Things Fall Apart
Rockaway Beach’s stylish metal bathrooms made an impressive debut when they opened at the beginning of this beach season, seven months after Hurricane Sandy. The Observer remembers being impressed by the clean, sunlit interiors when we visited in June, as well as by the Parks Department’s dedication to keeping them up—a worker stationed inside had been assigned the Sisyphean task of sweeping up sand.
But last weekend, looking to enjoy what we are constantly being reminded are the last days of summer, we were disappointed to find two sleek modular pods thirty blocks apart both closed off with metal chains. Beachgoers a Beach 69th Street were re-directed to a stand of nearby porta-potties, though the attached lifeguard station was open. Walking down the beach a few hours later, we discovered that while the brick-and-mortar bathroom by Beach 90th was open, its modular companion was not.
LIFE'S A BEACH
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York, flooding the streets and wiping out power below Madison Square, most downtown denizens abandoned their homes for safer, if less trendy, ZIP codes. Not Agnes Denes. The 82-year-old, Budapest-born artist, who helped establish land art as a movement in the 1960s, stayed put in her Soho studio. A day or so into the blackout, her primary dealer, Leslie Tonkonow, unable to reach her, sent a gallery director to check in. He drove downtown and raced up to the fifth floor of Ms. Denes’s building by flashlight, only to find her contentedly writing by candlelight. “She was having a great time,” said Ms. Tonkonow.
Now that they can no longer frolic topless at Fort Tilden, where will the hipsters sunbathe and swim this summer? What beach is cool, but not trying too hard to seem cool? Populated with just enough locals to add authenticity, but not so many that hipsters can’t dominate the scene? Gentrified enough to sell gourmet street food? Or remote enough to have an unenforced BYOB policy?
Reeling from nude sunbathers who assault both their eyes and their standards of decency, Rockaway residents are begging for a large fence to shield them from an adjacent nudist beach.
Hurricane Irene destroyed the fence that once served as a barrier between the bare-naked beach bums at Riis Park and the more conservative bathers at Neponsit, who are none too fond of the breast-barers frolicking nearby.
THE HIPPING POINT
When we last reported on Rockaway Beach—a well-established “Hipster Hamptons” of sorts for the last few years—we saw the writing on the wall:
Rockaway Beach: A well-established Hipster Hamptons of sorts for the last few years, a place many thought would hit fever-pitch sometime this summer, the moment when—like Williamsburg and Bushwick and Red Hook and hell, the rest of the entire borough of Brooklyn before it—well-heeled Manhattanites discover it, and then, ruin the fun for those who were ostensibly there “first.”*
First came The Taco Stand.
Then, the Trend Pieces.
Then, The Hoteliers.
And now: The Page Six Item.
“LET ME TAKE YOUR PICTURE,” Liam McMullan said. It was late May at the Southampton Social Club, and the lanky 23-year-old stood in front of me with a camera covering his face. He was there on assignment for his father, Patrick McMullan, the house photographer to the city’s social set.
The camera shutter clicked.
“Oh, Read More
There is a hurricane that will have peripheral impact on New York! You’ve already moored all your boats, so what else is there left to do? Go surfing of course!
With Hurricane Earl bounding up the Eastern Seaboard at a speed of 15 knots, the beach bums are grabbing their boards and heading to Rockaway. Read More