This summer of 2013 will mark the beginning of a ban on nude sunbathing on Fire Island, New York. Traditionally, nudists and naturalists from all over would come to bare all to the sun and sand at this small stretch of beach, but thanks to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy which blew away the dunes that obscured the sightlines from tourists in surrounding areas, beach-goers must now cover up or face the possibility of six months in jail or a $5,000 fine. (Long Island Newday)
The decision for this ban was based on two factors: first, public nudity is illegal in New York, and second, tourists visiting the famed Fire Island Lighthouse began complaining about all the nakedness.
Chief Ranger of the island, Lena Koschmann, said there is also the growing problem of public masturbation, sexual assault, public sex acts, and prostitution that has caused law enforcement to turn their attention to the region.
Surrounding beaches where nude sunbathing has previously taken place will also be part of the ban so expect to keep clothes on when visiting the beach in front of Sailor’s Haven, and beachfront from Point O’Woods to Cherry Grove.
Officials did say they wouldn’t overreact to topless sunbathers. While the law states women should keep their breasts covered, bare breasts are not the number one priority in regards to the ban. It’s the criminal activity that rangers will be seeking to deter.
It seems a shame to take away the few areas where those comfortable in their own skin can let it all hang out. Nude beaches around the world don’t seem to share in the problems experienced on nude beaches in the U.S. Perhaps it’s a direct result of our continuing Puritan attitude towards nudity; something not shared by European countries who think nothing of the naked body. When we make something taboo, it becomes that thing which those who do not respect it will exploit it, steal it, or attack it. Seems like what is required is not a ban on nude sunbathing, but more visible presence of police and enforcement of laws regarding the criminal activity of assault, public sex, and prostitution.
The decimation of the sand dunes has exposed the naked sunbather to the world. It goes to follow that once the lights are on and all eyes are watching, the criminal activity will cease and be forced to desist.
Will you miss tanning and frolicking naked on Fire Island?
M. Gwynn has authored two books, Harvest and The Cat Who Wanted to be a Reindeer on Amazon.com .
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