‘Camp Rockaway’ tent motel: Great idea or insufferably precious nonsense?

camp rockaway
Not pictured: People being laughed out of existence for saying “glamping.” via Camp Rockaway Kickstarter

Sometimes near the end of a long day at the Rockaways, you might be beaten down by the sun and the alcohol you’ve enjoyed all day, and you might not want to leave. You can’t just collapse on the beach and stay there though, that’s frowned upon. You could get an AirBnB maybe, or, in the future, you might be able to collapse in a “tent hotel” called Camp Rockaway that’s set to open in 2015. Of course, we’d only recommend doing that if you think that combining camping with a “high-end boutique hotel” is alright. Which it clearly isn’t.

Camp Rockaway is a hotel concept made up of safari-style tents on the water near Jamaica Bay, and is set to open in the summer of 2015. The “tent colony” idea was born out of the tent colonies that were in the Rockaways in the early 20th Century. Unlike the tent colonies from the early 1900s, the Camp Rockaway tents will have big comfy beds, fresh coffee, fresh linens and other froofy high-end stuff, according to the press release announcing the Kickstarter to fund the project.

Team Brokelyn is split on this. On the one hand, Faye thinks that this can be fun, and is all in favor of camping coming with a bunch of high-end nonsense like “beds” and “cleanliness.” She wasn’t even scared off by the fact that press release described the experience of staying at Camp Rockaway as “glamping,” the kind of portmanteau that should make any right-thinking individual throw up from rage.

I, on the other hand, think this is awful. Camping is wonderful and everyone should do it, on this we aren’t split. Where Faye and I part ways though, is the idea that camping should be glamorous. Camping should come with a certain amount of deprivation. That is, after all, why you bring the whiskey, to feel better about sleeping on rocks. There’s also the matter of the Kickstarter video being full of people patting themselves on the back so hard as to leave red handprints and enough shimmering piano and guitar music to provide the soundtrack to 200 Zach Braff trailers. “The Kickstarter community reminds of the Rockaway community,” a line spoken in the video, caused me to roll my eyes so hard they fell right out of my head.

Still, the ultimate arbiter of this fight, between the forces of grumpy, angry good (me) and bougie, if well-intentioned fussiness (Faye) will ultimately be decided by the success of the Kickstarter. Will you give it money? And if Camp Rockaway opens, will you stay there?


  1. Madelyn Owens

    I’m against this, but not for any of the reasons outlined by the Grump-in-Chief.

    Beaches are public spaces, and I’m concerned that this would take away a space that can be enjoyed by everyone, and given to people who can afford to glamp.

    Anyway, the Brooklyn Beach Bus comes with free beer, which you can enjoy on the way back to your lousy apartment that you pay way too much for anyway.

  2. C. Mastros

    The “Hipsters” are steering the ship of innovative change here in Rockaway. I admire and applaud their efforts. The old guard of bitter locals, who wish for things to happen here, yet do nothing more than complain, can take comfort in knowing they still have 100’s of options, when it comes to choosing a nail salon, here on the peninsula.

  3. Ilene Green

    Really? What happened to the idea of good old fashioned choices? If you want to camp elsewhere, then by all means, do so! If you look more closely at the promo material, this is not yet another attempt to gentrify a community to the point where there is nothing left for the locals. This is a project that has unfolded with input from the community and with an eye towards inclusion. Really? Is all development “bad” by definition, because it brings about change?

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