When I enter Point Lookout, New York, there is no physical welcome. There isn’t a statue, a monument, a structure that tells you, “You are here.” There is a feeling. A feeling of being at peace. A feeling that allows you to forget all your worries and troubling thoughts and just let go. This feeling is unique to everyone. I think everyone has that one place that makes them feel carefree, that nothing else matters except their own happiness. Now, I know some people might not receive the same feeling about this town as I do. But Point Lookout is a special place with amazing people and a unique history that is near and dear to my heart.
When driving on the main road in this small hamlet, most people might not be impressed. A few of the stores look run down and weathered, and the tan pavement and the lack of trees make the town look dry. However, if one decided to drive through the neighborhood, your outlook would change completely. When I turn onto a street on my way to the beach, Jam immediately overwhelmed by vibrant flowers of every color, shape, and size. The houses that line each street range from small beach bungalows to enormous mansions that tower over you when you pass by. During the weekend, the beach is extremely crowded. You will most likely see a large group of bikes parked in front of the entrance to the beach and a long line of people at the ice cream truck. When looking down the beach, all that is visible is a sea of colors that reaches towards Long Beach, New York. Eventually, the colors fade as families pack up and leave after a long day at the beach. This is my favorite time of day, when the beach is almost deserted and you have the ocean to yourself. I am able to see the beach as it really is and fully enjoy it. When evening falls, the sky opens up into an array of colors that leave many in absolute awe. The beach and the marina have the best view of this marvelous display, which I make sure to see every night.
Point Lookout is home to around 1,200 people, not including summer visitors. The town itself is completely flat and is only 3 feet above sea level. Point Lookout is built upon sand and located between a bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The bayside holds the marina and most of the restaurants and big houses. The ocean side is made up mostly of housing. Some of the houses here are very unique. A few were designed to look like boats and some look like they came right out of the countryside. In a total area of only 124 acres, it is expected that the people in this town know each other very well. The people here are kind, welcoming, and have a great sense of humor. And when this town comes together, they are capable of amazing things. An example of this was when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. Since Point Lookout is basically surrounded by both bay and ocean, the town was badly flooded and caused a huge amount of damage that is still being repaired to this day. During the hurricane, the houses on the bayside of town were completely flooded. Because they had nowhere to stay, the people living on the ocean side of town invited them to live in their home until they could settle elsewhere. There was a gathering after the hurricane hit to share food and give thanks for everyone’s safety. Today, new jetties are being built to prevent a disaster like that to happen again and to make sure this town stays safe.
Before this town became what it is today, it was just a small sandbar surrounded by water. Just a few miles away, Long Beach was being settled by visitors and developers, wishing to make this beach paradise available to vacationers. In 1881, a few men sailed out to what is now Point Lookout, also referred to as the “Point.” They thought that this was the perfect place to open a hotel because of the popular activities available here, such as fishing, hunting, and boating. They decided to build the resort hotel here, along with separate beach cottages for guests who wanted more privacy. This summer resort grew popular, but the only way visitors could reach the island was by ferry. So a railroad was built, connecting the “Point” to Long Beach. During the railroad ‘s lifetime, it transported 18,000 people to Point Lookout, just in the first year the resort was open. Surprisingly, this beach resort only lasted until 1892, when a hurricane and fire destroyed the hotel and cottages. The hotel was built again in Long Beach, and the Point Lookout railroad was torn up two years after. It wasn’t until several years later that a few developers came and filled the marsh surrounding the “Point” with sand with the intention of developing a town in the almost forgotten vacation paradise. With this expansion, Point Lookout began its journey to what it is today.
Sometimes, when the weather is perfect, I like to sit in my screened-in sunroom and just think. I like to feel the ocean breeze brush across my face, as I listen to wind chimes clattering on houses nearby. I like to watch people walking their dogs or hear the faint chatter of friends on bikes as they swiftly ride by. When I sit here, I always end up noticing one thing: this town is unique. There isn’t a town in the world that is like this one. From first glance, one might not see it, but if you just spend some time getting to know the town and the people, you will find a great sense of community. And I think everyone living and visiting here has noticed it as well. We all sense this feeling of togetherness and embrace it as one. And that is what makes this small beach community so special.