Long Island won’t see a total solar eclipse like the one on Monday until 2079. NewsdayTV's Shari Einhorn reports.  Credit: Photo Credit: Anthony Florio & Drew Singh

This story was reported by John Asbury, Robert Brodsky, Tiffany Cusaac-Smith and Bart Jones. It was written by Brodsky.

For many, it was a once in a lifetime celestial event. Long Islanders came out by the thousands to enjoy the spectacle in the sky and the fleeting darkness.

From Garden City to Port Jefferson Station and Farmingdale to Kings Park, Long Islanders, equipped with special viewing glasses, witnessed a rare solar eclipse Monday when the moon passed directly between the Earth and the sun.

On Long Island, the moon blocked 90% of the sun, leaving a sliver of light around the edge in the shape of a crescent just before 3:30 p.m. 

More than eight hours earlier, people were already knocking on the door and calling the office at Sunken Meadow State Park to obtain information about its eclipse event, park director Sean Cruickshank said. 

Park officials said it was one of the premier viewing locations on Long Island because it offered such a broad, unobstructed view of the sky and horizon. In total, an estimated 6,200 people flocked to the park for the event, with officials distributing 1,500 special viewing glasses, Cruickshank said.

The crowd, he said, was the equivalent of a busy summer weekday. But instead of sitting in chairs on the beach facing the water, visitors sat with their backs to Long Island Sound so they could see the sun and the moon.

Camille Frederick, 52, of Elmont, said she rearranged all her work meetings so she could come to the park. 

“We had an earthquake. Why not come for the eclipse and come full circle?” Frederick said.

Leonidas Abbate, 24, of Hauppauge, who arrived with a beach towel and flip-flops, called it a “very special opportunity for Long Island.”

Mary Ellen Ridulfo, 59, of Ronkonkoma, said it was a day she'll never forget.

“It was everything I expected,” she said. “It’s nice to be a part of history.“

Like many in the crowd, she was listening to a playlist of moon- and space-related songs, including from Pink Floyd's “Dark Side of the Moon.”

And like many others, Ridulfo was surprised it didn't get as dark as she expected, even during peak eclipse time.

“It surprised me there was a sliver of sun but it was still complete daylight,” said Ridulfo, who brought a lantern, expecting near-complete darkness.

Some said it felt like an overcast day as the moon covered much of the sun, but certainly not like night. But the lack of darkness did little to spoil the event.

Sue Carollo, 61, of Commack, said witnessing the eclipse was “the experience of a lifetime.”

As the moon began to slowly cover the sun, she said, “I’m blown away. I think this is the coolest thing ever.”

Dennis Meschino, of Northport, echoed those thoughts, describing the eclipse as being “like a spiritual event.” 

As students at Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station were released from class, a DJ played eclipse-themed songs such as “Rocket Man,” “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “Here Comes the Sun,” Blinded by the Light,” and Taylor Swift's “Anti-Hero,” which includes lyrics about staring directly at the sun.

Parties were held at each of the district’s schools while all athletic activities were postponed for the day.

Principal Michael Mosca handed out glasses to students and warned them it would get colder once the moon’s shadow began to cast over the sun.

“When you have an occasion like this, it’s a once in a lifetime event for them and we want to celebrate all the kids who wanted to hang out and watch the eclipse,” Mosca said. “The totality of this is not going to be repeated for the rest of our lives and there is a pretty awesome buzz and a positive excitement throughout the day.”

Sydney Schoettl, 17, a National Honor Society junior, was enjoying the festivities.

“I’m a major astronomy nerd and I have a deep love for this stuff. I want to take an immersion of this phenomenon,” she said. “It’s very nice I get to share my enthusiasm with my friends and take it in.”

Comsewogue Superintendent Jennifer Quinn said students have been doing projects in anticipation of the eclipse and schools were decorated with astronomical themes ahead of Monday’s event.

“We’ve been waiting for a quite a few months and everything about this is related to education and real-life experience,” Quinn said. “We’ve been talking about different cultures and what it meant and the importance of protecting your eyes and how animals are affected.”

