There was a clean spot on Plumb Beach — now it’s gone.
Retired lawyer, presidential candidate, anti-outsourcing crusader and Sheepshead Bay resident Barry Deutsch — a.k.a. Dr. Sherlock Litter — died suddenly of a heart attack on Dec. 29 at age 66, leaving behind three older siblings, his cat, and a clean stretch of sand on the otherwise rubbish-strewn Plumb Beach, which he affectionately called his “tax-free, summer beach, jungle hide-a-way paradise.”
Deutsch grew up in Liberty, New York, before earning his law degree at the New York University Law School. After four years at the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, Deutsch published a handbook entitled, “How to Avoid TV Repair Ripoffs,” and moved to Brooklyn in 1981 to open his own law practice.
For the last 23 years of his life, Deutsch focused on combating the outsourcing of American jobs, and even ran for president of the United States in the 1992 New Hampshire primaries on an anti-globalization platform. Perhaps a man ahead of his time, he received just 26 votes — 55,637 shy of the winner, former senator Paul Tsongas.
“I entered the primary to register my fierce opposition to job outsourcing and the North American Free Trade Agreement,” Deutsch said, speaking of his presidential bid. One of his better-funded primary opponents, Bill Clinton, eventually signed the trade pact in 1993.
Following his brief career in politics, Deutsch created a bizarre online video in which he railed against globalization in the guise of his alter-ego, Dr. Sherlock Litter, and appeared complete with a deerstalker hat and curved pipe.
Courier reporters first met Deutsch in Plumb Beach while looking for a “tent city” of homeless people discussed at a Plumb Beach Civic Association meeting last year.
No homeless enclave was found, but Deutsch was discovered lounging in a tidy glade he had cleaned up, nestled between the Belt Parkway and Plumb Beach — the only clean section of the otherwise rubbish-strewn sand of the Gateway National Parks and Recreation territory.
Deutsch was a lover of the outdoors, according to his brother, Dale, and spent his summer days riding his bike across the Gil Hodges Bridge from Fort Tilden Park to Plumb Beach, where he was somehow able to look beyond the trash-strewn shores and see the beauty.
“He enjoyed nature, and he made the best of his life there,” said Dale, speaking of his late brother. “He looked at the colors of the water and the sky, and he looked away from the junk.”Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn