By Katie McFadden
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Memorial Day weekend is here. That means the frozens start pouring and the beach and boardwalk come to life once again.
Memorial Day weekend kicks off with the annual beach opening ceremony. This year, the ceremony is back to mid-town. NYC Parks is expected to hold their ceremony this Friday, May 26 at 10 a.m. on Beach 94th Street, near the brand-new amphitheater space. Lifeguards are officially on duty starting Saturday, May 27, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day this summer.
After the ceremony, be sure to stop by Connolly’s! Rockaway’s summer bar is back open at noon on Friday. Have your first piña of the season, grab your summer 2023 shirt and enjoy a food pop up by the Meat Up Grill. Plus, DJ Julie Quinn spins some tunes Friday night. Connolly’s is located at 155 Beach 95th Street.
The beach opening means the boardwalk concessions are back open in full swing. Caracas and Brothers are back at Beach 106th and Rippers is cooking up Hard Bodies and fries at Beach 86th once again. However, folks may notice some new additions to the Beach 97th concessions after it recently underwent a renovation, designed by KTISMAStudios. The space now features new see-through overhead doors, raised ceilings, new lighting, and new painting. Beach 97th is also now completely winterized and will operate year-round beginning fall ‘23.
Red Hook Lobster Pound, La Cevicheria, Seany Pizza, Hook Burger, Chickwreck, OddFellows and Edible Island have all returned to Beach 97th and are joined by newcomers Wise Clock Cafe, Amour Fresco and Washed Up. Sand Shark Bar will keep you hydrated with their usual frozens and beers, and now new sake-based cocktails. On weekends, local clothing vendors will be hitting the boards at 97th, including Zingara Vintage, DeLaMer 1981, Pattern Village, Rockaway Beach Local and Lola Star.
There will be some good eats on Beach 68th and Beach 73rd this year. Two new operators, Slutty Sammy’s (grilled cheese) and Routes and Rails (jerk chicken) will be popping up at surfer haven Beach 68th Street, while Josie’s Delights will be serving empanadas at Beach 73rd Street on weekends. Beachside Valet carts will also be rolling along the sand with ice cream and Mister Softee will be up and down Shore Front Parkway.
For all your surf needs, Station Surf shop at Beach 109th and Boarders at Beach 97th and Beach 68th will have your surf supplies and board rentals, and surf schools like Locals, NY Surf School and Skudin will be ready to teach you some skills.
For more on the boardwalk concessions including the music lineup, see: www.rockaway-bazaar.com/
With fresh sand on the beach, Riis Park is back and bustling and Riis Beach Cooperative, owned by locals, Mike Reen, Dylan Sirgiovanni, Brian Keane and Eugene Brennan, has all your food and beverages at Bay 2 and Bay 9 to keep your party going all summer. On the food lineup this year is La Cevicheria (Peruvian cuisine), The Cradle NYC (West African cuisine)
Davey’s Ice Cream (Handmade ice cream / vegan options), Space Burgers (Classic burgers and fries with an intergalactic vibe), Shanty’s (Fish Fry with a twist), plus Spectro (formally Two Dudes serving burgers and dogs at Bay 2.) Also new this year is “The Cove,” a tucked away bar and eatery located on the east side of Bay 9 featuring “Après Beach” dance parties every Saturday afternoon through July and August with some amazing NYC DJ’s. For more info on Riis, see: www.riisbeach.nyc