Kyle Schlosser and Reese Agarenzo, both 16 and of Port Jefferson Station, gathered with friends wearing eclipse glasses.

“I think it’s so cool to see it gradually become darker. I’m excited. I heard about it but I didn’t realize it would last this long,” Schlosser said. 

The crowd at one point swelled to more than 100 students, some of whom had to share glasses.

“It’s pretty chill,” said Nick D’Alessio, 17, who gathered with friends while sitting on top of a Jeep waiting for the eclipse. “It’s getting intense.”

Science Honor Society adviser Shane Goldberg was excited to share near totality with her students.

“The fact that we get to experience such a high level of coverage all together is a wonderful experience,” Goldberg said.

Outside of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Uniondale, dozens turned their eyes to the skies.

Davida Wright, who came out during her lunch break, said “curiosity” brought her out. The next one, the Hempstead resident pointed out, won't be for decades.

Ahead of the event, children drew planets and other images with chalk outside the museum. Others watched closely as staff showed them the dangers of looking at the eclipse with their naked eyes.

Benjamin Wallenstein, 7, of Plainview, said, “It’s cool to experience this.”

As the skies grew darker, dozens of onlookers of all ages donned eclipse glasses while others tried to capture the event on their phones.

Some in the crowd clapped and cheered as the eclipse neared.

“I felt happy, and it was really, really cool,” said 6-year-old Olivia Cruz, of Uniondale.

The eclipse was the first in the region since 2017, but Long Island was closer to the path of totality Monday than it was seven years ago.

The path of the eclipse began in North America at Mazatlan, Mexico, and traveled northeast through Texas, Arkansas and the Midwest before hitting Western and upstate New York, then New England and Canada’s Maritime Provinces.

Many New Yorkers traveled upstate for the event, where the path of totality included Jamestown, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown, Old Forge, Lake Placid and Plattsburgh.

People hoping for a total solar eclipse on Long Island will have to wait until 2079.

For many, it was a once in a lifetime celestial event. Long Islanders came out by the thousands to enjoy the spectacle in the sky and the fleeting darkness.

From Garden City to Port Jefferson Station and Farmingdale to Kings Park, Long Islanders, equipped with special viewing glasses, witnessed a rare solar eclipse Monday when the moon passed directly between the Earth and the sun.

On Long Island, the moon blocked 90% of the sun, leaving a sliver of light around the edge in the shape of a crescent just before 3:30 p.m. 

More than eight hours earlier, people were already knocking on the door and calling the office at Sunken Meadow State Park to obtain information about its eclipse event, park director Sean Cruickshank said. 

Park officials said it was one of the premier viewing locations on Long Island because it offered such a broad, unobstructed view of the sky and horizon. In total, an estimated 6,200 people flocked to the park for the event, with officials distributing 1,500 special viewing glasses, Cruickshank said.

The crowd, he said, was the equivalent of a busy summer weekday. But instead of sitting in chairs on the beach facing the water, visitors sat with their backs to Long Island Sound so they could see the sun and the moon.

Camille Frederick, 52, of Elmont, said she rearranged all her work meetings so she could come to the park. 

“We had an earthquake. Why not come for the eclipse and come full circle?” Frederick said.

Leonidas Abbate, 24, of Hauppauge, who arrived with a beach towel and flip-flops, called it a “very special opportunity for Long Island.”

Mary Ellen Ridulfo, 59, of Ronkonkoma, said it was a day she'll never forget.

“It was everything I expected,” she said. “It’s nice to be a part of history.“

Like many in the crowd, she was listening to a playlist of moon- and space-related songs, including from Pink Floyd's “Dark Side of the Moon.”

And like many others, Ridulfo was surprised it didn't get as dark as she expected, even during peak eclipse time.

“It surprised me there was a sliver of sun but it was still complete daylight,” said Ridulfo, who brought a lantern, expecting near-complete darkness.

Some said it felt like an overcast day as the moon covered much of the sun, but certainly not like night. But the lack of darkness did little to spoil the event.

