Secret Harbor

By CHRISTOPHER KLEIN  |  February 17, 2010

Proposals for limited public access to Long Island have been studied for years, but haven’t progressed beyond the planning phases. Like so many harbor-island projects, they’re subject to notoriously insufficient funds, glacial decision-making, and asphyxiating red tape.

It’s an all-too-familiar story line, one which made the breakneck construction of Camp Harbor View on Long Island so stunning to island advocates. In less than four months in 2007, the island’s former military parade ground was transformed into a sparkling summer day camp that hosts 800 inner-city children each summer. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and retired advertising executive Jack Connors spearheaded the project, which was built with private funds and serves as an example of how a civic project can happen if it receives community and governmental backing.

For many kids, the camp is their first introduction to the harbor, even though they live just miles away. It’s their first chance to breathe in the cool, briny summer breezes and enjoy Long Island’s open spaces. If there are any budding authors among the campers who are inspired by their experiences on Long Island, chances are their tales will be quite different from Shutter Island.

Christopher Klein, the author of Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands, can be reached at

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  •   SECRET HARBOR  |  February 17, 2010
    A home for the criminally insane it might not be, but the real-life Shutter Island is, like the one in the new Martin Scorsese film that hits theaters this week, a spooky and controversial land mass in Boston Harbor that is indeed off-limits to the public.
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    Images taken on Long Island, the Boston Harbor island that inspired Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island.

 See all articles by: CHRISTOPHER KLEIN