A Visit To Pleasure Beach

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I discovered this space while on an outreach trip with Hatch. Hatch is pretty awesome.

From a trip to an area I have named Pleasure Beach.

Our goal when we go on outreach trips is to try to find and talk to people who are living outside. Although it is a fun activity, we do it because it is part of our job and do not recommend it as a hobby.

Hatch and I walked from our office up to the railroad tunnel in downtown Lebanon and then followed the river until we found an easy place to join the rail trial.

Along the trail that follows the Mascoma river there is a series of signs warning of the dangers of being near the river. The signs listed dangers such as  drowning but I feel that they were really attempting to communicate unspoken dangers, specifically behavior related to poverty.

middleclassbeuildings

The path led us in a constrained and order manner to a community garden and recently constructed apartment building. The apartment building and the community gardens are overwhelmingly rectangular and  to me have a contrived feeling to them. The community gardens and the apartments are largely middle class spaces. The rectangles and spatial divisions of the apartment complex follow middle class notions of privacy, car ownership and social mobility.

Across from the apartment complex Hatch and I discovered a space that I have named The Hive.

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If the apartment complex and community gardens are about rectangular spaces promoting appropriate middle class values than the hive is about another, separate lifestyle. The hive is an area of woods near the apartment complex that is divided up by a series of unofficial paths that from the air would resemble a bee hive. Because of its size and proximity to the river it seemed like a space where someone might want to camp out at night. We didn’t find signs of anyone living there but we did find signs that it is a place that people were enjoying themselves.

pleasurebeach

Pleasure Beach on the Mascoma.

I imagine that when local parents fantasize about their kids doing bad things, this is where they happen and those “bad things,” are probably pretty awesome. The woods of full of stuff, most likely stuff that is a result of someone having a good time. Broken beer bottles, horror films and other good stuff. A clearly define latrine area would suggest that whatever happens here happens often and for long periods of time.

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