7. Rockaway Beach
Rockaway Beach is a year-round beach along Queens’ Rockaway Peninsula, perhaps made popular by the Ramones song “Rockaway Beach.” Rockaway Beach is one of the city’s only legal surfing beaches, and it allows for kayaking and paddleboarding. The beach also offers a number of ball courts, playgrounds, and a skate park.
The neighborhood of Rockaway Beach originally consisted of the areas of Holland and Hammels, which later merged into the Village of Rockaway Beach. Off of the beach was Hog Island, a small settlement that supposedly disappeared without a trace following the Hurricane of 1893. Rockaway Beach actually tried to secede from New York City several times in the 1910s, but its secession was vetoed by the mayor. From 1902 to 1987, the beach was home to Rockaways’ Playland, a major amusement park featuring the Atom Smasher roller coaster. Robert Moses’ creation of the Marine Parkway Bridge made it significantly easier to get to Rockaway Beach from Brooklyn. The beach was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Sandy, yet within just a few years, the beach was reopened with a new boardwalk and recreational facilities.