Timothy Bolger

Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.

Girls On The Run Put Their Right Foot Forward

In most running races, the celebration usually comes at the end, but when hundreds run in the nonprofit Girls on the Run Long Island’s upcoming Spring 2019 5K, the race is the celebration.

That’s because the June 1 foot race at Hofstra University in Hempstead marks the conclusion of their spring group running-based afterschool programs for elementary and middle school-aged girls that teach both personal development and how to give back to the community — largely by emphasizing the power of a positive attitude.

“Girls on the Run envisions a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams,” says Doreen Dunne, council director of Girls on the Run Long Island.

The local chapter — which started in Nassau County in 2011 and expanded to Suffolk County in 2016 — is part of an Independent Council of Girls on the Run International, which has a network of more than 200 councils across the U.S. and Canada. There are more than a dozen Girls on the Run teams on Long Island.

Molly Barker founded Girls on the Run International in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina with 13 girls in one school. It has since grown with the help of almost 100,000 volunteers, serving hundreds of thousands of girls annually and more than 350 end-of-season 5K events nationwide.

Over the course of the 10-week program, girls in grades three through eight develop essential skills to help them navigate their worlds and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness, organizers say. It aims to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running at twice-weekly practices, where coaches teach life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons, and running games. The combination of the research-based curriculum, trained coaches, and a commitment to serve all girls is what sets the group apart.

The program culminates with girls positively impacting their communities through a service project and being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K event.

Merrick Man Admits Scamming Seniors Out of $30M


A 37-year-old Merrick man has admitted to his role in a prize-promotion fraud that scammed thousands of seniors nationwide out of more than $30 million over a six-year span, federal prosecutors said.

Shaun Sullivan pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in Central Islip federal court.

“Sullivan preyed on consumers, many of them vulnerable and elderly, by sending fraudulent mailings designed to trick them into believing they had won a cash prize,” said Richard Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “He then lined his own pockets with the fees he extracted from the victims.”

Authorities said Sullivan and others sent fraudulent prize-promotion mailings that led recipients, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, to believe that they could claim large cash prizes in exchange for a modest fee between December 2010 and July 2016. None of the victims who submitted fees received a substantial cash prize.

Sullivan and his co-defendant Tully Lovisa obtained the victim’s names from consumer lists, had the victims send their fees to rented mailboxes, and hid their involvement by using shell companies using straw owners and aliases, according to investigators.

Lovisa pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in October 2018 and is awaiting sentencing.

Sullivan faces up to 20 years in prison, $550,000 in forfeiture, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss from the offense when he is sentenced by Judge Joanna Seybert.

Long Island Accent Least Sexy In Nation, Poll Says

The Long Island accent ranked least sexy in a survey of the nation’s 50 most ear-pleasing dialects.

Big 7 Travel polled their social media followers and the results placed those who tawk like local celebrities Billy Joel and Theresa Caputo have the least desirable accents.

”People from ‘Lawnguyland’ might be a bit upset with being voted as having America’s least sexiest accent,” the company said in its survey. “But look, can they really disagree?”

The title of America’s sexiest accent went to Texas, followed by Boston and New York City. Rounding out the top 10 were Maine, Chicago, Mississippi, Hawaii, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and California.

Now if you’ll excuse us, it’s time to walk to dawg and get a cup of cawfee.

19 Oceanfront Long Island Restaurants To Get Your Vitamin Sea

The views at The Sloppy Tuna are so good its hard to focus on the food.


From beginning to end, dining at Atlantica at the Allegria is superb.

The signature restaurant of the Allegria Hotel, Atlantica’s chic design and gourmet New American menu have made it a favorite among locals. Open year-round. 80 West Bwy., Long Beach, allegriahotelny.com

Boardwalk Café

Governor Cuomo announced the opening of the new Jones Beach State Park Boardwalk Cafe last year

Located in the heart of the Central Mall, this new sit-down American restaurant that opened in 2018 is the more upscale casual dining option across the boardwalk from the beach’s main snackbar. 2600 Ocean Pkwy., Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh, restaurantji.com

Casino Café

The view from The Casino Cafe in Davis Park is as good as it gets.

