LONG BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The unofficial start to summer is here.

On this Memorial Day Weekend, with COVID restrictions easing up, many are headed out of town, or had hoped to hit the beach.

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But it doesn’t quite feel like summer outside.

Crushing waves hit an empty beach in Long Branch as stormy weather washed out the usual Memorial Day Weekend crowd.

Watch Christina Fan’s report — 

Veera Sudireddy drove four and a half hours from Massachusetts with his daughter and a friend from India, hoping the cloudy skies would fade away.

“Hoping for at least 70 degrees. Not quite. It’s very cold and windy,” Veera Sudireddy said.

“We were hoping to walk by the beach and soak in the sun, but now we haven’t been able to do that,” Divya Sudireddy said.

The international visitor is still captivated by the Jersey Shore, but she is looking forward to getting the full experience on a sunny day.

“It’s going to be like this tomorrow, right? Hopefully Monday is going to be better,” she said.

The dreary conditions put a damper on businesses in the area.

A local arcade only had a few people inside Saturday afternoon, and its next door neighbor The Wine Loft was dealing with a smaller crowd, as well.

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“Typically, it’s a lot busier this weekend,” Wine Loft manager Cheryl Maniscalo told CBS2’s Cory James.

She was hoping to have a DJ outdoors, but he had to entertain customers indoors.

“We’ve done entertainment. We’ve been very inviting to people that are coming down from up north,” Maniscalo said.

She said they’ve been open for 13 years, and while the weather conditions are not what they would prefer on the holiday, they are happy to be open.

“Last year, Memorial Day, we were just doing take-out, like, we weren’t even allowed to, we didn’t have tables until the middle of June last year,” she said. “We just want to see as many people as we can come out and have a good time.”


While outdoor dining areas were empty, people were heading to McLoone’s Pier House. The restaurant was making countless plates of their popular lobster seabass for those taking shelter inside while also getting the dining view of the beach.

“Between both floors, probably at least 400 people come through,” general manager Christina Longo said. “Comparison to previous years, we would have a lot more if the weather was nicer outside, but we’re happy to have what we have right now.”

“We’re definitely very  happy to have what we have. It’s a massive improvement,” executive chef Robert Diblasi said.

“It’s really nice to kind of have both of those worlds, outdoor and indoor dining again,” Longo said.

That’s a little bit of normalcy despite Mother Nature’s choice for the holiday weather. They’re just hoping better weather will creep in before Memorial Day Weekend runs out.

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Christina Fan contributed to this report. 

Cory James