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A Storefront View: Rockaways offer memory-making opportunities

Almost everyone in New York City has a memory or 10 about their experiences at Rockaway Beach. Many played ball on the basketball courts adjacent to the boardwalk, were regular visitors to Playland and spent much time in the local establishments listening to the top bands of the year. Most of those memories are shared with a distinct twinkle in the eye of the rememberer — great memories to be sure.

Yes, although Rockaway Playland is an adventure of the past and the top-10 groups now perform in huge arenas instead of local clubs, our beaches and boardwalk remain. Handball courts, basketball courts and children’s playgrounds still dot the open spaces near the boardwalk, and our wide sandy beaches and incredibly clean waters still provide free summer entertainment.

The Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways has made it its to mission to reintroduce New Yorkers to our incredible Queens peninsula. Not only does Rockaway boast the most incredible beaches in the city, but it borders Jamaica Bay where sailing, boating and fishing are once again thriving outdoor sporting activities.

The peninsula is also home to historic Gateway National Recreation Area, which offers a wide range of activities from outrigger canoe activities, fly-fishing instructions and campfire sing-a-longs to nature walks. The famous Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge features world-renowned bird-watching.

In addition, flourishing Rockaway arts and cultural organizations offer free outdoor concerts and art shows. Musical groups often perform during the summer months on the boardwalk, a sand-castle contest can be enjoyed and one can stay after the beach to enjoy Dancing Under the Stars summer programming.

During August, a growing kite festival features some of the largest kites in the world and provides a wonderful two-day family activity. Opportunities abound for new memories.

Rockaway offers a unique blend of wide open spaces, residential and commercial opportunities, casual atmosphere and recreation at your Queens doorstep — all less than an hour from Manhattan. Whether it be the millions of visitors each year or the year-round residents, all agree that the view (as you leave the urban environment behind and approach Rockaway from the A-train, by car or by ferry) simply strips the stress away.

New development throughout Rockaway cannot escape notice. Vacant lots are giving way to residential and commercial projects. Rockaway is growing by leaps and bounds, and the economic growth is providing more employment opportunities for its residents.

Neighborhoods are boasting self-improvement campaigns and concerned residents are involved in commercial revitalization projects and opportunities. New stores are opening and creating shopping opportunities, and other large corporations are interested in the Rockaways.

Restaurants provide breathtaking views and are enticing more and more beach-goers and visitors to come for lunch and stay for dinner. Rockaway is a special place within the hustle and bustle of New York City. It is a “Rockaway, Queens in Motion” and a wonderful place to create memories for the entire family. Come and make new memories.

Liz Sulik is the executive director of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce. This series is provided by the Queens Economic Development Corp.

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