GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — From New York City to Long Island, people were basking in the beautiful day Friday.
The mild weather coincided with midwinter vacation for schools on Long Island, so families were out in force soaking up the sun.
One man described the day as “beautiful” and “just like Florida.”
CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff caught up with a plane-load of vacationers returning from the Sunshine State, coming back to balmy breezes. While they were away, a normally frigid February morphed into an early spring surprise.
“This is great. I wish it would stay this way. I am a skier, but I do prefer the warm weather, so welcome back to Long Island,” the man said.
Midwinter break usually serves as a break from the deep freeze, but this year even the “staycationers” were bound for Jones Beach.
“I can’t believe we are on the beach in February,” one woman said.
“It’s a little crazy. It’s hard to believe, but it’s really nice. I’ll take it,” another added.
Hundreds were out on the boardwalk, even oceanfront on the sand, on bikes, on foot and on cloud nine.
“It’s terrific, it’s great. Kids are playing in the sand, and we’re walking on the boardwalk. We never thought that would happen in February,” a woman said.
Families like the Todaros were tickled to have gone from blizzard to beach in just two weeks.
“We are loving it, we are loving the weather, from being stuck in the snow,” one woman said.
In Garden City, the only winter ice around was the ice cream devoured by kids in shorts while parents filled cafes al fresco.
“For a long time, I was thinking about moving south to avoid the cold. Now, it seems like I can stay here,” a man said.
“I’m in shorts now. We just took our bikes out for the first time of the year,” another added.
“It’s a good excuse to get outside and exercise,” a woman said.
But not the kind of exercise winter lovers like. Skiers said they had to cut short their vacations upstate.
“No ice skating, because it starts to melt. Definitely no snowmobiling, actually it’s dangerous,” one woman said.
Meanwhile, the sun sent shoppers to the Woodbridge Center Mall in New Jersey.
“I guess it’s me and everyone else out in this gorgeous weather, because the lines are horrendous,” Pat Kugel told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
“The heat got me going to shop for spring!” Shioban Quinones added.
Families in Merrill Park shed their winter layers.
“We’re visiting from Florida and it’s like we never left,” Nick Beauchamp said.
Jaden and Justin Robinson found a symbol of summer — an ice cream truck.
“It feels really hot,” Justin said.
“The weather is crazy. Doesn’t make sense to be this hot right now,” Mark Robinson added.
“Thank god it is (ice cream weather) for us. It’s not supposed to be, but we will take it,” Woodbridge resident Sebastian Parra said.
At the Loman car dealership, they said the warm weather has been bringing in sales, but salesman Charlie Nacovsky said, “We actually don’t stock convertibles for the winter time. We didn’t expect it to be 75 degrees in February.”
Others Baker spoke to said the warm break in the weather came just in time to end winter’s cabin fever.
But folks may be a little more bundled up Sunday when Old Man Winter reminds us he’s not quite done yet.