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At night, I visit the beach, where roughly 15 teenagers surround a bonfire, keeping it alive with pages from a newspaper. Behind them, low-flying firecrackers sizzle into the sky before popping. The kids giggle and conspire like characters from a movie about California youth. Within minutes, though, cars from Breezy’s private security firm arrive from two separate directions; as the officers close in, the kids scatter, screaming as they bolt into the nearby dunes. One car half-heartedly gives chase.
After a quick inspection of the ashes, the private police leave. Moments later, the kids return, their dark silhouettes visible against the dim light of the two-story beachfront houses in the distance. A couple climbs a lifeguard chair and canoodles oceanside. I make my way off the sand. At the head of the beach, a hand-painted signpost points north and reads, “New York City, 12 miles.” Despite the fact that I am standing in New York City.