So the Rockaways are becoming more of a destination than Long Beach? Lonely Planet thinks so.

Lonely Planet deems Queens, NY as the #1 destination in the US (see –Best in the US 2015) and much of it has to do with the Rockaways:

“Speaking of beaches, Rockaway has become NYC’s favorite seaside destination of the summer. Locals looking for sand and sun but without the Hamptons’ fuss (the prices, the traffic, the ‘tude), have begun flocking to this beach in outer Queens. Wait, Queens has a beach? Indeed, and you can reach these Atlantic-kissed sands on the subway. Aside from wave frolicking, surfing (as immortalized by the Ramones) and people watching, the chief draw is the burgeoning eating and drinking scene that has sprouted near the boardwalk. Tender fish tacos from Rockaway Taco ( and piping hot pizza from Brooklyn’s much loved Roberta’s ( was just the beginning. More recently Rockaway has seen the opening of wine bars (the Rock serves up tapas, craft brews and wine on tap;, foodie joints (Uma’s, the place for Central Asian cooking with a side of rock n’ roll;, a mini flea market and bohemian nightspots – like Playland: equal parts art gallery, beach bar and wildly decorated motel. [LINK]

So what the hell are we doing wrong here in Long Beach? I see too many nail salons, restaurants hanging on for dear life and plenty of  vacancies. I’m not saying the Rockaways are perfect,  but they are sure heading in the right direction with music, culture & food.  We do have a better boardwalk and I would say out beaches are nicer, but I sure wish some of that gentrification rubbed off a little over here…

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34 thoughts on “So the Rockaways are becoming more of a destination than Long Beach? Lonely Planet thinks so.”

  1. Rockaway has the benefit of the subway, and I’m not sure how much it costs to go on their beach. Therefore admission and transportation cost much less. We also have too many rules. People want to relax.

  2. Rockaway is a sewer, and those frequenting it are either savages or penniless hipsters.

    The people who deem Rockaway as a superior destination to Long Beach are not the demographic who will contribute a thing when they arrive.

    Don’t believe me? Go take a ride. At night.

  3. I also don’t understand why people continue to want to make LB a “destination”. I’m perfectly happy to share the beach with my family, friends and neighbors, I don’t need or want to share it with everyone else. Selfish? Yes. The truth? Absolutely.

  4. The beaches are free in Rockaway. The subway exists but it sucks – there is movement towards getting true Rapid Bus Transit and it would be awesome to see the ferry reinstalled and expanded.
    There is public transportation and bike lanes, a massive YMCA and new shopping district, fantastic environmental groups like the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance ( , MOMA (the worlds largest museum of modern art) has set up there (, Patti Smith has been hanging there for years, the singer of REM cleaned my friends basement after Sandy and of course Madonna shows up in another friends house (but did not clean it), loads of bands have relocated there and a collection of friends I have there are all in the media & design industry.

    Penniless hipsters? Not the demographic that will contribute? I personally know a dozen people in media and design who moved there for surf and if you thing the surfers moving there are penniless then clearly you have never purchased a surfboard! The spaces opening up for business postSandy are phenomenal.

    Fact is the demographic that is moving into Rockaway is EXACTLY what we want- the people fleeing Brooklyn, the artists and those posh professionals realizing the Hamptons are boring, the young professionals who want to own but the city is too expensive as they’d rather spend their money on consumer goods than housing? We want them. They don’t drive- even better.

  5. There have been some fun/cool new additions to LB and I hope things continue to move in that direction. We have mentioned Grotta di Fuoco, Brixx and Barley and Ra King.
    This weekend I stopped into Das Biergarten in the West End (I know – another bar BUT this place is just gorgeous). I am looking forward to going there for lunch and a few beers.
    I also heard a new wine bar is coming, something we don’t have, called Lost & Found. I am not sure when it will open.
    Swingbelly’s is renovating (I wasn’t thrilled with the post-sandy set up) so that will be nice to revisit.
    I look forward to going to all of the above as well as whatever the new ‘Duke Falcons’ will be.

