A few days ago, I got a call from a student at Columbia University who was doing a news story for his radio journalism class and wanted my input on the erosion at Georgica Beach. I invited him over to my house, and then the two of us, along with his girlfriend, drove down to Georgica in East Hampton to see the erosion that took place and is threatening to close down the beach for the summer.
As a former lifeguard at Georgica Beach, it was hard for me to process that the Town Of East Hampton might close down Georgica, but when we got there I found myself on the fence about what I thought the Town should do.
The erosion there is very significant. I’ve seen scary erosion in the past—I can remember being as young as ten years old and seeing Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett being almost completely gone—and I can remember the jetty to the east of Main Beach in East Hampton being unpassable by a four-wheel vehicle. Erosion happens, but the beach comes back, as it always does. It’s a part of nature.
I don’t like it when people scare others about erosion, because it’s ALWAYS been an issue out here, and like I said, it comes and goes, and there really is nothing you can do about it. And this year, it just happens to be the beach that Steven Spielberg goes to, so it’s news, I guess.
The erosion at Georgica is significant. The beach is still beautiful, it’s still there, the parking lot is fine. But the drop from the parking lot to the beach is about ten feet, and then you walk down onto a beach that almost feels like one in Montauk. There is a newly formed cliff from the beach that drops down and then you sit in between the two jetties on each side. It’s definitely smaller—not uncomfortably small, but for it to be a major Hamptons beach with lifeguards, it would certainly feel a little crowded.
I’m sorry to say this, but if it were up to me I would have the lifeguards move to Wiborgs this summer and open that beach up to the public. Leave the parking open at Georgica, but with no lifeguards and a sign warning people that the beach was closed and that you were to swim at your own risk.
People will, and still can, go to Georgica if they do that, but they won’t go as much and they will switch over to Wiborgs for the summer.