WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The sun was sizzling, and tons of people were out at the beach Monday for the unofficial beginning of the summer season.
As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, Field 6 at historic Jones Beach on Long Island was filled before 10 a.m. Revelers were already munching, and people were watching and celebrating summer with loved ones.
“Winter was so horrible, and now we’re at the beach, and it’s amazing,” one beachgoer said.
A wind out of the west kept things breezy at Jones Beach. And the water temperature was only 57 degrees, but that did not stop people from taking a dip.
For the Arminienti family from the Bronx, it was the first trip to the ocean.
“It’s awesome and it’s also epic,” a boy said.
The Nigro family from Farmingdale taught generations the meaning of the day.
“Honor the troops, and hope that they get home safe, and honor those who sacrificed,” a woman said.
The true meaning of the day can be realized in places such as Jones Beach, where families can celebrate togetherness in the sun.
Senior Lifeguards Keep Swimmers Safe
There is a unique group of lifeguards keeping swimmers safe at Jones Beach. As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, these boys of summer are the most senior guards in the New York State Park system.
The group has been at it sine 1959 and two of the men even met their wives on the beach.
Ken larsen, 73, Dave Spence, 72, Joe Caselli, 70, and Ed Peters, 71, return each summer to a cherished fraternity.
“I don’t know anyone else who has relationships like we do for 50 years,” Caselli said.
Life on the stand is not as laid back as it may look. The men captain a squad of 500, many of whom are a quarter of their age, and they have to pass a rigorous physical fitness test to make the cut every year.
“What doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger, and two nights after this year’s test I was in the pool working out for next year’s test,” Spense said.
Beachgoers told CBS 2’s Gusoff that they were happy to have senior citizens waiting to come to the rescue.
“I’m a senior too. They are amazing. I trust them with my life,” Andrea Crane said.
The men have been friends life and say the job keeps them young.
“All of us have saved many lives. We have almost drowned ourselves. It’s a life that I would not trade for anything else,” Spense said.
They say it’s the job that never gets old. Two of the men are retired teachers. The other two have worked jobs that allowed them to take summers off to lifeguard.
Beachgoers Enjoy A Perfect Day In Belmar
The water may have been ice cold, but it was a gorgeous day at the Jersey Shore where temperatures hit 80 degrees.
In Belmar, where the boardwalk is now smoke-free, kids played ball, built sand castles, and took a dip in the chilly ocean.
“It was really fun because we got to go swimming,” one girl told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
Even the adults were having a blast, enjoying fresh air and relaxation after a long winter.
“It’s our paradise. The beach is perfect, perfect day with friends. What more can I ask,” Laurie Peterson said.
Beachgoers did not seem to mind the smoking ban either.
“Just talking with some folks they really love the idea. It does make for a healthier and cleaner beach,” Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said.
The town has come a long was since Hurricane Sandy. A new boardwalk has been installed, but the pavilion that was wiped out during the storm has yet to be replaced.
Food trucks now dot the shore line and some business owners are operating our of shipping containers.
“She had it customized. You see the orange outside, and she had it painted yellow,” Kaitlyn O’Donnell said of her container.
Those who went in the water when lifeguards were not on duty were advised that they were swimming at their own risk.
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