Burn's Beach

by Charles McGrath

We all know a lot of beaches throughout the country. Miami Beach , Fort Myers Beach , Daytona Beach and even McGrath's Beach in California. In New York we have Jones Beach. You know what ? There sure are a lot of Beaches.

Previously I discussed the use of the word Beach. Most people from California to Florida refer going to the ocean as "going to the beach ". We refer to it in a rather unique way. When we are going to the ocean we say "we are going to the shore." The "Little Down Necker's " referred to it as " going to the beach ". And they were justified in saying that. But do any of us remember the most famous beach of all? At least for those who lived Down Neck. My Aunt Annie had four children one was a boy named Richard. He drowned while swimming at the beach. The "Little Down Neckers " also used this beach. I remember my father telling me that the city tried to prohibit swimming in the Passaic River. Looking back I would think they were justified. The river was used as a sewer. Everything was in it.

My grandmother led a protest against the prohibition of swimming in it by the City. She said all of her children swam in it and no one got ill. She probably didn't mention Thomas's death ( my father's twin brother who died at 6 years of age). They said he died from a heat stroke?? Was it related to swimming at the beach?

Would you believe that there was an excursion boat Down Neck. This boat would take passengers from Down Neck up the Hudson River. The boat would sail from the beach. When I was a little boy ( circa) 1942, I remember seeing a swimming area Down Neck on the Passaic River. I have a vague recollection of driving past the beach once with my father. It was located on the Passaic River between Brill and Oxford Streets.

I have been told that there were many people named Burns who owned it. Or just used it in large numbers.

Because of the above the "Little Down Neckers " called it Burns Beach.


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