Rockaway Needs A There There
A new boardwalk should have a there there. Yes, a there, there.
Key West has Mallory Square, a place where hundreds of people gather each day before the sun sets. Tight rope walkers, jugglers, and comedic acrobats, all sorts of wonderful street performers show up and entertain the crowds. It’s fun; it’s free (you tip at your discretion). The same is done at other beaches around the world and at town squares and places like Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and Battery Park in Manhattan.
The new boardwalk design should include an area in a well-travelled spot that encourages performers to try their stuff in front of a beach crowd. People are often grousing about how there’s nothing to do in Rockaway. Well, stroll over, bike down, and check out the free entertainment at Beach Whatever. It should be near one of the concessions but independent of them.
Virginia Beach, which Parks says it’s using as a model of sorts in the boardwalk rebuild, has a huge statue of King Neptune. It’s a fun looking icon and serves as a natural spot for photos. Why not an oversized statue of The Ramones or Duke Kahanamoku? And right nearby there would be some kind of small pier or out deck that would lend itself to performers.
Call it 6 O’clock Rock —for the time when the fun might begin. Or Street Rock. Or The Boards (because this area could have a wood surface, a tribute to the old boardwalk). Whatever. We need a there there.