This past weekend, I biked out to Long Beach (just outside of Far Rockaway, for those that have never been). My original plan was to bike all the way to Robert Moses, but I took a really indirect route, and by the time I got to Rockaway, half the day was gone (er, in part due to forgoing my plan to wake up early and instead sleeping in til 11). I checked out my map and decided I at least had to escape the borders of New York City, and pushed on to Long Island.
As I was biking along Seagirt Blvd, I noticed this great old “Atlantic Beach” sign covered up by the creeping foliage.
What an awesome sign – I wonder how many generations of beach-goers have seen this on their way east.
Across the street was the rustiest “New York” sign I’ve ever seen, and I’m kicking myself for not having stopped to take a picture.
I cruised into Atlantic Beach and pulled into the first parking lot I saw. I chained up my bike, took off my sneakers, helmet and shirt, packed it all into my backpack, put on sun tan lotion, and made for the beach entrance. After three hours of biking, I had arrived!
Unfortunately, it was too good to be true. An old man sitting at the entrance to the boardwalk informed me that I was on a private beach, and hadn’t I seen the sign? I was annoyed, because the guy had watched my entire lock-up-the-bike preparation without a word, knowing full well I didn’t belong. “I just get ‘em on the way in,” he said with a shrug. As it was my first time to the area (yes, yes, dumb tourist that I am), I had no idea the entire western shore was reserved for private beach clubs (for the record, Atlantic Beach has some of the ugliest, gaudiest beach club buildings I’ve ever seen in my life…). I continued into Long Beach, where I was told I could buy a beach day pass for $10. So much for saving on parking by biking.
If you’ve never been, I still say it’s worth a trip. The blocks are all small, with more beach-goers than cars, and lined with small beach houses. It’s a bit run down and dirty in that “we’re not far enough away from the city to escape its tentacles” vibe, but way more pleasant and less crowded than Rockaway or Jones. Here is my archetypal “rusted bike in front of picket beach fence with dunes in background” picture.
Definitely worth the trek if you’re a nut like me who likes to pick a point as ridiculously far away as possible on your third week of owning a fixed gear bike and then trying to get there and back by taking the most indirect route possible. Next stop: Montauk!
PS – On my route, I took pictures of a number of really cool things, but each of them requires a full write-up of their own, and as it’s late and I’m exhausted, it’ll have to wait til next week.
PPS – My route was so indirect, at one point, I wound up in a cemetery and biked the entire perimeter only to find that there was no other gate than the entrance I had come in