By Seth Daniel
Memorial Day has come and, with it, Revere Beach has officially opened for the season.
And if the rest of the season turns out to be like late last week and the holiday weekend, then it will be a banner year down the beach.
Last Thursday saw temperatures soar into the 90s, with Friday following a similar trend. While the weekend was a little cooler, each day was primed for hitting the beach, and people from Revere and all over Greater Boston flocked to Revere Beach.
At the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), spokesperson Wendy Fox said they are ready for the crowds this summer, and expect crowds to be a little larger, given that the troubled economy will most likely keep people closer to home, looking to take day trips, or what has come to be called “staycations”.
“Maintenance crews have been out raking the sand for the last two to three weeks,” said Fox. “Workers are out there every morning. We also have inmate crews cleaning the beach five days a week in the morning. They’ll be starting seven days a week in July.”
Additionally, lifeguards hit their stands on Friday, and will man their posts every weekend, going full-time on June 20.
Improvements can be seen all over the beach, from its newfound cleanliness to several projects the DCR is spearheading.
There are historical markers placed at a much-improved Eliot Circle, while DCR park rangers conduct frequent activities and programs on the sand and in the pavilions for young and old alike.
Speaking of the pavilions, they are getting a facelift.
Already, the pavilion located across the street from Kelly’s has been refurbished and, currently, the Reinstein Bandstand is partitioned off and being stripped and repainted. It will be finished on June 30, said Fox.
There are also many more of the solar-powered, Big Belly trash bins that are enclosed and need to be emptied much less frequently than an open barrel.
A prime concern, however, has been public safety, which has been greatly improved in the last few weeks.
After an early hiccup – in which thousands of Boston high school students flocked to the beach and caught law enforcement by surprise – it appears the State Police are serious about keeping things civil at the beach.
From Thursday through Monday, several State Police cruisers were stationed at many points around the beach, and, believe it or not, numerous state troopers were patrolling on foot.
It went a long way to keeping everyone in line.
That kind of protection will also go a long way in helping businesses down the beach have a good summer business season.
Already, the weather has helped move treats like ice cream cones, fried dough, pizza, lobster rolls and everything else that Revere Beach has to offer.
“We’re hoping for a really good year,” said Amora Schena, referring to the 32-year-old Banana Boat. “We missed a few warm beach days early because we didn’t open until May 1, but I think there are going to be a lot more to come this year.”
Meanwhile, Revere residents could certainly be found in the large mix of beachgoers over the last week.
Pat Tata found a nice lunch spot last weekend overlooking the expansive horizon.
“If you look out there at the ocean and the water going on and on, I don’t care what’s going on up on the beach – it’s one of the most beautiful views anywhere in the world,” he said. “I’ve been coming to see that all my life, and I’ll never get tired of it.”
Meanwhile, others come to the beach daily with their best friends, some who weigh only a few pounds.
That’s the case for Steve “Rocco” Flott, of Revere Street, who frequents the beach with his Chihuahua, Li’l Peanut, for their daily walk in the sand.
“My mother was Sicilian, which is why I’m Rocco, and my father was Cajun, which is why I’m a Flott,” he said. “I’m probably one of the only Cajun Sicilians around here. There’s not many of us, and we’re the only people who like to eat blackened spaghetti.”
Meanwhile, others who work in the area, such as Dr. Roger Pasinski, who has dedicated many years on the beach as the director of the MGH-Revere Clinic, enjoy an occasional treat from the surrounding businesses.
“All of us at the MGH love it when these places open for the season,” he said late last week while putting in an order for a cool treat on a hot day.
However, if one doesn’t spend some time down the beach, there can be a tendency to believe all of the negativity that comes from the Boston media.
Last week, several teens were sitting across from Kelly’s. They were talking loudly and throwing water on one another – doing what teens often do.
One of the members of the group, a young black youth, spotted a wallet on the ground that had obviously fallen from someone’s pocket. The young man, who would be described as the stereotypical troublemaker down the beach, picked up the wallet and ran as fast as he could.
Several people nearby took note, and some even readied themselves to take action.
The young man sprinted at top speed for more than 200 yards with the wallet clutched in his hands.
Then, at the last minute, he stopped behind two well-dressed businessmen who had just come from Kelly’s.
“You dropped your wallet,” he said, out of breath from his long run, as he handed the wallet to one of the men.
“Wow, thanks a lot,” said the man, clearly surprised.
The young man then turned around and ran back to his group to enjoy the rest of the day.
Perhaps that – and everything else described above – is a more accurate picture of Revere Beach, at least once the veil of negative perception is ripped off one of the jewels of New England – one that happens to be in this city’s backyard.