Long Beach, NY has been a part of my life, on and off, for 35 years. When I was in Junior High school, my friends and I would take the LIRR from Valley Stream station to the Long Beach station to get to the beach during the summer.
Fifteen years later I was taking my two kids to the Magnolia Playground on the Long Beach boardwalk to play on the swings and climb on the jungle gyms. During the summer we'd pack up our beach gear several times a week and make our way to the beach for some sun and sand castles. We'd usually stop on the boardwalk for a soft serve ice cream cone before heading home. Besides vanilla and chocolate, they had pistachio. My little guy loved pistachio.
Fast forward another 15 years. When the kids would be home from college and we were looking to kill some time before dinner we'd drive down to Long Beach and take a walk on the boardwalk. We'd walk and talk and laugh. Sometimes we'd sit on one of the benches that lined the boardwalk and watch the windsurfers and surfers. Sometimes we'd go down in the winter to walk on the beach and the boardwalk in the snow. Special moments, all of them.
2012 brought Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Sandy brought devastation to Long Beach. Homes and businesses were damaged. The Magnolia Playground was pretty much destroyed and the boardwalk was damaged so badly in so many places that the town decided to tear down all 2 1/2 miles of it. Years of memories gone.
The rebuilding should be starting soon and the town is saying the boardwalk should all be back before the start of the 2013 beach season. I'm hoping that we'll be walking out there this summer, making some new memories.