  6. I like the fact that Long Beach charges for admission to the beach. It keeps the beach safer and cleaner. I grew up in Rockaway and trust me, the Long Beach community beats Rockaway in every aspect, hands down. Are all these restaurants in Rockaway situated right on the boardwalk? I think the food trucks in Long Beach would do much better if they were on the boardwalk instead of feeling like you’re eating in a parking lot. Also, I don’t know how the rents compare between Long Beach and Rockaway but I’m sure they’re working very hard in making Rockaway the Hamptons of NYC so there must be some tax incentives, etc. I loved living in Rockaway in the ’60’s and ’70’s and wouldn’t go back there for at least another 20 years (assuming it does become the “it” destination) or possibly ever. I wish we could have more family friendly restaurants like Mother Kelly’s (which closed in Cedarhurst) or The International (in Bellmore) or a place like Zorn’s…both moderately priced and excellent. Obviously, just my opinion.

  7. Well the beach was only one part of the selection by lonely planet. It mentioned all of Queens for it diversity and cultural offerings as well as it’s food scene. We really cant compare our tiny section of the barrier island with all of Queens and what that brings to the table (Zoo, Museums, Parks, Airports, Subway, Etc., Etc.,).

    That being said I also have to agree. I don’t want Long Beach to be a destination. I like to have it to ourselves.

    As far as the food truck offering I think Marilyn is right on with her idea of bring them onto the boardwalk or at least raise them to the same level of the boardwalk on some type of platform so you don’t feel like you are in a parking lot which is exactly where you are at the “Shorgesboard.”

  8. Here’s a novel idea, buy a cookbook, look up recipes online, and cook and eat at home. Oh, and @BltByKrmn, there was a time when we had a chance to have Long Beach be something really special for the residents, a quiet seaside town with high real estate values (sort of like our immediate neighboring towns that figured out how to keep visitors to a minimum),but then we thought it wise to pay policemen and seasonal maintenance workers a quarter million dollars a year, unionize everybody right down to the kids that lifeguard the beach, build stadiums, and eventually have to bond every freaking thing we do including backpay for workers. Now we are in a crisis situation that requires us to figure out how to get masses of people on the LIRR in hopes they will buy so much as a second hotdog. When you look at the chosen methods of doing this, such things as a highly touted Holiday light spectacular, which is nothing more than a lighted wire in the shape of a crab on the boardwalk, herein lies the problem.

  9. CAVE: Not sure I’m reading your post right as to whether you are for against visitors and I agree that our city is wasting so much money on the bloated salaries/benefits and political patronage jobs they have created while our infrastructure crumbles around us. I’m not sure why the city wants to court this visitor crowd and make LB a “destination.”

    What is the benefit of a day crowd? The city collects no portion of the sales tax on their purchases. The beach is operated at a loss every year. The Allegria Hotel doesn’t pay the lodging taxes it owes the city but is still allowed to operate and privatize a large section of a public beach. Anybody know if “LB Hotel” is current on its lodging taxes with city? I’m sure there is a direct benefit to many local businesses from the day crowd and visitors but that doesn’t translate to any real tangible benefit for the majority of the taxpaying citizens of Long Beach. The amount of sales at a given business has no correlation to how much taxes they pay.

    So I don’t understand why they feel the need to try and turn LB into a “destination”?

  10. AllisonB, unfortunately nobody here see this side of it. I do. It’s not so much making LB a destination, but more of a place that is not crumbling under our feet. These “Penniless hipsters” are actually people with money, the are injecting their lives into communities all over Brooklyn and now Queens, making them really great places to live in. These are residents, not tourists.

  11. Allison, The Metroplex (at the foot of Beach 26th Street) would be a great place for you to move. Ethnic diversity to the MAX (no White males, in fact no Whites at all) and the newest luxury housing on the beach. And for entertainment, only six murders in the Metroplex this year (so far). And for affordable, Section 8 picks up the entire tab.

    You really don’t belong here in Long Beach, Allison. Not enough diversity for ya.

