Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo joined hundreds of local residents, including singer Billy Joel, and other elected officials Saturday to personally clean up the shoreline off Oyster Bay Harbor.
Cuomo, along with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, attended the cleanup event at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay.
"After Hurricane Sandy, we learned protecting the environment is protecting ourselves," Cuomo said after arriving on Joel's aluminum landing boat.
More than 300 volunteers turned out for four hours to collect trash from the shore and water, including tires, plastic bags, water bottles, soda cans, broken glass and paper. The event, sponsored by the town, Oyster Bay Power Squadron, North Oyster Bay Baymen's Association and Friends of the Bay, was part of a worldwide series of International Coastal Cleanup Day events.
"All these sea creatures deserve to be in a place that is clean, and we need to help them," said Spencer Lee IV, 10, of Valley Stream, who was with eight other volunteers from Boy Scout Pack 106, digging litter from the sand.
Cuomo presented a proclamation to Friends of the Bay executive director Paul DeOrsay before heading out to help Joel and Neil Bergin, commissioner of the town's Department of Environmental Resources, clear driftwood from the bay.
"I am a resident, and I love this area, and I want to make sure it is a healthy fishery," said Joel, a town resident who grew up in Hicksville.
Thousands of volunteers helped clean beaches and waterways at more than 50 Long Island locations, including Jones Beach, Robert Moses State Park and Bay Shore, as part of the Ocean Conservancy's worldwide effort to keep beaches and waterways clean.
State Sen. Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick), in partnership with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, also hosted a four-hour beach cleanup at the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center in Jones Beach, one of the most used state parks. More than 500 volunteers collected more than 1,500 pounds of debris.
"We love helping out," said Lindsay Kramer, 16, of Wantagh, who helped pick up cigarettes, balloons and nets with two high school friends. "We love the beach. This is life-changing."