NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The great weather has people flocking to the state’s beaches. More than a dozen were full to capacity before lunchtime, including New Haven’s Lighthouse Point Park.
“This is a beautiful beach and this is a gorgeous day, so why not come out to New Haven and have some nice beach time,” said Springfield, MA resident Jacqueline Perez from her beach chair.
Perez got to the park nice and early. She had to in order to get a good spot.
“We’re the first beach I think they hit coming down 91, so that’s why we have so many folks in our parks,” said New Haven Parks & Recreation deputy director Bill Dixon.
“The water is perfect, it’s a good crowd of people and this beach has spots for the kids,” said Hartford resident Mariah Allen, as she stood in the water of Long Island Sound.
For a lot of those kids, it is the splash pad that makes the park so much fun.
“It’s got sprinklers and the parks and the space,” said little Jayleen Rodriguez from Hartford as she played on the beach.
The space fills up quick because hundreds of families meet up here. And when families meet up, you know there’s going to be some meat…up on the grill.
Despite the hot sun, many had even hotter grills going. And despite the crowds here, Larry Garcia from Meriden says it’s much worse elsewhere.
“We just noticed it might be the least packed of all the beaches around here,” Garcia said.
That may be because the city hires lots of young people to monitor the parking lots.
“They’ll tell us, ‘We can’t get another car in,’ and then at the street down from Lighthouse Park, police officers will start closing down the streets,” Dixon said.
Which is exactly what happened around 9:45 a.m.. Police set up barricades and turned all the cars away.
The 4th of July is not only a busy day, but also a long day for the New Haven Parks & Recreation Department. By early evening, they have to switch gears and get everybody out of Lighthouse Point and head over to East Rock for the fireworks show.