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A New Yorker’s Guide To: The Rockaways

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As summer tightens its hold over New York City, the rolling heat and impenetrable humidity start to make our sweat-soaked selves long for the beach. The sun, the waves, the spray of the sea instead of subway station drippings, all combine until one of your friends finally voices it: “We should go to the Rockaways tomorrow.”

Unless one of your group has been there before, there’s a chance this is where the dream stops. Everyone pulls out their subway apps (“no, this one’s really good”), immediately gets distracted by the latest news notification (“what kind of planet do we live on?”), and pow, you’re back at your regular drinking spot, taking turns standing in front of the air conditioner. No longer, fellow beach dreamer: the Rockaways are an easy trip, and we’ll teach you the way.

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GETTING THERE

Yes, you can try to find a friend with a car. But let’s be honest, that friend is going to demand a serious price. Save the negotiating and catch the A train to Beach 67th Street, Beach 90th Street, and so on to the end of the line. Or, if you’re a real pro, catch the Rockaway-bound ferry for the same price as a subway ride ($2.75) and get a boat ride to boot. Grab a beer and soak up the scenery.

WHERE TO HANG

There are tons of cool bars, restaurants, and hidden spots to explore while you’re taking in the peninsula. A few of our favorites include:

Connolly’s Bar, 155 Cross Bay Pkwy, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693: A neighborhood staple, renowned for their slyly dangerous frozen drinks.
The Wharf Bar & Restaurant, 416 Beach 116th St, Rockaway Park, NY 11694: The perfect place to kick back with beers, food, and an incredible view of the sea and skyline.
RBQ, 97-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693: The team behind Swingbelly’s brings their region-blending approach to barbecue to the beach. Pop in and hang at the bar, or grab something to go for the beach or the ride home.

GRAB AND GO

If you’re going straight to the beach, we support your focus. If you need to stock up on Brooklyn Brewery beer, snacks, sunblock and the rest, try these spots:

Boardwalk Bagels108-01 108th St, Rockaway Park, NY 11694: Get your breakfast fix at any time with the justifiably famous bagels and wide menu.
Key Food Supermarket, 87-15 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Far Rockaway, NY 11693: Fill up on snacks, and don’t forget to grab some garbage bags to keep the beach clean.
Rite Aid, 10640 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Rockaway Park, NY 11694: Yes, you’re going to need more sunblock. Buy the multi-pack if you can, and you’ll save on aloe and ice packs.
Rockaway Beach Gourmet Deli, 9209 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Far Rockaway, NY 11693: Get out early, stop in for sandwiches for lunch, and go claim your spot on the sand.

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Remember, the most important part of your trip is to not take it too seriously. Time moves differently in beach towns like the Rockaways. Come prepared, know where your beer is, and let yourself explore for a while.

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