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Where Is This?

Rockaway is a show about nothing.  I’ve been guilty of saying summer’s over on the 4th of July (to the extreme annoyance of many) but this year I should have declared it over on Memorial Day. Or the day after the Rockaway St. Patrick’s parade.

I feel like I’m in one of those movies where everything’s the same but different, too.

Didn’t we have volleyball leagues and Summer Classic basketball once upon a time?  The Rockaway Theatre Company would have hot-ticket shows in the summer and The Rockaway Artists Alliance would have cool exhibits. Now?

The Rockaway Times would be telling everyone to get their pails and shovels ready because the annual Sandcastle Contest was just up ahead. The Family Fun Run at St. Francis de Sales used to be the biggest walk/run event in Rockaway and where’s that to be found?

RockStock & Barrels, the surf and skate musical fest, usually kicks off the summer but fun was put on ice. There’d be music at the concessions and people would still be talking about the Irish Festival and getting ready for another boxing exhibition at St. Camillus. The kite festival is another thing that’s been grounded. Have I bummed you out enough?

In the old days, your health was endangered because of Rockaway hospitality. Stay for another, this one’s on me. Let’s stop at such and such before we go to this and that.

And then there’s the weather. We could’ve used some rain to dampen late night fireworks but of course, June had great weather. And of course, in 2020, you couldn’t swim because lifeguards were not on duty. June had great weather but outdoor dining wasn’t permitted until June 22, after Father’s Day.

It was almost enough to make you complain about nice weather. Which usually only people on Facebook complain about.

Before you think I’m a stalled thundershower, just know that I am one with a silver lining. There may be nothing going on in Rockaway but there’s nothing going on anywhere else. You’re not going to be invited to anywhere off the peninsula.

It’s another thing that won’t happen this summer, The Rockaway Groan.

For those who’ve been quarantined for five or six years, The Rockaway Groan is that utterance we make when we’re invited to some place during the summer months. It doesn’t matter if it’s a barbecue at a Hamptons mansion or a yacht cruise off Nantucket, you will not be happy. You will be stuck in traffic both ways. You will wonder what you’re missing back in Rockaway. You utter The Rockaway Groan: I gotta leave Rockaway for this? 

And that’s the thing that is so messed up. We’d probably be ok with leaving this summer for a little break, for a little something different but there’s no point. The people who don’t live on the peninsula paradise aren’t even asking. Misery loves company but not this summer.

By Kevin Boyle 

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