ny guide: a visit to the rockaways

Every year I make a list of things that I absolutely must do during the short and precious new york summer (see 2015 here), and every year I promptly drop the biggest item of all. One time it was the weather that threw off plans, another it was sheer forgetfulness.

But this year, we declared. It would be the year we would make it to the beach. The Man's pastel beauty was starting to glow in the dark, and my Vitamin E supply was running scarily low and person after person had informed us that the perk of living here was the abundance of options, only a quick trip away.

And so at long last, one Sunday we gathered at our local early in the AM (…ok, prior to noon), and threw towels in a bag and gathered sunglasses and wondered what else we were meant to bring and detoured back to the apartment for bathing suits and then eventually wound our way over to the Rockaways.

Rockaway Beach, for those outside the good ole Brooklyn hipster life, is where all of our compatriots gather during hot summer weekends. One year, Williamsburg actually ran a direct bus there which in turn spawned several documentary-style fashion spreads in various magazines, which in turn provided fascinating fodder for anthropologists everywhere, I'm sure. In any case, it's near, it has water, and well half our favorite restaurants seem to regularly make appearances.

First stop of the day and of far more importance than the sand, was the Summer Shift, a pop up space run by MP Shift. Throughout the summer, chefs from restaurants like El Ray, Morgenstern's, and Navy took over the space, offering easy Latin American-themed snacks.

On our visit, Comodo Al Mar had taken over and was offering a menu of tacos, summer-style quesidillas, and cantaloupe agua fresca.

Once fully fed, our next step was a visit next door to La Newyorkina's stand, for a round of paletas. Stick to the incredible array of fruit flavors, some layered on top of each other. (Pineapple: key to life.)

At long last, we then made it the beach where there was a brief possible shark break and a beautifully roasted and paunched man made nice conversation with all the ladies.

We saw, we swam, we nearly burned, and thus beached, we decided we were now allowed to do what we had actually come for: a visit to the sacred shrine, Tacoway Beach. Formerly known as Rockaway Tacos, the food is now safely housed at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club and retains the same awesome fish tacos and raucous salt water and sweat vibe (…or so I hear. See "never made it to the beach before", above.)

Ordering at Tacoway is not for the faint of heart. Send one person over to the bar stand for beers and margaritas or bloodies (me: "what are you serving?" bartender: "whatever.") Those in line must wait and wait, but once at the counter they have an easy job: order fish tacos on fish tacos, guacamole, enough elote for all, with the cheese and lime dripping off the corn, and at least one red cup's worth of spiced spears of mango, cucumber, and jicama.

Covered in sand and grime, with dripping hair, and dripping guacamole, suddenly I understood the beach, and I made a solemn swear: summer 2016, officially year of the beach. Really.