I had been pedaling for an hour and a half when I stopped cold. The view, quite simply, stunned me.
It was 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 22, and I was three-quarters of the way through a bike ride up and down the asphalt path that runs along the Wantagh and Ocean parkways, from Nassau County’s Cedar Creek Park, in Seaford, to the Town of Oyster Bay’s Tobay Beach Park, in Massapequa. The entire ride, from Cedar Creek to Tobay Beach and back, was 17.6 miles.
Here, I decided, was the perfect location to shoot video. I took a position on the north side of the bridge that connects Green Island, a teardrop-shaped spit of land amid an archipelago, and Jones Beach State Park.
Sunlight cast a fiery glow across the wetlands that fanned out in all directions. Below, three fishermen plied the swirling channel waters from a wooden, hammer-shaped pier. On a secluded beach in the distance, a boatful of volunteers from the Freeport-based nonprofit organization Stop Polluting Littering and Save Harbors, or SPLASH, were busily collecting trash in plastic bags and loading them onto a skiff for proper disposal. I heard only the breeze, which blew hard out of the east.
A large seagull squatted on the rail to my left. Perhaps the gull thought I had food to offer.
No matter. It flew off the instant my two riding partners –– Andrew Hackmack, the Wantagh and Seaford Heralds editor, and Brian Stieglitz, a Herald intern and Hofstra University journalism student –– sped by, minutes later. (I had hurried ahead to film them as they rode.)
I had long wanted to ride the Wantagh bike path. When the New York State Department of Transportation extended the route from Jones Beach east along the Ocean Parkway earlier this year, I told myself that I really must ride this trail.
On June 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo christened the 3.6-mile, $3.8 million extension. “Cyclists and pedestrians alike are now able to take in the stunning scenery along miles of accessible pathway between two of Long Island’s best beaches,” Cuomo said.