6. Breezy Point Tip

Breezy Point in the Gateway National Recreation Area

The community of Breezy Point is a private residential area on the western end of the Rockaway peninsula that usually fills up with residents in the summertime. The neighborhood is owned and maintained by its residents, a majority of which are of Irish-American descent. Although a higher number of Italian and Jewish families have moved in since the 1990s, the community has maintained its nickname as the “Irish Riviera.” During a tough economic period in the 1970s, nearby residents saw Breezy Point as more of a dump than any kind of beach getaway. Apartment complex developments that had popped up were vacated while the beach was littered with trash and abandoned vehicles.

Breezy Point Tip further past the residential area is the official part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. Much like the adjacent Fort Tilden, it has one of the most diverse breeding spots for shorebirds in all of New York City. Threatened species such as the piping plover, least tern, and common tern nest here, as well as the federally protected black skimmer and American oystercatcher. Construction and housing developments are extremely limited in Breezy Point due to the importance of bird populations to the ecosystems in Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways,

Getting to the very end of the Rockaway peninsula requires a bit of work, but it’s without a doubt worth the effort. Though not easily accessible by public transportation, the tip of the peninsula beyond the neighborhood can be reached by walking just a few miles along the beach. Once you make it to the jetty at the far end of the beach, you’ll find a spectacular view and a great spot to watch the sunset. From Breezy Point Tip, you can see Staten Island, Monmouth County in New Jersey, Coney Island, and the Manhattan skyline further in the distance.