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Alicia explores the Southtowns: The city life at Woodlawn Beach

THE SUN AND MOON TO ME – The view of the sunset for those who attended the beach party at Woodlawn. Photos submitted by Michael Nico Nostro.
HAMBURG — Labor Day weekend has come and gone and summer is basically over. With a personal obsession with sunshine and a dread of the winter months, I soaked in every last bit of August.

I explored the Southtowns with my city crew on Aug. 31, for the Labor Day Wknd Beach Party at Woodlawn Beach, hosted by MNM Presents.

It had been raining in the city and, although it was a blast dancing in the rain to dirtybird Justin Martin’s set on Sky Bar’s rooftop, I was hoping for a sunny day, beach-side. As we crept over the Skyway, a route I have become too familiar with, during my daily commute to my desk here at The Sun, the clouds began to break and beams of sunlight shined down in a pretty majestic way.

From the parking lot of Woodlawn, I heard “Hold Yuh” by Gyptian, blasting from just beyond the trees. This reggae favorite of mine is a song that emanates summertime. I walked up the sandy passage and found groups of people scattered upon the beach. Friends sat in clusters on blankets or around the fire pit, with plastic cups of strawberry margaritas or beer. An elderly couple walked along the sideline, holding hands. Children played tag and fell in the sand, as DJ Universal continued his set from the stage on the other side of the beach.

I smiled, I reached down, unfastened my sandals and threw them to the side. My mouth watered, as I read through the menu of Woody’s Beach Club and Taqueria. I decided on the chicken tacos and split the loaded nachos with The Owski and 222 Oceans, who were performing later that night. To say I love tacos would be an understatement and I was impressed with the food quality. The tacos were extremely filling and flavorful. I got to taste the Taco el Pastor, which was marinated pork butt, pineapple and queso fresco. The chef explained the food to us in great detail and even brought a side of homemade hot sauce that had my mouth watering, long after the tacos were gone.

I was also very impressed by the bar itself. The service was quick and was stocked with plenty of top-shelf liquor. The house margaritas seemed to be popular, as well.

Something about Woodlawn Beach makes this location a complete escape. It is its own oasis from both Hamburg and the city streets. Cloud11 was spinning and the sun was setting in the distance; the purple and pink clouds were an appropriate dreamscape for his set and those dancing barefoot in the sand.

As the evening continued on, the late-night crowd migrated closer to the stage. There were numerous hoopers doing tricks and making LED light trails. The spot for this event was a perfect place for the hooper conglomerate. I have grown slightly agitated by hoopers, since I have witnessed too many near-collisions, as they attempted to shimmy their hoops on the tiny dance floors of the Allentown bars. In this case, though, Woodlawn was their element.

YOUR BROTHER BEAR – DJ Brother Bear played to a crowded sandy dancefloor.

Overall, the event had a pretty expected outcome for its first time being thrown. There were no complications with noise complaints or the police authorities. The crowd thinned out relatively early, but there was still a decent amount of people until the end of the night.

The performers agreed that the venue should definitely be used again. Dancing barefoot in the sand to house music with the sound of the water in the background was euphoric.

I had never really explored Woodlawn Beach before and I left pleasantly surprised; it was wonderful to explore the Southtowns with the familiarity of the city. My summer was filled with laughter, flashing lights and sore legs from dancing. Like a nightcap, this was a perfect addition to the final weekend of summer.

Until we meet again, Woodlawn, I will be dreaming of eating those tacos on a blanket of sand.


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