A while back, Greg and I visited New York City to attend a fabulous wedding at Terrace on the Park in Queens. Having decided to make a vacation out of the long trip from Albuquerque, we squeezed in some of the typical touristy stuff. You know, enjoying the hubbub in Times Square, strolling across the Brooklyn Bridge, taking a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, going to a ballgame. There is so much to do and see in New York City. The one thing we couldn’t miss, of course, was a trip to a Big Apple beach! The bride and groom highly recommended Rockaway Beach, the city’s only surfing beach, in the borough of Queens. So… we checked with our handy, reliable HopStop phone app, hopped on the bus, and set out to enjoy the day! And enjoy the day we did.
Rockaway Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand that was strewn with super sized Atlantic Surf Clam (Spisula solidissima) seashells the day of our visit. And I mean they were huge! NOAA‘s FishWatch site says that Atlantic Surf Clams are “the largest bivalves in the western North Atlantic.” They actually range all the way from Nova Scotia to South Carolina. These popular beach treasures can grow to over 7 inches across, making them the perfect soap dishes!
Seashell hunting was no challenge. The real challenge and fun of the day was the friendly beachcombing competition to find the most jumbo seashell specimen we could. It was a win-win day!
Running the length of the beach was a well-kept boardwalk with maintained public restrooms. It’s easy to see by the early morning activity that Rockaway Beach is indeed one of New York City’s most popular beaches. This favored municipal beach rated a “very good” in the 2011 biennial survey compiled by the advocacy group New Yorkers for Parks. Along with Rockaway Beach, Coney Island also rated “very good.” (In the survey, no beaches were rated “unsatisfactory,” as was the case for a couple of beaches in the previous two reporting surveys.) It’s always nice to bring home a good report card!
As you can imagine, in October of 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused great damage to New York City’s coastal areas, boardwalks, and beaches. Happily, progress is being made in the restoration of Rockaway Beach. In an April 2014 update, The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation announced:
“After Hurricane Sandy, more than $140 million was invested to repair and restore Rockaway Beach. As part of this work, intact sections of boardwalk were repaired, damaged beach buildings were renovated with new boardwalk islands constructed around them, public restrooms and lifeguard stations were installed to replace destroyed facilities, and interim shoreline protection and anti-erosion measures were created. Thanks to this work, more than 3 million people visited Rockaway Beach throughout the 2013 beach season.”
♪ ♫ “Start spreading the news…” ♪ ♫ New York City’s beaches are Grade A!
Do you have a favorite New York City beach? We’d love to hear about it!