Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rockaway Beach: The Anti-Hamptons

Weekend mini trips out of Manhattan are one of my favorite things in the world. Whether it is your un-airconditioned tenement apartment, roommate entertaining friends from home, or that stinky trash heap you just passed that has been baking all day in the sun....sometimes you just gotta get away. Last weekend I went on a last-minute jaunt out to Rockaway Beach, and it was the perfect day-long adventure to recharge the batteries, mix up the scenery, and feel about a million miles away from reality.

How to get there:
Jump on the A train to Far Rockaway, get off at Broad Channel, and wait for the S to take you one stop to Beach 90. It took me a grand total of one hour from door to sand. You know you are close when you are going over Jamaica Bay and there is nothing but water on both sides of the subway car. That was kinda scary, and made me feel like I was in a water park...or a nightmare. Note** Make sure you don't take the train to Lefferts Blvd.

The Beach:
Let me just say the people watching is amazing and incredibly diverse: hipsters, surfers, Carmine Gotti-types and the girls who love them, weathered middle aged ladies from Queens with smoker's voices, and families with about a million kids are all over the beach. If you are looking for the lily white WASPs of the Hamptons clad in Lily Pulitzer and Ivy League degrees, this is not going to be your cup of tea.

Food is a total no-brainer: Rockaway Taco. This taco shack absolutely rules after a few hours of being at the beach. The fish tacos are easily the best I have had in the city (and the New York Times thinks so too!), and everything is incredibly fresh and made on the spot (they even grow their some of their own veggies on the roof and around the stand. There is only a small area to sit, so don't get offended if you have to stand up. And, be sure to check out "the library"....Games People Play was a lunch time fav with our group. Perfect order: Hibiscus tea, fish tacos with guac, and corn on the cob. Delish!

I know the beach gets hot and sticky, so mid-late afternoon would be a perfect time to head to DiCosmo's Italian Ice (right next to Rockaway Taco). The DiCosmo family has been making ices since 1915 and have recently opened this Rockaway outpost as a branch to their Elizabeth, NJ location. The ices are unlike anything you have gotten from a street cart. I had a grapefruit ice that had actual pieces of grapefruit in it. Let's just say the DiCosmo family are the masters of frozen treats.

Before you get back on the train stop by Connolly's on 93th street for a nice, cold brew and to do one little bit of relaxing before you get back to the city.

Now, that is one hell of a way to spend a Saturday: beach, surfers, tacos, ices, and anything but city life!

Rockaway Taco - Beach 96th Street @ Rockaway Beach Blvd.
DiCosmo's Italian Ices - Right next to Rockaway Taco
Connolly's - Beach 93rd Street @ Rockaway Beach Blvd.

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