Bethpage Air Show Celebrates Reopening of Jones Boardwalk

Recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy marked during celebration of 10th annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach.

Fans watching Friday's practice run for the 10th annual Bethpage Air Show on a newly restored Jones Beach Boardwalk. (credit: Andrew Coen)
Fans watching Friday's practice run for the 10th annual Bethpage Air Show on a newly restored Jones Beach Boardwalk. (credit: Andrew Coen)
(This story was posted by Joe Dowd; it was written by Andrew Coen)

The kickoff of the 10th annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach Friday morning had an extra special meaning this year. 

In addition to celebrating the arrival of performers for the traditional Memorial Day weekend event, officials from New York State Parks and Bethpage Federal Credit Union also recognized the reopening of the Jones Beach Boardwalk following devastation it suffered from Hurricane Sandy last October. Throughout the winter, workers repaired and replaced 1.5 miles of the boardwalk with more resilient materials to help it better withstand exposure to future storms.

“It was an amazing effort by a lot of different people,” said New York State Parks Deputy Regional Director George Gorman during a press conference on the Jones Beach Boardwalk as performers for this weekend’s air show conducted practice runs in the background. “It is an amazing time to be at Jones Beach.”
Gorman was joined at Friday’s kickoff of the air show and restored Jones Beach Boardwalk by Kirk Kordeleski, president and chief executive officer for Bethpage Federal Credit Union, who spoke about the company’s efforts to assist areas of Long Island hit hard by Sandy. This charitable initiative included establishing the Bethpage Disaster Relief Fund with the United Way of Long that matches every donation up to a total of $50,000. Kordeleski said $200,000 has been raised so far for the fund and Bethpage hopes to get another $25,000 toward it from air show t-shirt sales this weekend. 

“We have been here for 10 years and we will be here another 10 years, hopefully 100 years,” said Kordeleski of Bethpage’s commitment to sponsoring the annual Memorial Day weekend air show at Jones Beach. “For us to be here and the park to be ready after Sandy says I think says a lot about Long Island.” 

The air show is slated to run Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Scheduled performers include the Royal Canadian Air Force F18 Demonstration Team; Lt. Col. John Klatt of the National Guard Reserve; Sean D. Tucker of Team Oracle; Aerobatic Pilot Matt Chapman; Rob Holland Ultimate Air shows; The Raiders Demonstration Team; Kirby Chambliss of Team Chambliss; the Red Bull  Air Force Skydiver Parachute Team; the Misty Blues All-Woman Skydiving Team; Chuck Aaron of the Red Bull Helicopter Aerobatics; the GEICO Skytypers; Miss GEICO Speedboat; the American Airpower Museum Warbirds; and David Windmiller. 

The weather forecast calls for rain Saturday but Gorman said the show will be proceeding as scheduled. He said the event produces an estimated $15 million economic impact for the Long Island region.


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