Since I was born, I have lived in the City of Long Beach, a city in Nassau County, in New York State. It’s on the farthest south side of Long Island and is a part of Nassau County. The north side of Long Beach is Reynolds Channel and the south side is the Atlantic Ocean. The city is split into an East End and a West end. New York City is less than an hour away from Long Beach. In the summers, Long Beach is constantly crowded with tourists from New York City and other surrounding areas. All of these factors have shaped Long Beach to adopt the identity of a beach city. Many of the stores, houses, and signs have a nautical or beach theme.
Many of the street names have been named after beaches or have oceanic themes. For example, Beech Street, Shore Road, Ocean View, and Bay Drive.
The signs that welcome you into the city all take advantage of this beach theme. The logo on the sign (sign 1) shows the ocean, a seagull, and uses colors reminiscent of the beach, and ocean. The other sign (sign 2) shows the ocean as well as portraying many things associated with the ocean, like sailboats or sunsets. It’s important for the city to lean on this idea of “The City by the Sea” (Sign 3) in order to attract tourists into the city.The tourists allow the city to raise revenue and support all the small businesses.This has been very significant towards shaping the city and its local linguistic language.
Long Beach is well known for its 2.5 mile long boardwalk that runs alongside the beach. The linguistic landscape changes significantly when you get on to the boardwalk. For example, we see Riptides, a small restaurant on the boardwalk only open seasonally. It’s business depends on people visiting the boardwalk or hanging out on the beach grabbing a quick bite to eat. It makes sense for them to appreciate and buy into the ocean theme. Since it is on the beach and meant to attract visitors to the beach. It strays away from a serious vibe. The outside chairs are all different, bright colors, with a whimsical font to help sell this idea. There is an area for food trucks to stop and sell their products in the middle of the boardwalk. Many of these include local popular restaurants trying to increase their business during the warmer, tourist season.There are many other food trucks that take on the beach theme to promote their businesses throughout town. This continues the use of the theme by utilizing a whimsical font, and bright colors.
The boardwalk also contains most of the hotels and apartments buildings that are in the city. These also play on the oceanic vibe in order to sell the idea of vacationing or residing in a beach town. This includes places such as the Atlantica, Ocean Villas, Meridian, and White Sands. These places utilize a fancier, more formal font than the restaurants on the boardwalk.
The East end doesn’t carry these beach themes as much as the West end; apart from the boardwalk. However, the East End does have a handful of Beach themed storefronts. Some places mention the beach, but don’t have much of the nautical theme. Some examples of this are Diner by the Sea, Beach Nails, and Bagel Cafe. However, restaurants like Billy’s Beach Cafe, in the east end, take full advantage of the nautical theme. Both the inside and the outside of Billy’s Beach Cafe portray scenes of the beach and tropical images. The East End, apart from the boardwalk, is not as heavily reliant on the nautical theme as much the West End. This could be because of the west end’s commercial area’s proximity from the beach, it is closer to the bay and ocean than most of the commercial areas in the east end.
The West End has many more beach themed places. This is the place in town where all except one, of the bars are. This part of town has many restaurants with the beach theme. These bars and restaurants have a lot of open space and outdoor spaces. The West End seems to be more heavily populated with residents rather than tourists. Most of the signs in the west end are marked with images of the beach and have nautical, beach names.
One of the more popular locations is the Cabana, a restaurant bar. It takes on a beach theme with its name and the design of the sign. We have a surfer, the ocean and blue and green colors that do a good job fitting into the beach theme. This is an open, beach themed bar and restaurant; one of many in the West end of Long Beach. The Jetty is another one of these restaurant bars. It is named after a Jetty “a pier or structure of stones, piles, or the like, projecting into the sea or other body of water to protect a harbor, deflect the current, etc. or a wharf or landing pier” (Colin’s 2012). The design of the sign and building also reflects that of a jetty. A jetty very often is made of wood planks and looks similar to what the sign is built on. These places want to sell an idea that they are nautical, and laid back with the signs they make for the beach bars and restaurants. This promotes the idea that Long Beach is somewhere you can go to vacation and relax. The Cabana has a less serious look. It seems like a place that you could get a quick bite to eat, or go have a drink. The Jetty looks more serious, but they both have the same beach and ocean theme. A third restaurant bar using this beach theme is the Beach House. It’s sign shows a car pulled up on the beach with surfboards in the back. The bar itself has fancier design to it, but the sign has a very casual look to it. It is a bar that sells itself as a true beach establishment. The bungalow, a restaurant bar with two locations in Long Beach, also has a beach, and island design. They also opt for a less serious design with a cartoon Bungalow and unique, fun lettering.
There are some places that seem to add on a beach theme on top of their specific brand. The best example of this is Swingbelly’s. Swingbelly’s is a BBQ place that has a normal BBQ style menu. There is a pig in the center of the logo, fire, and wood in the background. Swingbell’s has all this, but also adds the beach theme seen throughout Long Beach. The logo is on top of a surfboard and the ocean is in the background. It also refers to itself as a beach side BBQ. Swingbelly’s takes in the second design due to the regibail tendency to promote their place along with our beach.
Most of the signs I showed you are restaurant’s. Surfing is also a huge part of beach towns and that includes Long Beach. Long Beach has two surf shops in a fairly small area. Long Beach Surf Shop, and Unsound Surf Shop. The Long Beach surf shop uses the color of a rising sun and a wave to look more like a surf shop. They also sell clothes with the logo on it for people to represent that they surf and live or visited Long Beach. Long Beach and surfing are both intertwined with each other and the LB surf shop aims to take advantage of this.
Long Beach is a city that strongly takes on its identity as a beach town. The businesses and the city itself attempts to sell themselves as part of the beach. This helps these places and the city to bring in tourists and revenue. The signs in the city really speak to the city’s identity. A town this close to the beach is bound to have signs and storefronts in the city that reflect the themes of the beach, and a relaxed lifestyle.