Friday, July 6, 2012

A Walk to the End of Civilization: Walking North on Brigantine Beach, Part 1.

Last year I took you on a beach walk to the south end jetty.  This time we'll head north.  For the first part we'll stick close to civilization as we go from 22nd Street South to the end of development at 14th Street North.  In part 2, once diaristwoman catches up, we'll head onto the "wild" beach which is part of a wild life refuge.

Heading through the familiar cut in the dune all seems as it should.

But what's all this?  A bit of logging has taken place of the north side of the cut.
It seems that some people don't like their expensive view cluttered by dune stabilizing trees.  Ordinarily the City wouldn't permit tampering with dune vegetation but the rationale offered in this case is that the black pines are an "invasive" species.  Hmmm....

Apparently black pines are not an invasive species on your diarist's side of the cut.  A good thing since I planted most of them!  I remember after the Ash Wednesday storm of 1962 leveled the dunes that the City begged residents to place their Christmas trees, etc. on what was left of the dunes in order to trap sand and thereby encourage dune stability.  We did that over the years plus we planted any seedlings that popped up our gardens.  I've had about a 50% success ratio with the little trees I've put up there.  Perhaps I should stop caring about the dunes now.  Such things seem out of date in this era of McMansions replacing cottages bought as tear-downs.  Rant over.

The old hotel is our first objective as we walk north.

If one walks a beach often enough, one learns to navigate by keeping track of the different roofs of the beach front houses.  The boxy flat topped house on the extreme left is at 20th Street South.  The house with the red terracotta roof, second from the right, is on 19th Street South.  The street numbers decrease as we walk north until we come to 2nd Street South.  Roosevelt Blvd intervenes and thereafter the numbers increase from 2nd Street North to 14th Street North--the end of civilization.
It's mid-morning and heavy construction is about to commence.

The old Brigantine Hotel, now the "Legacy Vacation Club", rests at the foot of 14th Street South and was built during the land boom of 1927, just two years before the great depression.  It's a lovely, quirky old sand castle of a structure and is the tallest building on the island.

No beach walk is complete without an appreciative glance at a surf boat.  Lovely lines, don't you think?

Passing 8th Street South, the twin bell towers of St. Thomas Church peek over the dune.
This example of the iconic "Stonehenge" style of pillar and mote castle construction was spotted at about 5th Street South.

One hopes that these kayakers are paying attention to the building off-shore wind.  The west wind is predicted to increase to 25 knots by the afternoon.  The next bit of real estate to the east is Portugal.

As we approach the Promenade the beach becomes much narrower.  The flagpole marks the intersection of Brigantine Blvd. and 14th Street North.

The view south from the Promenade.

Zooming back towards the south.  The old Brigantine Hotel is dwarfed by the new Revel Casino (building with the swoopy roof line behind the Hotel).  Just as a point of perspective, the Revel is actually about three miles beyond the hotel, across Absecon Inlet on the next island, in Atlantic City.

Compare the view to the south with its buildings, people and beach umbrellas to this view from the Promenade of the undeveloped beach to the north.  The City controls about another 10 blocks or so of this piece of the island.  The remaining two and a half miles are part of a federal wildlife refuge administered by the state of New Jersey.

I told diaristwoman I'd wait for her by this pay per view binocular.

Do these things ever work or do they just gobble quarters?

My bride has arrived.  She's never been out to the tip and asked me how much farther it is to the north end of the island.  I lied and told her "it's not that far."  Our exploration of the wild beach starts at the bottom of this ramp.  Join us on the next post for part 2 of this walk.