I’ve gone to Rockaway Beach for years…

I’ve gone to Rockaway Beach for years…

…but, this time, I was a little scared to. The NY Time’s article on how it’s the new “anti-Hamptons”–the boardwalk being the “new Bedford Avenue”–seemed to promise  a mob of hipsters… and local backlash of the influx threatened an old fashioned culture clash, ripe with all the associated generalizations. Diehipster.com‘s rant on how the Rockaway locals hate the new swarm of hipsters had a comment strand that clumped vegetarians with the dreaded H-word. As a vegetarian excited about checking out the new concessions at the beach, as a seemingly young and definitely tattooed girl traveling with a man with a beard who is prone to Slacker-like verbal pontifications, I had cinematic visions of an encounter with violence as a group of locals mistake that fact that they just noticed me with the idea that I am part of the new mass of beach-goers.

But I was pleasantly relieved to have a great day at the beach. There were locals and there were hipsters; there were families of all types. Everyone enjoying the gorgeous day, everyone considerate of their space and noise level and everyone, all walks, enjoying the tasty new concessions. Plenty of choices, plenty of tastes. Not much to complain about at all.

Just a taste of the new Rockaway concessions.

Rockaway Taco is fresh, flavorful Mexican-inspired food. Their boardwalk location offers an abridged menu of delicious finger foods but, sadly, no tofu taco. {For more info and pictures of that tofu taco, check out the post I did on them last summer and their mothership location on Beach 95th.} I opted for the bean tostada with guacamole. So darn good.

First, Babycakes was on the L.E.S… then it branched to Los Angeles… then Disney World in Orlando, FL… then Rockaway Beach. And now it’s also available in the Legends Suite at Yankees Stadium. This Babycakes location has a variety of rotating sweet treats. On my visit I saw: chocolate-covered frozen Mounds-like treats, waffles, frozen brownies, mini-donuts and ice cream. I went for the 3 mini-donuts for $3.00.

Ode to the Elephants makes the dream a reality: Thai on the beach on this hemisphere. Vegan offerings are slim but they’ve got mango and sticky rice. Oh, how I love thee. I gobbled up this $6 with lightening speed. It was one of the best I’ve had in the States because of that drizzle of super-sweet coconut cream draped on top.

What a great addition to the beach. If there is an upside to gentrification, it’s a variety of healthier and delicious food options all can enjoy. Extended latent adolescence marked by Neon green Ray Ban acts of rebellion and a craving for attention or not, I’m going to enjoy the good eats in Rockaway. Lord knows the hipsters have filled up Williamsburg with a ton of meat-heavy “New American” restaurants with intense one-word names that have nothing for me. But let’s clear up the confusion, hip-types at Rockaway is not a new thing, contrary to the NY Times reporting. In fact, the NY Times reporting something is a sure-fire indication that said-tidbit is not new. Remember the Ramones song? That came out in 1977. The onslaught of superficial image-obsessed young people goes hand-in-hand with the degrading values reinforced by the Idiocracy of popular culture. There’s putrid run-off rearing everywhere. It’s unfortunate that real New Yorkers who have been kept safe by the mighty Empire, the shiny red apple, face this truth now too. And I sound like my Dad.