Rockaway Locals…You Tell Us! Get Your Voice Heard!

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In our feature, reporter, Kami-Leigh Agard scours the streets to get your opinion on current issues facing the peninsula.

Your Voice…Your Community…Your Platform

 

What sets Rockaway apart, makes our peninsula so special from any other community in NYC’s five boroughs, the state or to be even more grandiose — the entire country? Is it our beautiful beach, the bay, the people?

Rockaway enthusiasts weigh in:

 

SOMALIA JACKSON

Administrative Secretary

Rockaway Beach, NY

“What sets Rockaway apart and makes us so distinct from any other community in the world? It’s our hidden beauty. I was born and raised here, so I have seen the evolution of the peninsula. Whatever the season, Rockaway is so beautiful. People talk about the commute, but we have buses, the train and soon the ferry, that makes us so accessible for people to discover the beauty of our community. If people are seeking the beach, Long Beach for example, is not as accessible or affordable to commute to because the Long Island Railroad is expensive and not as dependable as the A-train, which makes it really simple for people to come out here. Also, after Hurricane Sandy, the community really came together and we showed the world that we are resilient. As devastating as Sandy was, it literally put Rockaway on the world’s map. Since Sandy, our revitalization or renaissance, as I like to describe it, really illustrated how united and loving we are. The folks that came out here to help with relief and recovery also discovered the amazing gem we are and just added to the beauty of the community. Like God said, ‘drink and be merry,’ and that’s what Rockaway emanates. We are all about family, community and fun. We have had our trials, but we have shown the world that Rockaway is strong, and the most beautiful and thriving community on earth.”

 

ULRIKA PALSSON

Mom Of Two and Wife

Manhattan, NY

“My family enjoys coming out to Rockaway. We love the beach, the mix of people in the community, the quirky restaurants like Sayra’s Wine Bar, which has amazing food, ambiance and the Japanese garden in the back. Also Rockaway is fairly close to Manhattan, which is where we live, and now with the ferry, the commute will be even more enjoyable. Even the A-train is fairly easy, and my kids and husband actually enjoy the ride. More than any other beach community in the city, Rockaway feels more laid back, comfortable and the people are so warm and friendly. Also, where else in the city can you see people surfing? That’s amazing! We just really love the vibe out here, not to mention Rockaway feels like a home away from home. In one sentence, if I was promoting the Rockaway experience for families to come, I would say, ’We love Rockaway because where else in the city can you find this hidden gem, that’s easy to commute to and has so much to offer in terms of the people, the restaurants, and the vibrancy! Again, we love Rockaway!”

 

SAM TAYLOR & MIMI FONTANA

Taylor: Artist / Fontana: Pilates & Belly Dance Instructor

Rockaway Park, NY

“Hands down, it’s the beach and the community of people. The people we’ve met, have become like family for years. The now-closed Playland Motel and restaurant on Rockaway Beach Blvd. was a big thing for us. Also, the great community of surfers on Beach 89th Street is really cool. Apart from just being residents in the summer, Rockaway is where we will always call home. We live in Brooklyn because of work, but have been renting a beach house here every summer for the last six years, and it’s so nice to have a place to just come home and decompress from the mayhem of the city, and just chill. The multifaceted vibrancy of Rockaway and our love for the beach community have always been pretty consistent for all the years that we have been coming out here. Where else can you take a break from the city? Also, the amazing part is that you are technically still in the city; Rockaway is in Queens. We also vacation in Rincón, Puerto Rico, and it feels like we are still in Rockaway. Again, it’s the people that are the signature of Rockaway. Folks are so welcoming, and it’s funny that every year we come back, it’s like we never left. It used to be cool when you could have just camped out at the beach at night, but now there’s restrictions with that. But you know what, despite all these new regulations, Rockaway will always rock!”

 

MARA VALENTINO

Proprietor, Uncle Louie G (Ice cream parlor)

Rockaway Beach, NY

“What makes Rockaway so special? The people. I’ve never met a community that’s so bonded together, and takes care of each other. The peninsula seems so big, yet it seems so small. I have been honored to be privy to that. Everybody helps everyone out. I’ve never seen that before. It’s like a movie. If a family is in need, everyone mobilizes to help out. If a store is in trouble, everyone races there to go help them. It’s an incredible community, I can’t wait to move here. Rockaway is an addiction! You get addicted to Rockaway, either you love it or you don’t, and if it you love it, you can’t get enough! I wasn’t born and raised here. I am from another part of Queens, but I moved to Long Island to raise my kids. However my husband has been working on the peninsula for over 30 years. He owns the bungalows on Beach 100th Street. Plus, he was a cop here for 12 years at 101 Precinct, then after retiring, he was the vice president of security operations for eight years at Peninsula Hospital until they closed. So when I was thinking about opening a store, he was dead set on Rockaway. When my nephew and I first opened the Louie G ice cream parlor here, it was incredible. People came and thanked me for opening here. Meanwhile, I’m just like, ‘Thank you for coming,’ but they thanked me! I am still in awe and so grateful for the community's genuine love and support.”

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