Which City Beach Are We? A Village Voice Investigation


Did you know that the New York City Parks Department, in its dedication to helping inform you about the glory that is the city’s nine public beaches, offers a web quiz called “What Beach Are You?” You do now! Also we do now, and the Village Voice staff, plus several regular contributors, decided to take it for a spin and see how accurate it is, if “accuracy” is even a word that applies here. The results may surprise you!

Bilge Ebiri, staff writer: Midland Beach

I have never heard of Midland Beach. I said I liked the beach, fish fry, mysteries, and watermelon. Also I chose Bryan Adams, I’m so sorry. I’m also confused why “I love a good mystery” and “Gone Girl” are two separate choices. Isn’t that a mystery? Kind of?

Coco McPherson, contributing writer: Midland Beach

Not even choosing the Ramones to sway the results in favor of my beach, Beach 116th Street, did anything.

D.J. Cashmere, contributing writer: South Beach

While I’ve never been, this quiz has successfully added an item to my Summer 2018 To-Do-List. The journalism nerd in me might even bring Gay Talese’s The Bridge to read in the shadows of the Verrazano.

Lara Zarum, staff writer: South Beach

Not only have I never been to South Beach, but I wasn’t entirely sure what borough it was in until I Googled it. Apparently it’s on Staten Island. I’m not sure what that says about me but it’s hard to shake the feeling that the NYC Parks Department is throwing some serious shade my way.

Joshunda Sanders, contributing writer: South Beach

I thought South Beach was only a diet or a locale in Florida, so imagine this Bronx girl’s shock, getting trolled by the New York City Parks quiz — probably because I like a good book and Whitney Houston in combination.

Jake Bittle, contributing writer: South Beach

I’ve actually been here, and it sucks.

Donna Delmas, senior director, digital media: Cedar Grove Beach

So I’m looking up photos of Cedar Beach. I guess that makes sense that I, the resident goth girl who hates the sun and chose sunblock as a necessity, got this as a result. The creepy vibe of the abandoned buildings is the perfect backdrop for reading good mysteries.

Nina Pearlman, copy chief: Cedar Grove Beach

I picked sunscreen for my essential item (because they didn’t list “beach umbrella” as an option) so I’m wondering if this beach is really shady. Or if it’s not particularly exciting, since I chose “cold water” as the thing I like to drink. Also, I prefer the mountains to the beach.

Ashley Smestad-Velez, art director: Rockaway Beach

I hate all the beaches here, no palm trees. But I like having taco and arepa stands at walking distance from the sand. You can’t get it all!

Neil deMause, senior editor (news): Rockaway Beach

I am 100 percent convinced this is solely because of my selection for music. If I change my choice to “Under the Sea by the Beatles,” I get Manhattan Beach, which is in fact my preferred beach, since it’s quiet and has nice surf to play in and (sometimes) popsicles. Unfortunately, I can’t in good conscience do that, because that is not actually a Beatles song.

Steven Wishnia, contributing writer: Rockaway Beach

A rock-solid pick musically — sun is out and I want some! — but wrong. Brighton Beach is my ancestral home, five generations of my family have cooled themselves in its waters, and it’s better for actually swimming. The clueless sorts who put together online quizzes about NYC left out knishes as a snack, whether they be mustard-doused squares on the boardwalk, the kasha orbs from the late, lamented Mrs. Stahl’s, or the stromboli-shaped split pea ones Russian women sell for $1.50 under the Brighton Beach Avenue El.

Aviva Stahl, contributing writer: Rockaway Beach

For a beach-loving queer New Yorker like me, the gay part of Riis feels like a summer home. The fashion! The music! The cliques! Those inevitable awkward run-ins! I feel so grateful for the temporary community the Rockaways bring into my life when the days get hot and long. I’d take Riis over Pride any day.

Ted Kerr, contributing writer: Orchard Beach

I finally feel seen by this city.