NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s Memorial Day Weekend, and with that the city’s beaches are now officially open to the public.
Coney Island was already drawing crowds late Saturday morning. The picture perfect weather greeted throngs of beach-going New Yorkers ready to hit the boardwalk for the unofficial start of Summer.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reports, Coney Island wasn’t alone — all eight of New York City’s public beaches are now open for business, with locals ready for some fun in the sun.
“Summer is beautiful here,” Brooklyn resident Lana Kaplun tells CBS2. “I live around here and come almost every morning and today is just a beautiful day.”
This is a special season for Luna Park since the newly refurbished Cyclone is celebrating its 90th birthday in June.
Before the world-famous roller coaster started running Saturday, runners and power-walkers alike took advantage of the quiet boardwalk.
64-year-old Domingo Tupaz says he was taking in the fresh air before the crowds arrived. Olivia Vitigliano dragged her mom to the boardwalk bright an early to get a quick bike ride in.
Her mother Rebecca didn’t object.
“It’s beautiful weather and it’s been raining out here,” she said, “So we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather.”
Later in the day, CBS2’s Jessica Borg caught up with some families taking in the festivities.
“I look forward to it a lot. Me and my friends have a little countdown,” Kelci Little said.
From relaxing on the beach, to eating, to carnival games and even boardwalk dancing, there is plenty of fun for the whole family.
Paul Johnson took a wild ride on the Thunderbolt roller coaster.
“A near death experience,” he told Borg. “It was pretty frightening.”
Rakiya was visiting from Barbados.
“It’s my very first time experiencing anything like this,” she said.
The meaning of Memorial Day was not lost on Earl Stanley, of Queens, who has family members currently serving in the Army. He said it’s nice to see people take a break from the sad news around the world.
“I like to see everybody smile and be happy, enjoy the roller coasters and everything,” he said.
Meanwhile, thousands of people packed Jones Beach for the annual Bethpage Air Show. People from all generations were stunned to see the planes in flight, and it was nostalgic for some veterans, as well.
“If I had seen that aeronautic aerobatics on television or in the movies, I would just assume that had to be computer generated,” one spectator said.
“It reminds me of my military days and also the help — I like to see the support,” another said.