Monday, March 31, 2008

My Fire Island Summer Share

With today's cool and gloomy weather seemingly locked in the place, the fact summer is less than three months away may escape more than one skeptical reader as he or she grabs that sweater and even overcoat -- count myself among those ready for spring to officially spring in the five boroughs! My thoughts, however, have already begun to turn towards Fire Island for another summer at the Fire Island News.

I will be managing the bi-weekly newspaper in Ocean Beach, but the fascinating juxtaposition between the beach and Bushwick will remain one of the more fascinating parts of what promises to be an exciting summer. Manhattanites and others with money to spare descend upon the narrow barrier island each weekend, while people in Bushwick and other economically disadvantaged areas struggle to pay their rents each month. Lobster bakes, gay circuit parties and exclusive (and sometimes politically charged) community meetings are among the items routinely found on the social and political agenda throughout the more than a dozen communities that dot Fire Island, while the impact of gentrification, gang violence and even police brutality dominate the concerns of many of my Bushwick neighbors. And an absence of cars on Fire Island in comparison to the almost constant ConEd jack-hammering and industrial vehicle traffic remains another stark reminder of the sheer difference of the two places.

Fire Island remains a natural paradise to which I clearly look forward. The newspaper is a wonderfully positive place to work, and my expected deep tan by the end of the summer will certainly become an added plus, but this juxtaposition will allow me to maintain a sense of perspective as I traverse both the beach and Bushwick in the coming months. Stay tuned...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know how many of these wealthy Fire Island regulars voted for Guliani when he ran for mayor.