The sun is out and I want some
It's not hard, not far to reach, we can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach
… Rockaway Beach, The Ramones, 1977
The Ramones were right about many things, including that Rockaway Beach ROCKS!
A New Yorker for 15 years, I saw the Ramones play at Wollman Rink in Central Park in 1979 (tickets were $5) and it changed my life and my fascination with the outer boroughs forever, but I digress…
Fast forward to about a month ago when I went to NYC for a conference, arriving early to spend the weekend with friends who were in the process of moving to Rockaway when Sandy hit. The Rockaway Peninsula was wiped out by the hurricane in 2012 and the impact is still evident.
The residents were a major force in the cleanup and rebuilding, and they enjoy a revitalized community and a beautiful new boardwalk as a result. Many are from families that have been in the area for generations; now intermixed with more recent residents attracted to the laid-back beach life that is still a reasonable A train ride to Manhattan.
The beach is over seven miles long, with pristine sand, perfect waves, plenty of surfers, and that brand new boardwalk. We had worked up an appetite on our walk just about the time we hit Riis Park Beach Bazaar. This ocean-side hub features an eclectic and international mix of food vendors, plus beach equipment rentals and regular live entertainment.
We started with fresh coconut milk from By the Beach. When you finish, they hack open the coconut, give you a spoon, and you scoop the meat right out. Yummy!
There are plenty of options for the next course, including:
- Bolivian Lama Party (BLP) : Serving delightfully delicious Bolivian food, including Saltenas, Cholas, and Papitas.
- Samesa : Offering healthy and tasty Middle-Eastern cuisine, including Matbucha, Beet Hummus, Chicken Shawarma, and Rosewater Cardamon Iced Tea
- Fletchers Brooklyn Barbecue : Smoked and succulent hormone-free meat sourced from animal cooperatives dedicated to raising animals in a humane, free range environment.
In other words, this food mecca has no relation to the common food court. The seriously great food will satisfy the cravings of even the most particular foodie, in a fun, hip, and naturally beautiful setting.
Note: this destination is for the summertime only. Riis Park Beach Bazaar is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
In Rockaway Beach Part 2, we will journey inland a block or two and discover some great little hideaways with amazing food that are open year around.