So, so, Guardian

The American summer tradition of clearing out of cities for the beach every weekend is at odds with an equally strong tradition of avoiding inconvenience. But for some reason the beach always wins.

Six hours on the road with small children in the back? No problem. A two-hour tailback? Just part of the package. A three-hour journey out of Penn Station to East Hampton, on a train so crowded you have to stand the whole way? Deal with it.

I have, in my nine years in the US, done every one of these journeys multiple times and now approach the summer with a certain dread. Granted, unlike in Britain, where you can stand up for hours on a train to get to a beach that looks like a large mudflat, at least the sand on Long Island is pretty. The dunes are pristine, the weather is hot and, if you trudge far enough from the path, you don’t have to see another human for hours.

How fucking much does a place in the Hamptons cost?

The English equivalent of this is some Londoner whining about how long it takes to get to Rock on a summer weekend. It’s rather a 0.1% problem, isn’t it?

There are times when that urban intelligentsia really does have a tin ear.

16 comments on “So, so, Guardian

  1. If the beaches and dunes on Long Island were easy to get to, they wouldn’t be fucking deserted, would they?

    “unlike in Britain, where you can stand up for hours on a train to get to a beach that looks like a large mudflat, at least the sand on Long Island is pretty.” Oh, snowflake; then sit in comfort on the fast train to Newcastle and enjoy the glorious Northumberland beaches. (Why do I assume her British experience is in fact London experience? Because.)

  2. Yes, it’s as tone deaf, though less charmingly barmy, as George Monbiot boasting about eating dead badgers.

    However her recent musings on Brexit are better. I think she unwittingly sums up the Remain mentality.

    She was probably aiming for slightly ironical, but missed and hit veracity instead:

    A sense of moral superiority is key to being a Brit in America. I feel lost without it

  3. Granted, unlike in Britain, where you can stand up for hours on a train to get to a beach that looks like a large mudflat,

    I find the mud flats in the closing credits of Chariots of Fire quite majestic.

  4. Dearieme,

    Up here we try to make sure that people like her are kept in the dark about our glorious Northumberland beaches and the fast trains to get here. Just think, if they started coming it would seriously lower the tone.

  5. > How fucking much does a place in the Hamptons cost?

    He’s talking about day trippers, isn’t he?

    > then sit in comfort on the fast train to Newcastle and enjoy the glorious Northumberland beaches

    Booking one day in advance (i.e. for tomorrow), a day return from London to Newcastle starts at £115; whereas the same to Bournemouth costs £16; Brighton costs £10.60. It’s Chesterton’s fence again.

  6. Don’t the normal people go to Jersey for their beach jollies?
    I’ve seen a critically acclaimed documentary series about this.

  7. Christ. I used to complain because it took 45 minutes to drive straight to the beach (in my own car with parking within a half mile of the beach) when I lived in San Diego.

    However, when you *choose* to live a hundred miles from the nearest beach those are the things you have to deal with. If you don’t like it, don’t whine about it, just don’t do it.

    Plus – TGIF’s as a roadside stop evoking memories of Little Chef? Well fine – but LC looks more like IHOP or Denny’s than TGIF. But I imagine a sophisticated Expat Brit living in NYC wouldn’t be caught dead in a place more known for cheap food and 2 am goth conventions.

    She should try one of the little roadside stops that are *not* huge national chains for her ribs and BBQ. Some dude with a trailer, a couple picnic tables and not much else.

    http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/12174-Curtis-Barbecue-on-Rte-91-in-Vermont-A-free-ad-for-our-pal-Curtis.html

    Something like this guy’s place – assuming they allow places like this to exist in modern day NYC.

  8. @Andrew M: but neither Bournemouth nor Brighton offers mudflats, nor do the trains take “hours”.

    Anyway, if she wants to combine city life with good beaches nearby, move to Edinburgh.

  9. Hang on a second. New York City has a fairly decent beach at Coney Island. Sand? Yes. Amusements? Oh yes. Other families with less well-behaved kids who you don’t want playing with your kids? Well, that’s obviously why our Guardian writer prefers to drive for six hours.

  10. NYC has endless miles of beaches, and there’s New Jersey next door.

    The point she’s making is that civilization has collapsed to such an extent that she her world is filling up with ghastly proles.

    A writer should certainly be able to take a house in the Hamptons, or Cape Cod, for the long summer, there to think fine thoughts, and recharge the grey matter.

    This is what is meant by “to each according to their needs”. Bankers should be in Vegas.

  11. A writer should certainly be able to take a house in the Hamptons, or Cape Cod, for the long summer, there to think fine thoughts, and recharge the grey matter.

    If she had any grey matter to recharge she wouldn’t be writing columns for The Guardian and not much else.

    Tell her to come out to Ohio. Lake Erie has beaches that would be more appropriate for her than she’d ever realize.

  12. I’ve spent large chunks of my life within a ten minute bike ride of the beach. I recommend it.

  13. Andrew M,

    I haven’t been to Coney Island but from what I gather that’s like suggesting UK based Guardianistas take their summer holiday in Blackpool.

    (Apologies to the the people of Coney Island if I’ve got that wrong)

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