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Sticking With Long Beach for Life

Some long-time residents have kept their feet in the sand through the good and bad.

Born in Brooklyn but raised in Long Beach, Bob Carroll is one of the city’s elder residents who have never left its sand and happily remember what it was like growing up on a once barren island that was originally created as a summer resort for the wealthy.

Carroll especially likes to retell the days when the boardwalk featured an arcade, merry-go-round and other rides. He also recalls when Long Beach was a Navy station for 20,000 sailors, when a mere four houses on his street held the only year-round residents in the West End after Labor Day, and when he was the town’s first paperboy—to which he can still recite the names of his 16 customers. But it is his fondness for the city by an ocean that has kept him in Long Beach for 80 years. 

"I always look back and think I'm a lucky guy," Carroll said. "Long Beach is beautiful and I got to grown up and raise my family here. I knew everyone. No matter if it's the , there's a uniqueness that's kept us as a community that's unlike any other." 

Carroll's enthusiasm for both the community and sports led him to become the first superintendent of the Long Beach Recreation Center, a position he held for 47 years.

For Alexandra Karafinas, her love of Long Beach ran so deep that she spent her life capturing and showcasing the city’s history and architecture.

"Long Beach shaped my life,” said Karafinas, a resident for more than 60 years and president of the Long Beach Island Landmarks Association.

“If I would have moved to [New York City], I would have been stifled," she continued. "I learned a lot about this community, and I always considered this the best place in the world to grow up. That's why I've worked to save as much of its history and heritage as possible.”

Residing in Long Beach when it was an attractive community during his childhood, when it became run down decades later, and then when it was revitalized in more recent years has only added to the city's evolving and changing environment that Stanley Fleishman never grew tired of.

"Long Beach was like living in two different places in the winter and the summer," Fleishman said. "You knew everyone in the winter, it was a local place. And then summer came with crowds, different faces, and new life every year." 

Fleishman, who was born in Long Beach Hospital in 1929, began a successful family business in the area, and spent his life feeling fortunate that he never left. 

"I've got sand in my shoes and I don't leave my community,” he said. “God willing, I'll be here for many more years.”

