A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘fire island

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • D-Brief shares rare video of beaked whales on the move.
  • Dangerous Minds notes that someone has actually begun selling unauthorized action figures of Trump Administration figures like Bannon and Spencer.
  • Language Log looks at a linguistic feature of Emma Watson’s quote, her ending it with a preposition.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen considers, originally for Bloomberg View, if Trump could be seen as a placebo for what ails America.
  • The New APPS Blog takes a Marxist angle on the issue of big data, from the perspective of (among other things) primitive accumulation.
  • The Search reports on the phenomenon of the Women’s History Month Wikipedia edit-a-thon, aiming to literally increase the representation of notable women on Wikipedia.
  • Towleroad notes the six men who will be stars of a new Fire Island reality television show.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy finds some merit in Ben Carson’s description of American slaves as immigrants. (Some.)
  • Window on Eurasia argues that Belarusians are beginning to mobilize against their government and suggests they are already making headway.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO reports on a very futuristic and upscale condo planned to be built in North York.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper arguing that Kepler-93b is likely a super-Earth, not a mini-Neptune.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at a spectrographic study of part of Mars’ Valles Marineris.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that a business district in Fire Island is going up for sale at an unexpectedly low price.
  • Language Log notes the declining usage of the definite article “the” and increasing use of the indefinite “a”.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money calculates how much money Yale spent on educating The Great Gatsby‘s racist boor Tom Buchanan.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a 1991 paper suggesting international terrorism is rare because it is costly.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that American oil exports to Mexico aren’t noteworthy, being relatively low-volume and of fuel Mexico can’t manufacture.
  • Savage Minds follows an anthropologist in Bulgaria as she reacts to the death of one of her informants.
  • Torontoist and blogTO both report on the three new charges of sexual assault brought against Jian Ghomeshi.
  • Towleroad has a funny video of gay couples reading Grindr exchanges to each other.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Estonian criticism of Russian assimilation of Finno-Ugric minorities, and predicts crisis in the North Caucasus.

[URBAN NOTE] “The Architecture of Seduction”

Guy Trebay New York Times article making the case for the importance of the Long Island resort community of Fire Island for gay communities makes interesting arguments. I’m not sure Fire Island it has the broad contemporary importance to all gay people (men mainly, it seems) that it has been made out as having (I’ve read about it, yes, but I think I’m relatively rare among my peer group in Canada having read about it) but it certainly has historical relevance, inasmuch as New York City is where the gay rights movement and gay culture got kickstarted.

“My line to people is that the Pines is to gay people what Israel is to Jews,” Andrew Kirtzman, a longtime Pines resident and real estate developer, said recently. “It’s the spiritual homeland. There’s just a sense of history in the air, almost tangible but not quite. You just feel like you’re part of some kind of grand creation meant solely for gays.”

History is on people’s minds this season, as the Pines marks the 60th anniversary of its founding: two newly published books examine a period many here see as a golden one; homeowners are returning to restore and rebuild houses inundated by Hurricane Sandy; and the Pavilion, the harborside dance hall that long served as an anchor of social life in the community, is reopening as a boldly reimagined version of an unloved structure that in 2011 was destroyed by fire.

Regeneration is a word not often associated with summer towns — ephemeral by definition and seldom more so than on an island whose geography is entirely at the command of a mercurial ocean. Yet it’s in those forces, the ocean’s tidal surges and ebbs, the wind-carved dunes, that clues can be seen to the particular powers this landscape has exerted on those who inhabit it, said Christopher Rawlins, the author of “Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction,” an overdue monograph about a little-known architect to be released this week.

“It’s an inherently erotic landscape,” said Mr. Rawlins, who found in Mr. Gifford’s work motives and inspirations of a kind that were once considered joyous, until a plague came along and cloaked them with a shroud.

“The Stonewall generation invented what I call this architecture of seduction,” Mr. Rawlins said, referring to a style marked by spare interiors engineered to foster outdoor living; by spare but theatrical geometries; and by stage effects like mirrored ceilings and expanses of window wall.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Officials ban nude sunbathing on Fire Island”

Joe. My. God. and Towleroad both linked to Candace Ruud’s Newsday article announcing that soon, there’s going to be a ban enforced on nude sunbathing on iconic Fire Island. (Environmental concerns following the scouring of the dunes by Hurricane Sandy seem secondary compared to the concerns over public displays of inappropriateness.)

