all four of Janice Canfield’s children were in school, she said. One has a job, two are in college and Cameron is the youngest, she said.

Still, she welcomes the unofficial end of the season, Canfield said. “I look forward to getting back to the routine of the non-summer days.”

For Cliff Mossey, owner of Lics Ice Cream on Main Street, Labor Day is a boon for business.

“We worked a lot this weekend,” Mossey said. “Our kids are working and then school starts tomorrow.”

It’s been a difficult summer because it rained a lot on the weekends, he said, noting the seasonality of the business. Business drops significantly after Labor Day, he said, and the shop is typically closed for the winter.

Abby Egan, 15, of Kings Park, starts 10th grade this week, but will continue working at the ice cream shop until October.

“It’s been good. It’s my first job,” she said. 

— Keshia Clukey

WEST ISLIP

For boaters and jet skiers  at West Islip Marina Park, Labor Day marks the end of a summer schedule but not the end of boating season.

Boaters on Monday hosed down their vessels and tied  other watercraft onto the backs of their cars after returning from day trips to Fire Island. They pledged to keep going out on the Great South Bay through October.

“All this means is I got to go to work tomorrow,” Russell Ostroff, 44, of West Islip, who works in sales, said of the holiday.

Boaters relished that the holiday weekend weather held up for boating after a mediocre summer.

“These are good days to be on the boat because the sun is dying down and it’s a lot cooler,” said Evalise Salas, 26, of Jersey City.

Chris Elsesser, an assistant principal at Smithtown West High School, said he was going out for a short solo boat ride after his wife encouraged him to do it. Boating on Labor Day has been a family tradition and “means a lot to me,” he said.

“I got a 10-day-old baby and a 3-year-old — you don’t get out,” the 34-year-old from West Islip said. “I can say I was out on the last day of summer.”

But summer wasn't ending for Brian and Christine Murphy, who sipped beers and played music on their docked boat.

“We’re not teachers and we don’t have little kids, so summer does not have to end for us,” said Christine Murphy, 49, a nurse from West Islip.

— Rachelle Blidner

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