Car enthusiasts, residents and visitors of the hamlet will be excited to know that in a few short weeks the Cruise Night will be starting up again. This cultural staple of the community will usher in the summer on May 31, and with it the noise, excitement and gaiety that this event always brings to the hamlet.
Cruise Night is a car show hosted by the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce every Tuesday from May 31 until Labor Day. Unlike most Long Island car shows, Cruise Night fully takes over Audrey Avenue, which is in the center of Oyster Bay, with road blocks on either end of the street to shut off traffic and devote as much space as possible to the event.
One East Norwich resident who has brought his car to the show for the last 13 years is Wagner Ortuno, who brings his 1971 mustard yellow Volvo each year. One of the major perks of the event, he said, is its convenient location in the center of the hamlet.
“There are a lot of car shows on Long Island, and I don’t think any have the flexibility that we do having it right in town,” Ortuno said. “If I’m running late or have a meeting that’s running late in the city, I always know I can still just get there in two or three minutes.”
Restaurants, shops, snacks and beverages, ice cream and shopping surround the collection of interesting cars, some retro and some modern. From 5:45 to 8 p.m., the hamlet comes alive as live music fills the streets, with a band performing at every Cruise Night during the season.
“It’s such an amazing event for Oyster Bay,” Meredith Maus, executive director of the Main Street Association, said. “It gets people walking around the downtown, exploring businesses, checking out cars, and really just enjoying what Oyster Bay has to offer.”
The chamber has made an effort starting last year to make this event as family-oriented as possible. In addition to weekly raffles, giveaways and a designated Kid Zone, the chamber has billed the event as not just Cruise Night, but as a ‘Family Fun Night’.
According to Ravin Chetram, vice president of the chamber, the choice to make the event more family-oriented was a conscious one. He said they wanted to make sure visitors and residents did not just view Cruise Night as am opportunity to look at some nice old cars, but as a chance to take advantage of the hamlet itself.
“We want to bring everyone out, not just the car guys,” Chetram explained. “We want them to enjoy our restaurants and shops, maybe walk in the park, you know, really explore the community and get to see what Oyster Bay has to offer.”
Despite this, the raison d’être for Cruise Night remains cars, and automobile enthusiasts and their prized vehicles occupy the center, literally, at the event. From Model T Fords to the latest Lamborghini model, every type of car imaginable is on display on these Tuesday evenings.
On a normal Cruise Night, there are roughly between 80 and to 120 cars, according to Chetram. On busy evenings however, this number can balloon to as much as 200 cars scattered along Audrey Avenue.
Getting a car to the event is a relatively a straightforward process. Interested residents merely have to buy a ticket online at visitoysterbay.com for only $5, or $4 if they buy a ticket in advance.
The event also relies on sponsors to help support and provide their own unique styles to the event every week. While the full list was not finalized at press time, Chetram made it clear that they would likely know schedule by the end of this week.
At the end of the day, Cruise Night is a hallowed tradition in Oyster Bay, and one that doesn’t just give residents and visitors a chance to see some cool cars and enjoy the local food and business scene. It’s an opportunity for the community to come together in a public space to enjoy themselves and relax with their neighbors in the hamlet, and those from all over of Long Island, due to the popularity of the event.