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Beachgoers, hikers on Long Island enjoy warm temps

Janet Ryan of Smithtown, left, Pat Ruckel of

Janet Ryan of Smithtown, left, Pat Ruckel of Ronkonkoma and Bonnie Egger of Bayside ride their horses, Majic, Four Time Joey and Sir, respectively, at Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale on Saturday. Credit: Barry Sloan

Long Islanders took advantage of one of the first warm days of spring as temperatures topped out at 70 degrees in most towns.

After a lingering winter with what seemed to bring endless spurts of snow, the weather turned warmer, if even just for a couple of days.

Beachgoers and hikers took advantage of the weather knowing that a 25-degree temperature drop was expected overnight, with showers forecast for Sunday and Monday.

At Norman Levy Park and Preserve in Merrick, hikers took to the trails overlooking Reynolds Channel and the Merrick Golf Course.

“This is a place to come not just to walk, but to think clearly,” said Joyce Paley, 68, of Merrick. “And there are hills. There are never hills on Long Island.”

Linda Fishman, 61, of Merrick, said she has been waiting for the winter to pass to go hiking.

“It’s very calming and peaceful. We’ve been waiting while winter dragged on,” Fishman said. “But it will be like winter again tomorrow.”

Judy Fucci and Roy Isaac, 47, of Freeport, were working out in the preserve Saturday morning with their group, Parkacise.

“It’s what we’ve been working for,” Fucci said. “This is when we can get a nice workout in.”

“It’s good because the weather broke and we can work out among friends,” Isaac said. “Even though it was a harsh winter, we believe weather is just a condition. It’s about mind-frame.”

In Long Beach, temperatures were only in the low 50s, but many took to the boardwalk and sparsely spread out on the beach to soak in the sun.

“This is why we live here. As soon as get the first opportunity to enjoy the boardwalk, we take it,” Long Beach firefighter Sam Pinto said. “It was a cold and erratic winter and hopefully we’ve taken a turn for the good.

He said the cold water was keeping most swimmers away until lifeguards go on duty, closer to Memorial Day.

That didn’t keep away those who surf year-round.

“It lets you last a little bit longer. It’s a lot different than 30 degree mph wind in your face,” Chris Valente, 27, of Long Beach, said as he zipped his wet suit and prepared to head into the water.

Scott Richard, 27, of Long Beach, said, “You’ve gotta surf year-round if you’re gonna surf.”

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