My dear friend always says “Summer’s not over till I say it’s over!” I like that philosophy. I like it even more now that I can say “Summer’s not over till I can’t drive any further south!”
When people ask me what I miss most about New York, my answer is always “good Chinese food, and the beach!” The latter usually gets a double-take. Many people don’t realize that New York beaches are frequently voted “World’s Most Beautiful,” especially those out on Fire Island. So one of my favorite summertime escapes was to board the LIRR at Penn Station bound for Long Island with my muffin and iced cappuccino, then hike over for the 45 minute ferry ride to my favorite summer spot, Watch Hill on Fire island, with my beach chair slung over my shoulder.
New Yorkers have a very structured approach to summer. Come Labor Day, shorts and flip flops are mandatorily put away like “Navy whites,” to be regimentally replaced by close-toed shoes (black or brown only) long pants, dark colors, and sober faces to match. It doesn’t matter how warm it remains, how bright the sun. It happens automatically with the flip of the August calendar page.
Given that the temps have been near perfect, low 80 degree days, I decided to adapt my friend’s adage, “Summer’s not over till I say it’s over,” and head to the beach for a glorious September day. Thanks to a hard drive failure on my work laptop, I had a couple of “bonus” days off while waiting for repair. So I took off heading through downtown Manhattan during the early morning commute, wearing my tie-dyed tee shirt and flip flops, carrying a brightly colored beach bag among the mourning morning commuters, feeling like the lone Fruit Loop in a giant bowl of a hundred thousand Grapenuts.
The air was dry and clear, the breeze just strong enough to keep away the biting horse flies. And the water temperature I would call “bracing.” Borderline cold enough to make me turn at ankle’s depth, but instead, take a deep breath and plunge on in. After all, Summer’s almost over….almost!