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The Rockaway Times
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Playland Closing Later This Month
By Katie McFadden
It’s like 1985 all over again.
Playland is closing. Yet this
time it’s the bar and restaurant
that has been taken on a roll-
ercoaster ride since it opened
along with the motel above in
The hip bar and restaurant
that brought a Brooklyn vibe
to Rockaway Beach, Playland
Tavern and Grill, is set to close
on October 31. The Long-
time establishment formerly
known as Boggiano’s, followed
by the Tap and Grill, is facing
yet another change. In Sep-
tember 2012, Cayuga Capital
Management principal Jamie
Wiseman purchased the 7,200
square-foot building for $1.3
million. Wiseman partnered
with Robin Scott, who he also
opened the Brooklyn night-
club Output, as well with as
Diego Galarza and Eduardo
Suarez, proprietors of Wil-
liamsburg eateries El Alma-
cen and Rosarito Fish Shack,
to handle the kitchen. After
enduring Hurricane Sandy
and undergoing renovations
to transform the old clam
bar to the trendy space that
it became, Playland officially
opened in July 2013. The space
features 12 motel rooms on
the second floor, which were
uniquely decorated by various
artists. The first floor featured
the bar and a restaurant with
diner-type cuisine, and chef
Whitney Aycock made an im-
pact with his artisan pizza at
what was known as The Other
End and later Whit’s End.
The biggest draw to the
swanky new spot was the
backyard space, which had a
deck and even its own beach,
making for late-night off-the-
ocean beach parties featur-
ing DJs and beach games. The
space drew a new crowd to the
neighborhood with many from
Brooklyn and Manhattan mak-
ing the trip out to Rockaway
to the new popular party spot.
For some of the neighbors, the
new addition was an unwel-
come addition to the block
and complaints ensued. In
late spring 2015, Dan Cipriani
stepped in as owner of the bar
and restaurant, and partnered
with the property owners to
run the above motel. When
Cipriani took over, he vowed
to change the rowdy reputa-
tion of the bar and restaurant,
turning it from a party place
to a more family and neigh-
ment. He took over the kitchen
in May 2015 and rolled out a
brand new menu with break-
fast to dinner items and he put
an end to the bar’s late-night
Yet some neighbors con-
tinued to hold grudges. The
complaints led to a raid of the
establishment by several city
agencies in late August. Both
Whit’s End and Playland took
a hit, resulting in Aycock clos-
ing his pizza joint and Playland
being forced to permanently
close off the backyard space.
Now former owner Cipriani
places blame on the loss of
the backyard space for hurt-
ing the business and playing
a role in his decision to back
out of the business. In a pub-
lic statement, he said, “As you
may have heard, I am closing
the Playland Grill, mainly, due
to loss of the back yard. I feel
now is time to make a grace-
ful exit from the property with
my bank account and good
name intact.” Cipriani refused
to make any further state-
ments regarding the decision
and directed all questions to
the building owners at Cayuga
Capital as rumors swirled that
the hotel portion of the build-
ing was being transformed
into a homeless shelter.
reached out to Cayuga Cap-
ital, but did not receive a
response. The owners did
release a public statement re-
Continued on page 43