It was probably the best long form magazine story of 2020 so far. In June, New York magazine ran a piece called “The Boss of the Beach.” Written by David Gauvey Herbert, the long article told the story of Peter Stein, the longtime head of New York City’s lifeguard corps, and a man who runs the city’s pools and beaches as a corrupt, Mafia-like fiefdom, and has for more than 40 years. And Stein, at 80, still holds that position.
The piece was full of great details, from coverups of drowning deaths, to Stein exiling political enemies to pools in faraway corners of Queens, to lifeguards having drunken parties and then distributing t-shirts that said “we drink, you sink.” The biggest twist? Most of the city’s top lifeguards don’t actually know how to swim.
The story brought to mind New York mob tales of yore, except that it was about lifeguards.
Now, “Boss of the Beach” is going to be a TV series. Per Deadline, director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan and The Fountain) is teaming up with Searchlight Television – the former Fox Searchlight TV division that’s now part of Disney – on a TV adaptation of the article, which was the subject of a bidding war.
Herbert, the author of the magazine article, will executive produce the show, and a writer is being sought.
There’s a great deal of potential for this show, which sounds like it resembles The Irishman, only set on the beach. The piece covered 40 years, so it could run for many seasons, using period fashions in the ’70s and slowly working towards the present day. And Herbert’s piece covered numerous scenes that sounded cinematic, from drunken lifeguard parties to tense union meetings.