Elite dating skills
“My Secret City” is a collaboration between Narratively and City Lab from The Atlantic, a publication that informs and inspires the people who are creating the cities of the future—and those who want to live there.
Each day this week, Narratively and City Lab will publish a new Secret City story.
In a city with so many shores, these parcels democratize private beaches, keeping the expensive, expansive stretches open to more than just the millionaire landowners.
Today, I live further inland – not walking distance to any secret beaches – but come summer, when the big public beaches strain under capacity crowds, I’ll grab my picnic blanket and my toddler and we’ll drive along the lake in search of a dead end and a spot where the pavement changes color.
As reported by local newspapers at the time, the issue was a towering hedge occupying 2,400 square feet on the public property.
Inland neighbors in the less expensive houses fought to keep the path to the beach open and clear, as an obvious park, while the owners – which just happened to be Bill Gates’ sister and her husband – let the fees they owed for blocking it (about ,000 a year) go into collections.
We didn’t come for wild revelry – there was plenty of anonymity for that among the throngs of bonfires on the crowded public beaches or in private homes.
We came to escape, to find a place of peace and tranquility.
My friends and I jumped in on hot summer evenings, splashing around until we got too close to the neighbors’ giant docks and tricked-out yachts, setting off motion-sensor lights, or, worse, alarms.We would giggle with the innocent fear of pre-teens pushing boundaries as we raced, soaking wet, out of the water, leaving a path of lake-water dribbles from the beach back to my house.I made out with my first boyfriend on the soft lawn of another secret beach: Belvoir Place, which appears from the street as a narrow path marked by a small sign wedged into a bush.Eventually, in 2012, the city won the fight and the homeowners removed the hedge, right around the time that a similar case, in Lake City, was heading to the state Supreme Court over a fence.But the laws about the secret beaches of Seattle were the furthest thing from my mind when they were my haven.