Despite the name, there is no gambling at this lone restaurant in the easternmost community on Fire Island, but there is plenty of great American eats to go with the unobstructed view of the waves crashing on the beach. Open early May through late September. Take the ferry from Patchogue to get there. 1 Trustees Walk, Davis Park, casinocafefireisland.com

Ditch Witch

The Ditch Witch in Montauk is a local legend (Courtesy of @ditch_witch_mtk)

Technically, this isn’t a sit-down restaurant, but the Ditch Witch may be the most famous food truck on Long Island, and its prime real estate at the Montauk surfing hot spot is second only to the amazing eats, ranging from breakfast burritos and salads to sandwiches and great coffee. Open mid-May through late September. 9-, 23 Ditch Plains Rd, Montauk.

Dune Deck

Day or night, the views are stellar at Dune Deck (Courtesy of @dunedeckbeachclub)

This exclusive resort does have some availability for the public to make reservations at its restaurant, but club members make for stiff competition for a spot. Open early May through late September. 379 Dune Rd, Westhampton Beach, dunedeckclub.com 

Gatsby on The Ocean

Gatsby on the Ocean is located at 2000 Ocean Parkway in Wantagh, across from the West Bathhouse at
Field Three at Jones Beach.

This recently opened art deco-style eatery is reminiscent of a bygone era. The kitchen is led by Andrew Helliwell, a classically trained executive chef who blends his deep culinary experience in restaurant and catering functions with eclectic menu creation. 2000 Ocean Parkway in Wantagh, Jones Beach State Park, gatsbyontheocean.com.

Hurricane’s Bar & Grill

Hurricane’s Bar & Grill is located inside the Fire Island Hotel

Although it doesn’t offer a direct view of the ocean, this cozy poolside American bistro is just steps from the oceanfront beach. Open May through September. Take the ferry from Bay Shore to get there. 25 Cayuga Walk, Ocean Bay Park, fireislandhotel.com

The Lobster Roll

The Lobster Roll is named for its most famous dish. (Shutterstock)

This must-stop roadside seafood spot for those heading to and from Montauk is close enough to the ocean that patrons can smell it, although the Atlantic is not visible from this eatery known for its eponymous menu highlight. Reopened in March. 1980 Montauk Hwy, Amagansett, lobsterroll.com 

L’Onda Lounge

L’Onda Lounge (Courtesy Allegria Hotel)

Serving up light New American bites and sharing plates with a side of amazing views is this chic lounge with menu options ranging from oysters and crab cake sliders to their surf-and-turf roll and fish tacos. Open year-round. 80 West Bwy., Long Beach, allegriahotelny.com 

Main Concession

Tobay Beach

This restaurant on the oceanfront at Tobay Beach replaced what was previously known as The Ocean Club. Tobay Beach, Ocean Parkway, Massapequa.

Maliblue Oyster Bar

Photo courtesy Maliblue Oyster Bar

Delicious food, adult beverages served in fish bowls, live music, and dancing combine for a perfect place to kick back. Opens May 24. 1500 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach, maliblueoysterbar.com 

Rip Tides 11561  

The Long Beach boardwalk frames the view at Rip Tides 11561 (Photo via Rip Tides 11561)

Debuting in 2016 right on the Long Beach boardwalk, this surf shack-style eatery is as casual as it is colorful with a beach fare menu ranging from classics such as clam strips and BBQ burgers to inventive avocado BLT tacos and Philly cheesesteak egg rolls. 1 Edwards Blvd., Long Beach, facebook.com/pg/RIPTIDES11561

Sand Castle on The Ocean

Views at Sand Castle on The Ocean are second to none. (Photo courtesy of Sand Castle on The Ocean)

Executive Chef Noelle Grant serves up innovative and delicious culinary creations drawn from a wide variety of cuisines with an emphasis on seafood in this LGBT resort community. Reopens May 10. Take the ferry from Sayville to get there. 106 Lewis Walk, Cherry Grove, fireislandsandcastle.com

Salt Shack

The Salt Shack offers a front-row seat of beach volleyball with ocean vistas in the distance (Photo via @queen_contor)

This new popular seaside grill specializes in live music, frozen drinks, and a menu offering healthy eats as well as pub fare. Bonus for parents: It has a playground! Reopened May 3. Free entry to park after 5 p.m. 100 Ocean Pkwy, Babylon, saltshackny.com

The Shack 

The Shack

This surf shack lives up to its name, but is more than just a typical beach concession stand. This bar and grill has an outdoor seating area in the sand, full bar, live music, and stays open late. Although it doesn’t have ocean views, it’s close enough to hear the waves. Take the ferry from Bay Shore to get there. Open May to September. Building 1, Atlantique, facebook.com/theshackatlantique 



Technically, this isn’t a restaurant, this is a food truck market where patrons can scoop up a wide array of mobile eats ranging from smoothies and salads to kosher deli fare and pulled pork, but unlike most food truck spots, oceanfront picnic-table seating is
available. 1 Riverside Blvd, Long Beach.

