EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. -- This may be hard to believe in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, but an annual list of the best beaches in the country has a New York beach ranked No. 1.
Less surprisingly, that beach is in East Hampton, the vacation playground for the rich and famous.
In an announcement that coincides annually with the unofficial start of summer, coastal expert Stephen P. Leatherman on May 24 released the 23rd version of his top 10 beach list, placing Main Beach in East Hampton at the top.
"The thing about the Hamptons is that people are so proud of their beaches out there," Leatherman told The Associated Press in an interview in advance of the release of his list. "People pick up their litter there, the bathrooms are clean; they provide good services."
Leatherman, who is known by the nickname "Dr. Beach," visited Main Beach earlier this month. He said that unlike many beaches farther to the west and in New Jersey, the beaches on eastern Long Island saw less erosion and flooding from the effects of Superstorm Sandy.
"Considering the magnitude of the storm, people will be very pleased to see that Main Beach is the way they remember it," he said.
Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University in Miami, has visited beaches around the world and uses such criteria as water and sand quality, as well as safety and environmental management, to compile his annual list. Once a beach reaches the pinnacle of No. 1, it is retired from future consideration, he said.
Coopers Beach, in nearby Southampton, N.Y., was the No. 1 pick in the 2010 survey. Sarasota, Fla.'s Siesta Beach was tops in 2011 and Coronado Beach in California earned the top spot in 2012.