Infrared Long Beach (Friday Photography)

In the much-anticipated return of Friday Photography, I get to share a guest photographer’s mind-blowing work.  Equipped with a custom-modified Nikon D200 set to capture infrared light, Vedder Photography’s  shots show the heat of Long Beach.  They deliver a surreal take on the ordinary and are amazing to see.  And to be clear, this is not some sort of Photoshop edit.  This camera is simply wired to capture the infrared spectrum, instead of visible light like you and me see.

Please continue to follow SuperClearyPhoto and give me a “Like” to keep up with my latest imagery.

CrossFit is Not a Crime (Rant)

CrossFit King of the Beach prepping for a class

CrossFit King of the Beach opened in the West End this fall and I began an experiment soon after to see what this “fad fitness” trend was all about.  I considered myself in good shape, having been a long distance runner, surfer, and snowboarder for years, and figured I would join up just to stay in shape during the winter.

One thing’s led to another, and I’ve been derelict in my duties about putting up a review of sorts on the fitness program itself, the gym, and the coaches.

But then this happened, and I feel I’ve got to pipe up.  Full disclosure, I’m an active member of the gym, and have not received nor expect to receive any compensation for this post.  My opinions are my own and do not represent those of the gym management, ownership, or other members.

Without getting into all the hype around CrossFit itself, CrossFit King of the Beach is just a gym and another business in Long Beach.  Sure, it’s a specialty gym that mixes body weight exercises with Olympic lifting, plyometrics, and gymnastics, but first and foremost it’s just another business in the cramped and noisy West End.

For a quick background about what CrossFit is, the training regiment splits an hour class into a strength component (picking up heavy things with exercises like back squats and dead lifts), an endurance component (mixing running, rowing, jump rope, etc) and then a “workout of the day” which is basically timed circuit of two or three exercises, done at a high intensity.

After a week of workouts at King of the Beach, I was both crushed in discovering I could be winded by a 10 minute workout, and addicted to the extreme challenges that constantly varied workouts posed.

A coach leads a classes’ stretching session

And then a very small number of King of the Beach’s neighbors started complaining.

Here are where some of the differences are where CrossFit’s neighbors have started to balk at.  CrossFit expects high intensity out of every member; otherwise a ten minute workout is useless.  CrossFit utilizes bumper plates that allow weights to be dropped instead of dangerously having a partner spot them when failing on various lifts.  And here’s the biggest difference: CrossFit King of the Beach is not a going-out-of business nick-nack shop that was lucky to get a customer a day.


CrossFit King of the Beach, because of the skill of its coaches and amazing results it gives to its clients, and because it fosters strong social bonds between each and every member, has exploded into a packed house and has quickly out grown its space.  Moreover it’s become a social hub for Long Beach residents determined to make themselves better, no matter where they are along their own personal fitness journey.  Parents bring their kids.  Weekend workouts are followed by grilling.  It’s a rallying point before going out to party on a Friday night.

Like any other storefront in the West End that’s a successful business, people come and go, crowds assemble, and noise is made.  The dozen or so bars and restaurants in the West End are overflowing on the weekends (and some weeknights) into the wee hours of the morning with drunken revelers, live music, and all forms of other chaos.  The Beach House is across the street.  Swingbelly’s is three storefronts down.

A typical workout including ring dips

CrossFit King of the Beach opens its doors at 6am Monday-Friday and 9am Saturday and Sunday.  It closes them at 9pm the latest during the week, and generally by noon on the weekends.

I’m not going to attempt to debunk, the claims made by “financial guru” Joseph Hamlet in the New York Post, or the other unattributed and unsourced quotes in the Post, because from what I’ve seen, all complaints about noise and vibration have dismissed by the police as within the allowed levels during business hours (strangely not something mentioned by the Post).

I’m also not going to go into the awful characterizations made by that world renowned bastion of journalistic integrity, the New York Post, and several Long Beach residents referring to the members as “muscle-bound meathead(s)” and “muscle-bound freaks.”  I guess I should actually take that as a compliment because I’ve always been called scrawny.

