Friday, November 21, 2014

Mark my words, Rockaway Beach will soon be the most popular beach in New York

Mark my words if you haven't heard this yet, then you're hearing it from me first: Rockaway Beach within the next five years will be the most popular beach in New York State and be the place to be in the place to be seen. I will take it a step further than that and say Rockaway Beach will be considered one of the top 10 beaches in the country right up there with South Beach, Miami and Venice Beach California. There is actually no better place for a beach to be geographically than where Rockaway Beach is. We are across Jamaica Bay from John F. Kennedy airport, we are part of New York City a city of 8 million people and a metropolitan area of 15 million people. And we have six subway stops which are literally one block to the ocean. The Rockaway Beach Renaissance has already started and we are slowly seeing laundromats, 99 cent stores and Chinese restaurant behind bulletproof glass being replaced by restaurants and coffee shops. The stereo typical Rockaway Beach local surfer, which used to predominantly be tough Irish guys, is now being joined by and eclectic group of artists, musicians and good looking women!! (I will get into my thoughts and reasons why there has been a large influx of women in the surfing community in another blog post). There are many factors that are a major part of the Rockaway Renaissance that have all kind of come together at the same time. Firstly the gentrification of many of Brooklyn and Manhattan's downtown neighborhoods which are now filled with young, active people in their 20's and 30's. The popularity of surfing and the resurgence of the long board which has been back strong now for about 15 years. Through the 70s 80s and most of the 90s it was almost impossible to find a longboard surfboard. So for the most part through those decades if you did not learn surfing as a kid the odds of learning how to surf once you were in your 20s was pretty low. Also there were no surf schools to be found, particularly in Rockaway Beach. Now there are three search schools in Rockaway Beach the premier one being the New York Surf School which has existed now for nine years. Anyway I'm going off on a tangent but the reason the Rockaway Renaissance is taking place is specifically linked to surfing and new surfers coming into the already existing surfing community. The new people coming are buying the old Victorian homes fixing them up, and really getting active in the community. What used to be the bread-and-butter of the Rockaway Beach economy which was summer rentals bed-and-breakfasts, which were on the decline and became almost nonexistent through the late 70s early 80's is starting to flourish again. Plus people are saying why be stuck in traffic for three hours to drive all the way out to the Hamptons when I can jump on the subway or get a zip car and shoot out to Rockaway Beach which is a true gritty surf ghetto and a lot of fun!!! This will be a double-edged sword, with the popularity of Rockaway Beach growing and growing and more and more people finding Rockaway Beach a desirable place to live. Rents and prices of homes will continue to rise, the amount of people in the surf lineup will continue to grow, which can sometimes create chaos and collisions in the water. Demographically I see parts of Rockaway Beach, in particular the Holland section, which runs roughly from 87th street to 96 street, bay to ocean going from being poor blue-collar and a bit of white-collar changing over to high-end white collar. In conclusion, there will be good points and some not so good points in this Renaissance that will take place. But Mark my words it will take place and within five years Rockaway Beach will be the number one beach in New York State and one of the top 10 destination beaches in the country.



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