I don’t believe there are any secret spots anymore. That was certainly the case on Saturday, when the middle child and I went to a normally empty place along the ocean for a late-afternoon swim.
Coming off the trail and cresting a gap in the dune, we were flat-out stunned by pickup trucks and Jeeps backed at right angles to the surf line as far east as we could see. Outside their vehicles, people in beach chairs were enjoying a fine day. To the west, maybe six or seven surfcasters’ four-wheel-drive campers were arrayed front to rear; the sunbathers dared not invade their space.
Beyond that, a state parks worker checked a plover fence, a string really, intended to keep vehicles and people away from nesting birds. This wasn’t at the hotly litigated Truck Beach, mind you. That lay to the west, on the far side of the plover fence within East Hampton Town’s jurisdiction.
Evvy and I stayed for a while in the water, and then walked around a little to see what was what. Few of the vehicles other than the surfcasters’ and mine had the required orange permit. As we went east, snooping, we saw that almost none of the four-by-fours had anything to indicate the owners even lived within East Hampton Town.
“Why aren’t they giving out tickets!” Evvy wanted to know. I guessed that the state parks police had better things to do, and, plus, it would take at least several of them to check every truck. She was agitated at this response.
I told her I knew what she was feeling, but that since there was almost nowhere else on Long Island for someone who did not live in one of the oceanfront towns or villages to get to the beach, we should be more sympathetic than annoyed. And anyway, I said, the state parks people would have to station someone at the road turnoff to be an effective deterrent.
It was a fine outing in the end, but next time we will go there during the week instead.