One of my favorite parts of summer is taking the ‘A’ train out to Rockaway Beach in Queens.
I love watching the huge waves continuously crash against the shore and seeing all the surfers who come to ride them. It’s a relaxing escape from the city without even leaving its limits.
The weather today was slightly overcast and a bit chilly, but as you can see, that didn’t stop people from enjoying the Rockaway’s charms.
Typically I pack a little lunch for myself since most of the concessions usually involve fluorescent yellow cheese or dirty water hot dogs.
This year, however, the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach has been taken over by some of the best vendors in the city.
I was particularly excited when I heard that San Francisco-based Blue Bottle Coffee was setting up a beachfront shop. Their New Orleans-style iced coffee is the most perfect drink for the beach.
They share their airy space with the East Village empanada joint Caracas. Caracas is serving up arepas and tangy micheladas in addition to bean and cheese or fish empanadas.
Just a few doors down is Rockaway Taco, the vendor who started this Rockaway revitalization.
One of our favorite restaurants has even been sucked into the surf, so to speak.
Roberta’s has teamed up with The Meat Hook to open Rippers, a surf shop meets burger joint that serves up twisted takes on concessions of yore. Go here for your hot dogs, but they won’t be rotating on a rusty grill all afternoon.
If you get a chance to head out that way, don’t forget your appetite along with your sunscreen.
Just last week New York was hit with a sweltering heat wave that left many of us wishing for a day at the beach. While we may not always have the time for a trip to Coney Island or the Rockaways, it’s nice to have somewhere close that makes you feel as if you’re about to dive into the ocean.
Saturdays Surf, located on the eastern edge of Soho, is a laid-back espresso bar slash surf shop that acts as a meeting ground for New York City’s surfing socialites.
Standing inside the shop (or their outdoor garden) is more reminiscent being in a beachside cabin than in the city. Surfboards line the entrance and surfing trophies mingle with the merchandise on shelves. The light even seems to come through the windows as if it were leaking through cracks in the wooden walls.
The shop of course specializes in selling surf equipment and accessories, with a few racks of surfer stylish clothing mixed in. Canvas bags and sunglasses round out the store’s offerings.
The espresso bar is the main draw for many, especially those that don’t surf. Saturdays uses La Colombe espresso for their cappuccinos and lattes. The cappuccino I had was one of the best I’ve had in some time.
A couple of benches at the entrance make up the seating for the coffee shop, ensuring that you won’t find people typing away at their laptops here.
More surfboards and wetsuits hang along the fence in the expansive backyard area. Planters, seemingly made out of driftwood freshly picked off the beach, are filled with flowers more fitting to SoCal than to Soho. The scattered bikes and boards give the feeling that a beach party might erupt at any moment.
The only thing that sends you back to reality is stepping back out onto Crosby Street and feeling pavement against your feet, rather than sand between your toes.