  12. Just because people don’t agree with you, it doesn’t mean they don’t understand.

    I was part of the “gentrification” of the LES, I have no desire to live it again. Not sure why gentrification is being used anyway, not really relevant to LB.

  13. i’m not asking people to agree, I just wish people (especially the baby boomers) understood why younger people are leaving Long Island. They don’t. I don’t know what age group you fall into, but I lived in the LES in the 90s. What is going on now there is completely different from yesteryear. In fact, I would call that area yuppie now.

  14. There were restaurants (including a gluten free bakery- Baby Cakes) and alcohol on the boardwalk in Rockaway but they floated away. One day they will return. The new shops setting up are 2 minutes away on Rock Blvd.

  15. I swear I’m not trying to debate with you, but what I take away from that is “ok so they are finally starting to catch up to the West End?”

  16. @BltByKrmn I see your point. We have some great places in the West End. Swings is the best, I love Grotta Di Fuoco as well as others. if you look at that food link I posted above, there is something about the way those places look: they are very airy, beachy, the presentation of the food, Going with quality over quantity. Then I think of places like the Muscle Grill that was on Park Avenue. I’m sorry, but most of their food was frozen and not really healthy and fresh. That is why they went out.

    I look at Gentle Brew as a good example of a place that “new gentrification” brings – there menu might not be as big as starbucks, but they roast their own beans there. The make all their baked good on the premises and what they offer is not in quantity, but in quality.

    EDIT: oh, I meant to type this: TACOS! Take Tacos, for example. Yeah we have some pretty good places around here….. but there are these taco places that are opening up pretty much everywhere, but Long Island. The Rockaways have on that I can think of. I’ve been to a few in Brooklyn and I believe San Fransisco is famous for them: They offer pretty much nothing, but tacos. Pork, Chicken, Beef, etc.. they are very fresh. Nothing is frozen. You don’t have to wait for a waiter. You just go in, order, sit down, eat. I WANT THIS IN LONG BEACH SO BADLY! PLEASE KEEP IN MIND: FRESH is the key word here….

  17. We had the best tacos, hands down, I’ve ever had in my life when Happy Burger worked the kitchen at Trainor’s. You can thank the old miserable bar fly patrons of Trainor’s for getting them kicked out.

    Now all of the Long Beacher’s in the know have to go back to Rincon to get Happy Taco and the green sauce.

  18. Hi there, I moved to a Rockaway 10 years ago and bought a house. I have watched it change for the better. Is it better or nicer than Long Beach? No way. I’m happy that my house doesn’t get shot at anymore. I’m happy there are more places to eat. When I moved here there were pretty much none. I’m not all that pleased with the tons of hipsters that come to the beach and have all learned to surf. I ended up going to Long Beach all summer and paying to get on your beach because ours is overcrowded, with no boardwalk and dirty. Oh did I mention no waves this summer either because of dredging? But if you think that a handful of restaurants and a bunch of buffoons that are called the parks dept are better than long beach! your crazy. We look at your beaches and see how you handle the garbage and want that. We would love to charge to get on the beach because then maybe we could afford proper garbage cans that we have been fighting for years with Jill Weber and the Parks Dept. In the summer all you hear are whistles from the Parkies telling you what to do, where to swim, where not to swim, with major attitude. He’ll we can’t even boogie board here because the head of the lifeguards are so corrupt. I love my house and it’s what I can afford and I love my neighbors but really there is no contest btw Rockaway and long beach.

  19. There you heard it from a Rockaway resident. We all know Long Beach is a dirty, liberal and corrupt low-class hell hole.

    Rockaway is far, far worse. It aspires to be Long Beach.

