On Memorial Day weekend, chilly weather, a large NYPD presence, and convoluted messaging from the Mayor combined to make a bleak beach scene. The city's fears of overcrowding leading to a subsequent spike in COVID-19 cases were pretty much a non-issue out at Rockaway Beach during the holiday weekend, but that may all be changing.

Since then, our strict social distancing practices have been swept aside during a week of close-proximity protests against racist police violence, the weather has turned borderline hot and sticky, and the city once again feels like summer. All of which means you may be hankering for a day at the beach. So here's what it's like at Rockaway now.

Some things have not changed. The boardwalk concessions are still closed, the boardwalk bathrooms are still open, and as far as I could determine all of the restaurants and bars that were serving takeout food and drink two weeks ago, are still serving the same today, with no new openings.

Parks Department workers remain stationed all up and down the boardwalk on Sunday handing out masks, but there were far fewer NYPD officers on beach duty this past weekend than we saw over Memorial Day. In general, mask usage is very light, almost no one on the beach wore one.

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

The ocean is technically closed — there are so many red flags flying it feels like a Christo homage — which means no lifeguards, and no swimming (surfing is allowed year-round in certain spots), though multiple visitors took a quick dip in the freezing water on Sunday without intervention from either Parks or NYPD.

And though Mayor de Blasio warned three weeks ago that he'd roll out fencing and close the place down "if it starts to seem like a typical summer beach scene," the atmosphere this weekend was very much exactly a typical summer beach scene, complete with large groups laden with classic day-at-the-beach equipment settling in for the long haul on the sand.

Getting to Rockaway remains a challenge for all but the most determined cyclists, but I will say that even during prime beach hours (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) the A train was reassuringly empty in both directions.