Good friends are a gift you don’t appreciate until they are not there anymore. We came to New York 101 days ago and the only people we have seen are each other. We’ve met others and visited with them, but as wonderful as it is meeting new friends, nothing can replace longtime friendships.
The Long Island Rail Road pulled into the Ronkonkoma Station. We stepped off the train onto the platform. I looked down and there was the first familiar face we have seen in 101 days.
Under a white fedora, his bright red Tourist print shirt, shades and flowing silver-white hair was our old friend, Sal Turano. His wonderful bride, Theresa was with him. It was so nice to see someone from home!
Sal and Theresa were on vacation visiting family. They grew up on Long Island and were back in the stomping grounds of their youth. They generously offered to show us Long Island. LI is part of the area we haven’t visited yet. Wow! Did we get a tour!
Long Island is that piece of land the sticks out from New York City into the Atlantic Ocean. It is long, 118 miles, from west to east and about 20 miles wide at its widest point. 7 ½ million people live on the island.
They met us at the LIRR Ronkonkoma station, roughly in the middle of Long Island, and we headed east. We headed to the Hamptons where the 1%ers live and play.
Southampton was my storybook image of a small northern coastal city, with fashionable shops lining manicured sidewalks. We selected an open air café, ordered sandwiches and enjoyed conversation with our friends. Theresa was anxious to share Carvels Ice Cream where they invented the first soft serve cones. These were creamy and tasty. Not to take anything away from Blue Bell, or Braum’s or Dairy Queen, but this stuff was really, really good. What I thought was too much in the cup at first, turned out to be not nearly enough!
We continued east to the Montauk Lighthouse. This lighthouse is still operational and has been working since 1797. A museum on the ground floor had artifacts to the 1700’s and a model showing how the lighthouse magnifies light to reach ships further out.
We took the steps up the tower, braved the gusty winds and looked out over the Atlantic Ocean and the white foamy waves crashing on the craggy rocks along the coastline. A boat wouldn’t stand a chance.
Outside we walked along the beach and watched a group of surfers riding the waves, enjoyed the sunshine, and shared more conversation.
As the day began to slip away we visited Port Jefferson, a clean touristy village facing a harbor of small yachts, sailboats, tugs, and a large ferry that transfers to Connecticut. Walking along the wooden wharf the setting sun spilled gold onto the harbor and we celebrated a final look at Long Island.
We ended our day in the home of Sal and Theresa’s family in Mt. Sinai. It was a large beautiful 2 story home tucked away in a manicured cul de sac in the country-like settings that is Long Island. A truly beautiful day came to an end.
We returned to the Port Jeff station and boarded the 9:40 to return to Penn Station. We sat back, exhausted and just rocked and swayed with the train tracks. We thought about friendships and how important they are. Another amazing day. And this one was shared with friends. Thank you Sal and Theresa.