• Rocky Point Disappearing

    Rocky Point, Long Island, New York
    An Interesting and Beautiful Place

    This is one of many cross stitch pieces given to my mom by her long time friend
    from Rocky Point.
    They were very good friends.
    In my recent visit to see my mom's life long friend in October (story here), I learned about Rocky Point, Long Island, New York, her chosen home. It has a dynamic and surprising history.

    A *Nor'Easter storm was coming through on the
    day of our visit.  The winds were blowing
    and it was very wet.  This street where my mom's
    friend lives was beautiful just the same.
    At 93 years of age mom's friend has many wonderful memories of Rocky Point.  During our visit she shared what Rocky Point was in her youth and what it is today.

    Her home - updated and expanded over the years from
    the original cottage of the 1930s.
    On the surface this community has a wooded 'settled' feeling with long established year round homes nestled within its boundaries.  Initially filled with summer cottages in the 1930s, now it has a mix of updated year-round structures and a few of the original summer cottages.

    This path leads down to the Long Island Sound.  At the path's head, the sign said
    "No Tresspassing" but my sister and I decided it didn't apply to us. 😆.
    If we hadn't taken the path, we would have missed the amazing views of the sound
    during angry weather.
    But the 'settled' feeling is a false one.  Time and nature is making dramatic changes to this land.

    We were almost at the water's edge at this point.

    The picture doesn't do the angry waves justice!  They
    poured over that bulkhead.  The bulkhead is important.
    It holds down the erosion of the coast for the house located above the cliff.
    Right beside the bulkhead the erosion is huge.
    Walking back up the hill - my sister ahead of me.
    The wind was strong.
    During our visit we noticed a picture mounted on the wall.  It was a kind of map of the Rocky Point.  Shown in dark blue background with light print, it had the look of a surveyor's document.  Individual plots of land, roads and the shoreline of the Long Island Sound showed the scope of the area in the 1930s.  Our host explained that this picture showed Rocky Point as it was when her great aunt purchased the cottage (now a winterized and expanded home) we were standing in.  She pointed out exactly where we were figuratively in this map of the area.

    Now for the big disconnect.

    Standing at the front door of her home I could see a row of houses across the street that runs parallel to the rugged cliff coast line beyond.  Those houses back yards' end at the cliff's edge that drops off sharply into the Long Island sound.

    But standing looking at the long ago map of Rocky Point, I see that my current location is many parallel streets away from that cliff. All the land shown was divided into many many individual plots where houses resided.  That land, those roads, and those cottages are all gone!

    In fact, several houses just across the street were already considered 'Condemned' by the State.  And one house was gone .... off the cliff.  All that remained was the front yard and a road side mail box.

    In the fore front - the road my mom's
    friend lives on.  Behind that is a
    solitary mailbox.  Behind the
    mailbox is a fence located in what used
    to be the front yard of a house.
    The house is gone.
    Yes, my mom's friend lives in a house that used to be be far from the coast ... and now is exactly one street and one row of houses away from being cliff side.

    The supports of a house
     that fell off the cliff into the Long Island Sound.
    It was  Geology 101 for me.  Geology 101 talked about land changes in terms of hundreds of years - even thousands of years.  But changes demonstrated so dramatically and stunningly within the span of one life time ...  that chapter was not covered in my class.   When my mom's friend inherited the Rocky Point property in the 1960s she had the foresight to check with a geologist.  His assessment in the 1960s was that her property would last until the end of her life - but maybe not until the end of her children's lives.
    The story of a fast disappearing coast line - is hard to ignore when recognized over a very short period time.  Yes, this coastline has probably been receding for hundreds of years.  But would it have been so easily measured if man had not built right up to the shoreline back in the 1930s?  And would there actually be less erosion if accelerated global warming was not whipping up violent storms to pound on this coast?  And could man do something - like sand dunes seen in beach communities to slow the march of this destruction?

    The next day was BEAUTIFUL.  Fall colors still held on
    to the trees despite the winds that whipped at it.
    The pictures of this beautiful area do not do justice to the beauty and drama that is Rocky Point, Long Island. I am glad I got to see the splendor of this place - and the drama of it as well.  During our visit the area was experiencing a *Nor'easter.  This strong storm was churning the Sound and chipping away at the shoreline as it has done hundreds of times.  Even once the shoreline claims our host's home, there will still be many properties behind her that will still stand.  But as time passes each house will take its turn at being 'beach front' property ... until they aren't any more.

    The sky and the sea was beautiful.
    Just beyond the white fence, the cliff drops off.
    I am standing in a back yard of a condemned house -
    condemned because it will take its turn to fall into
    the Sound.

    The quiet of the next day!
    Future years may not be quiet for this little house.
    But today, all is well.

    One last look at a yard - and property behind
    the fence that is disappearing.

    It is just nature at work- relentlessly!

    Nor'easters are usually accompanied by very heavy rain or snow, and can cause severe coastal flooding, coastal erosion, hurricane-force winds, or blizzard conditions. Nor'easters are usually most intense during winter in New England and Atlantic Canada (definition from Wikipedia.)
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