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Brooklyn Sting: Life’s A Beach in Brooklyn

Posted Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 9:41 am by Tara in Healthy Bees. More in 11235


When I tell friends back in England that I can get from my desk in Brownstone Brooklyn to the beach in a little over half an hour they smile politely, secretly convinced that I’ve been hitting the bottomless mimosas again. But you know better, right?

Because one of the things I love most about my new home is the way that it’s so easy to escape the madness of the city for endless vistas of open sea… and the odd Nathan’s Famous stand. From Brighton Beach‘s brash, caviar-fuelled charms to the wilds of Breezy Point, here’s my guide to the best spots to strip off, chill out and bother the seagulls, in BKLN and beyond…

Before I’d ever heard of the Cyclone, or tried my hand at shooting “the freak”, Coney Island had been a name to conjour with.  It reeked to me of seedy glamour, of freak shows and gawpers, of bawdy humour and cheap opulence. Visiting it on a gray winter day, it seemed older and sadder than I thought it would be, with its bleak empty beaches and shuttered-down amusements. Returning in summer, however, it was clear that the circus was back in town. Don’t miss a trip on the implausibly scary rocking cars of the Wonderwheel, or a beer outside with a view of the Friday night fireworks and the families fishing for crabs off the pier.

A stroll along the boardwalk will take you away from the hot dog stands and into the heart of Brooklyn’s Russian ex-pat community. At Brighton Beach expect old men and women sunbathing in their underwear while svelte young things sashay, play-fight and preen for the benefit of curious onlookers.

Even further out is Manhattan Beach Park – very much a local beach for local people. But why should they have all the fun, especially when there’s so many great sports facilities around here? Although personally I’ve always found that the walk from my towel to the ice cream stand is plenty exercise enough for one day…

And finally, they may be technically in Queens, but this trio of beaches – Rockaway Park, Jacob Riis Beach and the gorgeous Breezy Point – are right on the Brooklynite’s doorstep. Whether you’re after a buzzy scene or miles of empty dunes, there’s a beach for you.  Who needs the Hamptons anyhow?

If you’ve got any suggestions for great places to escape the New York sizzle drop me a line @ [email protected].

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