Kiefer Sutherland, Andre the Giant, Molly Ringwald, and a great white shark are coming to Queens this summer. So are some surfing penguins, college-educated monsters, and an evil hairless Sphinx cat. With support from local businesses and the NYC & Co. Foundation, the Rockaway Civic Association is hosting Beach Flix 2014, a series of free movies screened at different spots along the Rockaway peninsula. The flicks start around dusk, and the venues run from Beach 73rd Street to Beach 126th Street.
It’s hard to keep track of all the controversial plans to open homeless shelters in Queens, and today the New York Daily News reports on another proposal upsetting the community in the Rockaways. The Department of Homeless Services is planning to begin housing 155 homeless families at 316 Beach 65th Street, the former Daytop Village drug rehab center. It’ll be operated by Housing Bridge, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit. This will be the first homeless shelter for the Rockaway peninsula.
As it goes in these stories, surrounding residents and local pols expressed anger with the plan. “Without any talk of essential services being added to Rockaway, this is not a good proposal,” stated City Councilman Donovan Richards. The community says it wasn’t alerted that the DHS wanted to convert this site, with the DHS telling Councilman Richards it had “no plans to build anything there” earlier this summer. The DHS, on the other hand, stated that “the suggestion that we promised not to use a facility that is perfectly suitable for homeless families when we are facing a record demand for adequate shelter is false and regrettable.” The organization says it is facing pressure to house a growing population of homeless New Yorkers.
NBC News ran a report on the commuters who take the Rockaway Ferry into Manhattan, and their fight to keep the service going. Since Hurricane Sandy, the city extended the ferry service four times, but announced they did not plan to extend it past October. The commuters NBC spoke with expressed similar sentiments: the ferry is convenient, affordable, and much faster than the bus or subway. As the video states, they feel that it is “essential to their survival.”
The city says that the ferry doesn’t make financial sense, calling it “by far the highest subsidy for any public transportation in New York.” A spokesperson says that the city is still crunching numbers to find any way to make the service viable.
Camp Rockaway exceeded its Kickstarter fundraising goal of $50,000, meaning that Rockaway Beach should get a fancy, landscaped campground site at Jamaica Bay. But this Village Voice article wonders how realistic the plan actually is. Right now there are a number of factors still unclear: the location, the status of that location, and the actual building proposal. And questions remain on what kind of zoning will permit a campground, especially since most of the land surrounding Jamaica Bay is zoned for park use.
The man behind the plan, Kent Johnson, owns a building and design company and spent nearly a year coming up with a schematic and feasibility study for Camp Rockaway. He will use the 50K raised to navigate the DOB approvals process, and says that private investors will provide the next round of funding after that. It’s worth noting that, according to the Village Voice, “Looking at the Kickstarter, an official with the Department of Planning was a bit flummoxed.”
This weekend, Le Fooding Beach Club comes to Rockaway Beach. It’s three days of eating, in which five chefs serve picnic dishes to celebrate the return of the Beach 97 concessions after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. Today Gothamist chatted with three of the chefs participating, Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi, LA-based chef Ludo Lefebvre and the man behind Rockaway Taco, Andrew Fields. Fields shared his thoughts on the current food scene in the Rockaways and how the neighborhood has changed since rebuilding:
Rockaway Beach has been through a hefty share of ups and downs in its one hundred year existence. Last year was really chaotic in getting things put back together. It was really awesome to see everyone in the neighborhood stay focused on positive change and everyone was forced to upgrade infrastructure of homes and businesses. The movement this summer feels much more composed and plentiful. There is still plenty to do to in the ongoing rebuild, but the overall tone is to continue to make progress!
There are no more tickets for the Saturday and Sunday festivities, but you can still attend the noon and 2:15 pm seatings this Friday. Ten percent of each ticket goes toward a charity involved in restoring the Rockaways.
A residential development is coming for 133 Beach 5th Street, off Seagirt Avenue. New York YIMBY spotted renderings from the project architect DJ Associates; Beachfront Estates LLC is the developer. According to a DOB building application, the 35,557-square-foot building will be split into 23 residential units. There won’t be any commercial space.
Construction hasn’t started up at the site yet, which is currently a vacant lot. As YIMBY states, “133 Beach 5th Street is an opportunity for piecemeal redevelopment, though the design must account for a future where events comparable or worse than Sandy will occur with greater frequency.”
One thing that the good people of Queens cannot be accused of is a dearth of patriotic flag displays.
Old Glory is found waving everywhere hereabouts, and is particularly conspicuous in the lead up to the Fourth of July holiday. Independence Day in my neighborhood, Astoria, means that in between the flags, there will be a pall of BBQ smoke hanging about in the air and every neighborhood dog will be hiding in the bathtub when the sun goes down and the neighbors begin to detonate their fireworks.
This month two artists opened a temporary gallery in Rockaway Beach. The gallery, Topless Rockaway, is in a former eye doctor’s office that had been abandoned since Hurricane Sandy hit. The artists, Jenni Crain and Brent Birnbaum worked with the landlord to renovate the space, pulling down old drop ceilings. They told DNAinfo that they preferred being in Rockway over gallery-heavy neighborhoods like Bushwick and Chelsea because of the community feel.
The pair hope to have four exhibits over the course of the summer. Topless Rockaway is at 90-20 Rockaway Beach Boulevard and is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8 pm and by appointment.
596 Acres and Rockaway Wildfire are hosting a community meeting concerning the immediate use and long-term development of vacant public land around the Rockaways. Residents are encouraged to attend and share their ideas and proposals for community gardens. 596 Acres will provide updates on the Arverne East project, the Edgemere Urban Renewal Plan and public programs at the new Edgemere Farm at Beach 45th Street. They will also be organizing for new community spaces around the Edgemere neighborhood. The meeting will take place next Thursday, July 3rd from 7 to 9 pm, at 74-16 Beach Channel Drive. There will also be food provided. For all the details, go here.
It’s a multi-faceted event for a multi-purposed cause. On Saturday, the eighth annual Rockstock and Barrels Festival will fill the Rockaway peninsula with about 11 hours of live music, gnarly surfing contests, rad skateboarding exhibitions and fun beach games. There will also be art, clothing and food vendors. Last year’s extravaganza attracted about 8,000 attendees, including surfers from as far away as California and musicians from all over the United States, to an area that was still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. This year’s event should be even better and proceeds will support the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit that supports everything the peninsula has to offer, including the work of artists, writers, musicians and all lovers of surf and beach.
Details: Rockstock and Barrels Festival, Boardwalk at Beach 90th Street, Rockaway Beach, June 28th, 10 am to nighttime. Free.
List of scheduled main stage performers: Matthew Kiss, 11 am; The Mourning War, noon; The Wordy Bums, 1 pm; Exit Verona, 2 pm; The King’s Heartbeat, 3 pm; Groundswell, 4 pm; Symptom 7, 5 pm; and Grim Pickens, 6 pm.
List of scheduled second stage performers: John Simonelli, 10:30 am; Ethoscope, 11:30 am; The Ready Hentchmen, 12:30 pm; The Disfunction, 1:30 pm; Rat-Trap Bumpkin, 2:30 pm; Kilzone, 3:30 pm; The Rev Jefferson, 4:30 pm; Shipwrecks, 5:30 pm; and Indaculture, 6:30 pm.