A good friend of mine and bar companion Chris, has a peculiar hobby, he collects amongst other things broken shot glasses. He has well over a thousand of them, along with a collection of objects of interest which he picked up on what I came to call the Haunted Beach.
Chris is interested in the history of New York and I as an immigrant Englishman am also. It is a fascinating and iconic place. Chris is especially interested in discovering unlikely places where history can be uncovered. Two years ago while scrutinizing old maps he came across a small beach. According to the old map the beach had been on the edge of an old city dump.
To Chris a dump, especially a pre-second world war dump is an archive, a treasure chest
just waiting to be opened.
Every now and then he’d bring some interesting find along with him to my bar in Brooklyn. I could always tell he’d just come back from one of his treasure hunting expeditions by the state of his face, because if he’d been there a while, whether it was winter or summer, it would be sun-burnt or wind-blasted, or both.
The things he brings to the bar to share with me and others are always fascinating; like the other night. He came in grinning from one red ear to the other, and from a handkerchief taken from an inside jacket pocket, produced the most beautiful tiny porcelain figure of a reclining young woman. She was only about two inches long yet beautifully and sensually modeled.
At first we thought she was naked, but looking closer we made out that she been wearing a swim-suit, just visible in the glaze. Taking her hair, which was distinctive and the suit style into account we reckoned that she, miraculously intact after her journey through time, was probably from the nineteen twenties. And there she sat on the bar like a sexy fairy, with us giants peering at her,
“She’s probably been on that beach for the best part of a century.” Said Chris.
“Its amazing she’s in one piece.” I said. Others at the bar must have been wondering what we were peeing at so intensely.
Chris said, “ Yep, especially if you think she must have got there in a load of city trash.”
Chris finds things that other visitors to the same place, would never find, he has that kind of concentration and focus. And the search for him is almost an obsession.
I made a point of never asking him where the beach was because I didn’t want to put him on the spot of feeling he had to tell me. I knew it was his secret, so when one day he asked me if I’d like to take a trip out there I was thrilled.
I am not going to share the location of this place either, it has to be discovered, that’s part of its’ attraction. It is well worth the effort.
After we’d parked up and walked for a while, we made our way through tall reeds which hid the place on the land-side from view before finally coming out into the open on the edge of the beach.
“This is it!” Said Chris with evident pleasure.
To my eyes it initially looked rather dull. All I saw at first was a crescent shaped dark and muddy looking beach about half a mile long, which made me think of a dirty fingernail. It’s located on one edge of an inlet which eventually leads to the sea.
I noticed there were no waves and seldom are according to my guide, but it does have tides. That autumn afternoon the tide was half way out.
I looked at Chris, but he was already off on his mission, the search for treasures of a different kind had taken him over once again and he was bent over and looking intensely downwards
I followed his line of sight and looked down to my feet and around within my circle of vision, and there and then it was if my eyes had been opened to what I had really seen. The beach was entirely made up of things………
Find out what in the concluding part of this true story from New York posted soon.
A discovery and a coincidence too strange to be