Sun, Sea, and Sound

Written By: Heather Toskos

You now understand why Shakespeare compared love to a summer’s day—because nothing in this world is truly more lovely, or more temperate. A summer’s day on Long Island is not a thing to be read or narrated, but to be felt with all the senses. It is where everything is sunscreened, sun-kissed, breezy, and balmy. Where the water is a brilliant blue, the air crisp and clear, the sunsets more surreal, and the time endless. Nothing can compare to this feeling of infinity—the seemingly slumberous yet sultry absence of time. As if everyday is stretched out to an eternity, where every moment is frozen and sweet, like your favorite flavor of ice-cream.

It is nearly dawn, and the sun is just starting to bleed streaks through the grey canvas of clouds above. The air is cool and damp as it sticks to your skin. You can smell the salt of the ocean as you make your way down to the Port Washington Marina for a morning boat ride across the Sound. You pass fisherman on the docks, carrying lobsters and crabs by the pound up to the restaurant for today’s lunch. You pass waiters, shuffling like schools of fish to prepare for the day’s work.

As you walk along the pier, you begin to search for your boat among giants like Seas the Day and Marlin Monroe. All is shrouded in morning fog and you find it difficult to find your boat. But then you see her red stripes flash from the pinhole of light piercing through the sky. And you embark. The steering wheel is slippery from the morning dew, and the mirrors are smoky with water vapor. Slowly you propel out of the harbor, weaving between towering sailboats, fishing dinghies, mini yachts (which aren’t so mini), and floating piers. You peer once again into the sky, but find that you squint because the sun has fully dissolved its clot of clouds. You then look towards West Egg, then back at East Egg, and wonder why Fitzgerald made a big deal out of distinguishing the two. From here they both appear as green mounds, one shrouded in haze and the other shrinking from the horizon as the blue bay makes its sweep across the horizon. But as the boat veers into Sand’s Point, you see the glitz and the glamor that has been all the clamor: enormous estates brush the beach border. Massive windows reflect the deep blues of the water like sea glass. You wonder what sort of royalty must live here, and if they too wanted to see the green light as did Gatsby.

The cool sea breeze wafts over your face as you sit back and sip lemonade on the stern of the boat. You wonder how long it would take to tan, but then look at your skin—patches of rosy red crosshatch where your bikini strings overlapped. You wish summer’s signature could be a little more styled. But you don’t realize the burn until you rub in aloe vera, and your pores sigh with relief.

Later the boat begins to slow down as you turn into an uncharted beach, and lay anchor. You dive off the bow of the boat and go for a swim. You become enveloped in stone-cold water, and shiver as a thousand goose bumps race across your limbs. You can hear the faint vrooming of jet skis and then the honking of their horns as they race one another. Their wake eventually reaches you, and for a moment you catch yourself dancing, up, down, up, down. As the sun steeps into the ocean, the water turns a gold-green tint like green tea. In the foreground you see the sharp outline of New York City etched into the blazing sky: the icon of the American Dream.

For lunch, it’s crab cakes and salmon fritters from the local brasserie in Orient Point, and you can almost hear your stomach rumbling thank you. Still in your swimsuit, you dine on the dock, sharing childhood stories with your friends, and laughing till your throats dry. As the sun sets into a punch-drunk peach, you sip on blood-orange sangria and munch on macarons from the Frigate, savoring the sweetness of this summer day.

While the city never sleeps, the Island performs its last hurrah. As the bright lights of the Empire State blink on, the sky above the Sound closes its curtain of clouds. The mansions on the coast shut off their chandeliers in succession until their wide windows seem more like caves. Birds glide in a chevron flight towards the horizon, branding their squadron across the sky. Then the sun sets in a splash of color: a kiss of pink trails behind as reds fight to stain the night with a pint of passion.

As you drift on, boat with the current, you wonder why everyday couldn’t be as splendid as these midsummer daydreams on the Long Island Sound.