Golden Age of Rockaway


Rockaway life is amazing. Sometimes we take it for granted because, after all, to us it’s just life.  But if you work outside of Rockaway and talk to your coworkers, you would realize how special a place it is that we live in. I drive people working in the television and movie business for a living. Our Monday morning conversations always begin with the question I have become embarrassed to answer. It's an embarrassment of riches.

“How was your weekend?”

Passenger One, “Good, I got the laundry caught up on Saturday, and had a barbecue on Sunday. Passenger Two, “I didn’t do anything. How was your weekend John?”

Me, “Got home Friday and drove my Solowheel hoverboard to the 106th concession stand where The BEasy Band was playing. Ran into a dozen friends, ate an arepa, and listened to an 11-piece jazz rock band.”

Passenger One, “But wasn’t there a storm Friday night?”

Me, “That was the best part. We saw the storm rolling in from the bay, lightning, thunder, incredible winds. The band packed up just before the torrential downpour.  As the rain hit, flying sideways towards the ocean, the crowd and the band ran for cover inside the concession stand. Most of the metal gates were pulled down, a few were left open to watch the storm. One saxophone player started to play in the corner. Then the stand-up base player joined in. Then another sax, a flute, a banjo, guitar, singer. A spontaneous jam broke loose with the storm raging outside and all of us packed in dancing and drinking.

Passenger Two, “Wow great night.”

Me, “It wasn’t over, when the storm subsided, we headed to Uma's for dinner and there was a great jazz band there.”

As all you Rockaway residents know, there were probably 10 other bands playing in 10 other bars in Rockaway and if I wasn’t such a lightweight, the party could have continued.

Passenger One, “Great weekend.”

Me, “No that was Friday. Saturday, some coffee and croissants from Roasters on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and it was off to the beach. The ocean was beautiful, waves rideable, temperature perfect and water clean. Nutcrackers were for sale on the beach, if you don’t know what they are you are probably better off. Friends and family showed up and eventually we all headed up to my oceanfront apartment for showers, drinks and watching the surfers and skateboarders below. Then it was time for dinner at Whit’s for some fine dining in his backyard oasis with more live music.”

Once again the night was young and the party continued all across Rockaway into the next morning. Of course, not for me, the lightweight.

Passenger Two, “Great weekend.”

Me, “I didn’t tell you about Sunday yet. Wanted to sleep late but my phone was ringing at 8:30 a.m. I knew it was about a softball doubleheader I was supposed to play in but I blew it off. I decided to make my wife breakfast. Just as the bacon and hash browns were ready, at 9:20 a.m. the phone rang again from another teammate. I knew what it was about and didn’t want to answer but that second call, I knew I had to answer. My softball team was shorthanded and needed me to play or forfeit. That’s why my team’s name is The No Shows.  So, a softball doubleheader (sweep) started my Sunday. Next I took the Solowheel to my mechanic to pick up my wife’s repaired car. I had a few beers with my mechanic, Pete, and then I headed uptown on my Solowheel passing the sandcastle building contest, which I was tempted to stop at. But I decided to resist temptation and continued to the beach where a dozen friends were listening to music, swimming, and floating the rubber raft known simply as “The Barge” out to sea beyond the breaking waves. I was invited to two barbecues, but turned them down. I solowheeled home and passed a band playing on the boardwalk at Caracas, and then another band playing at Low Tide on the boardwalk. After dinner, my wife, Rita and I thought about taking a walk on the boardwalk to Rippers to see what band was playing there. But I had had enough. I was now ready to close the book on the weekend. Besides, I forgot DJ Mouse was spinning music at Bungalow Bar.”

That story played out with a thousand different Rockaway residents, each with their own combinations of bands, bars, food, beaches, etc., that makes up life in Rockaway. Every weekend. Oh yeah, and weekdays too. Bands everywhere during the week, Wednesday night volleyball, Tuesday night open mic at Connolly’s, Thursday music at Bungalow, etc.

So my story goes, every Monday morning. I start to wonder if people think that I am making this stuff up. It is the golden age of Rockaway!

To see a video of the Friday night storm jam session, go to Facebook group Rockaway Music. If you are a band or bar, post any upcoming music events on that page as well as pictures and videos from events.