The Sloppy Tuna  

The Sloppy Tuna’s views make it hard to focus on the food. (Photo via The Sloppy Tuna)

Come for the burgers, wraps, and crab cake sandwiches for lunch, stay for the nightlife and inventive cocktails, such as the chum bucket. 148 S Emerson Ave, Montauk, lisloppytuna.

Tiki Joe’s Smith Point

Tiki Joes Smith Point is the only oceanfront restaurant on Fire Island that patrons can drive to.

The menu offers a range of burgers, some with an island flare, as well as salads, pastas, apps, and, of course, lobster rolls. Wash it all down with their signature mixed drink, the shark attack at dawn. Opens May 17. 1 William Floyd Pkwy., Shirley, tikijoesbeachclub.com 

Tiki Joe’s Cupsogue
The menu here offers a different lineup than their Smith Point location. Reopens May 24. 906 Dune Rd., Westhampton,  tikijoesbeachclub.com

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the recently opened Gatsby on the Ocean and remove The Landing at Jones Beach, which closed.

6 Drivers Who Hate Long Island Traffic So Much They Used Dummies in The LIE HOV Lane

For those who drive on the Long Island Expressway during rush hour, it’s not uncommon to watch with envy as vehicles in the HOV lane wiz by bumper-to-bumper traffic in the other three lanes.

Here are six Long Islanders that didn’t have anyone to carpool with, but were determined not to sit in the LIE’s infamously awful traffic, even if it meant getting a traffic ticket and paying a fine.


Long Island’s latest addition to the HOV dummy club is James Britt, 34, of Centereach, who Suffolk County police summonsed for driving with a phony passenger in the HOV lane on the eastbound Long Island Expressway near exit 51 in Dix Hills at 4 p.m. May 6, 2019. A Highway Patrol Officer stopped Britt after the officer became suspicious of the front seat passenger in a 2002 Saturn sedan traveling in the HOV lane. The officer found Britt allegedly pulled over the vehicle and observed that the driver, had allegedly placed a mannequin wearing a sweatshirt, sunglasses, hat and jeans into the front passenger seat in an attempt to resemble a person, police said. Britt was issued a summons for the HOV occupancy violations.


Putting in the least amount of effort into creating a fake passenger was Candace Breen-Warren, of Miller Place. Suffolk County police said she had piled clothing, topped by a baseball hat, and a briefcase in the passenger seat in an attempt to resemble a person. A highway patrolman spotted the phony passenger while she was driving her Subaru Outback in the HOV lane near Exit 51 in Dix Hills at 8:15 a.m. July 21, 2016, police said.


Getting crafty with his fake passenger was James Campbell, of Brentwood, who Suffolk police said had a wooden figure wearing a hooded sweatshirt in the passenger seat of his pickup truck in the HOV lane near Exit 51 at 6:30 a.m. Feb.27, 2015. The driver told the officer that he was driving to a new job and did not want to be late, police said.


While more believable than other fakes, K.A. Frascinella, of Mount Sinai, was pulled over while trying to pass off a life-size mannequin as her passenger in order to use the HOV lane on Feb. 2, 2010, the Suffolk Sheriff’s office said. A deputy sheriff became suspicious after viewing the passenger wearing sunglasses and using the visor on a cloudy morning. Closer inspection revealed a female mannequin fully dressed with a long dark wig, blazer, shirt and scarf.  


Suffolk County Highway Patrol officer monitoring traffic on the LIE noticed a vehicle traveling in the HOV lane with an odd-looking front seat passenger whose head appeared to be tilted in an unnatural position at 8:36 a.m. Feb. 23, 2007, police said. Upon stopping the vehicle, the officer found the passenger was actually a CPR practice mannequin with black hair, mustache and wearing a brown jacket. The driver, Timothy Tietjen, of Middle Island, said that he was just trying to get to work and he had gotten away with it for five months. Tietjen also had a baseball cap and sunglasses that he sometimes put on the mannequin, police said.


