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End to heat wave brings Long Islanders outside again

Luis Cerqueira, of Kings Park, windsurfs off Heckscher

Luis Cerqueira, of Kings Park, windsurfs off Heckscher State Park Sunday morning in East Islip. (July 21, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

The break in a weeklong heat wave Sunday gave Long Islanders a chance to brave the outdoors again.

Eager for the change, people took advantage of the Canadian cold front that dropped temperatures into the 80s, replacing a stagnant high-pressure system that kept the thermometer in the mid- and upper 90s last week.

"I stayed inside the house a lot this week," said Iris Velasquez, 23, who was enjoying Sunken Meadow State Park.

Disha Smith, 33, a mother of two from Melville, who visited Sunken Meadow for the first time Sunday with her husband, said: "It's perfect weather for a beach. It's cooler weather and the clouds are out."

The lifeguard captain at Sunken Meadow, Ken Bonham, said that by midafternoon, there were roughly 10,000 people at the beach, where they were enjoying a nice, cool breeze.

The low-pressure Canadian front is expected to stem the severe heat the rest of the week, keeping high temperatures in the 80s with some rainstorms in the forecast.

At Trail View State Park in Woodbury, Roger Gilmore, 56, of Westbury, who was hiking yesterday morning, said the heat had affected his weekly routine. The path is part of the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt trail.

Once a week, he hikes a strenuous trail at Cold Spring Harbor that takes him about two hours. He passed on it this week because of the heat and instead opted for gardening and a less extensive hike at Trail View.

"At home, we couldn't get it much lower than 78," he said of the air-conditioning in his house. "I'm a little more fatigued than I normally am."

John Provenzano, 44, of Massapequa, was preparing for an 8-1/2-mile bike ride at Trail View State Park. He said that while he normally rides his bike at the park three to four times a week, he hasn't ridden since last Sunday.

"It's too hot; you really can't do anything," he said.

Steve Ashdown, 43, of Deer Park, said that while he normally mountain bikes and goes to the gym a few days a week, he spent the past week swimming in his pool instead. Today was his first day back on the bike trails.

"It was good, I went a couple miles," he said. "It feels great to exercise."

Frank Furillo, 65, of Medford, N.J., was happy to get out on the Bethpage golf course Sunday. While he normally golfs once a week, he quit midway through his game last week due to heat at Blue Heron Pines Golf Club in Egg Harbor City, N.J.

"I was just exhausted," he said. "Thank God it rained."

Roy Botha, 65, of Merrick, who is originally from South Africa, continued playing golf a few times a week throughout the heat wave. He said when the heat bothers him, he thinks about cold Long Island winters.

For some, the heat didn't break up their routines.

Jim Porretto, 51, of Smithtown, plays golf every Saturday and Sunday. "I had one of the best rounds of my life yesterday [Saturday]," he said.

It didn't stop Tim McCarthy, 57, of Merrick, either, as he played throughout the week, making sure to drink plenty of water. "You only get a few months to play golf up here," he said. "We've got to get out there while we can."

Christina Haubeil, 39, of Wantagh, was at Eisenhower Park with her three children, a set of twins, 2, and a 7-year-old. She said that although it's been hot, she has managed to keep them outdoors, visiting pools and the beach. "With three kids, it's hard to stay cooped up in the house," she said.

Howard Honigsfeld, 48, of North Bellmore, was also at the Eisenhower Park playground with his children, ages 3 and 7. They were happy to be outside after a week of staying inside due to heat.

"They had fun playing board games, wrestling and watching TV," he said.

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