No Beach There


WHERE THE WAVES MEET THE SEAWALLS, FL — Gertrude Stein’s dismissal of Oakland, Calif. as a place where “there is no there there,” is remembered and quoted not because it so perfectly describes one place, but because it can be applied now to so many towns, counties, regions succumbed to strip mall, chain franchise and subdivision sprawl.

Such a place is South Florida, a poster place for the affliction of having no “there,” but also proof that  “there”  isn’t everything, as people have demonstrated by coming down in great numbers to enjoy the other attributes of being in the there-less here — weather, water and beach.

dunedeckToo much of the first two has taken a toll on the latter, and now, in November, the month cool breezes and snowbirds return, there is no beach there. Instead, from Lake Worth to Manalapan this morning there are slabs of broken pavement, rusted seawalls and the ocean, slapping furiously against this post-apocalyptic landscape, dragging more sand away as it ricochets back from these obstacles.

It is not hard to figure what the future holds for the homes behind these crumbling barricades, and how little mercy nature will show those who took its property.


If I were them, I would admit my mistake, take a loss, get out and start over. These homes were a poor investment as they are taking the very thing that distinguishes this there from any other.  Across the bridge, in the meantime rows of empty new condos await owners.


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