Jacob Riis Beach: Background information when reading How Far the Light Reaches

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How Far the Light Reaches

A Life in Ten Sea Creatures

by Sabrina Imbler

How Far the Light Reaches by Sabrina Imbler X
How Far the Light Reaches by Sabrina Imbler
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  • Published:
    Dec 2022, 272 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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About this Book

Jacob Riis Beach

This article relates to How Far the Light Reaches

A photo of the beach at Jacob Riis Park, showing a crowd of people with chairs and umbrellas on the sand In the essay "We Swarm" from their debut collection How Far the Light Reaches, Sabrina Imbler reflects on their experience finding comfort and kinship in New York City's queer community. The primary setting of this essay is a part of the beach at Jacob Riis Park in the borough of Queens, which, they explain, "had been a gay haven as early as the '40s, or even the '30s." By the 1950s and '60s, the area called "Bay 1" or "the People's Beach" was a popular meeting spot for a diverse group of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers and visitors. A 1963 article in the New York Times reported that Jacob Riis was somewhere "the New York homosexual" could find others of "his kind." In the 1970s, the beach became a hub of political activity for a community seeking avenues of change after the Stonewall Riots, as the newly formed Gay Activists Alliance held voter registration drives there.

The beach is named for Danish American journalist and photographer Jacob Riis, who in 1915 partially funded the ...

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