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.