On Sunday afternoon, a few dozen ashen-faced night owls,—looking for a respite from 90-degree temperatures—took to the beach. They plopped themselves, fully clothed, onto striped lounge chairs and stayed there for hours drinking free PBR. Daniel James, a tattooed nightlife promoter, flipped burgers on a big grill. Showing off bedbug-bitten legs, a girl splashed into the water alone, bouncing a beach ball. “Come on in guys, the temperature’s perfect,” she said, eliciting only confused stares from three tattooed friends.
Forget about Suffolk County’s famous sand though, it all took place in a 700-squarefoot sandbox on Suffolk Street—and the body of water was a two-foot kiddy pool. James, for one, said he’d choose the space—called the “Beach Bar” and located at the back of the Clemente Solo Voce Center—over real sand and surf any day. Kicking up his black motorcycle boots he lit up a Parliament. Exhaling, he said, “The Hamptons is way too far.” The spot’s owner, Drew Figueroa, in his mid-thirties, was looking more beach-friendly than anyone else. His scruffy, tanned face framed by a black doo-rag, he remarked wearily that the times are too tough to rent on Fire Island. Smiling, he added, “So I brought the beach to me this year.”
As the sun gradually dipped, and the empties piled up, people started kicking off their Converse and getting their doughy feet wet. Before I could forget the construction site a few yards away, a lanky guy with a scraggly goat beard caught my attention as he circled the BBQ pit. Affecting his features with comically exaggerated innocence, he snatched two hot dogs from a tray and rolled them under his T-shirt. Someone whispered to him, “Dude, they’re free.”