I’ll also not address claims that the gym is somehow “harming the plaintiffs’ businesses” because frankly I’ve never noticed that the shops were open before.  I would assume they have better bookkeeping to document their sudden drop in business now that hundreds of new people are frequenting their block in the West End.

Muscle freaks watch out!

And I’ll also refrain from getting into how it’s impossible for a 45 pound rubber plate to “collapse a sidewalk” as was also suggested.  Has anyone ever actually looked at the condition the West End’s sidewalks are in?

Yes, weights drop, music is played, and noise is made. From what I’ve seen, every effort is made to mitigate it as best as possible. The owners of the gym themselves invested thousands of dollars into a complete overhaul of the gym’s floor, separating it from the adjacent business to help reduce noise and vibration.  Exercises have been changed and adjusted to encourage “quieter” workouts.  The heaviest days where weights are dropped are more the exception than the rule.

You’ve got to wonder though: is this really more noise than when the Inn has a band playing at full volume, with 300 drunken bar-goers till 3am?  Certainly not.  The neighbors are complaining because what was formerly a quiet failing business, has now been replaced by an busy, active, and thriving one, that brings the noise and traffic one would expect from such a successful shop.  I cringe to think if a restaurant moved into the space instead of the gym and what the complaints would be like.  “The air smells like garlic too much now!”  “I’m losing customers because they are too distracted by delicious food next door.”

A barbell workout

Considering Long Beach is in the midst of its worst financial crisis in years, it’s interesting to see some residents of the City opposed to one of the fastest growing and most successful businesses to come to the barrier beach in years.  One that actually pays its taxes.

In November it was reported that more than a dozen storefronts in the West End were dark.  What kind of message would it send to future businesses looking at Long Beach to see all the negativity projected at a young business owned and operated by youthful entrepreneurs and Long Beach residents?  What kind of message does it send if one business has to follow a different set of rules from every other business?

And now back to talking about this as a gym and not just as a business.

CrossFit King of the Beach’s incredible coaches (part fitness experts, part motivational speakers) have guided more than a hundred members into losing hundreds of pounds, building muscle, increasing flexibility, and improving overall quality of life.  They teach functional movements that mimic the motions one encounters in everyday life and are practical for people of all ages: picking things up, running, jumping, squatting, and throwing.  They welcome people of all ages, from high school students to retirees, and people of every size and shape.  They promote a healthy diet and lifestyle, recently confirmed by a national news story, and they’ve brought neighbors together over a joint interest in fitness and fun.

Team motivation on box jumps

I’ve watched myself get faster and stronger, and then been able to apply those new strengths and skills to every other part of my life.  I’ve watched other members who started the same time as me shed dozens of pounds while they’ve become  new more confident people.

What started as a little experiment for me into this “fitness fad” has become an important part of my lifestyle.  Go down to the West End and check it out for yourself.  You’ll have a lot of fun in the process.  CrossFit is not a crime, and I hope the rest of Long Beach agrees.

h/t Kzone for the headline

CrossFit King of the Beach
901 W. Beech St
Long Beach, NY 11561
T: 516.432.2102

More on CrossFit here

Space Shuttle Enterprise (Friday Photography)

Update: I’ve added in about 20 more photos of the shuttle flying (being flown) over Long Beach here.

Friday Photography double header! Historic day for Long Beach, and the U.S. and the Space Shuttle Enterprise was flew over head on approach to JFK.  Just a few quick shots to post right now.

You can also take a look at some of the other photo projects I’ve been working on at SuperClearyPhoto. And if you don’t mind – give me a “like” if you… like what I’m doing.


Update: I’ve added in about 20 more photos of the shuttle flying (being flown) over Long Beach here.

Long Beach in Black and White (Friday Photography)

Hey Friday Photography fans.  This week I tried to do something a bit different and go fully black and white.  B&W can really add something to some photos by getting rid of color, so I figured it might be fun to do that to this fair City.  Most of these shots were taken over the last few days from the gorgeous weather of last Saturday, to the stormy seas Tuesday.

Below follows some of my favorite recent Black and White shots, for the rest of the set click here.  You can also take a look at some of the other photo projects I’ve been working on at SuperClearyPhoto. And if you don’t mind – give me a “like” if you… like what I’m doing.

