New York City has some great local beaches, like the Rockaways, Coney Island, and Brighton and Orchard Beaches. But when you need a short break from all the spots you can hit via the subway, it’s worth remembering that there are some great beaches just a quick drive or NJ Transit/Long Island Railroad-ride away. Here are some of our favorite day beach trips from the city, from up-and-comer Asbury Park and Long Branch in NJ to long-time favorites like Fire and Shelter Islands.
A long weekend that heralds the start of summer living is a good time to think about beach house possibilities. This thoughtfully-designed house at 10 First Walk in the in Davis Park area of Fire Island feels like an airy cabin or a more polished tree house–or a little bit of both (h/t Brick Underground). With three bedrooms and a well-appointed kitchen and dining area, and a location that’s a block from the ocean, it’s got just enough going on to keep things focused on enjoying your summer getaway.
For New Yorkers looking for a break from the city’s summer pollution and noise, Fire Island has much to offer. Accessible via the Long Island Railway and Fire Island Ferries, the narrow strip of land running along Long Island’s south shore is one of the region’s few vacation spots that city residents can reach without a car. Better yet, once you arrive, you encounter a rare vehicle-free oasis where walking, cycling and golf carts are the primary modes of transportation. Fire Island is also home to some of the region’s best beaches and is well known for its impressive modernist architecture.
Yet, as recent aerial photographs reveal, the getaway is not quite the island it used to be. Indeed, since it first became a popular vacation spot for New Yorkers nearly a century ago, its shoreline has diminished considerably, which raises a critical question: Is Fire Island a better bet for seasonal renters than owners?
Our series “New York in the ’60s” is a memoir by a longtime New Yorker who moved to the city after college in 1960. Each installment will take us through her journey during a pivotal decade. From $90/month apartments to working in the real “Mad Men” world, we’ll explore the city through the eyes of a spunky, driven female. In our first two installments we visited her first apartment on the Upper East Side and saw how different and similar house hunting was 50 years ago. Then, we learned about her career at an advertising magazine… looking in on the Donald Drapers of the time. Now, in our fourth installment, we accompany her to Fire Island during the warm summer months.
A few years ago, a young couple from the city—she’s a real estate executive and he’s a bond trader— were looking for a beach retreat on Fire Island, the place where he had spent his childhood summers. After an extensive search they settled for a basic wooden cabin that seemed a bit small and uninspiring, but had a stunning oceanfront location difficult to match. After fantasizing about the idea of making radical changes and even tearing it down to build a new bigger house, interior designer Alexandra Angle came to the rescue and saved the 1950s shelter from demolition using splashes of color, Liberty upholsteries, and classic modern pieces by Bertoia, Noguchi, and Kartell.
New York-based Bates Masi + Architects designed this beautiful family residence referred by its owners as their ‘Tree House’. Located on Fire Island, this two-level wooden dwelling is surrounded by a dense grove of pines and hollies and overlooks the bay from its upper level. Built from roughly cut vertical cypress louvers, it blends naturally with its luscious environment.
Labor Day is upon us (sigh), and it’s time to make plans for the one final weekend of summer. Whether you’re heading to a backyard barbeque or pool party, we’d bet that you would drop those plans in a hot second if given the opportunity to hang at this Fire Island guest house.
Designed by Bromley Caldari Architects, the Albert House was the final component of a larger beachfront complex, which includes the main house, dining pavilion, gym, and beach/pool cabana. The client asked the architects to create an easy to maintain, open-plan guest house for their visiting family. Though the home is just steps away from the main complex, it still functions independently and feels like its very own shore retreat.
Last Saturday, I walked out of a Fire Island Pines liquor store just as a friend was walking in. “Hello, handsome,” I said without pause.
My friend was less decorous.
“What the f*%k are you doing here?!?” He asked, his face flushed with wonder.
It was a legitimate question since The Pines is famously gay, and I’m neither famous nor gay; but, considering my summer so far, me in the company of gay men no longer seems wonder inducing to me.