Most people who visit the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens never find out they’re actually on Long Island. Stretching 118 miles (190 km) eastward from Manhattan, the island’s south shore is home to some of my favorite beaches. But New York City is not particularly well-regarded for its sandy shores.
In Brooklyn, there’s Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach, known for the colorful Italian, Russian and Jewish locals, respectively. But my favorite beach is in The Rockaways, in Queens. Jacob Riis Park has been around for more than 100 years. My great grandparents sunned there in the 1930s and a lifetime later I still return several times a summer to escape the city.
Unlike Manhattan, which changes quickly with time, what I love most about Riis Park is that it stays the same. The original Art Deco bath house and promenade where generations of my family spent their summers still remain and are now home to the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, where you can enjoy local New York eats including Fletcher’s BBQ and Ample Hills Creamery, hands-down the best ice cream in the city.
Arrive in style (and beat the heat) when you take the NYC Ferry. Depart from Wall Street / Pier 11 in Manhattan and your feet will be in the sand in just 57 breezy minutes.