By Susan Harper
On a recent Saturday morning’s news, I saw people gathering along the shore of a coastal New Jersey town to cheer the “groundbreaking” for a new pier to replace the one Hurricane Sandy had destroyed. There were bagpipers piping and citizens cheering; the mayor said it was like Christmas morning. And I found it hard not to admire their zest and determination. Some beach communities are like that: slightly but lovably wacky. It’s part of their charm.
Which is not to say that there’s no sense at all to what they’re doing. Those seaside piers, with their food vendors, fishing opportunities, and even casinos in some cases, were economic engines for their towns. But is there any reason to think that a new pier will not meet the same fate as the old one?