The Rockaways, a narrow peninsula on southern Long Island, has a mixture of lower and middle-class neighborhoods. Among its residents are firefighters, policemen, and rappers. Although the area is accessible by subway and has four miles of wide sandy beaches, it wasn’t known as a summertime destination. This changed two or three years ago, spurred in part by the reconstruction efforts that followed Hurricane Sandy. Cadres of surfers and young beachgoers from Brooklyn and Manhattan have been dipping their toes in these waters. The New York Post said it best, with its usual subtlety: The Hipsters Have Taken Over the Rockaways. For better or worse, this is true. Personally, I think these changes are mostly positive. The arrival of new bars, pop-up restaurants, and movie festivals adds more flavor to the area. If you’re headed there for some sun+fun, check out these spots:
THE SUMMER SHIFT
Conceived by The MP Shift, a design and branding studio, in partnership with the travel and culture site Rockaway Summer, The Summer Shift is a pop-up restaurant hosting chefs from the city with roots in Latin America, including Gerardo Gonzalez from the Lower East Side’s El Rey.
This small hotel and restaurant has a retro look and carefree vibe. Behind the restaurant, which serves a mix of Tex-Mex, Southern and East Coast food (everything one craves in the summertime), there’s a nice patio with old-school beach chairs, white tables, and a cool mural- a perfect spot for a cocktail. The spicy margarita is a hit.
ROCKAWAY BEACH SURF CLUB
This bar that feels plucked rich out of Hawaii, with its big outdoor patio decked in distressed wood and tiki-bar-style stations delivering beers, cocktails, and really tasty fish tacos (there’s usually a line for those)