The abandoned theater building on Beach 116th Street, in the Rockaways, is due for a makeover. Rockaway Times reports that it’ll be transformed into a comprehensive urgent care facility, retail shops and parking. Recent engineer reports show the building is structurally sound — it’s been empty for two decades — although a later addition to the theater will have to be reconfigured or replaced. Architectural drawings are expected in the next few months, and the project is estimated to cost between $6,000,000 to $8,000,0000. There isn’t much more information beyond that, and details of the building ownership are unclear. It’d be great to see this project come to light, although we predict some hurdles for this one along the way…
Earlier this summer the city announced that it wouldn’t include any funding for the Rockaway Ferry subsidy in this year’s budget. Rockaway residents, however, are fighting to keep this affordable and convenient link to Manhattan, which started after Hurricane Sandy. The Queens Public Transit Committee is holding a meeting to “fight for faster transportation and more opportunities” in regards to ferry service in the Rockaways. It is scheduled for this Wednesday, August 20th at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90th Street, from 7:30 pm to 9 pm.
Then, on Thursday August 21st, ferry advocates will hold a press conference on the steps of City Hall at 5 pm. Here are more details from the Transit Committee: “The people of Queens & Brooklyn will come together to fight for the ferry and for transportation equality. This is our chance to tell the Mayor to listen to the people and keep the Queens Rockaway Ferry to Brooklyn and Manhattan.” If you’re interested in attending, contact John Cori at (516) 509-8957 for more information.
The Beach 116th Street Partnership just finished up this great mural now on display along Beach 116th Street and Newport Avenue. The artist, Geoff Rawling, has painted a number of murals throughout the neighborhood. He started on this one at the beginning of the month. Proceeds from this spring’s Poland’s International Children’s Day festival (which happened on Beach 116th Street) funded the artwork.
Get on your bikes and ride… to the edible plants. This Sunday, the Rockspot Bike Tour, sponsored by the National Park Service, will depart from Firehouse 59 in Rockaway Beach at 10 am. Participants in this non-competitive event will pedal through the eastern section of the Rockaway Peninsula, exploring everything from natural vegetation to dunes to edible plants.
Get on your bikes again and ride… back in time. On Sunday, October 12th, a second Rockstop Bike Tour will lead participants from the Jacob Riis Batthouse through Gateway National Park to the western end of the peninsula. This time, the focus will be on sites of historical and environmental significance.
More information on these two tours is on the jump page.
Nobody wants to think about it, but Labor Day is around the corner, and that means one thing: It’s time to head to the peninsula to check out the large-scale, multi-site, mostly outdoor art installation Rockaway! before it ends. This free, summer-long display celebrates the reopening of Fort Tilden, a former U.S. Army base in the Gateway National Recreation Area that sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy. Visitors can peruse photographs taken by punk rocker Patti Smith, a gallery dedicated to Walt Whitman that includes books of his poetry, and nest sculptures by Adrián Villar Rojas (above). Installed in several locations, these nests invite local birds to inhabit them. Other components include The Forty Piece Motet by Janet Cardiff (first photo below), a spatialized adaptation of a sacred 16th-century motet that’s in the former military chapel, and a mutli-genre collaboration with the Honolulu Biennial at the newly restored Rockaway Beach Surf Club on Beach 87th Street. Rockaway! – a collaboration between the Rockaway Artists Alliance, the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, the National Park Service, the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, and Smith — also showcases Fort Tilden’s natural and historical beauty.
For more information on venues and times and four more photos, go to the jump page.
It looks like some affordable apartments opened up at the Arverne View development in the Rockaways, a complex that underwent a major renovation late last year. This two bedroom is asking $1,658 a month, with income restrictions and an application process required. (Affordable studio to five bedrooms here range from $702 to $1,459, with minimum income restrictions of $28,080 to $58,360.) We’ve seen the renovated apartments in person and they are impressive, with new kitchen and bathroom appliances. And while there’s no square footage listed for this unit, it looks spacious. The grounds of the development have been updated as well. What do you think?
Anthony Weiner wants to come and help the Rockaways — and yes, there’s cooking involved. Rockaway Times (also responsible for the great photoshop job to your left) reports that the former politician is behind this Idealist profile for a “social entrepreneurship that operates a healthy, sustainable restaurant in a hard luck community.” It’s called Rockaway Restoration Kitchen. The idea is to offer job training in the culinary field for unemployed New Yorkers, alongside the operation of a restaurant that serves locally-sourced food. The official website, which doesn’t give many details, outlines goals of “Nutrition, Education, Restoration.”
Weiner hasn’t made any announcement to tie his name to the endeavor, but Rockaway locals have spotted him in search of a location for the possible restaurant. So far, he’s looked at commercial space in the renovated development Arverne View, as well as a few other locations. So, why’d he pick the Rockaways? According to Rockaway Times, “Although Weiner famously fell from grace, more than once, he often found solace in the receptions he received in Rockaway.”
Very nice! Here’s the progress of the mural going up on Beach 116th Street, at the intersection of Newport Avenue. Work started last week and should be finished by this week’s end. The artist, Geoff Rawling, designed a welcoming mural of a beach scene, including silhouettes of beach goers that will look like people waiting at a bus stop. He has designed a number of other murals in the neighborhood. The photo above comes from the Beach 116th Street Partnership, who are using funds from the Poland’s International Children’s Day Festival this year for the public artwork.
The Spot:Breezy’s, 97th St Concession Stand, Rockaway Beach.
The Deal: The concession stand at Rockaway Beach is back and one of the restaurants taking advantage of the summer crowds is the new BBQ joint Breezy’s. The evolving restaurant began as a food truck in Williamsburg.
“We experimented with our BBQ in a food truck in Williamsburg last year and had been looking for a place to set up shop,” says Amy Tichenor. “We didn’t want to do a restaurant or a take-out joint, the Rockaway concession felt like the perfect fit between food truck and restaurant.”
Now Tichenor and friends sling BBQ to hungry beach goers every day but Tuesdays at the busy cash-only spot, nestled between the other family-owned businesses at the concession stands.
“The 97th Street Concession has such a diverse group of family-run local restaurants, offering beach-goers a number of options, if they are looking for a quick bite to eat on the weekends or if they want to go out to dinner on the beach during the week, the concession is the perfect beach-side dining in The Rockaways,” Tichenor says.
Read about Breezy’s Signature Dish after the jump… (more…)
Yesterday, the artist Geoff Rawling started painting a mural along Beach 116th Street in the Rockaways. The mural will be right along the intersection of Newport Avenue. Work will last through the weekend, and should be finished by the middle of next week. According to the Beach 116th Street Partnership, Geoff Rawling has designed many murals in the Rockaway and has a relative amount of freedom to improvise with his design. For now, he’s planning a welcoming mural that will show a beach scene and silhouettes of beach goers that will look like people waiting at a bus stop — there is a bus stop right in front of the wall. Stay tuned for the final product!