I've been wanting to go to the beach for weeks now so on Sunday we finally planned a trip to Jacob Riis Park in Rockaway, Queens. (All day I kept humming "Rockaway Beach" by the Ramones.) But when I looked at a map I noticed that right next to it was Fort Tilden, a place I'd been meaning to check out, so we did some exploring before changing into our bathing suits.
Here is one of two gun batteries that we came across. From a New York Times article about the park, "Years ago, each of them housed a 70-foot-long cannon that could accurately shoot 2,300-pound shells 25 miles out to sea...The fort, built in 1917 as part of the city's coastal defenses, was used through two world wars and part of the cold war to keep the enemy — German subs, Japanese bombers or Russian nukes — from reaching New York."
Underneath the concrete canopy—this one is a bit overgrown with vegetation, and as both of them, is covered with graffiti (which really only adds to the appeal). Note the milk crate turned on its side in the corner—it'd actually be a pretty nice place to sit down and relax. It's quiet, and there's a really nice breeze.
I really liked this graffiti inside the second battery.
The ceiling, where minutes earlier a group of birds were perched on this wire but they flew away by the time we could change the "lens."*
Dave, and more graffiti.
Looking out from inside the battery.
One of the batteries has a wooden staircase built next to it that brings you up to the top...
and leads up to this viewing platform, which affords beautiful views of the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Bridge, and of course of the beach. The platform features some choice graffiti, particularly the "Mr. Bacon was here," right next to "yummy."
Finally, we got out on the beach and went swimming.
Jacob Riis Park is definitely my favorite New York City beach, at least, of the ones I've been to. It's actually on the ocean, so that's a plus (Orchard Beach is much closer to home but it's on the sound, so the bottom is muddy and the water is no higher than my knees), it's not that crowded, and you're surrounded by 1930s brick buildings that house bathrooms and concession stands (not to mention the abandoned military base in close proximity). The water was the perfect temperature, though the waves were a little rough. I don't know if it was just high tide or if it's always like that, but as long as you don't go too far out it's just fine.
*All of these photos were taken with Dave's iPhone using the Hipstamatic app. I'd forgotten my camera and am actually kind of glad about that, as these look much cooler.