To step on to the grounds of the Silver Gull Beach Club, or the Breezy Point Beach Club two miles to the west, is to travel back in time. No one knows that better than Jamie Blatman, the general manager of both clubs for the past seven years.
“It definitely feels like the ’50s and the ’60s at both places, that for sure,” Blatman said. “The average person here has been a member for 34 years.”
The summer season at the Silver Gull Beach Club was chronicled by the New York Times in 2016. At the time, at the age of 101, Dave Gelfman had a memorable quote about the multi-generational memberships at the club saying, “No one leaves this club; we just die.”
He is still a member.
“Dave Gelfman is still a member now at age 105,” Blatman said. “In fact, we have another member at the Surf Club since 1937.”
There was a time when such clubs lined the oceanfront in Queens and Brooklyn. Blatman grew up in Bay Ridge spending most summers at the Capri Beach Club in Atlantic Beach.
“There are now only three left in New York City and I run two of them,” he said.
And both clubs are concessions of the National Park Service, so they are not subject to restrictions from the city and state in regards to the coronavirus outbreak.
“If the National Parks are open we are open and that’s what we are planning for,” Blatman said. “It’s the perfect time to try a staycation this year and come down here and enjoy the summer sun. Most people in Queens and Brooklyn do not know these hidden gems are in the city, but once they know, they want to sign up. You can get a Season Pass or you can come down any day on our Daily Pass.”
The 59-acre Breezy Point Beach Club opened in 1937 and the 10-acre Silver Gull Beach Club opened in 1963 on the western end of the Rockaway peninsula.
“We have about 1,100 cabanas between the two clubs that rent for about $5,000 for the summer season, but with the Daily Pass you get access to both beach and pools,” Blatman said.
There are also modern amenities such as a gym and free Wi-Fi, but most of the members are happy in their cabanas which include a shower, electricity and two chaise lounges. The clubs also host special events from weddings on the beach to communion parties in their catering dining room.
“We do special events year-round but mostly during the off-season,” Blatman said. “Weddings, bridal showers and every first Saturday in March we do a few communion parties.”
For more information about the Silver Gull Beach Club and the Breezy Point Surf Club, call 718-634-2500.