Located approximately 14 miles from downtown New York City on Long Island, New York, Rockaway Beach features a quiet neighborhood that remains renowned for its bustling boardwalk, excellent surfing opportunities and beautiful beach area. This neighborhood serves as a perfect getaway for those who work in the city yet prefer to feel the tight-knit connection of a smaller community. Those who live in the area of this tiny peninsula tend to be young professionals, business owners and established families. Locals refer to the western area of Rockaway as "Rockapulco" due to its glitzy shops and amazing beach dunes, and you won't be at a loss for recreational activities and excellent dining opportunities.
Schools in Rockaway Beach
Restaurants & Nightlife
Tucked away from the excitement of the city, Rockaway Beach has a variety of restaurant choices to choose from, including fast food, tasty international cuisine, elegant establishments and classic family-friendly eateries. You can find the majority of the restaurants in the neighborhood along Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Located directly on the coastal waterways, the Bayhouse serves as a casual destination for anyone looking to entertain friends or enjoy a drink at sunset. Menu items include the fresh fried calamari, thick-sliced T-bone steaks, the Bayhouse deluxe burger or the popular stuffed portabella ravioli in a mushroom sauce. For families with children, you will find a $7 kids menu to fit nearly any budget, and happy hour can be enjoyed every Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. featuring $2.50 beers and $5 appetizers. For excellent Chinese cuisine in the Rockaway Beach area, East Meets West offers dine-in, takeout or delivery. Well known by locals for the excellent service, East Meets West provides a relaxing atmosphere combined with generous portions and affordable prices. Traditional menu items include the chicken lo mien and beef with broccoli or you can sample one of the chef's specialties with the steak Kew or the lemon chicken. If you want an authentic slice of pie, Plum Tomatoes has been in business for over 25 years serving up authentic Italian meals with friendly customer service. They make every pizza the minute you order it, so whether you desire to have a pizza delivered or dining in, you can be sure it will be hot and fresh. Try the signature Margherita pizza loaded with plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, or sample a slice of the renowned focaccia primavera square pizza. For live entertainment and an eclectic bar scene, Rockaway Beach has many places to go to grab a beer and live music. Jameson's Pub hosts happy hour every night from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. It also has an outdoor area for enjoying good weather, and you can reserve one of the private rooms for entertaining small groups. The Rockaway Beach Surf Club provides a place for local artists to go to display their work. Enjoy a glass of beer, and sit and talk to the locals. The club hosts paint parties and film festivals as well as an annual Halloween party.
History & Culture
Rockaway Beach was established in the mid-1800s when businessman Michael P. Holland purchased the tract of land and named it Hammels. The neighborhood merged with the village of Holland, and later he decided to donate the land to the city of New York. Summer was the most popular month in Rockaway, and the largest hotel in the states was built. Today the area has over 13,000 residents, which makes it the third largest city on the peninsula. The Rockaway Museum provides a home for a variety of artifacts from the region. The museum receives the majority of its funding from the sale of T-shirts, books and other memorabilia, and each year the museum holds an arts festival with crafts, food and local artists displaying their wares.
The majority of the residents in Rockaway Beach prefer to drive, but getting to downtown New York can be tricky since water surrounds the perimeter. Beach Channel Drive and the Shorefront Parkway connect directly to the Cross Bay Bridge, which leads into the Belt Parkway and into downtown. For parking options, residents can utilize street parking and other free parking area can be found in several lots around the neighborhood. The MTA provides public transportation to all areas in Rockaway Beach. This service includes both the subway and the bus, which takes approximately 90 minutes to travel from Rockaway Beach to downtown Manhattan. Uber provides transportation to and from the city, but nothing quite beats the experience of hailing a cab in New York City and the surrounding area. Bike and pedestrian walks remain available along the boardwalk and provide an excellent way to get around the west side.
Residents of Rockaway Beach have a cost of living that remains 10 percent less than the cost of living in New York City, which makes this neighborhood an affordable option for those who work in the area but prefer a quieter residential lifestyle. For those looking for housing in the area, a one-bedroom apartment costs around $1,500 a month and you can expect to pay around $9 for public transportation to the city center. For commuters, gas prices hover around 10 percent higher than the rest of the nation. If you like to hit the town at night, a glass of domestic beer costs around $5 and an imported beer will set you back about $7.
New York City provides a Mecca of shopping malls, high-end stores and bargain chains throughout the city. Rockaway Beach also has a host of boutiques close by. The Blue Bungalow remains one of the gift boutiques on Rockaway Beach. Shoppers can have the shop create a special message in the sand, and then its staff will take a picture and send it to someone who doesn't have access to the sandy shores. You can also find an array of other specially accessories, T-shirts and handcrafted jewelry. If you are looking for a special outfit for work or play, Lana's Loft has a large selection for females of all ages. This high-end shop sells everything from wedding attire to prom dresses, and you can find an array of accessories to complete your look. For grocery shopping, locals shop at the Cross Bay Grocer or Key Foods, and if you want fresh and hard-to-find produce items, the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket has a selection of locally grown farm-fresh produce, demonstrations by local chefs and family-friendly activities. You can also find Christmas trees and decorations during the holiday season and a mix of specialty items, international hard-to-find items and gift baskets.
Residents in the New York City appreciate the importance of excellent health. For this reason, you can find many parks and recreational areas to enjoy in your free time. Bayswater Park has a playground with swings, and an enclosed dog park area. Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk also provides residents with a year-round place with fitness with exercise equipment, playgrounds a skate park and baseball fields. Primarily the park comes alive during the warmer summer months, but the park can be used any time for free. Every year, the park hosts a Fourth of July fireworks display with live music and food.