Boss of the beach
June 26, 2020 10:37 AM   Subscribe

This story is horrifying. So many broken institutions.

I was a beach lifeguard in a podunk Florida County 15 years ago and if any single one of the incidents described in this article had occurred on our beach or within our corps hell itself would have opened up to swallow the perpetrator(s). I personally fired a guard just for joking that he was hungover within earshot of beach patrons.

It's mindblowing to think that corruption and criminality and incompetence of this type and scale could exist for so long, apparently not even very well hidden. Absolutely pathetic.
posted by saladin at 12:06 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]

This was an absolutely mindblowing story. And it ends on, essentially, a cliffhanger!
posted by jeather at 12:37 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]

I just can't imagine how AFSCME allows a union to be run by the manager of the members of that union.
posted by Etrigan at 12:44 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]

This feels like something from the first act of "GoodFellas", not 2020, what an amazing (and horrible!) story.
posted by wintermind at 4:18 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]

Stein — a squat Jewish kid with caterpillar eyebrows — was no David Hasselhoff.

What does his religion have to do with the story? I mean, if he were a Protestant it would go absolutely unmarked, right?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:10 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]

Joe, this is New York Magazine writing about a New York City institution for New Yorkers. In the context of 1960s Brooklyn, his cultural and ethnic identity was very relevant – not his religious beliefs or practices.
posted by nicwolff at 5:30 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]

Really? Perhaps you can explain that to me, because it doesn't actually seem to feature in the story at all, except for that one line.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:47 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]

There was also the reference to him as a "nudnik" - a Yiddish term that was, again, placing him in a certain context in 1960s New York, or maybe specifically Brooklyn (I say as somebody who grew up in that context, who would have found the idea of a Jewish guy running the city lifeguard racket as kind of interesting, especially if, as the article makes clear, he was kind of a shlub).
posted by adamg at 8:16 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]

It sets up this comparison with Stein’s would-be challenger:
Back then, Joe McManus was Rockaway’s rising star. A court officer off the beach, he was six-foot-two, handsome, and Irish Catholic. He wrote articles for American Lifeguard and coached the varsity swim team at St. Francis College. His Rockaway squad regularly won the city’s annual lifeguard Olympics. In other words, McManus was everything Stein was not.
I’m not familiar enough with the cultural fault lines in New York at the time to say whether that is a particularly relevant distinction to be drawing.
posted by jedicus at 4:59 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]

Wow, you just can't make this stuff up.

I did find the part about a supervisor's union a bit confusing. Isn't the point that supervisors are management and therefore definitionally not in a union?
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 9:40 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]

Isn't the point that supervisors are management and therefore definitionally not in a union?

Those supervisors are still managed by higher management in the Parks department, and are better served by pooling their efforts in negotiating with those higher supervisors. Not all management should be in a union, but they certainly shouldn't be automatically excluded.
posted by Etrigan at 6:54 PM on June 28

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