New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Rockaways

Just a subway ride away on the A train, you will find not a bay, inlet, or river, but rather, the Atlantic Ocean. This is the Rockaways, a peninsula, most of which lies within the borough of Queens, New York.

The beach has an active surfing community - there are three surf shops in the area. The approach of hurricane Bill was seen by most as worrisome, but surfers heralded the storm as a joyful rare opportunity to surf the big waves. So, this seemed the perfect time to take a trip out to the Rockaways to catch some waves with a camera. Beaches were closed to bathers but open to surfers. See more photos here.

The 6.2 mile boardwalk is a huge feature of the area, extending from Beach 9th Street to Beach 126th Steet. The central area of Rockaway Beach is fronted with large, hulking public housing projects, many of which became riddled with crime. There are new apartment condominiums newly built and in the works. Strings of closed stores line 116th Street, the main shopping district.

Driving from one end of Rockaways to the other through the varied communities - Belle Harbor, Far Rockaway, Arverne, Neponsit, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, Breezy Point, and Edgemere - is one of the most shockingly diverse demographic ranges of humankind I have seen, from lower to upper middle class. Driving amongst the virtual mansions in Belle Harbor, the ramshackle nature of central Rockaway seemed a flawed memory.

I missed many of the interesting areas, such as the historic bungalows off the boardwalk at Beach 108th St. that have become summer rentals and the scenic area at the end of the boardwalk from 121st to 126th Streets. I intend to return and explore more of the area on foot.

This is truly the land of the haves and have-nots, but the ocean and the boardwalk looms large and mitigates much of the area's depressed pockets. The ocean is a curative for the human soul, and I believe all feel fortunate to have such a fine strip of ocean, sand, and boardwalk...

NOTE: The Rockaways have a rich history: from 1902 to 1985, there was a large amusement park call Rockaways' Playland. See a photo history here.


Miranda McAfee said...

Looks like a lot of fun. Enjoy.

Lulubelle B said...

My parents met at Rockaway in the early 1950s. My father's parents had a summer rental there for eons.

Thanks for the memories.


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MaggieGem said...

Great memories from Rockaway beach, I remember going there as a teenager and having a grand time!

Mary said...

Had the same idea. Went to Riis Park, Roxbury & Breezy Point, mainly, but covered the entire peninsula Sunday. Got some great wave pics.

My family visited the amusement park when we were kids. A few years later we could get there on our own with one bus ride. My brother surfed Rockaway as an older teen. I never got the hang of the board, but was a good body surfer.

We had a black 1950 Mercury to transport the surfboard. We thought we were really cool!