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At NYC’s Rockaways, an escape and a farewell



At NYC’s Rockaways, an escape and a farewell

To say goodbye to New York, author Chris Dong takes an in a single day trip to the seaside and finds there’s a lot to be taught in part of town he had lengthy solely thought of for day journeys.

Behind a layer of patchy fog, the solar casts a milky glow. It’s simply after daybreak on a brisk, late-spring morning on Rockaway Beach, a Queens neighborhood sitting on a slender stretch of New York City between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Two individuals out for a stroll greet me with a cheerful good day. Clearly, I’m not in Midtown Manhattan anymore, the place after seven years waking up in the identical constructing, my neighbors stay anonymous.

New York Metropolis could also be identified for the anonymity of a crowded road and the spectacle of a towering skyscraper, however this nook of town is an antithesis to these scenes. 

Outlined throughout the bay, the Manhattan skyline stands simply 16 miles to the northwest but feels a world away. When the summer time warmth inevitably arrives, metropolis dwellers flock right here by subway and ferry, determined for a reprieve. 

Dwelling to 130,000 everlasting residents, the Rockaways, encompassing the neighborhoods of Rockaway Seaside, Far Rockaway and 7 others, receives over 5 million beachgoers every year. It’s as if between Memorial Day and Labor Day, New Yorkers like myself lastly bear in mind they’re actually a part of a metropolis on the ocean, dwelling to over 14 miles of public seaside. 

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Scenes from Far Rockaway: the shoreline at sunset, a mother and son play in the ocean waves, shadows on the boardwalk, a sign at 89th street, and patrons at Rockaway Beach Surf Club bar and restaurant
Scenes from the Rockaways: the shoreline at sundown, a mom and son play within the ocean waves, shadows on the boardwalk, an indication at 89th road, and patrons at Rockaway Seaside Surf Membership bar and restaurant © Stefano Giovannini; Getty Pictures

Beating the crowds

I’m right here early within the season, when issues are quieter. As an alternative of dashing to catch the final ferry of the night, I’m spending the evening within the neighborhood. A New Yorker for practically a decade, this in a single day expertise is one in every of my closing farewells earlier than shifting to Los Angeles and breaking a lifelong allegiance to the East Coast. As I make my approach down the boardwalk in direction of 116th Road, a freshly brewed espresso acts as my makeshift hand hotter. Whereas Greenhouse Café, on the bottom flooring of the Rockaway Lodge, is a relative newcomer to the scene, the homeowners will not be. 

The Flatow household has deep roots within the Rockaways with their two outposts of Delicacies by Claudette, named after the matriarch of the household, Claudette Flatow. From filling my caffeine repair with a clean Peruvian drip within the morning to biting into the right eggplant sabich within the afternoon, I make the most of the Flatows’ abilities, one thing they’ve shared with the Rockaways neighborhood since 2012.  

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Brunch at Cuisine by Claudette in Far Rockaway
Brunch at Delicacies by Claudette © Stefano Giovannini

As I’d come to expertise throughout my “staycation” on the peninsula, the folks that reside on Rockaway Seaside are happy with the place they name dwelling. At Claudette’s and elsewhere, that is an everyone-knows-each-other seaside neighborhood the place locals greet one another by title.

Even the recently-opened Rockaway Hotel, a 53-room upscale property steps from each the ferry and the seaside, was the creation of third-generation Rockaway Seaside residents, Terence and Dan Tubridy. Every week, the lodge invitations a rotating array of native Rockaways eating places, corresponding to Whit’s Finish and Pizza D’Amore, for his or her “Dinner and a Band” collection. 

Waking up in the identical metropolis, however in a brand new place

There’s one thing particular about waking up in a brand new neighborhood so in contrast to your individual, whereas nonetheless inside the metropolis limits. As an alternative of worrying concerning the logistics of journey, I felt extra tuned into my environment: the swish of waves hitting sand, the frenzied power of fishermen getting ready for a morning at sea, and the quiet conversations of aged residents on morning walks.

Chris Dong on his hotel room's balcony, Rockaway Hotel
Author Chris Dong on his lodge room’s balcony on the comparatively new Rockaway Lodge © Stefano Giovannini

Earlier than this in a single day escape, I’d come to the realm earlier than, spending most of my time at Riis Park Beach, a queer enclave on the western Rockaway peninsula. From bumping beats to people-watching galore, the daytime vibe there seems like nightlife with sunscreen. It solely took a handful of visits to create a routine: discover a spot on the sand with pals, watch the day disappear, make a fast pit cease for afternoon fish tacos at Tacoway Seaside, catch the ferry again to town. 

As I get up on Sunday morning and emerge into the quiet fog, I stroll previous the dunes, watching surfers take their positions alongside the coast, keen to search out that magic carpet trip to shore. A Delta jet, seconds after takeoff from JFK’s Runway 22, soars low over ninetieth Road.

