Is Long Beach is a cemetery? (And why I applaud Gloria Febrizio)

The LONG BEACH PATCH has an amazing piece written by Gloria Febrizio titled  “Is Long Beach America’s Healthiest Cemetery?”  Gloria writes that the city has a lot of different memorials all throughout town and more could be on their way. From the article:

I totally respect the idea of remembering our departed loved ones in whatever way we deem appropriate. However, I must ask: Have we gone too far? Did we change the adage of Long Beach from “America’s healthiest city” to “You are entering the Long Beach City cemetery”?

I think she is 100% right. Simply put: Long Beach is in some ways a graveyard. Before people start blasting me for saying that, please hear me out. First of all, I love this city; that is why I live here and that is why I’ve been writing this blog for almost three years.  BUT there are way too many memorials around town:  the benches on the boardwalk, memorial gardens & benches in the medians, statues for fallen heros, bricks at Kennedy Plaza, and whatever else is on the bay side. We are overflowing with memorials!   I can actually see two from my living room window!  To top it all off, the city is possibly looking to add more! Signs under trees? Sounds like a mess!  All due respect: I really do think these memorials give our town a soul and character.  I’m not asking for anything to be taken away, but do we really need more?

I think it’s about time we start to think outside the box. We have plenty ‘of stuff’ that reminds us of the dead, but what about the living?  Lets also celebrate life!  Why does every single statue, median, square & park space have to be a dedication? Can’t we have some fun here too?  Why can’t we have a statue for the sake of art? Something that will give us a smile. Something that will give this town a new kind of character that it sorely lacks.

I have an idea: How about a statue of that sand mermaid that everybody loved so much last summer? Somebody give that sculptor a rock and lets pick a spot!  Lets do something that will give our great city by the sea an identity for a change. All due respect to the memorials, can we leave some space for some fun too? I’m sure we have room for both.

Thank you Gloria for writing that wonderful article. I am not sure if you 100% agree with my take on it, but I applaud you for having the guts to write about something that some people might take the wrong way.

Read: Is Long Beach America’s Healthiest Cemetery?

PS, Event Reminder: Don’t forget that the ceremony for the renaming of the Long Beach bridge is on March 25th.



15 Replies to “Is Long Beach is a cemetery? (And why I applaud Gloria Febrizio)”

  1. I respect your opinion however as I commented on Gloria’s post not all the benches are memorials. Going further not all the bricks are either. My father runs the bricks for the American Legion on the bay That is not to honor our fallen but to honor all the men and women who have served this wonderful country past and present (living and deceased) who have given us the ability to A. post what we want and B. put up signs, bricks, benches honoring anyone we feel is deemed worthy!!
    Long Beach is the best city to live in and I for one think that being able to walk around town and see dedications to people (past and present living and dead) pays tribute to what an amazing community we are!! We shall forever be able to remember all those people who have touched our lives or someone you don’t know who just bought a brick to say hey “Joe and Sue got married in 1994 here in Long Beach” That’s a great thing to have as a memory.

  2. You are right and thanks for reading my post! I do know that not every brick and bench is a memorial. And like I said in my post, I am not looking to take anything away. I was just adding to Gloria’s article by saying that I feel we should also leave some space for art’s sake as well. Not every single thing has to be a memorial, dedication or something with a person’s name attached.

    While I do respect all the memorials that we have already, I would like to see something that will make me smile too. Something that doesn’t have something attached to it.

    Thanks again for checking out the site.

  3. Totally agree… way to many memorials! Park Ave is ridiculous! People put a sign up and a bush and call it a memorial. I hope I never get memorialized that way.

  4. I believe the benches and bricks are lovely memorials. However, the gardens, beach entrances in the West End, and the flowers left on benches are not maintained. The original memorial was done in a spirit of love and remembrance but then, who is responsible for it? Who would remove the dead flowers and faded ribbons from the benches? Who will prune, weed,and water the beach entrances and gardens? All of this has to be established with the city before a memorial is created. There are plaques all over the city with touching remembrances in front of unsightly and neglected gardens. What can be done about this?

  5. I don’t write many opinions and I like your site but this is one of the most self centered articles I have ever read. Memorials are celebrations of life and they are put up by the living. Long Beach is a close, caring city that is affected as a community when somebody dies. I smile when I run the boardwalk and I see a bench with a picture of a friend or acquaintance. I get motivated to push a little harder. Nothing shows what a City is made of then by how it remembers those who made it. Nobody is stopping people from following the protocol to put up a statue or a display art. Long Beach is also the home to many art festivals and celebrations. I personally think that memorials are about life and a reminder how valuable it is. We have a gorgeous beach and ocean but many people leave plastics, cigarette butts and trash after they leave. Do you notice these things and go out and pick them up? It doesn’t take courage to write an article that people may not agree with or find offensive. It takes courage to tell someone not to leave there crap all over the beach or to only care about their fun for the day. I am sorry to read that you may believe Long Beach “needs a new kind of character that it sorely lacks”. The character of Long Beach, the ocean spirit, the city by the sea, came from many of these we memorialize. The memorials are art to many and it has been part of the history of not only cities but civilizations. Much of our current culture that may shake the foundation of the character of Long Beach is the self centered, “me” thinking that has individuals less concerned about the community but how they feel or behave regardless of how it effects others. That is the strong sentiment that comes from your opinionated article. Long Beach has a great history as community that has come together in times of need and in times of celebration. Although you wrote “with all due respect”, I hope “we” can enjoy the memorials and celebrate life and give the respect to our community members whose lives we celebrate with these memorials.

  6. I’m 63. Half the Park Avenue Memoria Gardens are named after teachers I had in Junior and Senior High School. There are other buildings and memorials named after people in my parents generaltion. These are real names and people to me, but if the trend continues, I wonder what’s left in town for people who live here or are growing up here today to name things after.

