Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: Rockaway Beach Surf Club

Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: Rockaway Beach Surf Club

Article excerpt

TABLES FOR TWO

Rockaway beach surf club

302 Beach 87th St., Rockaway Beach, Queens

In 2011, Rockaway beach was poised to become the next hipster frontier. McCarren Park Pool party organizers held "Rock Beach" indie-band concerts, the concession stand Veggie Island served kale juice and miso sandwiches, surfers and artists thronged the peninsula's white-sand beaches--some even chose to forgo the hour-long A-train commute from Manhattan and moved there. But in 2012, just as the Rockaways seemed destined for a fair-trade knitting shop and a Cafe Grumpy, Hurricane Sandy brought fifteen-foot waves and ten-foot floods, leaving the place in shambles.

Now Rockaway Beach, undeterred and still scruffy, is poised for a renaissance, with a beautiful new boardwalk being built, a site-specific PS1 exhibition curated by Klaus Biesenbach, and Mayor de Blasio's promise to make good on the $4.2 billion Sandy recovery fund. It's good news that Rockaway Taco (95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd.), which opened in 2008, is still there. Lines are long for perfect beer-battered fish tacos, crisp plantain strips with mild, creamy guacamole, and fresh watermelon juice. Rippers, too, is thriving. The punk-rock-blaring, lime-green-walled Eighty-sixth Street concession, opened in 2010 by owners of Roberta's and the Meat Hook, attracts beachgoers with Shake Shack-style burgers, thick fries (even better topped with a blend of melted Cheddar and American cheese), and a slightly sloppy but delicious grilled dogfish (i.e., shark) sandwich, on a soft sesame bun with black-bean spread, spicy mayo, and dill pickles. …

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