Not long after the first stretch of the LIE’s HOV lane opened in 1994, Amelian Wolff, of Selden, was stopped after Suffolk police caught her driving with a doll with a pacifier in its mouth in a car seat while she was driving in the HOV lane in Dix Hills at 5 p.m. May 25, 1994, Newsday reported at the time. The woman reportedly “said she just wanted to get home.” A photo of the doll was not available.

Long Island Techie Linked to Federal Case Against WikiLeaks

Left: Brookhaven National Laboratory's National Synchrotron Light Source II is a state-of-the-art 3 GeV electron storage ring. Thefacility offers scientific and industrial researchers an array of beamlines with x-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared light to enable discoveries in clean and affordable energy, high-temperature superconductivity, molecular electronics, and more. Right: WikiLeaks is an international whistleblowing website that is the target of U.S. prosecutors after it published classified American documents.

An ex-Brookhaven National Lab employee who tried to help WikiLeaks a decade ago has been tied to the case against the whistleblower website’s founder, Julian Assange, whom U.S. authorities want extradited.

Jason Katz, a former systems administrator at the lab, unsuccessfully tried to help WikiLeaks hack into a password-protected file that is believed to contain video footage of an American airstrike in Afghanistan that killed about 100 civilians. He was questioned by the FBI and later fired from BNL following an investigation. Federal prosecutors have recently contacted him and other WikiLeaks players in the hopes of having them testify against Assange, Reuters reported.

“I don’t regret my actions, because they led me on a really interesting journey,” Katz, who has since moved to Iceland and founded the Pirate Party, told Motherboard in his only known interview. “I would do the same again.”

U.S. authorities have sought Assange’s arrest since WikiLeaks published in 2010 — about a month after Katz tried to crack the video password — embarrassing American diplomatic cables, secret documents, and the infamous “Collatoral Murder” leaked classified cockpit gunsight footage of 2007 U.S. airstrikes in Iraq that killed two Reuters journalists and at least 10 others.

Assange sought and received asylum from the Ecuadorian embassy in London for nearly seven years until last month, when former Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa ordered the removal of Assange, who was then arrested and sentenced by a British judge to a year in jail for bail jumping. The series of events intensified U.S. authorities’ efforts to extradite Assange, who is widely reported to be facing federal charges in Virginia. U.S. extradition efforts could take years.

During the case against former U.S. Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of providing WikiLeaks with the cache of files in the website’s massive 2010 document dump, military prosecutors questioned an investigator who testified to having found a leaked WikiLeaks video on Katz’s computer at BNL.

“I was asked to examine a Linux work computer to determine whether the file b.zip was present,” Army Special Agent David Shaver of the Computer Crime Investigative Unit told the court, according to transcripts. “Video taken from an aircraft over the battlefield.”

Shaver testified that the video file was the same one in Wikileaks’ possession, but is separate from the Collatoral Murder video.

“User of the computer was attempting to decrypt file b.zip,” Shaver was quoted as saying in the transcripts. “Cracking program downloaded and installed. From bash history it was running to try to crack the password.”

Shaver said he could not determine whether Katz was able to get the password or not. To date, WikiLeaks has not published the second video, suggesting that it still has not been able to open the file.

Katz, who has not been charged with a crime, told Motherboard that the FBI seized his laptop and raided his Brooklyn apartment as well as the Long Island home of his girlfriend’s family.

Katz could not be reached for comment. Neither BNL nor federal prosecutors responded to a request for comment for this story. WikiLeaks also did not comment.

“[W]hen I got raided, they rounded up my entire support network — all of my friends, all of my close family, and just wrecked all of that,” Katz told Motherboard. “It made me very wary of involving anyone around me with what all of this was about.”

3 New Restaurants to Try on Long Island

Spuds Pomme Fries special has all the toppings of a baked potato


Chef Joe Ciminera’s mission to create the ultimate french fry inspired this Belgian-style eatery where the fresh, organic fries aren’t a side, they’re the meal.

