I was eager to see the vast, wide ocean.
Many people would say what I was talking about, the ocean supposed to be open wide. Mostly but not always.
There was a beach only 5 miles (9 km) away from my home in The Bronx, NY. Orchard Beach, however, faced to the very narrow Long Island Sound and the view was obstructed by Long Island and City Island. The advantage was the waves were mostly calm, but the disadvantage was I would feel like swimming in a lake even though the water tasted like salt.
And the water wasn’t really clear like other New York City beaches. I always wanted to enjoy the clear blue water.
I grew up near the beach. Beach times were a mandatory element for me to enjoy summer fully. I wish I could enjoy a beautiful beach without going to Florida.
My plan was totally spontaneous. The only schedule I searched in advance was the train schedule from Penn Station. I wanted to be free from the time’s flow. The result…I had to wait an hour for next ferry at a small port in Sayville, NY. I didn’t mind. The weather was beautifully clear with 90 F (32.2 C). Well, what would I do? Folks were patiently waiting at a small ferry terminal with their smartphones but that wasn’t what I wanted to do under the celebration of blue sky and beautiful sunshine. I walked back a little on the small country road toward where a small shuttle bus came from Sayville Station. There was a tiny beach on the corner. The beach was so quiet, only a few local residents relaxed at the beach. And the beach was comfortably laid back. I enjoyed looking at the ocean at that beach until my next ferry.
I walked for a while to search a quiet place after getting off from the ferry on Fire Island. I didn’t do anything specific after taking off my clothes. I enjoyed swimming in the much clear water and much wider ocean view than The Bronx, reading, taking a nap…yes, I enjoyed my own world. That was why I went to Fire Island on a weekday, not party crazed weekend.
While I was on the way back to Sayville Station from the ferry terminal by shuttle bus, I found Friendly’s from the bus window. Yes, that basic family restaurant. But I felt a lot of nostalgia. Friendly’s was the first restaurant I’d ever been in the United States. That was the first day in the United States when I was seventeen, a host family in Hartford, CT took me there within a few hours of arrival. I was still nervous about my first experience in the first foreign country with lack of English knowledge, but the host family tried to ease my tension with big ice cream sundae at Friendly’s, the size I had never seen before. I also remembered that our waitress was literary friendly and I had a good impression back then. Enjoying at Friendly’s was one of my first American experiences. Because there was no Friendly’s near the places I had lived including New York City, Hartford was the last time I dined at Friendly’s
Then I hit one thing. The next day, August 10, was my 26 years anniversary after my first landing in the United States. Meaning my first experience at Friendly’s was exactly 26 years ago on the following day.
I still had another an hour and 15 minutes until next train. I also found out that Friendly’s wasn’t far from the station, so I decided to stop over for celebrating my anniversary with a quick bite after getting off the bus at the station.
In fact, the restaurant was only 5 minutes walk from the Sayville Station. I entered the restaurant. Interior was similar basic with 26 years ago. Same white wall and same red chairs. I didn’t remember of menu 26 years ago, but that should definitely be changed.
Another thing not changed and I was definitely impressed was the friendliness and courteousness of my waitress, named Destiny. She didn’t betray my expectation. She was indeed very friendly with good smile, quick serving sensed I didn’t have much time for my next train, yet didn’t forget good manner and joke. Not only she increased my image of Friendly’s, she enhanced my 26 years anniversary. Needless to say, Destiny deserved more than 20% gratuity from me.
Oh, ice cream sundae. I took out “Salted Caramel Blondie Brownie Blast” sundae due to a limited time. I ordered Destiny while eating a cheeseburger. She quickly made it for me to take out soon after I finished, and she kept it in a freezer for me. Because of her consideration, my ice cream sundae survived until arriving at the station. The ice cream sundae was still very delicious after 26 years.
DIRECTION TO FIRE ISLAND FROM NEW YORK CITY BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Take Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Montauk Branch to Sayville from Penn Station. Most of the trains are required to change at either Jamaica or Babylon.
Connecting ferry shuttle buses by Colonial Transportation are available in front of the station building on Montauk-bound platform. Buses connect with all trains and ferries. Take Sayville Ferry from the ferry terminal.
If you make round trip to Fire Island within the same day on the summer season except Friday evening, buy Getaway Package at LIRR’s vending machines. Inclusive of round trip train, bus, and ferry tickets, you can save around $10. 2016 rate was $33.25 from Penn Station. The package is not good for overnight.
NOTE: Connections are not considered between LIRR and ferry. Plan ahead if you want to avoid waiting.
SAYVILLE IS A PRETTY PLACE. READ ANOTHER SIDE OF SAYVILLE
READ MORE ABOUT ORCHARD BEACH, THE BRONX