    Memorial Bike racks?
    Memorial Surf Jetties?
    More Memorial Walks and Runs?

    I’d love to see more Public Art: real art – and artists – in town. More real crafts and craftspeople instead of the faux crap sold once a year on the boardwalk. More local food artisans. This could be a more vibrant town and destination for people to come to if the “powers that be” only encouraged new ways to draw people and visitors instead of the old tired ways.

  7. (Regarding the medians with blue sign memorials)

    No disrespect to the dead, the living or the living dead, but Sorry Mark, I disagree. And I say this on Mother’s Day. My mom died several years ago to Cancer, so this day is very hard for me, but I don’t need to be reminded of her by a giant blue sign with a shitty unkept overgrown garden.

    Benches, bricks, lamps, art, statues – all fine. I have no problem with people remembering their loved ones with something with function or use, but those blue signs on the grass medians make Long Beach look like a graveyard while you drive through it.

    I would rather see one main giant memorial garden with smaller signs and a ton of flowers than one giant grass median dedicated to one person nobody knows (sorry). Maybe it worthwhile – load it up with butteryfly bushes, benches, a fountain – anything, but pick one median and put it all there. it would be a place for people to visit.

    Have a good day.

  8. John F. Kennedy stated, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” Anthony, if the garden is unkempt, what is holding you back from fixing it up? We can spend a lot of time writing about memorials or art and again this about a community and culture. Step up and get more art if you think we need it. If we get more bike racks from the city as memorials then awesome! If memorial walk or runs raise money for cancer research even better! Unsound Surf Shop just had a great Art fundraiser and benefit for Diabetes and Cancer. I went and bought some local art. The Waterfront Warriors had a fundraiser to help our injured soldiers and it was a great event and a bunch of us went donated and volunteer during the summer.
    I was surprised to read in the original post, ” All due respect: I really do think these memorials give our town a soul and character.” , followed by a direct contradiction, “(that we need stuff) that will give us a smile. Something that will give this town a new kind of character that it sorely lacks.” The Boardwalk looks the best it has and that financial contributions for the benches is major contributor for that. You can buy a bench and do with it what you will and many aren’t memorials to the dead. It was just posted on this site about the anchor on Monroe and it must be Nassau County’s idea because it doesn’t look like a memorial. Isn’t an anchor from a ship that no longer exists but I agree it is great art and welcomed.
    Memorials are an integral part of our Nation and culture. The bring people together and remind us of our past teachers, mothers and friends. If you venture to Oahu, Hawaii you will be greeted by a statue of King Kamehameha and of Duke Kahanamoku. These statues represent men who symbolize “aloha” or the Hawaiian spirit. What a truly awesome feeling it is to pass by them. Memorials don’t have to be sad, it is what you make of them and most community members look at them with pride. As you drive toward the famed North Shore you may pass the USS Arizona Memorial which is an actual tomb of sailors, another amazing feat of amazing art in architecture. There are High Schools, Bridges and Stadiums to say the least that stand in memorial of our culture. I am sad to see William Shea no longer memorialized for bringing Long Island a baseball team. Maybe Long Beach should look into putting up signs for citi bank garden or beaches named after companies, LIPA beach instead of Danny Bobis beach.
    I think the question here is not about memorials but about art or more pleasing monuments, well let’s get together and work on it. I am game, instead of complaining, use the blog to mobilize. Feel free to contact me and I am hope Mother’s day becomes a day to celebrate your Mother’s life and not a sad day as time passes.

  9. Fair enough, but I would much rather have a statue of King Kamehameha than a blue sign with a giant name on it. It looks like a graveyard when you drive through Long Beach.

    And I what I said was an opinion and I have a right to at least defend it. I have no problem with you writing a contradictory opinion. If you want, I would post it too. We are all allowed to have different opinions and I will share yours as a main article if you want.

    As far as me “instead of complaining, use the blog to mobilize,” I barely have enough time to do just the blog. In fact, sometimes I think about shutting it down because I can barely keep up.

    People email me all the time and tell me how running the blog is a great service to Long Beach, so I am doing my part in some ways. I also have been getting more involved with some local organizations, so maybe you should ask before you assume that I do nothing, but complain.

    Thanks for your kind words, by the way.


  10. Anthony is right the gardens on Park are terrible. Mark how does bush near a large sign with a persons name on it give LB soul? I feel so bad for the people who once meant something but now forgotten and are left with there name and a half-dead bush. The gardens should go or the people responsible for putting the signs up should maintain the garden or bush.

  11. Anthony
    I don’t write many opinions because unless we are all amazing writers, some of the intent gets lost in translation. I was speaking to all when I said mobilize instead of complain. I think we can all agree it easy to write an opinion. Obviously, you started a website or blog out of an interest in having people more involved in the City of Long Beach. You asked me personally to look at your site at some local event, so I know you are involved. Ironically, you did applaud the original author for having the guts to write about something that some people might take the wrong way I would love to work together on some of the issues facing the City. Did you know the Quiksilver admins and staff were very impressed by the character of Long Beach and the community atmosphere. They had not seen that at any other surf event that held. I think that speak volumes and I think it is sad they aren’t coming back due to the government of Long Beach (please don’t comment on that as I am sure we agreed.)
    Allison- the person was not forgotten if you read there name. I hope you thought more about the name of the person and who they were in Long Beach then the dead bush. I guess I am just someone who believes if you talk the talk, walk the walk. I guess I don’t understand f you feel so bad for a person whose memorial isn’t looked after, why are you writing about and not doing something about or cleaning it or fixing it. I will leave you with the famous quote,”actions speak louder then words”

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