A packed boardwalk in motion


Checking out the lineup

View from the bench


 Make a wish

The boardwalk backyard

Keep Off

Locals launching airs

The start of the West End facing the sea

A very empty boardwalk looking East

A surfboard can also be a skateboard

The Hoffman Manor looking over the break

A classic Long Beach left

Looking West down the boardwalk

For the rest of the set check out the gallery here and remember to “like” SuperClearyPhoto.

and you can check out older editions of Friday Photography here

SUPERBLOCK Strikes Back (Again)

Update 4/26/2012: My more than capable readers have pointed out that I’ve confused the various multi-million dollar cases that the City is on the hook for.  It turns out this is yet another lawsuit that the Habermans have against the City.  This one for $50 million.  My mistake for mixing it up with another real estate boondoggle the City has on the SUPERBLOCK leaving the City on the hook for $26 million.

Back in October I warned that the City may be on the hook for more than $26 million because of years of SUPERBLOCK mismanagement.  I then received a scathing letter from our zany then-City Manager Charles Theofan basically claiming I was wrong on all counts.  He said I “didn’t get the story right,” even though he did not point out a single area where I was factually incorrect.

I guess I’ll have to apologize now, because it turns out I was wrong.  The City is not liable for $26 million, but instead a recent appeals court decision says the City is liable for $50 million.  It appears the former administration was not “successfully resolving serious problems,” but has left yet another turd for this beleaguered City to deal with.

Read the whole Long Island Business News story here

Read my initial post here which outlines the whole story

And you can take a look at Theofan’s response

As long as 1,000,000 people attend the beach and we raise the price of beach passes by 316% we can pay this off in just one summer!

Summer is Coming (Friday Photography)

The sun is shining, the boardwalk is getting more crowded, and it’s warmer everyday.  That can mean only one thing: summer is coming.  In preparation for that, this week’s edition of Friday Photography spotted 10 lifeguard chairs stacked over at the SUPERBLOCK before they are placed on the beach.  As you can tell, some of these are looking quite haggard after the pummeling they took from the waves of Irene.

You can also take a look at some of the other photo projects I’ve been working on at SuperClearyPhoto. And if you don’t mind – give me a “like” if you… like what I’m doing.

10 chairs in a row, looking a bit worse for wear


Perhaps a paint job is in order

A few lifeguard towers getting a nice base tan

No lifeguards on duty… yet

For the rest of the set check out the gallery here and remember to “like” SuperClearyPhoto.

and you can check out older editions of Friday Photography here

Updated: Let’s Kick Start A Fire (Surf Film Needs Your Help)

 Update: 4/14/2012: In a little more than 24 hours, more than $1100 was contributed to Fire & Water via Kickstarter and the project is on.  I can’t way to see it now!  Additional funds are still allowed via Kickstarter to the project if you still want to get involved in the film and be a part of what will be an amazing story.  My thanks to all the SBC readers that contributed.

Here’s the cliff’s notes:

Go to Kickstarter and consider contributing to this amazing project: Fire & Water.

And the rest of the story:

Last summer I told you about Shadows of the Same Sun, an amazing surf documentary made by Thomas Brookins about the roots of Long Island surfing in the Rockaways and Long Beach.  Brookins and the team behind that film are back and working on a new surf film about a local surf legend so many of us have never heard of.  It’s the story of surfing’s roots in New York and the hard-working blue collar firefighters who were, and still are, at the forefront of it.

Fire & Water is the tale of “Don “Gums” Eichin, from Long Island NY, who was one of a handful of pioneering surfers in the late 1950’s and 60’s that set out to make a life in Hawaii,” and then brought what he learned back to New York while becoming an NYC firefighter.

Brookins calls this film “an important lost surfing tale that is still being written today as Don’s sons, Eric & Randy follow in their father’s footsteps alongside good friends Brian Walsh & Casey Skudin.”

I had the chance to talk to Casey Skudin who’s known the Eichins since he was four and said Gums “was like a second father.”  Skudin grew up surfing with Gums, his sons Eric and Randy, and friend Brian Walsh, and then became a New York City firefighter.

