ROCKAWAY BEACH, N.Y. (PIX11) – If you’re in New York City this Memorial Day weekend, that doesn’t mean you won’t have access to a beach. The parks department maintains 14 miles of beach throughout the five boroughs, and seven of those miles are in The Rockaways.
Mary Soto is visiting.
“I like that the boardwalk is really long. You’ve got lots of people surfing, the weather is perfect, and they’ve got plenty places to eat,” Soto said.
Michael O’Toole is a lifelong resident.
“I love living near the sea,” O’Toole said. “I love the good people, the good vibes. You’re in the city, but not in the city.”
It’s home to New York City’s only legal surfing beaches, so it’s the perfect place to try a surfing lesson this weekend.
After working up an appetite, have some lunch at Seany Pizza at the Beach 97th Street concessions. Sean Aiken is the owner.
“We cook it in a wood-fired oven, high-temp, really fast turnaround, kind of like an artisanal-style pizza,” Aiken said.
You can also chill out at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club and grab some fish tacos. Brandon D’Leo is a co-owner.
“It’s a neighborhood hangout, but it functions as a cultural space in a lot of ways,” D’Leo said. “Lots of art exhibitions, film festivals, music sometimes.”
On Saturday, the Surf Club is hosting an art exhibit showcasing surf photography on the peninsula and worldwide travel.
Riley is the artist and is displaying how important, she says, it is to be by the water.
“You don’t have to be a surfer to love Rockaway and the ocean,” Riley said.
You can then end your day at local bar Connolly’s and sip on their famous pina coladas.
If you don’t plan to venture out to the outer boroughs, Fleet Week in Manhattan is a must. Get a free tour of military ships docked on the west side and learn more about what they do and why they’re important in the U.S. Navy.
For the singles, they can get to know our American sailors a little better. Mix and mingle at The Dean in Midtown when they host “Snag Yourself a Sailor” on Friday night.
On the other side of the island is the Watermark Bar at Pier 15 where you can enjoy a tropical view on the East River while enjoying fun summer drinks.
If you do decide to make the trip to Rockaway Beach, you’ll hop on the A train or you can hitch a ride on the ferry. The view is spectacular and the city is increasing service all weekend and this summer.