Besides 30 different dipping sauces, the menu features tantalizing fry toppings such as pulled pork, chicken breast, Philly cheese steak, meatball marinara, cheeseburger, hot dog and sauerkraut, brown gravy mozzarella, Parmesan cheese crusted,cChili, man ‘n’ cheese, and the Spuds special: cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream, and chives ($5-$9).

Spuds also has a food challenge: a five-pound hamburger with a whopping portion of fries served with Gruyere, five-year aged cheddar, American cheeses, caramelized onions, and roasted tomatoes ($30).

308 Bedford Ave., Bellmore, spudsfries.com


Long Island’s only restaurant specializing in Croatian cuisine is the latest addition to the lineup of downtown Huntington’s smorgasbord.

The name is the Croatian word for “tavern.” Chef and Proprietor Bruno Oliveira and business partner Daniel Pedisich built the bar, lounge, and restaurant offering a Croatian-influenced Modern European menu of small plates and specialties.

Start off with shrimp and crab croquettes or truffle cheese-stuffed dates ($8). Chow down on the grilled salmon skewers with hearts of palm, radicchio, tomato, onion, and arugula ($25) or Ćevapčići — Croatian minced beef, lamb, pork, fries, and red onion with a Ajvar mixed vegetable spread ($19). Wash it all down with a bottle of Karlovačko ($8), Croatia’s favorite beer.

For dessert, save room for the Palačinke, a Croatian-style crêpe with Nutella ($11). As they say in Zagreb, živjeli!

46G Gerard St., Huntington, konobahuntington.com


This California-based chain specializing in açaí bowls — a yogurt-like, antioxidant-rich açaí berry mixture topped with superfoods — is opening cafés in Plainview and Commack.

These will be the second and third locations on Long Island, following the cafés recent local debut in Smithtown. The menu features a variety of unique superfoods, including graviola, acerola, mangosteen, camu camu, spirulina, aronia, moringa, maca, bee pollen, and more.

Guests can choose from the green bowl with organic graviola, spirulina and hemp seeds ($12.99), the dragon bowl featuring organic pitaya, coconut milk and bananas ($12.99), and their signature vitality bowl with organic açaí, strawberries and honey ($10.99). They also serve fresh juices, smoothies, soups, paninis, and salads, and have a full-service coffee bar.

52 Manetto Hill Rd., Plainview and 6230 Jericho Tpke, Commack, vitalitybowls.com


Hempstead Village Police Chief Arrested

Hempstead Village Police Chief Paul Johnson was arrested Wednesday for allegedly fixing tickets as a favor for a former village trustee in exchange for his promotion to top cop, Nassau County prosecutors said.

A grand jury indicted Johnson on felony charges of tampering with public records and grand larceny as well as misdemeanor counts of official misconduct, criminal contempt, conspiracy, and obstructing governmental administration. He pleaded not guilty before Judge Teresa Corrigan along with Hempstead Village Police Sgt. Joseph Savino, who was also indicted on many of the same charges.

“In response to community complaints of corruption and abuses of authority in Hempstead Village government and the Hempstead Police Department, my office began a long-term investigation that uncovered shocking allegations of corruption by a village trustee and the most senior police officials,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “As crime in Nassau has reached record lows, violence has risen in Hempstead, and it is critical that leaders and the community collaborate to ensure that the public is served by an ethical government and protected by a professional and effective police force.”

Johnson allegedly fixed tickets at the behest of then-Village Trustee Perry Pettus when Johnson was a lieutenant. He was promoted to chief shortly afterwards, authorities said. Savino also allegedly helped Pettus fix tickets on behalf of restaurateur William Mendez, who was also charged with tampering, grand larceny, official misconduct, conspiracy, and obstructing governmental administration, prosecutors said.

Pettus, Mendez, and former Deputy Hempstead Village Police Chief Richard Holland were previously arrested as a part of related schemes.

According to investigators, on May 16, 2018, Mendez asked then-trustee Pettus for help fixing four tickets that Hempstead village police issued to one of Mendez’s employees. Pettus called Johnson on the same day and Johnson later allegedly told Pettus that the tickets would be fixed. Pettus then called Mendez to say, “They’re done. You don’t have to worry,” according to prosecutors.

The following week, Pettus told Johnson that he would be promoted to village police chief. Days after that, Pettus voted to promote Johnson to Acting Chief of the Hempstead Police Department.

