As you already know, this summer is hot and it’s only going to get hotter. You have several options on the weekend: Hide in your house, blasting the A/C while lying naked on your bed, wait in the McCarren Pool line for an hour, avoiding eye contact with young gang members, or head out to Rockaway beach, play in the sand, swim in the ocean, laugh with friends and basically have a way better time. Rockaway is your summer escape, your happy place, your slice of paradise away from the rumble and grumble of the concrete jungle we all love and hate that’s way cleaner than Coney Island. Here is everything you need to know about how to make the most of your Rockaway trip, without spending Rockefeller dough.
Subway: Take the A train heading to Rockaway Park and get off anywhere between Beach 90 Street and Beach 116 Street. If you want to go to Jacob Riis Park (or better known as Fort Tilden), take the 2 or the 5 to Flatbush Avenue/Brooklyn College and then the Q35 Bus to Riis Beach.
Rockabus: The Rockabus is an affordable option to get to and from Williamsburg to Rockaway and Fort Tilden. Buses run every Saturday & Sunday starting at 9:30am with the last bus leaving Fort Tilden at 7:30pm and Rockaway at 7:00pm. A round-trip ticket is $15. You will see people you know so look your best.
Bicycle: If you’re up for it, biking is a great way to get to Rockaway and see some other neighborhoods you are probably unfamiliar with! This is the safest route. The ride can take about 1.5 hours so make sure you leave early to avoid the heat and get ample beach time.
WHERE TO BUY BEER AND SNACKS
Rockaway Taco: Located on 96th Street, Rockaway Taco is where it all began. Try their fish tacos and the cucumbers – a bag of mango and cucumbers swimming in a spicy lime marinade. There will be a line to order (sometimes it’s outrageously long) but once you have, you won’t be waiting too long for the food.
Best value: $3 for a taco, which is pretty small. People usually get two. “Deluxe it” for a $1 extra, which means a dollop of guacamole.
The Sandbar: This isn’t one of the “hipster bars” lining the boardwalk, but they do serve cheap beer. You’ll still be able to catch glimpses of the original Rockaway crew – Italian New Yorkers with Mafioso accents. I’d avoid the food though; much better options elsewhere. Located at 116th Street.
Best value: $3 for a plastic cup of Bud
Caracas: The East Village staple is now at Rockaway Beach! Order what you usually get but be open to some of the new additions. Located at 106th Street.
Low Tide Bar: This bar offers ice-cold draught beer and micheladas. Literally right off the beach, you can sit in their boardwalk beer garden and knock back a few. Stick around for their theme nights, which include Red Neck Riviera night and Jamaican night. Located at 96th Street.
Best value: $4 pints.
NOTE: If you’re going to Fort Tilden/Jacob Riis Park, your best bet is to bring snacks beforehand. There are no concession stands, although occasionally a dude walks around selling beer from his cooler. The other option is the Breezy Dog truck that’s usually stationed outside of the entrance to Fort Tilden.
AFTER THE BEACH
Rippers: From the guys of the Meat Hook and Robertas, comes Rippers, a beachfront snack shack and bar. Every other Sunday, Rippers hosts Tiki Disco where you can dance to the tunes of DJ Eli Escobar. Located at 86th street.
Connolly’s Bar: Located a few blocks from the beach, this well-priced bar is a favorite among locals and the Brooklyn hipsters. Get a floater (comes in a Styrofoam cup) and drink away that sunburn! Located at 95th Street.
Best value: $6 for the frozen drinks
Thai Rock: Thai food is surprisingly a great beach food (I guess not that surprising since Thailand is mostly beaches and The Beach was filmed there). Thai Rock offers superb Thai food at a great price. Located at 92nd Street.
86 to 92 street is the popular surf spot, nicknamed “surf beach”. This place can get crowded!
67 to 69 street is another stretch of surf. It’s a little bit less popular, probably because behind it is are some heinous new developments as well as scary-looking projects.
If you’re learning to surf, you can take lessons with Locals Surf School. They’re all pals with the Rippers and the Rockaway Taco guys so just play it cool, man.
Price: Private lessons are $100/hour but go down in price when you book with more people. The best deal is the group lesson: $80 per person for a two hour lesson.
If you need to rent or buy any equipment, head to Boarders on 92nd Street.
Price: Four-hour surfboard rental: $35, full day: $50.
Hitch a ride to Rockway Beach with Manuela: @ManoolaTakeTwo.