New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Plum Beach

The sight of kite surfers and the convenient access to Plum Beach from the Belt Parkway prompted a quick detour from my recent excursion to Floyd Bennett Field. Unfortunately, this convenience in a major metropolitan area, combined with relative isolation, has given Plum Beach a rather unsavory and spotted past.

Older residents reminisce about days when Plum Beach was a lover's lane. Since that time, it has become known as a gay spot. From a New York Times article from 2006, "Deadly Days at a Lovers’ Lane":

Decades ago, the beach’s parking lot was notorious as a lovers’ lane for the neighborhood’s besotted boys and girls. In recent years, the area has become better known as a gay trysting spot. The police say that the four men accused in the death of 29-year-old Michael Sandy of Williamsburg this month were aware of the area’s reputation when they lured him there.

The incident refers to an attack by four men who lured the gay victim to Plum Beach using an Internet website. A planned robbery scheme derailed when the victim ran from his assailants onto the Belt Parkway, where he was struck by a car. Those familiar with the area also warn of drug use and needles on the beach. An article from Citynoise on Plum Beach in 2005 opens:

Plum Beach is a grimy spit of sand that is just past Sheepshead Bay and part of Gateway National Park. It's beautiful and filthy and therefore gloriously neglected, unkempt and various. 

The article goes on to discuss the various activities. Reading the comments, which span four years from 2005 to 2009, provides an informative history based on personal experiences.

When I stopped at Plum Beach, I was not aware of any of this history or reputation. I also visited after a cleanup effort in April of 2009 by the American Littoral Society, so my visit was untainted by garbage, which apparently used to be a huge problem.

The beach, named after the beach plums that grow there, is part of the Jamaica Bay Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (see here and here). There are many great beaches, along with great spots for nature and wildlife lovers in this area of Brooklyn and Queens. At Plum Beach, you will find kiteboarding and windsurfing - rare sights in New York City, and not what the average visitor is looking for. But, hey, we got the little stuff too :) *

*This is my first use of a personal inside joke.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like this beach is not a good place to go there!

Jodi said...

The eyes on that kid are craking me up!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like everyone there is lighting up or hooking up :( I'd still visit. It's beautiful! Idylic! Like out of a movie!

Michelle Johnson said...

Kitesurfing is something I'd like to try. Great shots. Sad about the kid getting killed there.

Anonymous said...

If you want to try kiteboarding, check out Green Hat Kiteboarding at