Life's a beach if you can afford it
Jun 08, 2016 | 9515 views | 0 0 comments | 231 231 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Most big cities would kill for a beach on par with the ones in the Rockaways, and yet for most Queens residents it's cheaper and more convenient to drive to Long Island. New York City needs to ease access to the Rockaways immediately before all of that post-Sandy momentum is pulled out with the tide.

For years, Rockaway basically felt like a private beach. You can't park on the streets in much of the wealthier end of the peninsula in the summer and there's no subway access. But traveling to the more public areas seems just as arduous.

First, there's accessing it by the train which, if you haven't done it about a dozen times, is near impossible to navigate. You have to make sure you get on the right A train – and although Ozone Park is lovely it's also quite landlocked – and then transfer to the shuttle if you want to go anywhere past 67th Street.

Then there's the matter of the tolls. The absurd, absurd tolls.

It makes absolutely no sense that the Cross Bay Bridge has a toll. When you travel within a borough - within a single City Council district nonetheless! – you should not be taxed. It effectively separates Rockaway from the rest of Queens.

And the Rockaways is increasingly being discovered by residents of Brooklyn, who also have to pay a toll to get to the peninsula via the Marine Parkway Bridge if they decide to drive.

You can drive from Astoria to Jones Beach without paying a toll. You can drive from Ridgewood to Montauk without paying a toll, but you can't drive from Broad Channel to Rockaway without paying a toll.

Even Long Island Railroad is easier to navigate out to the beach than taking the (right) A train and a shuttle.

If the city is looking to promote the beautiful natural resource that is the Rockaways, they would do well to eliminate the tolls. The city continues to push tourism in Queens, but until they make it just a little bit easier to get around, the borough will never become a hot destination.
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