That’s Skudin to Slater (in blue)’s right

I asked him what surfing with Kelly Slater and Travis Logie was like during the Quiksilver Pro‘s Bravest Vs. Finest surf competition.  He called it “the highlight” of his surfing career.

Skudin said that being a firefighter was “unpredictable,” much like surfing because the “waves and conditions are always changing” and noted more importantly that surfing was an outlet to “decompress and clear your mind after a long 24-hour shift.”  Skudin called Fire & Water “important” because it “will put a spotlight on surfing in NY, along with the people who surf it.”

Back over at the Kickstarter page, Brookins said he was “very proud of the people and Firefighters in this film” and had  “no doubt… that people will fall in love with the characters in this film.”

So for those of you that don’t know, KickStarter is a website where anyone can contribute to projects in development – from gadgets to movies – to help amazing ideas become real.  Head over to the film’s KickStarter page here and consider pitching in.

Check out the film’s teaser below which is already looking amazing.  Help Brookins make Don “Gums” Eichin’s story a reality.  Right now the project is sitting at $8,892, $1,108 short of their goal.  Every dollar counts and there are only three days remaining so follow this link and toss in what you can.

You can read more about the film and an interview with the writer director here.

And you can follow the movie here on Facebook

In other surf film news, Long Beach Surfers Association and SMASH are hosting a Surf Movie Night at the Long Beach Cinema tomorrow night, where another movie focused on LI surfing will premiere.  “Stacked” focuses on the rise of Long Beach’s own Balaram Stack and the Quiksilver Pro.

And Stacked on Facebook 

April Surf (Friday Photography)

In this addition of Friday Photography I’m going to highlight Wednesday’s surprise surf session. In case you don’t remember, we had a bit of a surf contest here over the summer that turned out to be an incredible event. While the circus might be gone, the locals have donned wet suits and “kept the stoke alive” all winter. I wasn’t able to get all the surfers names out there, so if you recognize anyone please let them (and me know).

Back in September, I put together this summary of all one needs to know about Long Beach surf.

In the meantime you can check out some of the other photo projects I’ve been working on here at SuperClearyPhoto. And if you don’t mind – give me a “like” if you… like what I’m doing.

There’s no surf in New York

 Hitting the lip

Down the tube into the sunset

 Floating on the top

 A clean right

Tucking into the barrel

 Not every maneuver works out as planned

Hood-less as the water temp starts getting close to 50 degrees

Long Beach circa 1960 or 2012?

Long Beach – Tube City


A big snap with a lot of spray off the top

Another satisfied customer

For the rest of the set check out the gallery here and remember to “like” SuperClearyPhoto.

Long Beach Fixes (Friday Photography)

A few weeks back I went around town and captured a few of the spots where Hurricane Irene’s wraith was still noticeable.  You can check those photos out here.  I couldn’t help but notice a few days after publishing, the City’s worker bees could be spotted at a number of the places I highlighted.

To give credit where credit is due, I’ve followed up and can happily show how some projects are nearing completion.  Especially pleasing is the work done to the Magnolia Park playground which they are just now wrapping up.

Good job Long Beach.

First up, the now completed deck around the snack shack.  I couldn’t help but notice that some “helpful” residents decided it would be a great idea to tag the shack with graffiti.

A huge crew working to replace the boardwalk at Magnolia Blvd.  Start to finish – about a week.

To me, the most important project, repairing the wall at the Magnolia playground, which is basically done.

Busy digging out the “newly renovated” bathrooms at National Blvd

And finally, this isn’t a picture of a fix, but a problem that I didn’t mention last time.  Sand.  We have a ton of sand where it shouldn’t be.  Here at Grand Blvd, you can see the sand piled as high as what was once a bench.  Hurricane Irene’s storm surge pushed tons of sand from the shore to the boardwalk and easily added 4-5 feet of sand, while pulling it from the water line.  The City has been working for months at different areas working to re-level the sand evenly across the beach, but it’s time consuming and expensive.  Perhaps the City should request volunteers one Saturday for a big “ramp digout” community effort.  I’ll be the first to volunteer with a shovel.  I love digging!

So the City has seemingly finally got a fire lit under its ass and even with the current budget climate, is working to fix much of the damage that lingered after Irene.  Great job, and keep it up.