I made my way over to Long Beach Island last night. It was a beautiful evening and considering the calendar’s rude notion that summer is quickly winding down it seemed worthwhile to capitalize on a resource that will soon be in short supply—warmth. Initially I defaulted to my usual LBI summer spot, Surf City Sunset Park. As I pulled into a parking space, however, I was met with an innumerable populace milling about the bay beach performing all manners of bay beach acts. Selfies, swimmies, chair sitters, gazebo dwellers, swingers (the park swing kind, people—let’s keep it on the up and up), walkers, basketballers and the like were also making the most of this resource known by some as a warm summer’s eve. Daunted, I fell back to Plan B.
Instinctively I knew where to retreat. Like Washington stealing his army out of Brooklyn and into Manhattan by boat under the cover of darkness and right under General Howe’s nose, I sought refuge at a place that has long provided sanctuary to the man called Molyneux. OK so this wasn’t like Washington’s daring retreat that saw no loss of life at all, but considering that happened in late August—August 29, 1776 to be exact—I figured I’d drop a real non sequitur into this post. You may thank me for your new fun fact that will aid you in your barstool trivia quest later. You see, jumping back to things that are actually relevant I spent three summers working for Ship Bottom Public Works. From 2003–2005 I spent May–September toiling away with friends and coworkers alike, doing our best to keep the public facilities of Ship Bottom free and clean. In doing so I staked daily responsibility to Ship Bottom Bay Beach. From 7:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. sweeping away parking spots full of sand, pitchforking a night’s load of seaweed from the bathing beach, and the obligatory Dumping of the Trash with the Slacker was the order of the day. Keeping things in tip-top shape, our pride.
To the northern end of the bay beach sits a park. Ship Bottom Sunset Point to be precise. A small park filled with all the things that a park make. Things like benches, placards, flowers and shrubberies, memorial bricks, a gazebo and a bird hotel that puts my own residence to shame. Somehow this is all crammed into a space of about 5,000 square feet of sandy land if I had to guess. Yet when it is grown in full at peak season it affords all the coverage and privacy one could wish for. To its western edge sits a sandy beach running the course of the bay. It was along the jetty rock of said beach I made this photograph last night.
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