Tuesday, April 7, 2015

30 Days in NYC (Day 7) - Rockaway Beach

  There are cities all over the world known for their beaches. Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Honolulu, Barcelona, Miami, Los Angeles, and others are cities where the beach is to focus of life and culture. But do you ever think of the beach when you think of New York City? Almost certainly you don't. And you're wrong. New York may not be a world class beach town, but we have long stretches of sand that makes for a great day on the ocean by anyone's standards. And I don't mean a tiny little pebbly cove with beach chairs. New York City actually has about 20 miles of sandy beach to enjoy along the coastal edges of the city. But the biggest by far is a 14-mile long barrier peninsula in Queens, the longest urban beach in the USA: Rockaway Beach. So Day 7 is a day to ditch the summer heat of Manhattan, and get some sand between your toes.

Day 7 - The Rockaways

Morning: Rockaway Beach is one of New York's favorite summer playgrounds and has been for more almost 200 years. This prime shoreline was once a beachside destination of great fame. The first resort and spa opened in 1833, and all through the 19th century well-to-do New Yorkers took summers and weekends at the dozens of resorts along the beach, reached by new turnpikes, railroads, and ferries. Rockaway Beach even got into the amusement game rivaling Coney Island's attractions with the construction of Rockaway Playland in 1902. The beaches attracted more summer visitors with the construction of tidy bungalows in the 1920s for working class vacationers. The heyday wouldn't last though, and by the time The Ramones write their hit "Rockaway Beach" in 1977, much of The Rockaways had devolved into gritty, forgotten shoreline. Rockaway never went away though, and many more people are re-discovering Queens' shoreline these days and joining longtime fans of the long sandy shore. The past few years have been hard, however, particularly the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012. The storm destroyed more than a hundred homes and flooded almost every structure on the peninsula. The boardwalk was destroyed, businesses lost, and seven lives were lost on The Rockaways. The area is recovering, and is back to welcoming visitors every summer who still help provide the bulk of the economic activity in The Rockaways. So despite the damage, a visit is one where most of the amenities and businesses have returned.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Broadway Alternatives - Rockwood Music Hall

   Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side is a fantastic small music space and makes for a great casual evening out. There's a ton of great music venues in New York for independent music. But unless you are an expert in the local NYC music scene, it's hard to know what type of evening you're in for. That's what's so great about Rockwood Music Hall. The music emanates from multiple stages in about every style imaginable and if something doesn't tickle your fancy you can move down the block.

A photo posted by Shawn (@nytourguy) on