In the past few years, Fort Tilden has become the preferred beach for Brooklyn hipsters to go to on weekends, for a variety of reasons that include proximity to bike paths, relative inacessibility, no lifeguards, topless bathing, the promise of food trucks, and the “x-factor” bonus of abandoned old army bunkers covered in fucking killer graffiti. I say that with deadpan meant to convey sarcasm.
Basically, it’s Williamsburg on the ocean, minus basically everything except the graffiti. In other words, it’s like most Northeast beaches—narrow, buffeted by dunes, murky blue water, nice surf—only it’s trendy for a certain set of “the right” people.
That doesn’t make it bad, however. In fact, it’s quite beautiful, especially when the temperature is close to 100 degrees, as it was yesterday, and the city proper is unbearable to be in.
I went with Shark, AJ, Caleb, and a new friend whose identity I will protect because I don’t know if she wants to be humiliated with a nickname. We spent the afternoon swimming in the 68 degree ocean, and avoiding getting sunburned.
I used to hate crowded beaches, I think because I’m a snob who dislikes people, but I have to say, I didn’t mind them yesterday. Despite all of my protests, I am definitely a Brooklyn hipster. And as a Brooklyn hipster, I care about having a fit body, but not enough that I watch what I eat or drink.
What I mean by this is that most of the time, I feel like a dead bloated worm in a bikini. It’s one of the great horrors of my existence. But yesterday, I didn’t even really think too much about my body. And I think that’s because no one was really looking at my body, or anyone else’s, very critically. The social capital on Ft. Tilden wasn’t a perfect figure, but what you did, who you were with, where you went to school, what fucking vinyls you owned, what beer you were drinking, and if you could make the best temporary tent out of beach wood, because you were so fucking creative and shit.
It was oddly relaxing, to be judged in an arena where I could contend, rather than in the one that normally exists on a beach, where everything about a person is invisible except for their bodies. In Fort Tilden, we all read the same system of signs, and those signs said, “I like artisanal food products, and I’ve got better things to do than worry about this perfect body bullshit.”