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the nylon guide to the rockaways

surf, sun, and the best sandwiches ever!

by: liz riccardi

August 08 2014

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You guys, I don't know how it happened but it's already August! That means you need to go to the beach this weekend. I've been a Brooklyn girl for going on nine years now, and the Rockaways are my favorite thing about summer in the city. Winters can be tough when you're on a budget— but the beach is only a subway ride away, and even better, it's free! Here's everything you need to know:

How to get there:
Subway: Take the Far Rockaway bound A train to broad channel and transfer to the shuttle. You can get off at 90th, 98th, 105th and 116th, depending on where you wanna chill.
Bus: Q22 or Q53 / The Bushwick Beach Bus / NYC Beach Bus
Or, you can take the ferry!
 
 
 
What to bring: swimsuit + cover up / shades + hat sunscreen / towel and/or blanket / NYLON mag (duh) / and an umbrella if you're fancy...or pale.

What to do:

SURF!
Locals Surf School
Beach 67th Street and Beach Front Road
If you live in New York, chances are you've got at least one annoying friend who's always gramming surf selfies while you're at work (you know who you are and FYI your wetsuit looks stupid in the snow). I took a Sunday morning group lesson at Locals Surf School and let me tell you: IT. WAS. SO. FUN. The school was founded a few years ago by two Rockaway locals (get it!?), Mike Kololvan, and Mike Reinhardt. It's located right at beach 67 and open all year round.
 
I'm super uncoordinated, and I get into a serious panic when learning anything new so I was kinda nervous / worried about embarrassing myself, but these dudes made me feel totally comfortable. As a newb I got a land lesson first where I learned the board basics, how to paddle, pop up and most importantly how to wipe out safely and in style. Then we hit the water! I definitely need one or two more lessons before I go pro but I felt like the shit when I nailed the pop-up and rode a wave into shore. Shout out to Mike and Joe for keeping me real, and doing all the hard work. I can't wait to go again! 
 
 
EAT!
 
You should probably plan to have at least three meals when you're out here, because there are a lot of options.
 
Rockaway Taco
95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd
If you've spent more than five minutes in New York, then you've probably heard of Rockaway Taco. This is one of those places that actually lives up to the hype. You can't go wrong with anything here, but my personal fave is the black bean sweet plantain quesadilla. FDNY approved.
 
Rippers
8601 Shore Front Pkwy, at Beach 86
Rippers is exactly the kind of summer food you want after a couple hours on the beach. Or if you're me, every single morning when you wake up. I LOVE the Rippers' burger and their fries are dreamy. (Like, I have dreams about them.) They also serve homemade ice cream, and have tons of beer options! 
The Concession stand at Beach 97
Shore Front Pkwy and Beach 97th street
Low Tide Bar - The best spot to grab a few beers, sit under the pavilion and watch the hula hoopers.
City Sticks - Grab an ice pop in awesome flavors like, strawberry mint and mango caipirinha. Or,  you know, a WAFFLE SUNDAE. 
The Bolivian Llama Party - These guys routinely kill atSmorgasbord. Best saltenas ever.
Breezy's BBQ - I'm a huge BBQ fan, and especially judgemental when it comes to my sides and sauces. You have to try their collard greens and breezy apple slaw.
La Fruteria - Amazing juice and smoothies.
 
 
Rockaway Beach Surf Club
302 Beach 87th Street
This place is a teeny tiny walk from the beach but so, so worth it. It's the kind of spot you can bring a huge crew, or just your beach read and relax on your own. Chill inside at the bar or make yourself comfortable in the backyard, where you'll find varying degrees of shade and plenty of seating options. You'll really feel like you're on vacation! I recommend the pulled pork sandwich and sweet potato fries. They also have live DJ's and movie nights so you might want to stalk their Facebook page. 
 
 
SEE SOME ART! 
 
Rockaway!
June 29, 2014 - September 01, 2014
This is an awesome public arts festival put on by the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Concervancy, the Rockaway Artists Alliance, and MoMA PS1 to celebrate the reopening of Fort Tilden and acknowledge the ongoing recovery of the area. Head out to Fort Tilden to see sculptures, installations and photography--even including Patti Smith, herself a Rockaway resident. Part of the festival includes group exhibition at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club and celebrates the efforts of the community in rebuilding the neighborhood. 
 
 
STAY AT:
 
The Playland Motel
97-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd
A retro dream on the outside, with artist-designed rooms on the inside, this is THE place to stay if you decide to make your trip to the Rockaways an overnight. It's super close to the beach and tons of good food.They also throw super fun parties, so bring your dancing flip flops if you plan to stop by.
 
 
CHILL OUT!
Real talk: Obviously there's a lot to do out here, but make sure you leave some time for napping. Fly a kite. Go for a swim. 
Just make sure you wear sunscreen.
And don't foget to fill us in on YOUR favorite Rockaway spots in the comments!
 

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