2011-04-22 / Editorial/Opinion

Does Rockaway Need More ‘Hipness’?

In the April 11 edition of New York magazine, there was a long article on the upcoming “hip” neighborhoods of New York City – “Griffin Court,” “Hell’s Rooftop,” “Manhattan Valley,” and the like. Nothing in the outer boroughs, of course, because that would violate the magazine’s credo of “everything Manhattan.” One local, however, chimed in the following week on the magazine’s blogosphere. “Why isn’t anyone talking about Rockaway Park, Queens?” he asked. “It’s closer than the Hamptons to the city. It has great beachfront property and a commercial strip on 116th Street prime for development! It’s screaming for hipness! Won’t somebody please open a great café, bar and pizza joint and they will come.” Hipness! What a concept. The Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines “hip” in many ways, beginning with the biological entry. Eventually, however, it gets to “sophisticated, knowing, aware, fashionable, knowledgeable.” I guess that the problem with us is that we have always thought of Rockaway as “hip.” Others, however, don’t believe that for a moment. They tell us that the only “hip” things in Rockaway right now are the surfing beaches and the Taco Shack on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, which has gotten lots of ink from New York magazine, the New York Times and several television stations. Now, we have never tried surfing and enjoy expensive fish tacos as well as the next person, but we are not sure that what Rockaway needs to become “hip” is more taco shacks, “green” coffee, a great café, bar or pizza parlor. We do need commercial development, improved schools, and an infusion of middle-income purchasing power. We do need better commuter transportation. We do need the city to pay more attention to our little peninsula. As for “hip” there’s nothing wrong with some “hip,” but how about the city delivering some of the basic amenities we need before we worry about becoming more “hip.”

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Beach 116 has been pretty

Beach 116 has been pretty horrible for a long time. It is the crazy or drugged people living there and ruin any hope of bringing in decent families or stores. The crazy people in front of their stores or bother their kids. That beach is known to have rowdy people that don't care nor are they hip.

On any given week--in the

On any given week--in the Rockaways--you could catch a play, learn to paint, surf, catch up and coming musical artists at the RAA open mic night, stroll on a boardwalk or sit at the Wharf or Bungalow and have brunch whilst admiring those poor saps off in Manhattan.

Rockaway should be developed and would if it wasn't treated so shabbily by the city. Nothing inhibits "hipness" like SROs, the water treatment plant (smells like ass) and the criminal class. Compare how our much superior natural resources compare to similar shore communities in Jersey, for example. They'd never dump on their best regions as NYC has on the Rockaways. Time for leadership adjustment.

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