Sunday, August 14, 2011

THE MANY BEACHES OF NEW YORK CITY



I have never considered myself a "beach person", in the traditional sense. Surfing seems like an alien pursuit, I rarely wear bermuda shorts, and I do not tan. I was raised hours inland, nestled in the hilly bosom of this Great Land's Appalachian expanse. Before moving, at age 18, to the Coastal regions of Our Splendid Republic, I could count my trips to the ocean on one hand.

I am still a human person, however, and the allure of sunshine, surf, sand, salty air, and scantily clad ladies is not lost on me. I am not cold-blooded. I have a heart. I understand that these are good things. My robot brain allows me some small pleasures in this life. Not all that is good turns to dust and ashes in my mouth. I like the beach.

New York is the city where I live, and it is a city that I know things about. I have spent many desperate hours exploring this stupid place, particularly Brooklyn, home of the Cyclones, Paul Giamatti, and Uncle Louie G's. (It is also, in recent months, the home of more single speed bicycles than I ever thought possible. The ride of choice among people with oversized sunglasses, tattoos of birds, and tight pants, these inefficient things vex me at every turn. It's okay to shift gears, you guys. Your calves and thighs will thank you for breaking convention with your peers this one time. Also, enough with the expensive, artisanal versions of shit like popsicles and pickles and doughnuts. And can we cool it in general with the arts and crafts already?)

Brooklyn is not primarily known for its beaches. College kids with cocaine in their ironic mustaches, and Mos Def probably top the list, while Coney Island is maybe in the top twenty. It is a disgusting beach, but if you like your swimming to come hand in hand with funnel cake tummy aches and Russian men with a pelt of back hair, it probably will quench your thirst.

Brighton Beach has less fried dough and other junk foods, and way more Russians. There is no better way to remind oneself of the fierce strength of the USSR's military than to go to Brighton Beach and see the multitude of amputees. Between the gorgeous girls with amazing nails and the hardcore men missing limbs, this beach is less about suntanning and swimming and more about mad respect for our former Cold War adversaries.

Rockaway Beach is on the Brooklyn end of Queens, and relatively easily accessible from both Boroughs. It is notable for it's proximity to Rockaway Tacos, which has earned a well-deserved reputation as being a destination joint for the best tacos on the east coast. With a belly full of tacos, Rockaway is mostly clean and wide and good for finding space to hang out. It is also on the same peninsula as Jacob Reis beach, which is a great spot that is usually not crazy crowded, and has some cool old municipal buildings, if you are into the architecture of old military facilities and whatnot. (Who isn't?)

There are more things to say but I am bored of this topic. Summer is almost over. It is better to enjoy beaches than write about them. Nevertheless, New York has some beaches that are awesome.


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