And Summer 2022 Begins

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 We made it. Memorial Day weekend is finally here, and that means the unofficial start of Rockaway summer. With ongoing Army Corps work to protect the shoreline, the beach will look a little different with some limits in areas, but the fun will go on! With the official beach opening ceremony this Friday, and the boardwalk concessions ready to launch in full swing, summer 2022 is here.

New York City’s beaches officially open Saturday, May 28 with lifeguards returning from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through September 12. To kick it off, Rockaway’s beach opening ceremony will be Friday, May 27 at 11 a.m. on the boardwalk at Beach 17th Street.

Due to construction on groins (jetties) and the start of the reinforced dune project, some beach interruptions are expected, particularly in the areas of Beach 92nd to Beach 95th and Beach 109th to Beach 111th, which will be completely closed to access until July 15, and Beach 114th to 117th and 119th through 121st, which will be completely closed from July 15 through September. There will also be restrictions with sand only access in certain areas, and periodic closures from Beach 149th to Beach 136th due to dune construction work. NYC Parks will keep visitors aware of disruptions with signage, but for daily updates, see: www.nycgovparks.org/facility/beaches/beach-recovery/rockaway-beach-closures

Despite the disruptions, the beach fun will go on! The boardwalk concessions will be open and keeping the party going all summer long. Rockaway Beach Bazaar, the group that oversees the concessions at Beach 106th, 97th and 86th, is ready for its second season. Caracas has been serving up arepas and sangria, and Brothers has been serving up its healthy toasts and juices at Beach 106th, while Rippers on Beach 86th has been dishing out hard body burgers since last Friday, but the large central concession on Beach 97th is ready to join the fun this weekend.

Beach 97th got a makeover during the offseason and now is completely winterized to operate year-round after the summer. Beach 97th will see the return of food vendors Red Hook Lobster Pound, La Cevicheria, Seany Pizza, Palanque, La Fruiteria and Edible Island to go along with Sand Shark Bar’s popular beach friendly beverage offerings. And some new places are joining the mix, including OddFellows ice cream, Hook Burger and Chickenwreck.

The entertainment will be returning with Beach 97th hosting a free summer concert series every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and national holiday. This weekend, Solshyne takes the Beach 97th stage on Friday, May 27, followed by Wine With Sue on Saturday, Junxion Presents on Sunday and DJ Mouse on Memorial Day, with music starting at 5 p.m. each night. For a full event lineup, see: rockaway-bazaar.com

The concessions will also offer a summer full of activities like lobster boils, movie nights, yoga and volleyball. A little something may also be coming to Beach 68th this summer. There are tentative plans for Rockaway Clam Shack and a bar to set up shop there, but it’s not definite at this time. There will, however, be other mobile vendors including Josie’s Delights, serving up jerk bbq chicken at Beach 73rd Street on weekends. Beach Side Valet carts will be rolling along the sand with ice cream. Also, find Yum Ices and Mr. Softee along Shore Front Parkway all summer long.

Not a concession, but a summer exclusive, Connolly’s will be back open, serving up frozen piña coladas and more, all summer long, starting Friday, May 27 at noon. Under new ownership of the Reinhardts and Kololyans, Connolly’s is here to stay and ready to serve up fun all summer.

It isn’t just about food and drink service this summer. Don’t worry about lugging your surfboard or umbrella to the beach. Later this summer, at Beach 109th Street, Station surf shop and Lido Beach Butlers will deliver surf boards, wetsuits, inline skates along with loungers and umbrellas to your spot in the sand. Boarders has you covered for sundries and surfboard rentals at both Beach 97th and Beach 68th Streets. Kooks, groms and experts can brush up on their surfing skills by taking lessons from a number of local surfing schools at Beach 68th Street all summer long.

Down on Beach 17th Street, NYC Parks recently put out a Request for Proposals for a possible new concessionaire next season, but DredSurfer Grill will be keeping the party going this summer, serving up their Caribbean delicacies and fun parties. On Sunday, May 29, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., DredSurfer is hosting a music event featuring DJ Warren and DJ Blake the Snake.

Don’t forget to check the weekly Rockaway Times each Thursday for a full lineup of all the fun going on this summer.

 By Katie McFadden

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