The boardwalk concessions are changing hands. This week, after confirmation from NYC Parks, The Rockaway Times (RT) broke the news of Rockaway Beach Bazaar being selected as the operator for the boardwalk concessions starting summer 2021. The same folks who have been operating Riis Park Beach Bazaar since 2015 will keep the party going in Rockaway Beach.
In a statement to The RT, NYC Parks said, “We are pleased to announce that Rockaway Beach Bazaar has been awarded the next contract to operate food and beverage concessions on the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk beginning Summer 2021.”
Rockaway Beach Bazaar was awarded a 15-year contract to operate the three outdoor concessions at Beach 106th, Beach 97th and Beach 86th Street, one beach shop, and up to 20 satellite units along the beach and boardwalk.
In response to the news, co-owners and founders, Belvy Klein and Aaron Broudo said, “We appreciate this opportunity and look forward to working together with the NYC Parks Department and the local Rockaway community, utilizing our proven track record to help make the Rockaway Beach boardwalk better than ever.
“We have a 10 year+ track record of opening venues, building strong teams, managing vendors and programming events. Since 2015 we have run beach concessions and programming at Jacob Riis Park, where we have proved to be a safe and responsible operator while helping raise park attendance to levels not seen in decades. We have done this with an emphasis on hyper local vendors and staff. Our Rockaway Beach operation will follow this same example.”
While some expressed disappointment that some of the concessions Rockaway loves would be leaving, those of Rockaway Beach Bazaar say not so fast. “We intend to retain as many of the previous vendors as possible and will be offering those operators first opportunity at their past concession locations,” they said. Which concessions those are will depend on negotiations.
Outgoing operator, Rockaway Beach Club, which was awarded the contract for the concessions back in 2011, is recognized for bringing a diversity of great eats and live music to the boardwalk for ten summers. The operators were faced with a number of obstacles in that time, most notably Hurricane Sandy destroying the boardwalk and concessions in 2012. They faced further challenges when the city closed beaches in front of the concession areas in 2018 due to erosion and again with the Covid-19 pandemic this year, which closed beaches to swimming until July. Despite all of this, Rockaway Beach Club persisted and prevailed.
Of the news of not being awarded the contract, Andrew Field of Rockaway Beach Club said, “It’s all business in this city.” Field added that they are considering the offer to continue business on the boardwalk. “With that said, we are in conversations to see what kind of offer is proposed to keep dedicating our hearts and souls to the project we laid the groundwork for. The food industry is one of the hardest to be in, and we have to start to change the model. We, as a group, have spent the last decade diversifying the boardwalk with way more than just profit on our minds. We are all Rockaway residents, so we know how important it is to keep our neighbors employed and/ or make it a successful summer for the local small business participants,” he said. “We are open to ideas, but they have to make financial sense to our organizations.”
Riis Bazaar’s contract for Bay 9 expired in November but they’ve submitted a proposal for the National Park Service’s RFP that may be decided in February. In the meantime, with this new opportunity, Rockaway Beach Bazaar says, “We are very excited and look forward to seeing everyone back at the beach!”
By Katie McFadden
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS