Bourne Explorer Day Trip: Far Rockaway
Who says New Yorkers don’t love the beach? With the Rockaways a mere 30 minutes away from the city by train, we might not be the boardwalk-loving culture that California is, but beach culture is now becoming the norm for New Yorkers. The Rockaways were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, with the boardwalk being almost entirely wiped out, an unbelievable of homes destroyed, and many businesses irreparably damaged. But they’re a resilient bunch. They’re rebuilding quickly, and now is an incredibly exciting time to go out and witness the regrowth, the spirit, and the friendliness of this small community.
My first stop was an early morning surf session with Locals Surf School at Beach 135th Street. Founded in 2011 by two life-long surfer/skaters and locals of Rockaway Beach, founders Mike Reinhardt and Mike Kololyan saw an opportunity to fill a void in the New York City surf lesson sector by providing quality training from knowledgeable locals who had a passion for the sport and culture. One thing that you might not realized, says Mike R., is that New York actually has one of the more laid back surf vibes that he’s ever seen! So much for the angry New Yorker stereotype!
Locals also runs a kids program in the summer that’s worth checking out. According to the guys, it typically runs 10 weeks throughout the each summer with ages ranging from 5 to 18 years old. The Kids Surf Camp operates Monday through Friday (9am -1pm) offering several surf sessions/lessons, teaching them about water / surf safety / surf etiquette, and playing beach games to keep the day fun and varied.
After surfing I went to meet with Maribel Araujo of Truck A-Float, an unconventional form of lodging on a private marina on Marina 59 at 59-14 Beach Channel Drive. She and her friends converted two truck beds into floating rooms which they rent out throughout the warm months. She also owns what might be New York’s best Venezuelan restaurant, Caracas! We went and enjoyed some amazing tostones and arepas while Maribel told me about how she came to live in Rockaway full time. Check out Caracas all summer long at Beach 106th.
Although we were stuffed full of delicious Venezuelan food after meeting with Maribel, we couldn’t avoid checking out newcomer Chick’s To Go right on Rockaway Beach Blvd. at Beach 97. They specialize in Peruvian rotisserie chicken with delicious sides like plantains and quinoa salad.
Next up we went to Playland Motel at 97-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd. to check out their bar and lodging, which is super eclectic with rooms decorated by various artists.
You can check their availability and rates at their website! They also have events and parties throughout the summer that you can find out more about on their Facebook.
I had heard so much from various people in the area about Sarah Trogdon’s amazing soap company Goldie’s that I had to check it out over on Beach 97th. Sarah is making all natural products with stunning scents that transport you – straight vacation vibes. With whimsical packaging and unique and addictive scents, I can easily see this becoming one of my new favorite products.
Our final stop for the day was at the beautiful and impressive Edgemere Farm on Beach 45th Street. Edgemere is a half-acre farm transformed from an abandoned lot into a verdant organic space. They’re also home to the newly founded Rockaway Herb & Dye Garden, an apiary, egg-laying chickens, and a soon-to-be small scale aquaculture operation.
I’m so excited to explore Rockaway more throughout the summer – there’s obviously an endless amount of stuff happening out there. Let me know if you have any tips or favorite spots I missed – you can reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram!