The Best and Worst Of A Long Island Summer

The Best and Worst Of A Long Island Summer

The hub of New York summers
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Long Island is just 118 miles of land that over 7.5 million people call home. As a true Long Islander, there is nothing better than knowing the semester is almost over and being able to return to my favorite place on Earth. It's home to some of the most beautiful beaches, picturesque towns, top notch restaurants, and some pretty great places to kill time. The only problem with returning home is that everyone else is migrating there. Along comes summer, and along comes the summer vacationers. Your days won't go as planned, but there is always something else to do. As a true Long Islander, you know you can interchange places to go and things to do.

After spending two semesters at school, I look forward to a lot of things about being home: driving, not having to shop online, not having to eat the same food every day, etc. Unfortunately, I'm not the only one with the same idea. You want to go shopping at Tanger in Riverhead? Don't try it unless you plan on going right when it opens or an hour before it closes. Actually, want to go anywhere in Riverhead? Not going to happen as long as Splish Splash is in full Summer operation. Ralph's Italian Ices or Carvel? Flooded by the upstate and out-of-staters who are just dying to try this phenomenon. Beaches are crowded, that's even if you can find a parking spot. Restaurants are a good idea, but a hard no unless you plan on hitting the early bird special. Adventureland and the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center are also guaranteed to be packed full of people who couldn't go to Splish Splash, actually. It's the downfall of living in such a beautiful place that many dream about: at some point, they are going to come visit. And boy, do they visit. Long Island Bucket Lists are in full effect, and there is no escaping the outsiders.

My little island of perfect summer days becomes overcrowded and it's generally full of people who somehow think they know better than you because they can afford to vacation here. What these people fail to realize is that a Long Island summer isn't just Instagramming a picture of you sitting on a beach with a Long Island Iced Tea in your hand, or with your friends in Montauk with clothes that say "The End" on them. A Long Island summer is the hot days in your pool, on the beach, exploring the wonders this wondrous island has to offer. It's Fourth of July BBQ's with the sparklers you definitely shouldn't own, but do anyway. It's the hot days at Snowflake in Riverhead. It's a June weekend at Splish Splash when it's just a little too cold to be comfortable, but nothing will stop you from the nostalgic feeling of reliving your childhood down the Lazy River. It's Lewin's Farm Stand and strawberry picking with your relatives. It's concerts and tailgating at Jones Beach and a day trip to Fire Island is always an option. And at times, it's sitting in an hour's worth of traffic on your way to do simple errands. You simply cannot mimic a Long Island summer, because there is nothing like it. Try as they might, they won't be able to take away the greatness of three months of pure Long Island fun.

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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the best vacation to go on while you're still young

My experience in the most beautiful country I have ever been to: Greece.

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When I was sixteen, me and my family decided to go on a vacation to Greece during our summer vacation. We went with another family that had relatives living in Greece. I always believe going on vacation with another family is very healthy - or else you will get sick of your family.

We first flew from Boston to Athens and then spent two days in the city. We had been warned that since Greece's economy was not doing great, that Athens was going to be kind of a mess. However, we completely disagreed. The city is beautiful and there are lots of things to do. The streets are white marble and the people are very friendly. We went to the Acropolis (because you can't go to Athens and not go) and it was amazing to see how much history the city had. It was an unbelievable city.

After Athens, we went to the island of Santorini. We stayed in the part of the island called Oia, which was known for having amazing sunsets. Santorini is just how the pictures look, beautiful white houses with blue roofs on a hill down to the beautiful blue water. We found beaches and rocks to go cliff jumping off. We even rode donkeys upstairs to get back to the town where our houses were that we rented. That was a little scary, however, as the donkey's hooves slipped on the marble stairs as they carried you up. We watched the famous sunset - well as much as we could because it was filled with tourists with their selfie sticks blocking some of the views.

The next island we traveled to was Zakynthos. It is not one of Greece's most popular islands, but our friend's family lived there so we decided to adventure there. Zakynthos is not a touristy island, it is filled with Greeks that call the island home. The water on this island was the warmest I had ever been in, it was warmer than the air which was already 90 something degrees each day. We got to interact with people that had lived on the island and went to a rowdy dinner with dancing and breaking plates. The island was a perfect way to experience the culture of the Greek people.

Greece is definitely the perfect vacation while you are still young because it is a very active destination with tons of things to do. (I also loved being a 16-year-old and being served drinks without any problem.) I would definitely recommend the beautiful country of Greece to anyone looking for their next destination.

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