Sunday Report from Hipster Beach


Plus ça change, non?
On Sunday, my buddy Sasha and I were hungover from my house party the night before. The last guests had left when the sun was way up, and he’d crashed on my couch. So in the early afternoon, after tidying up a bit, we drove down to Honest John’s and ate. He kept saying we should get some beer and go to Hipster Beach on Belle Isle, and I finally agreed.

A half-hour later, we were walking the path to the lighthouse and came around the bend. There was a new beach, pretty crowded, on the side opposite Hipster Beach. We decided to skip it and go to the beach we knew. As we walked down the path, a couple passed us by carrying towels.

“Just so you know,” the guy said, “The ‘fun police’ are out.”

When we turned the corner, we realized it wasn’t the fun police, it was the police — more specifically, a police cruiser running its engine, probably for air conditioning on this hot day, watching the crowd on the beach. This was a bummer for the bathers, since the police regularly harass anybody who tries to take a dip in the water.

A crowd of surly twentysomethings sat on the shore, waiting for the cops to leave. I heard one of them say, in joking, “I can’t believe this place got 9 out of 10 stars online and we can’t go in the water!”

Finally, the crowd of about a dozen gathered their towels and headed to the other beach, which they called “normal beach” or “diaper beach.” After they left, the police cruiser pulled up close, filling the air with exhaust, then slowly backed away and drove off. One person commented, “Isn’t there a crime being committed somewhere? Why are they just bothering us here?”

OK, so it looked absolutely nothing like this ...

As soon as the cruiser left, the sunbathers leisurely strolled down to the water and swam around. It was a pleasant scene, with a father teaching his two young boys to swim, another young boy swimming to the other side and cannonballing off a rocky precipice. Just when everything was looking great, a police cruiser came by and a cop got out, ordering everybody out of the water. A few of the bathers on the opposite side hid in the bushes, and those on our side got out. Nobody was ticketed.

The cop got back into his cruiser and roared off, leaving a cloud of dust descending on the nearby sunbathers. Kind of a dick move.

We weren’t sure how they knew when people were getting in the water. I figured they knew that every time they came back, people would be in the water and they’d chase them out.

"Yes, officer. We're just standing here. We weren't going to swim at all!"

And then a girl was changing in the brush and found a surveillance camera. She was pissed, her glacier-blue eyes furious. “This was right in front of me while I was naked, changing in the bushes!” she cried. She took the batteries out and threw it away. Then somebody pointed out another camera on a tree, a half-globe pointed at the water, and she also pulled the batteries out and disabled it. People cried a few cheers and then gave her a round of applause. She and her friends took off, leaving Hipster Beach that much more secluded from prying eyes.

The police just want to watch you ... while you change out of your swimsuit.


About The Author

Michael Jackman

Born in 1969 at Mount Carmel hospital in Detroit, Jackman grew up just 100 yards from the Detroit city line in east Dearborn. Jackman has attended New York University, the School of Visual Arts, Northwestern University and Wayne State University, though he never got a degree. He has worked as a bar back, busboy,...
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