Sue Carollo, 61, of Commack, said witnessing the eclipse was “the experience of a lifetime.”

As the moon began to slowly cover the sun, she said, “I’m blown away. I think this is the coolest thing ever.”

Dennis Meschino, of Northport, echoed those thoughts, describing the eclipse as being “like a spiritual event.” 

Eclipse is 'once in a lifetime'

As students at Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station were released from class, a DJ played eclipse-themed songs such as “Rocket Man,” “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “Here Comes the Sun,” Blinded by the Light,” and Taylor Swift's “Anti-Hero,” which includes lyrics about staring directly at the sun.

Parties were held at each of the district’s schools while all athletic activities were postponed for the day.

Comsewogue High School students Olivia Harvey, 15, left, and Jasper...

Comsewogue High School students Olivia Harvey, 15, left, and Jasper Rivera, 15, take in the solar eclipse during a viewing party at the high school in Port Jefferson Station Monday. Credit: Barry Sloan

Principal Michael Mosca handed out glasses to students and warned them it would get colder once the moon’s shadow began to cast over the sun.

“When you have an occasion like this, it’s a once in a lifetime event for them and we want to celebrate all the kids who wanted to hang out and watch the eclipse,” Mosca said. “The totality of this is not going to be repeated for the rest of our lives and there is a pretty awesome buzz and a positive excitement throughout the day.”

Sydney Schoettl, 17, a National Honor Society junior, was enjoying the festivities.

“I’m a major astronomy nerd and I have a deep love for this stuff. I want to take an immersion of this phenomenon,” she said. “It’s very nice I get to share my enthusiasm with my friends and take it in.”

Comsewogue Superintendent Jennifer Quinn said students have been doing projects in anticipation of the eclipse and schools were decorated with astronomical themes ahead of Monday’s event.

“We’ve been waiting for a quite a few months and everything about this is related to education and real-life experience,” Quinn said. “We’ve been talking about different cultures and what it meant and the importance of protecting your eyes and how animals are affected.”

Kyle Schlosser and Reese Agarenzo, both 16 and of Port Jefferson Station, gathered with friends wearing eclipse glasses.

“I think it’s so cool to see it gradually become darker. I’m excited. I heard about it but I didn’t realize it would last this long,” Schlosser said. 

The crowd at one point swelled to more than 100 students, some of whom had to share glasses.

“It’s pretty chill,” said Nick D’Alessio, 17, who gathered with friends while sitting on top of a Jeep waiting for the eclipse. “It’s getting intense.”

Science Honor Society adviser Shane Goldberg was excited to share near totality with her students.

“The fact that we get to experience such a high level of coverage all together is a wonderful experience,” Goldberg said.

Eyes to the sky

Outside of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Uniondale, dozens turned their eyes to the skies.

Davida Wright, who came out during her lunch break, said “curiosity” brought her out. The next one, the Hempstead resident pointed out, won't be for decades.

Ahead of the event, children drew planets and other images with chalk outside the museum. Others watched closely as staff showed them the dangers of looking at the eclipse with their naked eyes.

The solar eclipse brought great delight to the crowds at...

The solar eclipse brought great delight to the crowds at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Uniondale. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Benjamin Wallenstein, 7, of Plainview, said, “It’s cool to experience this.”

As the skies grew darker, dozens of onlookers of all ages donned eclipse glasses while others tried to capture the event on their phones.

Some in the crowd clapped and cheered as the eclipse neared.

“I felt happy, and it was really, really cool,” said 6-year-old Olivia Cruz, of Uniondale.

The eclipse was the first in the region since 2017, but Long Island was closer to the path of totality Monday than it was seven years ago.

The path of the eclipse began in North America at Mazatlan, Mexico, and traveled northeast through Texas, Arkansas and the Midwest before hitting Western and upstate New York, then New England and Canada’s Maritime Provinces.

Many New Yorkers traveled upstate for the event, where the path of totality included Jamestown, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown, Old Forge, Lake Placid and Plattsburgh.

People hoping for a total solar eclipse on Long Island will have to wait until 2079.

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