By Kara Murphy Schlichting
When temperatures climb during the summer months, New Yorkers and residents of the city’s suburban counties beat the heat with a visit to the shores of New Jersey, Long Island, and Long Island Sound. Although the Sound lacked the surf and wide, sandy beaches of the Jersey and southern Long Island shores, recreationalists frequented its rocky beaches, picnic grounds, modest amusement parks, hotels, and private clubs. By the early 1900s, Long Island Sound’s shores comprised a residential and recreational hinterland of greater New York. This development irrevocably linked coastal communities along the Sound to the modernizing metropolis.
By Karen Karbiener
Walt Whitman is the world’s first New Yorker. Declaring himself as both a “Brooklyn Boy” and a “Manhattanese” at the same time Emerson described the Big Apple as a “sucked orange,” Poe denounced its noise and too-rapid development, and Thoreau felt “sick ever since I came here,” Whitman celebrated the urban roots of Leaves of Grass in many of his greatest poems. “Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son” named the city his spiritual forefather in “Song of Myself,” and “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” is just about everyone’s pick for the greatest New York poem ever written. “Proud and passionate city! mettlesome, mad, extravagant city!” he sings in “City of Ships.” “I chant and celebrate all that is yours.”
But 165 years before this blog post on summer city getaways was scribed for Gotham readers, Walt published his own versions of such pieces in the New York Evening Post and the New York Sunday Dispatch. “Swarming and multitudinous as the population of the city still is, there are many thousands of its usual inhabitants now absent in the country,” he wrote in 1851. “Having neither the funds nor disposition to pass my little term of ruralizing at the fashionable baths, or watering places, I am staying awhile down here at Greenport, the eastern point of the Long Island Railroad.”
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