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.”