Shannon Steffen November 14, 2011 at 07:22 PM
This is why I will return one day. For now, I am in the rolling prairie land of the Midwest but Long Beach has always been my home and will become my home once again.
laocoon November 14, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Don't be so quick to come back. We've got $11,000 property taxes and the Democrats have just been reelected which means another $2,000 increase. There have been seven muggings on the boardwalk by Black "students". You can't come back to the Long Beach you left.
Joseph Kellard (Editor) November 14, 2011 at 08:13 PM
Shannon: If I may ask: When and why did you move?
paul.d.spellman November 14, 2011 at 08:18 PM
Laocoon, Would it have been better had the muggings been perpetrated by "dropouts"?
Shannon Steffen November 14, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Joseph - I moved out of Long Beach on December 26th, 1997 and haven't returned for a visit (for family) since 2001. I moved out of state because I met my (then) future husband in college and he was from the Midwest. We now live in Wisconsin and have since I left Long Beach. My family and friends are still there - as well as my heart for the ocean.
Shannon Steffen November 14, 2011 at 08:36 PM
I know, Iaocoon. I've been checking out houses and the taxes are outrageous. Right now I'm writing a series of books and hope to have enough money one day that such taxes won't bother me. Of course, the muggings always will. So sad...
LBLover November 14, 2011 at 09:34 PM
the taxes would not bother me either if our rec center, roads, boardwalk, etc looked 10 times better
Trying to Make Sense November 15, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Shannon, as you consider returning to our beautiful City by the Sea please disregard the fact that a closet racist like Iaocoon apparently lives here. Those muggings were an aberation not a trend. The boardwalk is a place that thousands enjoy day and night. And while taxes are high relative to where you live now, they are not compared to the region. Big apple nearby, ocean beaches, quality services, old infrastructure, good salaries all play a role in the tax picture, the vast majority of the total bill being school taxes (which Iaocoon fails to understand).
Shannon Steffen November 15, 2011 at 02:14 PM
Neal - thank you for your reply. I know that things happen no matter where you live and I've always felt safe enough to walk from Island Park to my home in the West End regularly - using the boardwalk. The taxes are high but Long Beach is always in my heart. It is a price I'm willing to pay... once I am ready to do so.
Glenna King November 15, 2011 at 07:42 PM
I was born in Long Beach Medical Center in 1968. I grew up in Baldwin but always was fond of Long Beach. When I moved in with my boyfriend at the time, I suggested that we find a place in Long Beach which we did. We were subletting an apartment & the owner sold it so we ended up moving to Rockville Centre as my now husband did not like Long Beach. Luckily when I got pregnant & we needed more space I found an apartment in Long Beach & convinced him to move back here. I HATED living in Rockville Centre. Last year my apartment went on fire & I almost died. I NEVER want to leave Long Beach. It's just such a special place as I was born here & almost died here.
rav November 15, 2011 at 10:06 PM
To lacoon' pretty racist statement,is that relevant black or white... Pretty ignorant of you.
Matt Markell November 16, 2011 at 12:47 AM
I was lucky enough to grow up in Long Beach. I always thought it was special. Growing up in this town, could there be anything better? The ocean, the boardwalk, the unbelievable summers that were right outside our door. I was one of the early surfers and have seen it grow into the Quiksilver Pro. I've thought about those that have grown up in places like Oklahoma and Nebraska or those kids that grow up in the city. Sure, they think that those places are the best because they they don't know anything else. Think about what you've got. It could be a lot worse!
Matt Markell November 16, 2011 at 01:00 AM
One more thing, to those critics,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,MOVE!
laocoon November 16, 2011 at 02:10 AM
How's that ignorant. Or racist. It's FACT. THEY WERE BLACK. You moron.
Trying to Make Sense November 16, 2011 at 12:35 PM
Iacocoon, let's see if I can help you using the technique of our local Socrates Mr. Spellman... Would it matter if they were Irish, Italian, Jewish? What possible reason could one have for mentioning that the perbs happenned to be black? Just to be accurate or to insinuate your ignorance? Now who's the moron?
anna November 16, 2011 at 03:05 PM
What Matt said - hey laocoon, don't let the door hit you on the way out - the community would benefit from less people like you
rav November 16, 2011 at 03:34 PM
Thanks Everybody, the community would definitely benefit from less people like that. and then resort to name calling...just confirms the type of person you are, thanks for proving it again.
Trying to Make Sense November 16, 2011 at 04:05 PM
In no way, Iaocoon, am I implying that you are a moron in my last post (though I'm sorry what I wrote could've sounded like I was). I just ask you to realize that there is a clear thought process that leads to the conclusion we've reached. If you didn't mean to say something racist, that's good.
Lucy Centeno November 16, 2011 at 04:52 PM
You know, people just can't grow up. I mean the bigotry that is here is really depressing. One person is for harming gays/lesbians and call them all pedifiles, another is anti section 8 because they are low lives, another has negative remarks about BLACK students. What about the white guy in the west end that killed his wife in front of their kids? Or the jewish guy Potts that killed some one with his car? We are a city within our selves. No one said there is NO crime, but to catagorize it by race, religion, or personal beliefs is indeed BIGOTRY! Get a grip!!!!! Ignorance is a LEARNED TRAIT and passed down from one generation to the next. This is 2011 people, GROW UP and get EDUCATED before spewing your hatred, or find a secluded island where only YOU and YOUR people can live!
andrew November 16, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Another fact you forgot to mention was whether the muggers were male or female. The reason why you didn't mention this is because that fact is irrelevant, much like the fact of there skin color. That is why your comment was racist.

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