I didn’t know New York had real beaches. I suppose it doesn’t, if you live in Honolulu or are used to the clean white sand of Florida. But Far Rockaway is every bit as beachy as the tarry mess that is the Texas gulf (the strip of beach that was thrust upon me since birth).
Trouble is, because it’s a real beach, Far Rockaway presents all the same problems that Texas beaches do. So here are my suggestions if you want to enjoy a day on a New York beach–and avoid the battle scars that show it.
1) Bring sunscreen. You will know this if you are at all up-to-date with the latest health “discoveries,” but those people who tell you to wear a full body suit and helmet while out-of-doors know what they’re talking about when it comes to sunburns. And you shouldn’t just bring sunscreen. Put it on. Thoroughly. You might be slathering aloe on your back for the next couple days otherwise. That and you might get skin cancer.
2) Don’t wear your glasses in the water. I should have remembered this one from when my dad dove in head-first after running to the shore–immediately losing his. Now, alas. My rad green shades are gone, and even worse, my friend’s real glasses will never be used again, at least for their original purpose. Even if you think you won’t go that far in the water, think again. A wave with the force of a small truck will find and crush you.
3) Speaking of force, make sure your bathing suit is covering all the body parts it’s supposed to, especially when a wave has just come and gone. Enough said.
There are a number of other things I would advise: Don’t go running on the beach unless you’re ready to jump over small children and extract your feet from sinking sand from time to time. Don’t pour hot sauce all over your fried shrimp until you’ve tasted it first and know you want to have your tongue burnt to a black crisp. And by all means, don’t try to come back into the city at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. You might be in traffic for the next two hours of your life.
But really, as long as you’ve got friends by your side through it all, it’s worth it even if you forget a couple of things and grow a little pink on your cheeks. C’est la vie. And life is good.