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Get to know The Rockaways

If you spot someone stumbling onto the A train with a surfboard, it’s little secret where they’re headed. It’s been said New York's best waves are at Rockaway Beach — likely why it’s the only spot in the city where catching swells is legal. "The Rockaways," collectively, refers to nine seaside enclaves on the Rockaway Peninsula, which juts from Long Island’s landmass in the opposite direction of suburbia. While contiguous with Nassau County, it would be genuinely isolated from the rest of New York City if not for the Marine Parkway and the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges. Subways and ferries, plus plenty of bus routes, have had a hand in turning this summer getaway into a year-round residential area. While the Rockaways are undoubtedly a trip from the urban “mainland,” there remains a charm to life by the beach — getting away from it all while still being part of it all.

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The Rockaways Commerce & Culture

Beaches are the big game in town, as sand meets sea all along the area’s southern edge. There’s ample opportunity to swim and sunbathe, whether you park it at one spot or take advantage of transit to hop between Fort Tilden or Jacob Riis to the easternmost end of the boardwalk. Subway-wise, the Rockaways are served by the A train and Rockaway Park Shuttle — and the LIRR’s Far Rockaway Branch offers a one-seat ride to Penn Station (at peak) or Atlantic Terminal in Downtown Brooklyn. Far off as it may seem, the Rockaways are still part of New York City, meaning that choice food options abound — fish tacos, burgers, and arepas, to name only a few. And don’t think the drink side of things gets left out: there are plenty of beloved watering holes — offering beer, wine, and cocktails — tucked throughout. Whatever you end up doing, though, don’t forget sunscreen.