Sunday, January 2, 2011


There's something about the view from a boardwalk. The water, dunes, marshes and forests they overlook have always been there, and are always changing. A hundred-plus years ago, people began laying boards down to make access to these areas easier and cleaner.

The structures, found around the world, are simple and elegant; sturdy and shaky. Repairs and replacements are ongoing. Storms and weather are the biggest destroyers of boardwalks. The sand remains, though likely in different places than before. And the boards are rebuilt, to allow more of us to experience the sea, the sand and the trees.

I've been interested - no, make that passionate - about boardwalks and seaside parks and resorts since I was seven and first laid eyes on the Sodus Point Park and lighthouse pier. It was in the fall of 1965 and the Park building was closed; sand had blown and drifted part way up the north walls, around the east side. It was desolate - and beautiful.

Empty boardwalks and boarded-up storefronts hold incredible promise. Spring will come again, the sand will be swept back, and the people will arrive. The noise will increase, the smells of popcorn and seafood will fill the air and there will be lights.

Neon lights. Some say they are commercial and tacky - I see other things. I see joy in the faces of people unaccustomed to such frivoltry and fun. I see opportunity. One can sit on the boardwalk and dream up just about anything. And I see in my mind black-and-white images of boardwalks and patrons of the past, strolling, pushing the rolling chairs, throwing balls at pyramids of bottles.

My collection of boardwalk images needs a home, so here we are. I'm always looking for more - images, stories, resources. I'm grateful to those willing to share what they know, what they have. Post away!

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