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Rockaway, Summer 2012, what's happening?

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Hi-
There hasn't been much written about Rockaway eats since http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/795884 and I'd be interested in learning about what's happening now.
A couple of friends of mine and I will be heading out to Rockaway for our 2012 Outerboro Tour in a few days and I'd love some suggestions for places to eat and things to see. Food-wise, we're interested in everything good, from street carts to food trucks to crab shacks to fine dining on the water. I can't trust Yelp to get the most useful appraisals of Rockaway eating establishments and hope foodies here can chime in with some good advice.
Sightseeing-wise, I'd love any tips about anything of local or historical interest. The most interesting thing I've found so far is the home of the late Richard Feynman, an important American physicist who won the Nobel prize in the '60s and played an important role in the Challenger disaster inquiry. Rockaway High School, where Feynman went as well as TWO other Nobel Laureates and Bernie Madoff, will get a drive-by at least... definitely need help with this aspect of the trip.
Thanks in advance for any tips...
-smig1

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  1. One more thing... is there anything left of the old bungalow colonies anywhere?

    1 Reply
    1. re: smig1

      Try Thai Rock located @ Beach Channel Drive & 94 st. Outdoor deck overlooking Jamaica Bay or The Tap & Grill for the fish Tacos 98 st,.R ock.Bch.Blvd.. Also explore the long range guns (Hiden in Fort Tilden) they were conceiled in huge mounds during the 2nd W.W

    2. Try Cuisine by Claudette, right off the beach on Beach 116 St. Healthy food made fresh daily. The butternut squash soup is delish as is everything. every day there is something new. You can byo and eat in or take out. I have done both. She also caters. Little known secret - she sells Mazzotti bread!

      2 Replies
      1. re: shayneraze

        Thanks for the tip. Before getting too excited I checked their web site and found they'll be closed by the time we're ready for dinner. Too bad... I love good BYOB places.
        Would you say picking something up there to nosh while we sight-see would be better than a Rockaway Taco taco or Caracas empanada or other quick bite?

        1. re: smig1

          Yes, most definitely. You can order an entree and two sides for under $14 or anything by the pound. She has wonderful spinach and spinach and cheese in puff pastry and a lot of fresh foods sold by the pound. The roasted eggplant with roasted peppers disappears early. Enjoy!

      2. Yes, indeed, Rockaway Beach is percolating - in more ways than one!

        http://www.rockawaybeachclub.com/press

        Some observations from attending last September's "NYC Honey Festival":
        -I took special note of the Blue Bottle Coffee stand down in the Beach 98th Street area, which you probably know, was the site of Rockaway's Playland.
        -There's Rockaway Taco, sure.
        -More "festival"-like events are being advertised...if promoted right, could be hugely successful.
        Is Rockaway trying to send a message to Coney Island...that this (genuine) Boardwalk is a viable alternative to the destruction/reconstruction now occurring in CI?

        About the Bungalows - you'd have to trek down to around Beach 29th-33rd Streets to find the remnants of that historic "colony"...there are probably 2 intact block-long stretches of old bungalows...looking similar to the inner reaches of Brighton Beach with its "Walk", "Path" and "Court" street names. Been there and worth a visit.

        One other thing - the "A" train Ride to the Rockaways is super-special, taking you over the long, scenic Jamaica Bay stretch beyond Howard Beach/JFK. For Rockaway Park, transfer to the Shuttle at Broad Channel.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Mike R.

          Hi-
          Thanks so much for the tips and commentary.

          I took the train from the Bronx when I was a kid and remember the ride well (despite my age). You wouldn't happen to know if it would be worth getting off at Broad Channel food/sight-wise?

          I read somewhere that Boardwalk Empire filmed some scenes around Beach 24th/25th so it'll be fun trying to match the real thing with my memories of the show before ambling over to 29th/33rd.

          Blue Bottle Coffee will definitely come in handy for a caffeine pick-me-up after work.

          1. re: smig1

            Broad Channel would be a great place to open a "destination" hound-ing place, but I don't think there's anything right now.

            Howard Beach, that's a different story...stop at the famous "New Park Pizzeria" or at "Vincent's Old-Time Clam Bar" for calamari with red sauce - I find the "sweet" sauce seriously tasty.

            1. re: smig1

              Blue Bottle isn't out there this summer, unfortunately. Their space is still empty, but Steve's Ice Cream (right next door) is serving Blue Bottle drip coffee it looks like.

              For the best beach food, transfer to the shuttle at Broad Channel and then get off anywhere from Beach 85-Beach 106.

              Made my first trip of the summer out there on Saturday. Looks like the addition of good food vendors has really revitalized the place—beach seemed cleaner than last year even, better patroled, etc., etc.

              1. re: loratliff

                It's only a matter of time before the food trucks start showing up in large numbers...my guess would be they'd park close to subway station gateway streets. Have you seen any?

                1. re: Mike R.

                  Nope, but I definitely agree it's likely. Would love to see the Big Gay Ice Cream truck or Kelvin Slush out there—they'd do well, I imagine.

            2. re: Mike R.

              We used to rent a bungalow every summer when I was a child. It was my favorite place in the world, and a world unto itself. My mother had friends who owned a house in Belle Harbor, and would rent it every summer to move into a bungalow in Rockaway. I can still taste the stale potato chips...

              1. re: roxlet

                I haven't thought of beach-stale chips in a while... typically found at the bottom of uber large extended-family-sized bags of chips, usually the Ridgies kind, week-old party leftovers. Sense memory is amazing... when I first read your post the smell and the taste of them couldn't have been more real.

                1. re: smig1

                  Is anyone who grew up in Rockaways old enough to remember The Duggan man? Truck with Entennman type cakes and great cupcakes with white and chocolate icing?

                  1. re: shayneraze

                    I remember the Duggan's (possibly Dugan) bread truck in Westchester. Don't remember the food so much as just the truck. Think about it--a bakery/distributor making home delivery like the milkman. There's something you don't see too much.

                    We used to visit my grandparents at their summer Kochalain (too many spelling options to worry about---a large old boarding house with community kitchen) with big old porch with wicker chairs, on a block with rows of these big old houses, a couple of blocks from the boardwalk. We'd go up with some of grandpa's dimes in our pockets to play skillball and eat a knish from Jerry's Knishes, ca. 1959.
                    Anybody have an idea where this might have been? I was too young to know the difference between Rockaway, Rockaway Beach, Far Rockaway, etc.

                    My apologies for diverting this thread into a nostalgia thing.

                    1. re: JonL

                      Possibly play land at beach 98 th st.

                    2. re: shayneraze

                      I remember the Bungalow Bar ice cream trucks there. I was pretty young at the time, so I don't specifically remember the Duggan man in Rockaway, though I certainly remember Duggan cupcakes with the chocolate frosting that you could peel off.

              2. I believe Steve's Ice Cream is holding some sort of an event at the Rockaways until tomorrow (6/17). It's very delicious stuff.

                http://www.ediblecommunities.com/quee...

                1 Reply
                1. re: David11238

                  my family rented bungalows in rockaway around 91st street in the mid/late 70's.
                  i have gone numerious times as an adult to belle harbor/ 116 - but never down there.
                  Last summer i decided to head down to find 1 of our bungalows was still standing and the other was turned into a community garden. Lots of beach erosion over there - and the beach is now a surfers only beach....
                  additionally one of the families that we lived next to (theirs was a year round home) still lives there!
                  Fond memories - and so glad to see that its come back again!!