I ventured out to Rockaway Beach on Sunday, my fifth trip there since summer started. Yesterday was particularly gorgeous. There was a refreshing breeze (okay, maybe a little strong at times and some sand got in my beer) and the ocean was calm and invigorating—I overheard a couple of kids complain that it was "freezing" but they're nuts, it's perfect right now. The Atlantic's always a little chilly at first but that's what you want when you're overheating in the blazing sun, right?

Anyway, Rockaway Beach is an urban gem, and last weekend photographer Tod Seelie was there to document the beach style so you know what to wear (kidding, it obviously doesn't matter). It's a relief to see the community bouncing back from Hurricane Sandy, but the beach still has a ways to go. A large section of the boardwalk that was ripped off during the surge has yet to be restored, and some parts of the beach are still off-limits.

A few tips for the Rockaway-bound if you've never been there:

  • The NYPD vigilantly issues summonses for open container violations on the beach. Do not openly drink beer or wine or Four Loko out there; bring Solo cups and discreetly pour whatever contraband into that and you'll be fine (probably).
  • The beach gets crowded near the bathroom and concession facilities at Beach 86th Street and Beach 97th Street, but I walked a few blocks further to Beach 81st Street yesterday and it was much more chill.
  • If you don't want to take the A train, Rockabus offers hourly trips to Rockaway and Jacob Riis from Williamsburg and the Lower East Side. $15 round trip, and they're now doing late-night service back from the new Playland Motel.
  • The lifeguards tend to blow their whistles incessantly, waving at various swimmers to stay away from the rock jetties or come closer to shore. If this sort of thing annoys you, you may want to pick your spot equidistant between the lifeguard stands.
  • If you can accept waiting on line for 20 minutes or so, you should definitely walk over to Rockaway Taco for some tasty tacos. The line moves quickly and is always longer than it appears, and once you put your order in the food usually comes out immediately. (Always remember to wear your frisbee face mask for extra protection.)

And here's our guide to other beaches in the NYC area. Summer's almost over, people!