One of the best places to escape on a hot, sunny New York day is Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways. With a wide, expansive beach, live entertainment, gourmet snacks and frozen margaritas, it’s worth the effort getting out here.
Jacob Riis Park, Riis to the locals, is a length of beach from an art deco red brick pavilion built in the 1930s up to Fort Tilden, a former military outpost. Jacob Riis Park offers access to miles of bike paths, quality beaches, picnic areas and entertainment. As part of the Gateway National Maritime Area, it’s now managed by the National Parks Service. Jacob Riis was a gutter journalist and photographer who captured iconic shots of the plight of the New York poor. It’s still a place for the poor to play, but now it attracts poor students, hipsters and well to do members of the LBGTQ, who tend to head further down the beach to a no-clothing friendly stretch.
The hipsters tend to migrate around a group of buildings that house vendors from the Brooklyn Bazaar, so there’s no shortage of craft beers, cocktails, tacos and lobster rolls. On summer weekends, live bands and DJs perform outdoors, pumping tunes to the appreciative sun lovers. The beach gets packed but is much wider than the more central Rockaway Beach, ensuring that there’s a patch of sand you can call your own.
Jacob Riis Park and Beach is a hip beach close to a National Park and former Cold War base.
The park and beach is located at Roxbury on the Rockaway Peninsula
In summer you can catch a beach bus from Manhattan or Williamsburg. Drinks are allowed en route. You can also get there from Manhattan by catching a 5 train to Flatbush Ave Brooklyn College and then via the Q35 bus that picks up outside the Target .