Going to the beach after Labor Day in the Northeast is a privilege and/or a gamble. This year, Long Island has had temperatures in the low to mid-70s, with low humidity and a fresh breeze. Not beach weather for most people! The life guards have gone, and swimming is discouraged if not forbidden on many ocean beaches. But wet-suited surfers wait off shore for a good wave; some people still sit on the sand and grab some rays, but more families now walk the beaches than sit on them…
Two major institutions are the biggest employers in the eastern half of Long Island: Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
The State University of New York at Stony Brook has over 25,000 students, and is listed among the “top 50” universities in the USA. It offers more than 200 undergraduate, over 100 master’s, and more than 40 doctoral programs. The School of Medicine and University Hospital (towers at upper left) are at the heart of medical research, training and advanced patient care on the Island. Over 17,000 people are employed at Stony Brook University.
Brookhaven National Laboratory employs over 6,000 scientists, engineers and support staff, supplemented annually by 4,000 visiting scientists. Seven Nobel Prizes in physical science have been awarded to BNL scientists. Programs in biology and materials science add to the core of physics research utilizing several reactors, and world level particle accelerators – RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, large circle at top center) and the new NSLS II (National Synchrotron Light Source II, flat white circular building near center).
East of Riverhead, the quiet waters and sandy beaches of Peconic Bay separate the North and South Forks of eastern Long Island – the small towns of Mattituck, Cutchogue, Southold, Greenport and Orient amid the rural farmlands on the north; to the south, the mansions and estates of the rich in Sag Harbor, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton and Montauk .
Mattituck town beach, where families can still enjoy a sunny July day, looks south on Great Peconic Bay, with Shelter Island to its east. The small fishing harbor at New Suffolk now shelters mostly pleasure boats.
Eliza, Judy, Catherine – New England gardeners – what variety of hydrangea is this? Large leaves with purple edges, pink/white flowers. I have not seen this one before, but have just inherited it from the previous homeowner… I think a sunnier location might yield more blooms.
Mid-July, 85 degrees, Sunday afternoon. What better than a trip to the beach! Long Island offers 50+ miles of Atlantic ocean beaches, and for those who like quieter water, Long Island Sound on the Island’s north shore.
The 4th of July is past, and summer moves on in the flower beds. Pale pink Astilbe, Coneflower, New Guinea Impatiens, Begonia, purple Petunia all add to the changing palette. Hydrangea struggle to bloom after being cut back too far last Fall, but Forsythia rejoices in being cut back late this June.