Before the dog days of summer fade away, I want to honor world-famous Jones Beach State Park which recently turned 90! Robert Moses, the master architect, opened Jones Beach to the public on August 4, 1929. He had a vision for the beach: to turn the wild, barren tract of sandy land into an ocean retreat. More than nine decades later, Jones Beach remains a haven for Long Islanders.
Jones Beach has always been a favorite place for me. When I was a child, I went to the beach with family and friends to soak up the rays and get drenched by the Atlantic Ocean as the waves crashed over our heads and onto the shoreline. The day wouldn’t be complete until we rode the majestic waves and tumbled head over heels getting our bathing suits filled with what seemed like a pound of sand.
I haven’t ridden the waves in a long time but love feeling the sand between my toes and how my feet sink into the soft earth as ocean water rushes in to meet the shore. I get lost staring at the horizon where the pale blue sky meets the cobalt ocean.
The smell of the salty ocean air is hypnotic. Do you remember the Seinfeld episode when Kramer wanted to create a cologne that smelled like you just came from the beach? What a great concept! But Kramer wasn’t the originator. I even own and wear perfumes that try to capture that magical scent.
The beach is my therapy, my church, my solace, my second home. I enjoy the sun, sea and sand no matter what season – a cool spring day, a scorching summer morning, a crisp fall sunrise or a cold winter one. I am not the only one enjoying an oceanside walk. Many veterans as well as newbies, also enjoy an early morning weekend walk.
Nearly 10 years ago, I volunteered with Jones Beach Rescue. The mission was to raise awareness and commit to restoring and enhancing historic and natural resources and improve the beach and park experience. The group has disbanded but its members’ passion to make Jones Beach grand again was authentic. Due to New York’s generous grants to state parks, much-needed improvements have been made for everyone to enjoy.
During my walks, I capture the early-morning scene on my iPhone – sunrise from Field 6 to crashing waves and a left-behind sand bucket to the developments at the beach over the years. New restaurants have made their debut as well as new games areas and the Wild Play adventure course and zip line. Long Islanders, like me, post their favorite moments and share what they love most about Jones Beach on Facebook.
There has been criticism that Jones Beach is not the place for Wild Play. Although it is a serene natural place, improvements and new ideas must make way for the future. The steel structure of the adventure is not aesthetically pleasing to the eye. My suggestion: keep the nautical theme when designing buildings, games, attractions and eateries. Other areas have included oceanic themes and a nod to the Art Deco style that adorned Jones Beach when it opened.
We are lucky to have legendary Jones Beach so close to our front doors. Jones Beach is looking good at 90, and I hope everyone will enjoy it for another 90 years.
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