Sunbathers and surfers flock to this residential neighborhood for oceanfront fun. The area has the only two surf beaches in the City (immortalized in the Ramones song “Rockaway Beach”), along with fishing spots and numerous playgrounds for kids. But it’s not just a summertime destination. Rockaway Beach offers plenty to do year-round: shopping at independent boutiques, checking out the art and history at Fort Tilden and snacking at a growing crop of eateries that maintain the laid-back vibe of the coastal neighborhood.
Hop a subway ride out to the sand and surf—right here in New York City.
It can be hard to believe that Rockaway Beach, where the only soundtrack is the squawk of seagulls and the crash of waves, is even a part of busy New York City. Kash grew up in Brooklyn as the son of a Teamster and spent his summers surfing in the Breezy Point section of Queens' Rockaway peninsula. These days Kash teaches for New York Surf School—which, like a handful of other companies, offers surf lessons out in Rockaway Beach—and has seen a new crop of New Yorkers and visitors embrace the possibilities of their coastal city. Most of New York Surf School's students "live in Brooklyn, but grew up somewhere else," and are excited to hear that New York City offers a place to catch waves—usually on the order of 1 to 2 feet, though storms can result in bigger swells. Kash, a laid-back dude who left behind an acting career to teach surfing full time and "pay forward the stoke," starts by laying out the basics on shore. Step one with Kash is "wiring the beach"—taking in information. Next, he gets Fox acquainted with a new friend, the rubber-foam beginner surfboard he uses with first timers (the company can also set you up with a wetsuit). Once that's out of the way, he moves on to a fundamental maneuver, the pop-up, which involves the transition from laying on the board to standing on it. After having covered the basics, Kash offers words of wisdom: in the movies "they always show a surfer standing up—but how did they get on that wave?" In reality, he says, surfing is 80% paddling and only 20% riding the surf: "In two hours, if I collectively ride waves for two minutes, I'm euphoric." Long story short: Fox ventured out into the water with Kash, who spotted waves for her—a skill better left to seasoned surfers—and shouted "up!" when it was time for her to do the pop-up. Aside from the day's larger-than-normal waves, this was apparently a fairly typical first-time surfing experience. New York Surf School's peak season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but they offer lessons year-round (weather and conditions willing)—just contact them and ask.
These neighborhoods' parks, beaches and trails offer outdoor adventures, great events and waterfront views right here in NYC.
A hip update on the traditional beach concession stand, Rippers—created by the culinary minds behind New Brooklyn stalwarts Roberta's and the Meat Hook—serves up classic summer fare like burgers, hot dogs, fries, burritos and fish, with beer, sangria and a selection of fresh juices to wash them down.
Now in its 65th year of operation, the family-owned and -operated Madelaine Chocolate Company is a key part of the small business scene in Rockaway Beach, selling handmade seasonal and year-round chocolates made using traditional recipes.