Life on Rockaway Beach is a far cry from a traditional New York neighborhood, in both activity and demographics. Easily one of the most diverse communities in NYC due to a rocky history, the surfing town created a name for itself after the Superstorm Sandy revitalization efforts spruced the shoreline up in 2012.
Five years of rebuilding, both reputation and landmarks, has proven exactly what the Rockaways needed, and the neighborhood is beginning to welcome new residents looking to escape the harsher life in the heart of the Big Apple. If you have ever wondered what a typical day would be like on the beach and if you are looking for a change of pace and location, here’s what you need to know about living and renting in Far Rockaway and Rockaway Beach.
Consider Your Commute
In the early days of commutes between Far Rockaway and Manhattan, few options existed and consisted of an arduous train ride or a tumultuous ferry journey across Jamaica Bay. Today, the commute is much less tedious thanks to the convenience of the A-train that runs continuously from Rockaway into Manhattan and a new ferry route for those who work in Lower Manhattan.
Many commuters brag about the one-hour desk-to-beach commute they experience from downtown offices. Other Manhattan neighborhoods may take longer to reach from Far Rockaway, but the resounding theme is any commute is worth it if the view at the end of the day is the ocean.
But the train isn’t the only way to ride. Catch a boat from the Rockaway ferry terminal to Wall Street/Pier 11 and step off the gangplank in less than an hour. In partnership with Hornblower, the NYC ferry service is also planning on increasing their boat capabilities and seating to accommodate the rising demand of commuters from the Rockaways to Manhattan.
A Community Mindset
Easily one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York, the Rockaways have gained a positive reputation for being a close-knit community. Residents, both newcomers and established, pay attention to each other and the needs of the community as a whole. It’s a kind of place where you know your neighbors and can ask to borrow a stick of butter. Much like the funky surf cities in California, like Venice and Santa Cruz, it’s easy to find like-minded locals to share a wave and then a plate of nachos with after a day in the sun and sand.
And although the beach is a unifying love amongst residents, areas such as the Boardwalk, local parks, community theatres, coffee shops, and bars create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that just isn’t present in a larger city.
An Active Lifestyle
Talk to any resident about life on Rockaway Beach and inevitably they’ll begin sharing about the beauty of a beach in your backyard, the renaissance of boutique taco stands, and the ever-present surfing culture. Although most New Yorkers experience a fairly active lifestyle with the amount of city walking that’s required, the Rockaways take active to a whole new level.
If you’re not into surfing, a sport which most people tend to pick up if they’ve lived in the area more than a few months, biking, sea kayaking, fishing, and jet skiing are all considered reputable hobbies. Whale watching is another favorite pastime and seals are known to enjoy the sun along the rocky coastline. And since Rockaway Beach is the longest urban beach in the United States, the miles of beach just beg to be walked and explored.
But even with all the ways of keeping active, the pace of life is a bit slower out on the coast that in the middle of nearby New York City – a fact that keeps residents stay put and entices others to join the flocks heading to the coast.
Perhaps it’s the influence of the ocean or the low-key surf vibes that slow down timelines and schedules but either way, it’s easy to fall in sync the wonderful cadence of the waves and the tide and let the slower pace of life overtake you.
A Foodie’s Paradise
Although most visitors don’t come for the food, they all leave with full stomachs and a list of their favorite eateries. From fine dining to surf bars, there’s a menu for every palette, budget, and time of the day. If you’re keen to discover more of this town’s dining trends, read our Foodie’s Guide to the Rockaways for a comprehensive review of the top ten restaurants in the area.
Renting in the Rockaways
If the sea, sun, activities, and food has yet to convince you that a move out to the Rockaways is a good idea, perhaps some real estate facts and figures will make you reconsider re-upping the lease on your studio.
- You’ll find a vast selection of homes to purchase or apartments to rent with ocean views and covetable amenities such as gym memberships and updated appliances
- Since Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012 most the buildings have been rebuilt or reinforced to stand up to hurricanes and storms
- Currently, the cost of living renting in the Rockaways is lower than most of the other neighborhoods in New York City
- Since early 2016 many yang professionals and young families alike have made the move out to the Far Rockaway area creating a diverse population and a true sense of community
So, if you are in the mood for a change of scenery and lifestyle don’t just go out to the beach for a weekend getaway, make the ocean your everyday view. Discover why the Rockaways are becoming an enchanting retreat from the hustle of the city and why both surfers and poets alike fell under its spell. Consider making your next home a spacious two bedroom with unforgettable views.