I'm going a little bit out of order, but I'm starting with Rockaway Beach. These photos are from July, but I just went there on Sunday so it's still fresh in my mind, in a way.
We've been going to the beach at Jacob Riis Park for the last couple of years (definitely the best beach in the city!), but I'd never realized there was a boardwalk a couple of miles down. I still prefer Riis for their huge parking lot (we drove around quite awhile looking for a spot near the boardwalk) and the awesome abandoned military base, but the boardwalk has its perks.
This year they've opened up a series of hipster concession stands, including Blue Bottle Coffee, Caracas Arepa Bar, Rockaway Taco, and Rippers, a burger joint that has a decent quinoa black bean burger.
I'll bet it's weird for the locals (definitely heard some guy complaining about "all the faggy shit") but it's a great ploy to get people to make the trek there from Brooklyn and Manhattan. I'd still be going out there anyway but I love that now the day involves great food too.
I was a little skeptical at all the surfboards I saw people carrying, but look--people actually surfing (albeit on tiny waves).
Under the boardwalk
A rusty yet active skatepark just off the boardwalk.