“Ya know, if I can look out for you cause it’s something minor like a parking ticket, a traffic ticket, that’s one thing,” Johnson allegedly told Pettus. “But if you’re talking about criminal offenses and weapons and drugs and something, that’s something different.”

Johnson is additionally charged with ignoring a grand jury subpoena to produce the tickets that he allegedly fixed on behalf of Pettus and Mendez.

Pettus also used his position as a trustee to ask Savino to fix tickets as a favor to Mendez, authorities said.

They all face up to seven years in prison, if convicted of the top felony count. They were all released without bail. Pettus is due back in court May 7, Mendez is due back May 22, and Jonson and Savino are due back June 10.

The charges are unrelated to former Hempstead Village Police Officer Randy Stith recently pleading guilty to theft in a deal that allowed him to avoid prison time. Stith has rebuffed calls that he resign from the troubled Hempstead school board as a result.

Calverton Food Business Incubator Cooks Up Creativity

The founders of PeKANT Tea Company at the Calverton business incubator.

After brewing up a refreshing, one-of-a-kind spicy organic iced tea company, entrepreneurs Michael Circosta and Michael Romano turned to Stony Brook University’s Business Incubator at Calverton for help percolating into the market.

From humble beginnings working the Long Island farmers market circuit in 2017, PeKANT Tea Company — a play on picante, Spanish for spicy — is finalizing a distribution deal that will increase their reach 10-fold this year, making the company one of the latest success stories to come out of the incubator.

“The incubator is really helping us operate in this scale that we’re in,” says Circosta, noting that the lessened start-up costs are priceless. “It allows us to grow and to really experiment.”

PeKANT is one of 38 companies in various stages of growth at the Calverton incubator, one of a handful of industrial-grade kitchens on LI dedicated to nurturing culinary innovators, such as the Amagansett Food Institute in Southampton. Since its founding in 2005, the incubator has grown from 8,400 to 11,000 square feet.

Fresh dishes cooked up in Calverton range from new takes on traditional favorites such as baked clams and quiche to creative ideas like garlic jam and a snail farm that delivers fresh escargot.

“A lot of people that come in don’t understand all it entails … to bring a product to market,” says Yvonne Schultz, a food-industry veteran who’s the incubator’s new building manager. “I just enjoy helping companies getting to the next level.”

The incubator has four certified kitchens and gives start-ups the tools needed to run a business, from getting licensed and insured, to teaching packaging and labeling. It also has storage space for inventor and dedicated rooms for companies in the final phase before graduating. Its leaders are now developing incentives for companies to mature and leave the incubator.

‘“Here’s a kitchen, come use it,’ is how it started,” says Matthew Stadler, director of incubation at SBU. “Now, it’s, ‘how can we deliver what these companies need at these different stages of growth so they can be sustainable companies out on their own?’

For habanero-infused beverage originators PeKANT, concocting the most unique drink since the region first mixed the Long Island Iced Tea certainly helps.

New Bike Path Opens at Jones Beach

A new 4.5-mile pedestrian path extending the full length of Jones Beach State Park from Field 6 to the West End 2 has been completed ahead of beach season, officials announced Friday.

The new $3.5 million Jones Beach Shared Use Path leisure trail open to walkers, skaters, runners, and cyclists links to the 5-mile Ellen Ferrant Memorial Bikeway along Wantagh State Parkway from Cedar Creek County Park that connects to mainland Long Island and the 3.6-mile Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway Shared Use Path to Tobay Beach.

“The project was completed ahead of schedule with no additional cost and links to existing paths on Long Island, giving people access to hundreds of miles of trails, increasing tourism and growing the economy,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters at the news conference.

Jones Beach is one of the most popular parks in New York State, often placing second only to Niagara Falls for most visitors to a state park. Officials also noted that it’s considered the largest public bathing facility in the world.

Officials also announced the creation of the  218.5-acre West End Preservation Area — one of 16 statewide — and building of a new Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center at West End 2 that will feature a variety of hands-on exhibits and programs when it opens next year. And later this year, the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway Shared Use Path will be extended 10 miles from Tobay to Captree State Park.

In addition, the state will demolish an abandoned toll plaza on Meadowbrook State Parkway and build a monumental gateway sign to welcome visitors to Jones Beach State Park. Use of the eight-lane toll plaza and brick office building, built in 1953, was discontinued in 2017.