08/10/16 2:20pm
Girls in DIY shelters have more fun. Photo via @annlodwicklove on Instagram.

Girls who build their own beach forts have more fun. Photo via @annlodwicklove on Instagram.

A beach day is made infinitely better with the addition of shade. If you don’t own an umbrella, or you don’t feel like lugging one with you, you’ve got some options. If you’re taking the NYC Beach Bus, you can reserve an umbrella for a very reasonable $10 via Rent Ride Return, which they will deliver right to the bus.

But say you’re really budgeting or prefer to get creative once you’re out on the sand, or you’re biking and can’t bring a whole set-up, all you need is a sheet and something to tether it to, which could be anything from the spokes of your bike wheels to some sturdy driftwood you find in the surf, to create (but not throw) your own shade.

We know anything DIY can be intimidating, especially for those of us who’d rather peruse PINT-erest than Pinterest (get it? like pint of beer?). While seeking examples of do it yourself beach encampments, we checked out how the crazy kids at Fort Tilden do it (they tend to be in extra need of shelter, on account of being mostly naked).

While you can ostensibly pitch your own makeshift shelter at any of NYC’s beaches, Fort Tilden is the ideal locale because it’s much less crowded, there’s never a shortage of driftwood, and we like to think the actual surrounding forts provide inspiration. Not to mention, your shelter will look real pretty against the scenic backdrop of Fort Tilden wilderness.

Here are 11 examples of the best DIY beach forts we found on the beaches of Fort Tilden — that you can make, too!  (more…)

09/23/15 4:12pm
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Help out, so that every picture of Fort Tilden is free of trash. via Flickr user Todd Shirley

Summer is only right around corner (provided of course you’re on a very long curve), and one thing that means is that we’re going to want clean beaches where we can drink non-alcoholic beverages out of plastic cups. The city does their best, but it’s also nice sometimes to give back to the beaches which do so much for you, and you can do just that this Sunday by joining up with other volunteers from the International Coastal Cleanup who are cleaning up Fort Tilden. (more…)

03/16/15 2:27pm
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The future of summah is in your hands. via Flickr user Todd Shirley

As you know, Fort Tilden took one mean whacking during Hurricane Sandy. We were pretty excited when they reopened last summer after having been all closed and sad in 2013, but there’s still lots of work to be done down there. The National Park Service is working hard to make Fort Tilden an accessible, useable place for The People, but they need your help to know what The People need. Which is why they’re seeking your feedback on how to make Fort Tilden even more glorious than it was before mother nature bellyflopped on it. (more…)

01/14/15 7:00am
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You can still get your beach-day kicks this winter, a train ride away. All photos by Vince Catalanotto

The holidays are over, and gone with them are all the opportunities for free food and drink. As a plentiful December recedes, the reality of a New York winter starts to set in. Shake off the claustrophobia and satisfy that craving for some open sky by heading out to Rockaway Beach. And bring your South Brooklyn and Rockaways Beer Book (now 20% off), because Whit’s End, Sayra’s and Playland Motel are open, and the beach will be all yours. (more…)

05/15/14 12:21pm
Summer is coming and it brings free beer. Via NYC Beach Bus Instagram

Summer is coming and it brings free beer. Via NYC Beach Bus Instagram

Stop what you’re doing, which is probably bitching about allergies or how you are too superstitious to put your winter jacket into storage yet, and remember that Memorial Day is little more than a week away. And that’s beach season and the start of everything fun and joyous and right in the world. It also means our friends at the NYC Beach Bus are starting their season again on May 26, offering you roundtrips to Rockaway and Jacob Riis for $12. But there’s a bigger bonus this year: riders get to check out the debut of Sixpoint’s brand new summer beer, Rad. And those beers are free for bus riders, because summer, is, in fact, where rad lives.  (more…)

05/06/14 1:50pm
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You can do this now, if you want. You can do it today, even. via Flickr user Todd Shirley

Sure we knew that Fort Tilden was going to be open this summer at some point, but we didn’t know when it would be open. Well, the folks at Bedford + Bowery are reporting that the beach is debris-free and ready for frolicking or laying on lazily now. At this moment. While you’re reading this. So someone down there is probably having a better day than you right now, as you’re cooped up in your office. Oh well, you can ruin their good fun by writing the season’s first “I went to Fort Tilden before everyone ruined it,” thinkpiece. After all, you don’t want to be the second one to write it. That would just be embarrassing.

03/07/14 9:13am
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Welcome back, friend. via Flickr user rachel in wonderland

Sure it might be overcast and in the 40s for the next forever week, but we’ve got some news that should keep everyone warm until summer gets here: Fort Tilden, previously thought to be closed for 2014, is in fact going to be open in time to hit the beach this summer. The murder rate is down and Fort Tilden is gonna be open again? Welcome to #deblasiosnewyork. (more…)

01/31/14 4:43pm
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Welp, still looks like shit. via Flicker user hunter.gatherer

As we enter (hopefully) winter’s last month, thoughts are kind of almost moving to summer and the various adventures we can have during it. Maybe you were thinking Fort Tilden would be reopened, so we’d have another victory over Sandy to add to our list. Well, if you were thinking that, you thought wrong, because the beach will still most likely be closed, as Gothamist reports. Back to hating nature with a blind vengeance! (more…)

05/09/13 2:43pm
Want to bring it back to these days? Grab a shovel.

Want to bring Tilden back to these days? Grab a shovel. via @iamkellymurphy

We were all bummed to learn that Fort Tilden would be closed this summer because of that dickhead hurricane Sandy, and further bummed to learn that restoring and re-opening it was low down on the National Park Service’s to-do list. But instead of moping about it, one enterprising Brooklyn resident has organized a federally-sanctioned clean up effort, Clean Up Fort Tilden, that starts this weekend. So let’s help her out! (more…)

02/28/13 5:39pm
Next year, friend. via Facebook

Tilden, after Sandy. Next year, friend. via Facebook

A couple days ago, fresh from walking through the cold rain of late February, a couple of us started making grand plans for weekly visits to Fort Tilden, secluded beach paradise. We saw it as a reward for surviving winter. But, once again, because of that goddamn hurricane, our reward has been ripped away from us. Straight from the mouth of a Gateway National Recreation Area rep: Fort Tilden is closed for this summer. Better luck next year. (more…)