On the boardwalk Cox had her shoes off in one quick flick, and soon after she had her tanned feet in the foamy gray water. There was no kelp, no swimmers, and apartment buildings were where dunes should be. But she was on a beach and she was happy. She said, "This is so beautiful!"
She asked the lifeguard at 77th Street, a mellow and knowledgeable college student named Ryan Meade, about stingrays and marked swimming distances. In his Queens accent, Meade said, "Twenty blocks make a mile. You can swim all you want."
Meade knew he was talking to a serious swimmer, and Cox knew the same. She nodded enthusiastically, like she would be coming back.