Despite the ravages of Hurricane Sandy and a northeaster that followed, East Hampton’s Main Beach has been named the best beach in the United States on the 23rd annual Top 10 Beach list, as ranked Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University.
Mr. Leatherman, a k a Dr. Beach, is a coastal scientist and author of books including “Dr. Beach’s Survival Guide: What You Need to Know About Sharks, Rip Currents, and More Before Going in the Water” and “Sea Level Rise: Causes and Consequences.” His evaluation of beaches is based on water and sand quality, safety, and environmental management, among many other criteria.
“We accept that designation with quiet gratitude,” East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said of the honor. “We were fortunate to have that designation, because when you look at the tragedy of the storm up and down the Atlantic seacoast, it further manifests itself as to how fortunate we were. We are humbled and very gratified to receive that designation, and hopefully some people will take advantage of that and enjoy the beach.”
“Mother Nature gave us a beautiful resource at Main Beach,” Larry Cantwell, the village administrator, said. “We do our best to keep it that way.”
Most of the Sea Spray Cottages at Main Beach had their roofs damaged in the hurricane and northeaster last autumn. The brick chimneys on some of the cottages were also damaged. To date, contractors have yet to be chosen for repair, Mr. Cantwell said.
Also damaged was the storage building used by lifeguards. Earlier this month, the village’s zoning board of appeals authorized the village to demolish the structure and rebuild a slightly larger building on the same site. A contractor has been selected, Mr. Cantwell said, but demolition and reconstruction cannot proceed until the village’s design review board has approved the new structure. The board will meet on Wednesday.
As the structure is at the westernmost end of the Main Beach pavilion, the project will be minimally disruptive, Mr. Cantwell said, and work will take place only on weekdays. “We think we can demolish and rebuild it in three weeks or so,” he said, adding that the work should be completed before July 4.
Other beaches landing on Mr. Leatherman’s top 10 list include Kahanamoku Beach, Hamoa Beach, and Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, all in Hawaii, St. George Island State Park, Barefoot Beach, and Cape Florida State Park, all in Florida, and Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.