When I was growing up, the beaches of South Boston were sparse. The sand was actually dirt and the water was filthy with contamination.
M Street Beach in particular was a wasteland scattered with debris and broken glass. In 2010, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) replaced the dirt with new sand. Boston Harbor Now cleaned up the water. They started a campaign called “Back to the Beach” in order to get people to go..well..back to the beach. The virtual ghost town of M Street Beach transformed into a hot spot filled with even hotter beach-goers.
From the outside looking in, M Street Beach appears to be happy place. Muscles and bikinis are aplenty. Cornhole, spikeball, mixing and mingling. Everyone is having a good time. But not everyone is happy about this. Some onlookers are outright angry.
Vocal Minority of Curmudgeons
There is a vocal minority of curmudgeons that frown on fun. The complaints range from too much traffic and lack of parking to public drinking laws not being enforced and unleashed dogs are running amuck. To those people I say, “Lighten up!” This is nothing new.
Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the drinking and swearing was on the corners and in the schoolyards where the young people hung out. And dogs off leash? Please, when I was a kid, dog owners didn’t even own leashes. And don’t even get me started on parking! Parking at night when no one is even at the beach is a much bigger nuisance than people parking to use the beach during the day.
I’ve been there myself
I have been to M Street Beach with my family and we always enjoy it. We love the lively atmosphere and my sons (ages 5 and 7) have a blast swimming, digging in the sand and running around. We have never been bothered by anyone allegedly drinking and swearing. And no wild dogs have attacked or intimidated us. And I’ve seen the state police doing their job and policing the area looking for trouble. So what’s all the commotion about? I believe it’s people who are looking for something to complain about – they are the fun police – looking to break up anything fun!
And these young people adhering to the message of the “Back to the Beach” provide a boost to the Southie economy. Grammy White’s is the vendor that is set up at M Street Beach. They sell cold drinks, slush, hot dogs and sausages. They are busy all the time. I’ve seen people come to the beach with bags of food from Sal’s and Mirisola’s and ice coffee from the Sidewalk Cafe. And after a long day of fun at the beach, these twenty-somethings, head up to the L Street Tavern or the Beer Garden for some drinks and appetizers. And what’s wrong with that? Would we rather our beaches empty? I’m sure the local independent business owner wouldn’t want that.
Let em be!
I say let them be. Let them come to the beaches and have fun. Let the state police do their job and they can break up any shenanigans or wrong doings and the fun police should focus on the real issue – the families using the beaches at Pleasure Bay. Who’s going put a stop to the kids throwing a ball near other beach goers or kids running wild kicking up sand on your towel?
Have a happy and safe beach season! Party on!
Originally published in Summer of 2011