Alcohol Banned at Popular Long Island Beaches

By John Lavitt 08/06/14

Booze-fueled partygoers left trash on the beaches and shocked local residents with disturbing behavior.

beach booze party.jpg
A thing of the past. Shutterstock

This summer two infamously alcohol-soaked beaches on Long Island will no longer play host as party central.

Starting in August, drinking booze is no longer allowed on two stretches of the federally owned Fire Island National Seashore, marking a big change from summers past. In addition, alcohol is banned during peak hours at East Hampton's Indian Wells Beach. The popular Long Island beaches have a long history of drinking that dates back to the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition.

Since drinking previously was banned on town beaches, weekend partygoers can flock to the nearby national seashore to avoid fines up to $225. Although upset about the ban, beachgoers said they understood why the federal government made the decision. After all, the parties, particularly on the weekends, left the beaches looking shabby and littered with garbage.

“It's completely understandable that they do this," said Manhattan resident Jack Strang. "There's trash all over the beach," he said.

The Fire Island ban applies to two 300-foot wide stretches between the communities of Atlantique and Corneille Estates in the Town of Islip. “The beach-goers in the Fire Island seashore have abused the beaches, they’ve trashed it and done unthinkable things there in front of the homeowners,” Islip Councilman John Cochrane told a local CBS reporter.

Indeed, the bans did not come out of the blue, but were prompted by alcohol-fueled parties on the beaches. The East Hampton ban is in effect from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily on the main 2,000-foot stretch of the beach. This is the spot where the majority of beachgoers hang out and lifeguards patrol during swimming hours.

Drinking is still allowed on other Fire Island National Seashore beaches and other beaches owned by the Town of East Hampton. Given the new ban, there is a question of how long beachgoers will be allowed to continue to drink on these public beaches, since the clear trend has been to remove alcohol and associated problems away from the shoreline.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.