And this year’s America’s Best Beach is … drum roll please … Main Beach in East Hampton, New York.
Main Beach has been in ascendancy for some time. It came in third place last year, fourth place in 2011 and fifth place in 2010 on a list compiled annually by Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University.
Dr. Beach, as the coastal scientist calls himself, releases his Top Ten picks on the Friday before Memorial Day. His ratings are based on such factors as whether the beaches are clean, uncrowded, jellyfish-free and sandy and whether they have good lifeguards and snack shacks and such.
“We acknowledge with pride the designation by Dr. Beach as being rated the number one beach,” East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said when asked for a comment on Friday. The mayor credited village workers in addition to the beach’s natural assets.
“We’re very proud of the beach staff,” he said.
Dr. Leatherman said in a press release that the rich and famous held Main Beach in such high esteem that he’d personally seen super-models picking up litter there. He went on to say, “A great team of lifeguards stands watch, making this a very safe beach for bathing and swimming.”
The Doc also noted that East Hampton’s patch of sand and sea had made a good recovery after Super Storm Sandy and subsequent weather events. “The proud pavilion at Main Beach was little affected because it was set back several hundred feet from the water’s edge,” he said.
Sitting on the pavilion’s deck with a cup of coffee at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning was Cathy Tomasso, a former East Hampton resident now living in Cranston, Rhode Island. Except for a couple of cars parked at the road end and a pair of sneakers sitting in the sand, Ms. Tomasso had the beach to herself now that Memorial Day weekend was over.
“I think this is what heaven looks like,” she said.
For Ms. Tomasso, the wide, sandy shore, free of “encumbrances” like houses and boardwalks, scored points for Main Beach, whose rise to the top tier she was already aware of. She used to live only a few miles away, she said, and “one of the biggest things I miss is the beach here.”
“It is one of the most gorgeous beaches,” Ms. Tomasso said.
Main Beach was the only winner from New York State this year. The other beaches on the Top Ten list were in Hawaii, Florida, Massachusetts and the Carolinas. Unfortunately, now that the East Hampton beach has risen to the top of the list, it will no longer be a contender, as was the case with Coopers Beach in Southampton, which took first place in 2010.
“Once you achieve that, then you go to down the bottom of the pile,” Mayor Rickenbach acknowledged. “Well, you know, it’s like the ebb and flow of the tide.”