Nude Sunbathing Banned at Fire Island

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013  |  Updated 11:31 AM EDT
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Beach-goers will have to keep their swimsuits on like these gals.

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Modesty is returning to Fire Island as authorities announce plans to ban nude sunbathing on the 32-mile-long barrier island off Long Island this summer.

Fire Island National Seashore authorities will start enforcing laws banning the decades-long practice, according to Newsday.

Fire Island chief ranger Lena Koschmann told the newspaper there's been an increase in complaints and observations of sex, masturbation and prostitution, especially on the popular Lighthouse Beach.

"We've been struggling to make it work because Fire Island has a history of that type of use and people have been coming there for years," Koschmann said. "The more we talked about it and researched it, the more we realized that that use wasn't compatible with an area like Lighthouse Beach."

Tourists visiting the lighthouse have also complained about public nudity at the beach, which has no lifeguards, bathrooms or trash cans, Koschmann said.

Dunes had provided some cover in the past but have now been decimated by Sandy and no longer block the view, she said.

"There has been a huge change in the demographic and the types of activities happening there in the last 10 or 15 years," she told the newspaper. "Now when you go out there it's a party atmosphere — there's DJs and music, and people partying and drinking."

The ban also will be enforced at four other Fire Island beaches where nude sunbathing is known to take place, the newspaper said.

Koschmann said violators could face six months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.

Felicity Jones, a co-founder of Young Naturists and Nudists America, told the newspaper she was "pretty disappointed."

"It was the best beach we had for New Yorkers, and it's not easy to be a nudist in New York," said Jones, who asked that she be identified only by her pen name.

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