The Rockaways

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Everything is better when we travel. We develop this inextricable connection with a place, with the people, the culture and you happily transport yourself to that mental state where the recurring question in your head becomes, “what took me so long to come here?” For me, it’s embarrassingly painful to admit that it took for Superstorm Sandy to materialize and wreck havoc in the Rockaways to ultimately realize that this neighborhood which I’ve often neglected visiting has underwent a renaissance of sorts since then.

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Now there's a beautiful 2-mile stretch of boardwalk, with new businesses moving in each summer, and this year alone, because of how beautiful this town is becoming, my family has developed such an affinity with this place that we’ve come to the beach more than 7 times which is a rarity for us. What can I say? We’ve forever been spoiled with crystal clear Caribbean water after having taken so many cruise vacations in the past that New York beaches has rarely ever drawn my attention until now.

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The rise of the Rockaways has also given a huge rise to surf culture. I discovered that the hard-core surfers get to the beach before dawn to hit the waves so that’s when I opted to venture out to capture that side of this neighborhood I had no idea existed until now.

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In the past, the Rockaways has always had this reputation of being relatively poor and a little dangerous. I can’t say that standing is well deserved but what I can say is something that I’m reminded of which Anthony Bourdain said when he visited while filming an episode of Parts Unknown and that is that “the whole world is in Queens, and like the world as a whole, it is constantly changing.”

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