It's hot out there right now, real hot. I'm talking accidentally reveal your customer's secret illegal offshore bank account hot. And when it's that hot, I understand that tempers can flare and the questions of how to best divvy up public space can lead to yelling and threats and pushing and punches and arrests, so allow me to make a humble plea based on 32 years of beachgoing experience: please just be a mensch out there.

This particular request comes as beachgoers in New Jersey participate in, and deal with, the reportedly growing practice of "beachspreading," i.e. grabbing all of the space on the beach one possibly can, your fellow man be damned.

Obviously, when you go to the beach, you want to be able to stretch your legs, you want to be able to lie on a towel and hope you don't fall asleep and get a sunburn. I wouldn't begrudge anyone their space to throw down a blanket that can fit a few folks, and if you're part of a larger group you should of course be able to spread out so that you're not stacked on top of each other. But I do think that bringing portable fans you hang from a 12 by 12 canopy, or building anything that can be described as a "compound" or "wall" violates the spirit of catching some rays at the beach.

Bringing "all the comforts of home" to the beach in an attempt to claim a slice of it the size of your living room all for yourself ruins the sanctity of a shared space that is a public beach. And while beach space is finite, there's enough of that particular resource for everyone to enjoy it and to live their best summer. Am I arguing champagne socialism but for beaches? Sure, why not.

The question of whether beachspreading was one of society's great evils or "good beach strategy" set the Gothamist newsroom ablaze with debate, one that soon detoured down other corridors of beach behavior policing, particularly on the question of portable speaker use at the beach. And much in the same way that a canopy isn't by itself wrong and bad, the use of a wireless speaker can be done in a polite fashion not unlike the way that people used to listen to transistor radios in the sand.

Where things go wrong though, is if you're going to try to push your music on everyone around you at the beach, or to continue the metaphor, building a "wall of sound," if you will. Like I said earlier, just be a mensch, play your music loud enough for you and your friends to hear it without having to shout over each other and without causing someone to come over and get in a big argument with you. [Editor's note: No. Turn the goddamn speaker OFF. I came to the beach to soothe my weary mind with the restorative sound of the surf and other natural vibrations—not Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito" remix with Justin Bieber on repeat.]

Here, check out this pointless idiotic story. A few years ago, I went to Beach 86th Street with some friends and we went in the water at one point. In the water, there were people throwing around a child size Elmo sandal like you would a football, except it was a shoe. We joined in with them, and more and more people joined the game, until you had something like 30 people, a multi-ethnic, multi-class melange of people didn't know each other, playing a rousing game of shoe on a hot summer day. This simple, innocent enjoyment doesn't happen when you put up walls of fans or tapestry or canopy or sound between you and your fellow beachgoer. So just be a mensch, share the wealth that is our public beach space.

(Also if you need to know, the one hard and fast beach rule is this: pour your beer in a cup so that you don't get a ticket for holding a can out in the open like a dumbass.)