A Well-Designed Day in Rockaway Beach, New York

A Well-Designed Day in Rockaway Beach, New York

Native New Yorker Lauren Rogoff's family has lived in Rockaway Beach in Queens for several generations (her great-grandparents built several of the houses here!), and while she currently resides in Union Square, she still thinks of the peninsula home as home. She describes Rockaway as a wonderful, beachy escape from the city that is only a short hop from the heart of Manhattan. They were hit hard by Sandy, but Lauren thinks Rockaway has bounced back with incredible resiliency and that it's now better than ever. Now that fall is officially here, say goodbye to summer with this well-designed day in Rockaway Beach!

My enduring love of Pendleton (quite obvious from the house tour of my apartment) is clearly genetic, as evidenced in my parents' guest room where all beach-bound visitors get to experience a little bit of lodge living within the borders of New York City. I also like to think of Cooper, the awesome papillon, as my dog too, and I love hanging out with him around town.

Did you know that at one time, the parking lot at Riis Park was the largest in the country? In the last few years, it's enjoyed renewed popularity, and the giant lot was nearly full this past weekend! To us locals that popularity means great shopping and eating along the boardwalk, including two adorable mobile boutiques, End of the A and The Swell Life. End of the A had just gotten some wonderful brightly-colored pillows in stock that I was tempted to take home!

A quick stop at home to enjoy another cup of coffee in the den, relax with Cooper, and slather on some sunscreen. I actually painted one of these pieces of cowboy art—can you guess which one?

I'm not much of a surfer, but I definitely enjoy the roar of the Rockaway waves while reading a good book and basking in the sun.

There are three concessions on Beach 86, 97 and 106 street, and they all have incredible food and easy access from the NYC subway. They've been around for a couple of years, and every time I visit I can't help but marvel at the laid-back almost Californian beach vibe—it's definitely much hipper now than when I was growing up!

It's hard to choose a favorite concession, but I go back time and again for the ceviche mixto at La Cevicheria, which serves a traditional Peruvian ceviche—incredibly cool and refreshing on a hot summer day. It made the perfect late-afternoon light bite.

Rockaway has a thriving artist community, and how could I resist posing with a mural of this adorable pup (especially since Frenchies are some of my favorite dogs to paint, aside from Cooper)?

I didn't know much about Uzbek food until Uma's opened, but now it's one of my favorite places to grab a bite on the peninsula. I usually order the lagman soup, the manti (dumplings) and filet kebabs. Plus, surfboard parking is pretty great. They've got a little place at the 97th street concessions too, if you can't stand to leave the beach.

I'm lucky enough to have a room to call my own in Rockaway, but if I didn't I would be pretty stoked to stay at the Playland Motel. It's also a cool place to hang out, and the pizza at Whit's End next door is delicious (but I was too stuffed from Uma's to partake this time).

When we're lucky, there's a gorgeous sunset over Jamaica Bay, lighting up the Marine Parkway Bridge and the Manhattan skyline beyond. Even though Rockaway is technically in New York City, the pace here feels a world away from the hustle of the city. It's an amazing escape, even just for a day at home...


During the day, Lauren works as an attorney at a literary agency. She also flexes her creative muscles as a painter, selling watercolor art prints, greeting cards and custom paintings of adorable cats, dogs and other creatures.
(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

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Our "well-designed day" neighborhood guides are a visual tour of what a great day looks like from the perspective of a local.

You've loved the peeks inside gorgeous homes from around the world, so we thought we'd ask house tour stars to share their other homes—the neighborhoods and cities they live in. These are the stylish, colorful, bold and fun spaces that these locals would visit if they were designing a great day of stopping at favorite spots (or lounging around at home!). You can follow on our Instagram as we post images from their well-designed day and read more about this series.

Thanks, Lauren!

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