Wednesday, November 2

Jonesin' For the Beach

image from

Jones Beach, while terribly inconvenient to visit by public transportation (a quick google maps search told me that I would have to take a train and two buses to get there from my Bushwick apartment) is one of the more popular New York Beaches. Since it’s conception in 1929 the beach has had an estimated 500 million visitors.
Today the beach lacks the grandeur of Robert Moses’ original vision of the 6.5 mile strip of Long Island beach, when it opened employees wore sailor suits and even the trash cans matched a nautical theme. Now the beach is known for summer concerts at the Jones Beach theaters and rumors of Fire Island-like debauchery in the sometimes nudist friendly field 6.
In 2005 Jones Beach was given protected historical status, providing much needed funds for refurbishment and eliminating a scandal-inducing “Friendly’s” sign near the West Bathhouse. In an un-Moses-like turn, some developments have been abandoned due to cost restraints however. Mahogany railings for the boardwalk and safety hazard reflection pools can no longer be found at the park, but a historic interest in Art-Deco style has led to the repair of mosaics and clocks on the bathhouses. The director of Long Island state parks, John Norbeck, told The New York Times in 2005, "We have tried to save as much as we could, but Moses had an unlimited budget and everything was hand-made and custom-designed."
Most reviews of the park are filled with complaints of over crowding, long lines, not enough shade, and run-down concession stands, “Where's the fun in long lines to the paid parking lot and dirty beach bathrooms?” Eva Z complained.
Jones may not have the mass appeal of Coney Island or the vodka soaked sights of Brighton Beach, and Robert Moses might weep at the sight of it now (if only for his apparent dislike of the public) but it is filled with zealous fans of public beaches and art deco architecture. 

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