  20. @MeinLB, regarding your statement “So I don’t understand why they feel the need to try and turn LB into a “destination”?”. I believe it is a result of incompetency and complicity. Complicity having the greater role. A police commissioner and any two more policeman earn a million dollars a year. Two beach maintenance chiefs and one other worker make a million dollars a year. The list goes on and on like those two examples ad nauseam. How do you pay for it? They borrow (bond) and raise taxes multiple times a year. .City Council can cleverly pivot (disguise) this discussion with public meeting on skatespark surfacing and boardwalk input meetings. Everyone is up in arms over the comments made by Johnathan Gruber, the key architect of Obamacare, who was caught on video saying the law was deliberately written in a confusing way so “stupid” American voters wouldn’t understand the real cost to them and thus would be less likely to oppose it. This is more of the same by our own City Council and School Board. Reconditioning playing fields turned into a new stadium. City Council voiced load concerns for “greatly needed medical services” and all the while they knew the hospital property was being flipped to a developer and maybe we’ll get another doc-in-a-box urgent care.. So you see, without a plan to curb outrageous salaries, healthcare, pensions, outstanding bonds, etc they’ve come up with a strategy something like ” please God don’t let another business close as we need the tax revenue, approve 18 story buildings to increase the tax base, let the hospital go to a developer, so long as I get the real estate listing or at least not before I move to North Carolina far from these “stupid” voters. There is no money to fix the city or turn it into a hip cool destination even if they wanted to. Did anyone read the HERALD ““The amount of money that we’re investing in the skate park is less than 10 percent than what we’re investing in roads in the same capital year,” LaCarrubba said. “We can’t be of a single mind or single focus — we have to look at both the infrastructure needs and quality-of-life needs. I think the proportions are right.” REALLY??? 1/10th of our road budget for skateboarders? This is what we will continue to get unless real change takes place at the top.

  21. Long Beach is lacking in entertainment, for example: Drink and Food at the beach and on the boardwalk.Minature golf, Kiddie Rides for the young ones, Handball courts,Batting Cage. Arcades with the up to date games and some of the nostalgic favorites from the past.Long Beach had all these things and more.Now, it’s the Beach and the Boardwalk.BORING!!!All of these venues can be seasonal and still generate revenue which has not yet been utilized to it’s fullest extent.And this is true not only for the Beach and Boardwalk but there is another untapped location on the Bay.Long Beach is already over populated now it’s time to give them something to spend on rather than just eating or drinking.Buiding more Condos is not the answer.

  22. The overdevelopment of long beach is a big part of the problem. I am 100% for making LB a destination for people who want to move and live here year round, as productive contributing members of the community! However, the transient nature of LB is what is holding us back and over development directly contributes to this. Big cities (ny, la, chi, miami) can get away with this because of all they have to offer the transients. We are a little sea side community that wants to fancy itself a city but we’re not, we simply can’t compete on that level. Look at the voting records and the people who are the contributing members of the community, it’s overwhelmingly the people with a real stake, homeowners! Before you pounce on me I know there are some active renters like Alison B. But they are the minority, I get around in this town and the majority of the people I meet who give a crap are the onestimates who have skin in the game. So the first thing we need to do is stop the overdevelopment.

  23. Your post is very harsh. There are really great things happening in Rockaway. I think you missed the point of the article-Long Beach is missing something thatRockaway seems to be doing right.

  24. There are a few things Rockaway seems to be doing right, where we are lacking in LB.
    1. Restaurants on the water- ocean or bay
    2. Beach concession stands with really good food- smoothies, tacos, empanadas, etc.
    3. Art- MOMA, art camps for kids, exhibits, open mic nights, live music (not just your typical man with guitar playing the same old bar tunes)

    This is not a competition. But just maybe we can look at what IS working there and try to bring it in our direction.

  25. The problem with “active voters who are renters” is that most are Democrats who generally elect whoever promises them the most stuff. They feel their “greedy landlords” will pay the bills. Then they blame their landlords for the huge rent increases.

  26. Jodi -I wonder if you realize just how ignorant and racist you are. It’s obvious that your main problem with Rockaway is that it’s not 90% white. Got it. No sense in trying to enlighten a bigot.

  27. I suggest you go see what those penniless hipsters you are referring to did to the real estate values, as well as the social and cultural development in places like Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Long Island City, Astoria, and Williamsburg just to name a few.

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