New York Beaches on a Budget

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Now that Memorial Day has come and gone the summer season is officially in full swing.  With the warmer season comes the major desire to escape the city every chance I get.  My favorite summer activities always involve the beach.  A beach day can be hard to achieve for us city folk.  It always seemed to me a cruel trick that we live on an island, surrounded by water that on most occasions you would not choose to swim in.  If you are, say, too poor to live in the Hamptons, you can just feel shit out of luck.  Here are a few locations outside of NYC to have a beach day on a budget.

Jacob Riis Park, Rockaway, Queens
I always end up riding in the car to get to this beach, however go to the website for more info on bus and ferry access from Wall Street.  I went here Memorial Day weekend and the water was numbingly cold.  Being that I am originally from Massachusetts- the home of arctic-temperature water, I frolicked in the major waves like a pro.  This beach is usually not too crowded though this last time we were smashed in amongst thousands of Memorial Day celebrants.  It was a fantastic day even despite the fact that I got hit in the head with a football AND was almost impaled by a flyaway umbrella.  It all worked out in the end as I did make a decision based on the parenting of those around me…”motherfucker” is a word I will NOT be using around my children.

Long Beach, Long Island
I admit I have not yet been to this destination.  It is flagged as my next stop.  I have heard wonderful things about it, namely, that there are surfers (!) and a beachy nightlife scene.  My fantasy at this beach involves a day in the sun followed by serious quantities of seafood.  The best part about this place is that after your day of summer revelry you can take the Long Island Rail Road home.

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Burger Shack and Bar, Long Island City, Queens
2-03 Borden Ave., Queens, NY 11101

If you don’t have the five, ten or 18 dollars for admission to the beaches above, or can’t squirrel away an entire day for a trip, this is going to be your best option. This place is on the water, has sand and succeeds in giving the atmosphere of the beach without the time consuming trek.  Get a burger or pulled pork sandwich and a couple of beers while you gaze at something that is not usually part of a beach day: the NYC skyline. You can even bring your own lounge chair to enhance your beachy experience.  At night the music gets loud so channel your inner high school bonfire and get down with the drinks and the BBQ: summer style.

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About the author

Christine Witmer - Sparing Stringer

Christine was born and raised in the land of the Pilgrims, Plymouth, Massachusetts. She turned in her buckled shoes when she moved to NYC to attend NYU. From that esteemed University she received her BFA in theatre as well as a Master’s Degree in Performance Studies in 2004. Now an actor, writer and broke ass day-jobber, Christine juggles her many personas with the elegance of a red panda…. specifically the one in the Prospect Park Zoo . . . soooooo cute! She can be found most often in her own habitat on the Northside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.