Riis Beach Cooperative Gets Ready to Party This Summer

 Riis Beach Cooperative Gets Ready to Party This Summer

By Katie McFadden

As Rockaway gets another coating of snow, it’s time to start thinking of warmer days ahead, and celebrating all the good things that come with them. Folks might not have Riis Park on their minds in the winter, but Riis Beach Cooperative is planting the seed, with reminders of what’s in store for the warmer weather and offering a place to plan your next waterfront party.

Just ahead of the summer season, in May 2022, the National Park Service announced that Riis Beach Cooperative (RBC), a group of locals including Eugene Brennan, Michael Reen, Dylan Sirgiovanni and Brian Keane, were awarded the lease to operate Riis Park’s main concession at Bay 9 and a few surrounding smaller spots, replacing previous operators, Riis Park Beach Bazaar. As that didn’t give them much time to plan, the guys jumped right into the concessionaire experience, but now going into their third summer, they’re ready to let Riis Beach Cooperative shine, and as local residents, they’re looking to be there for the neighborhood, making their spot available for parties and already planning locals’ nights with music and more.

“We went through a pretty extensive process to win that bid. There were a bunch of larger names out there and NPS granted some local guys to win this and we’re super excited to not only cater to the crowds coming down every weekend, but we’re letting Rockaway and Breezy know to come hop on your bike and enjoy a nice frozen as we enter another amazing summer,” Eugene Brennan said. “Since we didn’t have the okay until May, we couldn’t plan anything, so that first summer was about getting in there and seeing what opportunities there were and what the attractions were going to be. We knew it was going to be a special place and now, having two summers under our belt, we’re excited to push the envelope and cater to not only out-of-towners, but welcome the locals, as well.”

As the season of communions and graduations looms, or as people start to plan those big birthday, wedding or anniversary celebrations for this spring and summer, Riis Beach Cooperative wants you to consider their beachfront locale. They can provide the space, the booze, and even the food, or you can bring in your own outside food caterer for your event. “We’re very flexible in terms of what we can offer for your group size, depending on the time of year. If it’s outside of the busy season, we can utilize the whole venue, and our Cove Bar can be used all summer for private events,” Michael Reen said. Brennan added, “We’re trying to support local here, so if people want to have an outside caterer, whether it’s Bishops Barn or a local restaurant, we’re open to having outside food, while we run the space and take care of the alcohol.”

Why choose Riis Park’s Bay 9? “We’re front and center and open to some of the best beaches in the country. Plus, there’s ample parking space,” Brennan said. “It is a really beautiful building, a historic landmark, so it’s a really nice place to hold a function,” Reen added.

But it’s not just about the private parties. Riis Beach Cooperative is planning special public nights that will be a big draw for locals, so start making those calendars. As the weather just starts to warm up in May and June, every Saturday night, RBC will host local bands. For instance, the Rockawades will kick it off on May 18. On June 1, The Pointers from Breezy Point will play. On June 8, party band Wine with Sue takes the stage. Jah Stix brings in the reggae on June 15 and The Nomads will keep it going on June 22. “This May and June, every Saturday, we’ll have a live local band and throughout the summer, we’ll do locals’ nights on Friday evenings, plus starting in June we’ll be hosting the volleyball concert series on Wednesday nights with live music,” Reen said. Brennan adds that on those nights when they have the local music, they also plan on bringing in Jolly Roger, the pirate, to keep kids entertained while parents are entertained by the bands. “The adults can enjoy a few cocktails while Roger corrals the kids,” Brennan said with a laugh.

RBC plans to bring back some of their best concessions this summer and will be adding more. They’ll once again have Space Burgers serving up burgers and fries, Davey’s Ice Cream serving up sweets for kids young and old, Le Cevicheria bringing back ceviche, Shanty’s serving up poke bowls and more, and this summer, they’re bringing a taco vendor into the mix, all at Bay 9, plus Spectro will be throwing down burgers and hot dogs at Bay 2. In addition to the Beach Bar at Bay 9, RBC will be sprucing up its side Cove Bar this summer as well. “It’s a really nice, shaded area that we’re going to make into a beach garden, sprucing it up with plants and making it a cozy space to sit back and enjoy the sun, the surf and a few frozens with us,” Brennan said.

RBC hopes their neighbors take advantage of the local offerings this spring and summer. “A big reason we’ll be doing locals nights on Wednesdays and Fridays is because everyone doesn’t want to deal with the mayhem of the weekends. It can be difficult to navigate up there on a Saturday or Sunday in July,” Reen said. Brennan added, “It can be difficult with thousands of people coming down on the weekends, so we want to make it appealing where somebody can jump on their bike and come here on the off nights. We want people of this great community to enjoy this beautiful venue.”

For more info about Riis Beach Cooperative and all it has to offer, check out the website: Riisbeach.nyc or follow them on Instagram at riisbeach.nyc. For party inquiries and other questions, email: info@riisbeach.nyc


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