Monday, July 21, 2008
Rock Rock Rockaway Beach
Rockaway has been my beach of choice ever since junior high school when Sharon discovered a bus that went from our neighborhood directly to the beach. It was the first time we could go that far by ourselves without having someone drive us, and since none of our parents had cars (or in my case a mother who won't drive anywhere she has never driven before... yes I said that right, don't ask), it generally kept us close to home.
Rockaway Beach, made famous by The Ramones, and recently in the news due to drowning teenage girls, has always been sort of on the edge of the earth. Rockaway Park and west is very crowded and full of houses and people partying in their houses. But the trick is to go east, far east, down to the Beach 60's and below, and find miles of deserted beaches and ramshackle houses with people barbecuing on their stoop. It was almost uninhabited.
Then, a few years ago, during the easy money days, someone finally decided to develop those empty lots. And now, my deserted Rockaway is just about gone. I cannot lament the passing of 30 to 40 beachfront blocks that were either empty or housing the poorest of the poor amongst us because this neighborhood has long been neglected and definitely needs a shot in the arm in order to bring some cash into the 'hood in the form of people who might buy things other than drugs, and jobs. I'm just thankful that I got to experience it regularly for 40 years before it changed.
Quite frankly, the architecture is a breath of fresh air, not the horrible boxes I had expected to encounter. They are airy and beachy and only 3 stories high. It's still abit of a ghost town because they aren't totally sold, but I think the future is bright for these houses and for the neighborhood.
A quick google search on the Rockaways shows a wide variety of opinion on the subject, but everyone agrees that the miles of empty beachfront lots were a sore spot to anybody with a brain. Unfortunately I don't have the time or patience to summarize it right now. Perhaps in the future when I'm not sitting in 100 degree heat I will do a good write up of Rockaway, as it is one of my favorite places in New York.
For a photo tour of the neighborhood, which focuses only on the inhabited areas, and at the end has some nice photos of the new Arverne development, go to Forgotten-NY. Fortunately this blogger did not venture further east so my secret beach spot is still safe.