Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Breezy Point beach club's fate uncertain

From the NY Times:

The Silver Gull is one of the few private beach clubs left in New York, a 46-year-old throwback in the Breezy Point section of Queens that, despite the state of the economy and the plethora of free beaches in the region, continues to serve as a summer getaway for a few thousand New Yorkers. Its membership is made up largely of middle-class families and retired couples from Brooklyn and Queens, all of whom pay from $715 to $4,260 to rent a bath cabin, cabanette or cabana for the summer season, along with a membership fee of $390 to $465 per child, senior citizen or adult.

And there is one unusual perk that goes unmentioned in the membership application: the use of a private club on public, federal parkland. The Silver Gull and another nearby club, the Breezy Point Surf Club, sit on the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area. In 2007, the inspector general for the federal Department of the Interior criticized the park service for allowing clubs like the Silver Gull “to monopolize desirable locations” and for renewing the clubs’ permits without proper environmental-impact reviews.

Now, the long-term future of the Silver Gull is uncertain.

In April, the park service and the principal operator of the two clubs, Tom August, reached an agreement that allows the Silver Gull and the Breezy Point Surf Club to remain open three more summer seasons, a deal brokered with the help of Representative Anthony D. Weiner and Senator Charles E. Schumer. Parks officials are creating a new management plan for the Gateway that will decide the fate of the two clubs beyond the 2011 summer season.


CJ said...

Gateway National Recreation Area was established in 1972 by an act of congress. The Silver Gull has been on this property since at least 1963. Looks like it is grandfathered.
Using public land for private use is never a popular topic and inexcusable (unless you are motivated to seize it under false pretenses like the mayor does). But this property has been private before there was parkland.
Seems to me that this is another effort to obscure the facts and push the land grab agenda by public officials especially Mayor Bloomberg.
Class warfare benefits no one.

Anonymous said...

Wait, what? That made no sense.

Anonymous said...

Breezy Point is a politically active community. It fought back Robert Moses' park expansion plans, and housing projects on the site. It will defend its private beach.

Anonymous said...

That park was formerly Fort Tilden, an army base. We went there to the beach, all the time. It was very wild, but clean not many people unlike the Rockaways or Jones Beach. or day I say, Coney Island? That was a filthy, crowded, noisy mess and a dangerous one.

the Silver Gull was there long before 63.

Phyllis D said...

My grandparents (and parents) and us kids used to go to Breezy Point Surf Club from the late 1930's to 1959. My grandfather Dr. Frank B. Ring was the chairman of the club from 1938 to 1959. I actually have a dedication plaque that he received when he retired in 1959. I have fond memories of Breezy Point Surf Club. We had a corner cabana and I have great pictues of all of us.

Chris from Queens said...

The Silver Gull Beach Club was the setting for the mediocre (Garry Marshall) 1980's coming-of-age comedy film The Flamingo Kid.
According to IMDB some of the scenes were shot on location there.

Anonymous said...

I worked at Silver Gull every summer to help pay for college. Closing this club will take away that source of employment.

Anonymous said...

So, is this the last year for the beach clubs?