Posted tagged ‘Flying Point Beach’

Hurricane Sandy Report: Flying Point Road, Long Island Update

October 30, 2012

Flying Point Beach signpost, September 2012. Photo: Melissa Cooper

The YouTube video below was filmed yesterday, presumably in the early hours of Hurricane Sandy. It shows Flying Point Road in Water Mill, Long Island, from a vantage point very close to my family house, where my brother has weathered the storm.

Our house sits just before the curve in the road where the filmmaker’s car sits. On the near side of the curve, the bay laps the shore and there is a small stretch of land between the bay and the road to absorb its overflow. On the far side of the curve,, the bay is contained by a small retaining wall. The road is wider here, but there is no shore.

Mecox Bay, Water Mill, NY in calmer days. Photo: Melissa Cooper

This is where people park their cars on the side of the road to fish for crabs.

Crabbing in Mecox Bay in September 2012. Photo: Melissa Cooper

When we first started coming to our house in the mid-1960s (Well, it was Mr. Jennings’s house then), there was only one other house visible on the road between us and Flying Point Beach, maybe two. Today, there are many, even on the bay side. But the old farmers knew what they were doing in not building closer to the water. Yesterday, beyond this curve, the road was completely submerged as Hurricane Sandy pushed vast amounts of water from the ocean into the little skillet of Mecox Bay.

Here is a terrific photo taken a little further down the road between our house and the ocean, at approximately 11 am Monday. The roadside and retaining wall break off briefly for this little stretch of shoreline.

Photo: Austin Handler; SouthamptonPatch.com

I believe that stretch of land and water usually looks like this. Note the fence on the right in both photos.

Crabbing on Flying Point Road in early summer 2012. Photo: Melissa Cooper

The road stretches half a mile from the curve to Flying Point Beach. Just before the road rises to the beach parking lot, it makes a sharp left and runs another half mile straight out to the beach we call “the far beach.”  This morning, the road to the beach remained under water. My brother hitched a ride to the far beach on a huge flat-bed truck that was going to check on damage; his own car would never have made it. On nearby Luther Drive, about 100 feet in from the road, he spotted a 12-foot plastic jet ski dock that belonged, my brother was informed, to people living on the far side of Mecox Bay.

At the far beach, the ocean had pushed vast amounts of water into the bay, and flooded all the way up to the road.  The beach is now completely flat, no slope at all.  My brother described lines of breaking wines reaching to the horizon. The ones breaking on shore were six or seven feet high, but the ones farthest out near the horizon rose up over the water like a house, maybe twelve or thirteen feet high. We’ve been watching the ocean in storms all our lives, but my brother says he has ever seen anything remotely like this.

I’m writing from NYC, so I don’t have any photos of my own to show the wild transformations wrought by Sandy. Instead, I’ll show you another photo of beautiful little Mecox Bay, as it often appears.

Heron at sunset in Mecox Bay, March 2012. Photo: Melissa Cooper

I hope the herons, egrets, swans, ducks and all the other birds and animals have weathered the storm safely,

Lovely Long Island

June 13, 2012

As you head east toward the tip of Long Island’s South Fork, near the old water mill that gives the town of Water Mill its name, you’ll see on your right a small body of water.  Known as Mill Creek, it opens into a small bay called Mecox Bay.

If you turn off the road and follow the water, you’ll eventually come to Flying Point Beach.

During part of the year, the little bay is more of a saltwater pond, separated from the ocean. But at other times, a channel is opened, allowing the bay to regain its tides, filling and lowering with the ocean.

The beach is different on every visit.

Last Light by Linda Van Cooper

I read that before the 1938 hurricane, Flying Point Beach had dunes that ranged from 40 to 75 feet. But a 15-foot storm surge carried the sand off and deposited it in the bay. The dunes are not particularly high now.

Dune at the Cut by Linda Van Cooper

And most years, they take a pounding by one storm or other. In August 2011, Hurricane Irene sent water pouring up the slope of the beach and into the parking lot, as you can see in this video.

The surf easily dismantled wooden pathways to the beach, and exposed the huge steel barriers intended to build up the dunes, and protect the many homes that have been built on them.

The beach is narrower now in some spots than I ever remember seeing it.  Of course, beaches have always been about change, but the warming of the planet, thanks to man-made climate change, has put our shorelines in a new kind of jeopardy.

I’ve been coming out here for a long time. The potato fields that swept the open landscape are mostly long gone. The acres of scrubby, tangled vegetation that hid generations of foxes have shrunk to tiny lots, although Linda, the painter of these landscapes, recently spotted a fox and kit on the road to the beach. Mecox Bay is now ringed by houses of Gatsbyesque proportions (whose existence I try to deny by not including them in my photographs), and the few remaining farmhouses and cottages in the area have been renovated beyond recognition, or replaced by  huge, ostentatious structures that look like beach hotels or clubs, but are single-family homes.

And still … it’s beautiful.

You have to avert your gaze sometimes to diminish the shock of seeing a huge monstrosity of a house fill your range of vision. But luckily, we haven’t yet figured out how to build right on the water, so the beauty remains.

Path to the Beach by Linda Van Cooper

At any time of day, any time of year, in any weather, in the rosy glow of sunset or the bright light of day.

Flying Point Beach by Linda Van Cooper.

And if you can’t get out to see this place where the bay meets the ocean, you can get a taste of its beauty in these paintings by Linda Van Cooper.

Tracks at Mecox Bay by Linda Van Cooper

So long for now.

For more on Long Island, Mecox Bay and the wildlife of the area, visit:

I Find A Gray Seal Pup
Herons, Swans and Coots on Long Island
Swans on Long Island
Crabbing on Eastern Long Island

Everything changes: Two Days at the Beach

December 13, 2011

Two November days on a familiar beach served to remind me that everything changes, and a beach, perhaps, most of all.

Day One

Tiny animal holes dot the wet sand.

Breathing trail. Photo: Melissa Cooper

The surface of the beach is pretty empty,

Esau the dog in an undisclosed desert country. Photo: Melissa Cooper

except for a few remnants of life. Like this brilliant piece of seaweed.

Who lives below? Photo: Melissa Cooper

Or this lovely mussel shell resting against a twig.

Mussel and twig lie near paw print. Photo: Melissa Cooper

Or this delicate little crab, a few of its legs and much of its color washed away by sun and surf.

Where's the rest of me? Photo: Melissa Cooper

Tire tracks broke the beach into a system of unnecessary trails.

Rutted beach. Photo: Melissa Cooper

and  Esau warns of impending danger.

Danger Deep Water Photo: Melissa Cooper

On the way home, a gull looks out over Mecox Bay.

Day Two

The next day, there’s not an air hole to be found. Instead, beach stones lie strewn on the wet sand.

Smooth, rounded, multi-colored touchstones. Photo: Melissa Cooper

Among the stones is a golden egg.

Looking for the golden goose. Photo: Melissa Cooper

 Is this the gull that laid the golden egg?

I will never tell. Photo: Melissa Cooper

A peculiar cartilaginous skeleton lies on the sand.  Reader, any guesses as to identity?

What am I? Or what was I? Photo: Melissa Cooper

A solitary swimmer braves the icy waters,

Brrr. Photo: Melissa Cooper

and Esau leaves footprints wherever he goes.

Esau was here. Photo: Melissa Cooper


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