Courier Life’s

Sheepshead Bay ex-presidential candidate spends his afternoons in Plumb Beach shanty

Ex-presidential candidate: I'm no bum — I'm a beatnik

Brooklyn Daily
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An ex-presidential candidate who most people think is homeless has launched a campaign to clean up Plumb Beach as he wiles away his afternoons in a makeshift tent replete with a beach chair, sun umbrella, and a small grill.

But, despite what people say, retired immigration attorney Barry Deutsch says he’s no bum — he’s a beatnik.

“It’s my tax-free summer beach jungle hide-a-way paradise,” said Deutsch as he sat among the grungy Shangri-la he’s erected amid a thatch of shrubs and trees between the junk-filled shore and the Belt Parkway — a swath of land maintained by the National Parks Service.

Deutsch, who ran for president in 1992 on a lark and received a measly 26 votes at the New Hampshire Primary — 55,637 less than the eventual winner, former senator Paul Tsongas — said he’s spent the summer chilling at his makeshift flophouse, cleaning the beach, swimming in Jamaica Bay, and searching for the perfect shady spot before returning to his Ocean Avenue apartment at 5 pm.

But area residents weren’t as enthused about Deutsch’s sloppy Eden, claiming that his miniature Hooverville could bring vagrants and vagabonds to the beach.

“There’s a whole community of homeless people down there now,” said Sheepshead Bay Plumb Beach Civic Association member Tom Paoillo.

No one, save for Deutsch, appeared to be living in Plumb Beach during our visit, but the former candidate’s lair seems anything but Utopian: dead horseshoe crabs, fish, and other sea creatures lie lifeless on his carpet of trash, its boundary created by a necklace of ripped sheets suspended from trees.

The maverick, who preached against the North American Free Trade Agreement to former First Lady and current secretary of state Hillary Clinton as well as former California governor Jerry Brown in New Hampshire, and ranted about the evils of globalization in a bizarre YouTube video involving his alter ego Dr. Sherlock Litter, said the scraps were “schmatas” — Yiddish for rags — that were kept in a bag until someone came and ripped them up, along with a few tree limbs snapped and strewn around his encampment.

“Look at these, they’re just seedlings, they would have been beautiful,” Deutsch said.

National Park Service officials say they never heard of Deutsch or his campaign to clean up Plumb Beach, but they don’t care what he does as long as he doesn’t camp there at night.

“This is New York,” said John Warren, a spokesman for Gateway National Park. “We don’t arrest people just for being different, but beaches are for daytime use. If people who are in violation of that policy, we’ll have park police look into that.”

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

neal alpert from sheepshead bay says:
He is doing a good thing. The city & govt has not cut the high grass across the st from my house , since the beg. of the summer. It has become an eye sore.We are being infested w. rats, mosquitoes etc. I have made sev. calls to the city & state. Both claiming they have now juristiction. Maybe if this was a minority neighboorhood , something would be done. The same goes for cleaning up the beach. Plumb beach assoc. is just another failed civic assoc. Thanking you in adv, Neal Alpert. The Neal Alpert t v show
Sept. 14, 2012, 3:19 pm
dr sherlock litter from sheepshead bay says:
In 1992 I entered the New Hampshire Presidential Primary to register my fierce opposition to job outsourcing and NAFTA. My T-shirt campaign slogan PRUNE THE BUSH was heralded by the media....For the 2012 Election Olympics I offer the following bumpersticker WANT CHANGE ?...VOTE FOR B.O... DAT DON'T STINK..For over 30 years i have enjoyed the jungle -like paradise known as Plumb Beach. Out of a sense of patriotism, a need for exercise and pure aesthetics my daytripping sojourns have included a bit of time cleaning the ever increasing unsightly beach litter. It's surprising how big a difference your small effort makes...I have created a cartoonish costumed character known as DR SHERLOCK LITTER(see video@Youtube) who wants all folks in the country to take the Doc's ZERO EMISSION LITTER PLEDGE and join OPERATION OASIS USA CLEAN UP TODAY. The Dr Litter character might be a good vehicle for a new privately sponsored long overdue anti littering media blitz...Doc says" Littering is a trashy and unpatriotic habit defiling the face of our beautiful Gal America"....P.S. Plz see my wacky video cajoling USA patriots and sports fans to root for the USA JOBS TEAM and purchase our once again great USA autos exercising your Economic Patriotism creating good insourced jobs. POWER OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE! America was once wedded to the USA AUTOMAKERS and our economy was#1 Let's kiss and make up! Barry Deutsch Says. WATCH OUT WILY FOREIGN COMPETITORS AMERICANS PLAY HARDBALL,...I proudly drive a USA MADE FORD TAURUS. For my money you're a big shot when you proudly drive AMERICAN VEHICLES NOT FOREIGN!
Sept. 15, 2012, 7:19 am
Dale George from Sheapshead Bay says:
Barry Deutsch enjoys beauty and has figured out how to attain this between the Belt and the Bay. I hope that more people learn to enjoy nature that the park provides during the daytime. Deutsch has an apartment and does not sleep at Plumb Beach, contrary to what the article says,
Sept. 16, 2012, 6:49 pm

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