In Andréanna Seymore’s pictures of life at New York City beach clubs, the sand and surf are almost an afterthought. Shot in rented cabanas at places like Silver Gull Beach Club in Breezy Point, close to the end of the Rockaways, or Sea Gate Beach Club, near Coney Island, her pictures offer a look at personal spaces that feel more like homes than day-use vacation spots. The temporary inhabitants are a “mixture of working class New Yorkers, teachers, firemen, doctors, city workers,” writes Seymore in a statement about the ongoing series, which she began over Memorial Day weekend in 2015. In her images, families relax in spaces that have been personalized with colorfully painted walls and outfitted with chairs and tables, couches and rugs, beach-themed accessories and murals. Club members play hand ball in enclosed courts and mahjong at folding card tables or lounge in deck chairs, but in Seymore’s images, no one seems to get close to the waves, which appear occasionally in the distance.
The clubs, she writes, resemble “something you would think existed during the 1950s in Miami Beach.” At them “year after year, generation after generation, [they] create a seasonal community, a home-away-from-home from Memorial Day to Labor Day.” As a 10-year club member says in an interview Seymore recorded, the social life at the beach is as important as anything else: “It’s a sense of community within a community,” she tells Seymore.