Speaing as someone who has enjoyed Hanlan’s Point on the Toronto Islands, I can see the points being made. I am somewhat surprised that nude sunbathing wasn’t legally protected on Fire Island as it is at Hanlan’s Point.

A decades-long tradition of nude sunbathing on Fire Island beaches is coming to an end this summer: Fire Island National Seashore authorities have announced plans to enforce long-standing laws banning the practice.

The surging popularity of Lighthouse Beach in particular has led to increased complaints and observations of assault, sex, masturbation and prostitution, said Fire Island chief ranger Lena Koschmann. On some summer days, as many as 4,000 people descend on the narrow strip of land east of Robert Moses State Park Field 5, in the shadow of famed Fire Island Lighthouse.

“We’ve been struggling to make it work because Fire Island has a history of that type of use and people have been coming there for years,” Koschmann said. “The more we talked about it and researched it, the more we realized that that use wasn’t compatible with an area like Lighthouse Beach.”

The beach’s proximity to the lighthouse generated complaints from tourists about public nudity, which now would be seen more frequently because the beach’s dunes, decimated by superstorm Sandy, no longer obscure sightlines, she said.

Since the beach has no lifeguards, bathrooms or trash cans, Koschmann said thousands of nude sunbathers pose a public health risk in an area that wasn’t meant to be heavily used.

“There has been a huge change in the demographic and the types of activities happening there in the last 10 or 15 years,” she said. “Now when you go out there it’s a party atmosphere. There’s DJs and music, and people partying and drinking.”

Koschmann also said some social media sites carry invitations to meet for public sex on the beach.

The fact that public nudity is illegal in New York was another compelling reason to change the policy, since FINS maintains joint jurisdiction with the state, she said. The ban also will be enforced at four other Fire Island beaches where nude sunbathing is known to take place — including the tract of land in front of Sailors Haven, from Point O’ Woods to Cherry Grove.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 28, 2013 at 12:24 am

[ISL] “After Saving Fire Island, Line of Defense Is Lost to the Sea”

The New York Times‘ Lisa Foderaro reports that Fire Island, a barrier island off of the Atlantic coast of Long Island that’s famous as a tourist destination (particularly for GLBTQ tourists), is threatened. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the dunes that protected built-up areas of the islands have been washed away.

Initial reports of the storm’s impact on Fire Island were dire. And while it did breach the 32-mile island in two places, flood many of the 17 communities — during the storm, the bay and the ocean met, subsuming much of the island under feet of water — and ruin dozens of oceanfront houses, the verdict now is that it could have been far worse.

Unlike many of the hardest-hit areas, Fire Island had a robust system of dunes, ranging from 10 to 20 feet in height, that largely absorbed the ocean’s wrath, saving the bulk of the island’s 4,500 homes. The dunes were replenished only a few years ago, after many residents agreed to accept a new tax to help finance the work. Now the dunes are gone.

“The dunes served their purpose,” said Steven Jaffe, president of the Ocean Bay Park Association, one of the homeowner groups on the island. “But they were decimated, and now we have a winter coming and we don’t know what will happen.”

Fearful of facing the next big storm without the protection of the dunes, some community associations are already reviving them, filling government-sanctioned bags, known as Geocubes, with sand, and building a tight wall where the dunes once stood. They are also scooping up the mounds of sand that washed onto walkways — the island is known for its paths and red wagons where others have roads and cars — and returning it to the dunes.

But it will take the Army Corps of Engineers and federal money, residents say, to bring them all the way back to where they were.

As they follow the debate that has erupted over the wisdom of rebuilding on storm-lashed beaches, community leaders are making the case that Fire Island is critical to Long Island’s welfare. They cite one study suggesting that the island, with only a few thousand homes, and 200 year-round families, protects a stretch of the mainland with 13,000 homes and properties, valued at roughly $10 billion.

“We’re the first line of defense for Long Island, and the dunes are our first line of defense,” said Suzy Goldhirsch, president of the Fire Island Association, an umbrella group of community associations. “We’re self-reliant. We’re island people. But we need support.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 22, 2012 at 4:32 am