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Throngs Of Sun Worshippers Hit The Beaches For Memorial Day

Beachgoer: 'We've Been Waiting For This'

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For many, Memorial Day is considered the start of the beach season and the unofficial start to summer, but the beginning of the holiday weekend got off to a cold, windy and rainy start.

Temperatures never got out of the 50s and a wind advisory was in effect for most of Saturday. Sunday brought some sunshine, slightly warmer temperatures and diminished winds.

EXTRA: A Guide To New York City’s Free Beaches

But with the promise of ample sunshine and temperatures in the low to mid 70s, many hit Coney Island early Monday morning to walk, run and bike the boardwalk.

“The weather in New York has been gloomy,” Upper West Side resident Briana Holmer said. “Now that it’s sunny I’m thrilled.”

“We got up at 6 a.m., we left the house at 7:30 and I’m planning on staying here all day,” said Marissa Higgins, of Prospect Heights.

“This is the best day of the week, we’ve been waiting for this,” said beachgoer Danielle Higgins.

By late morning, people were enjoying the rides in the bright sunshine and businesses along the boardwalk were gearing up for the crowds.

“When I wake up and I don’t see rain it’s gonna be a good day; that’s how it works on the boardwalk,” said Leo Hadar, who runs the bar at Ruby’s Bar and Grill. “I think today’s gonna bring a large crowd and be a very busy day.”

LIFE ON LONG BEACH GETTING BACK TO NORMAL

In Long Beach, Long Island, the beach looks pristine, the volleyball nets are in place, the sand is plentiful and lifeguards are present.

The hallmarks of summer are a sight to those who witnessed the devastation on Long Beach days after Sandy wreaked havoc.

“I was in shock about how everything looked so it’s pretty amazing,” Carrie Weiss told CBS 2′s Emily Smith.

While some were happy lounging in their bathing suits, others clung to warmer clothes due to a chilly breeze and temperatures in the 60s, Smith reported.

The reconstruction of the destroyed two-mile long boardwalk is expected to continue throughout the summer.

“I think later in the summer we will be able to really tell,” lifeguard Kevin Joyce told Smith. “We need it to get better, especially the beach.”

THE JERSEY SHORE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Sunbathers were out in droves along the Jersey Shore taking advantage of the only seasonable day of the long weekend.

In Asbury Park where President Obama will visit on Tuesday, the restaurants on the boardwalk were packed.

“Asbury Park are Mom and Pop businesses,” Asbury Park Mayor Ed Johnson told Sloan. “So Memorial Day has always been a great period for them to kick off.”

It was the first time many got a look at the progress after Sandy.

“What I see now, I think it’s beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. So it’s nice to be here,” Kinnelon resident Vivian Cooper told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan.

“This is a beautiful day, we lucked out,” Kelly Smith of Bradley Beach added.

As Sloan reported, while many communities are up and running, parts of Ocean Grove’s boardwalk are still in disrepair. Likewise, some residents said they are struggling to rebuild.

“The property taxes and all that we put forth, should be coming back to us in times of need. We need that assistance,” Ocean Grove resident James Lorenze told Sloan.

Since Sandy, the price of beach badges and tags have gone up in some towns. But many aren’t complaining.

“I thinks it’s okay that they went up. I agree and I was happy with our beach here,” one beachgoer told Sloan.

AccuWeather’s John Feerick said Monday is “bar none this is the best day of the holiday weekend” and the warming trend is expected to continue through the week.

On Monday night New Yorkers were taking advantage of the weather at Citi Field where the New York Mets were squaring off against the Yankees in the first game of the Subway Series.

“This is not our year, it’s not the Yankees year either. But, it’s not our year,” Joe from Merrick told 1010 WINS reporter Sonia Rincon.

EXTRA: NYC’s 11 Best Picnic Spots

Tuesday will see a high of 74 with some sunshine early in the day giving way to clouds. A shower or thunderstorm are possible for the afternoon.

Wednesday could see a shower or thunderstorm in the morning but will be become warmer and humid with a high of 81.

The heat and humidity will stick around Thursday with an expected high of 87.

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