To see this place earlier than the daytrippers arrive feels, even only for these few hours, as if I reside right here. 

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Surfing waves of Far Rockaway Beach in June; Far Rockaway Beach Queens, New York
Surfers collect at Rockaway Seaside all through the summer time © Alamy

Experiencing a spot as an area 

Within the Rockaways, the deep roots of neighborhood lengthen past pleasant hellos and early morning surf periods. 

For dinner, my pals and I eat at Whit’s Finish, an Italian restaurant that in only a few years has change into one thing of a Rockaways establishment. It’s the kind of place that might additionally go for a jazz membership, speakeasy, sports activities bar and burlesque venue – multi function. 

The handwritten menu options dishes just like the “fucking good burger” and “fast ass ceviche.” Everybody appears to know one another. An inebriated common dances beside the bar whereas the waitress grabs a chair, sits at our desk and reads out the specials.

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LEFT: Rockaway Hotel's rooftop bar; RIGHT: Chris Dong and friends share oysters at Rockaway Hotel's restaurant, Margie's
LEFT: Rockaway Lodge’s rooftop bar; RIGHT: Chris Dong and pals collect on the Rockaway Lodge’s restaurant, Margie’s © Stefano Giovannini

A goodbye to a spot that I’ve referred to as dwelling

Earlier than returning to Manhattan, I am going for a closing journey down the boardwalk. This time, it’s by bike. Again in Midtown, I’ve to gingerly weave by traffic-filled streets, dodging drivers who assume they personal the highway.

However right here, on the boardwalk, I bike with a way of abandon. I don’t thoughts that my seaside cruiser’s seat is about practically a foot too low for me. As an alternative of pungent automotive exhaust, there’s an invigorating, stiff sea breeze. And as an alternative of a exact give attention to the trail forward, I repair my gaze above as one more airplane passes.

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Chris Dong and friend cycle along the boardwalk in Far Rockaway
Rockaway Seaside is a superb place for carefree biking excursions © Stefano Giovannini

Simply once I really feel myself vanishing into the sort of half-dream state caused by seaside cities, I’m reminded that this place continues to be very a lot New York Metropolis. To my left, the A practice – the identical one which stops at Penn Station within the coronary heart of Midtown – rumbles previous on elevated tracks. Piercing by the fixed name and response of seagulls, I hear the acquainted screech of an MTA bus braking.

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A surfer walks out into the ocean at Rockaway Beach
Although a part of New York Metropolis, the seashores of the Rocakways can really feel a world other than the thrill of Manhattan © Andrew Burton / Alamy

After an overcast weekend, the primary full rays of solar peek out from behind the clouds. Heat, gentle and infinite blue sky are a few of the the reason why I had determined to relocate to Los Angeles. I had come right here, partly, to say goodbye. And right here was New York reminding me of simply how magic it’s, when that sunshine cuts by days of grey skies. 


15 Birmingham college students will go to Japan below world research program



15 Birmingham college students will go to Japan below world research program

This story is republished with permission from The Birmingham Times.

An inaugural group of 15 Birmingham Metropolis Colleges juniors and sophomores will probably be headed to Japan this yr as a part of the Worldwide Twin Enrollment Academy (IDEA), a worldwide research program to equip Birmingham college students with the talents, experiences, and relationships to thrive in an interconnected world.

Birmingham Sister Cities, in partnership with Miles School and Birmingham Metropolis Colleges, made the announcement on Monday. This system runs from Might 6 to December 11.

The IDEA program blends twin enrollment coursework at Miles School, intensive cultural enrichment actions, and an immersive travel-abroad expertise.

Taking part college students will earn 9 school credit score hours, obtain a stipend of at the least $500 when accomplished, and have the chance to attend the Sister Cities Worldwide Youth Management Summit in Washington, D.C.

“Worldwide publicity and worldwide alternative are essential components in college students’ school and profession readiness,” mentioned Jessica Findley Valentin, Interim Government Director of Birmingham Sister Cities. “IDEA goals to offer Birmingham college students with the instruments they should compete on the world stage and turn into world ambassadors for our metropolis.”

“It’s actually particular that the inaugural IDEA cohort is touring to Japan, as our very first Sister Metropolis settlement was signed in April of 1982 with the Metropolis of Hitachi, Japan,” mentioned Blair Minyard, Board Chair of Birmingham Sister Cities. “For greater than 40 years Birmingham Sister Cities has been working to attach Birmingham with the world, and we’re equally dedicated to making sure that this program has an enduring affect on our college students, our colleges, our metropolis, and our broader world group.”

“The Worldwide Twin Enrollment Academy is a testomony to Birmingham’s dedication to offering our college students with world-class instructional alternatives,” mentioned Mayor Randall Woodfin. “This modern program is not going to solely put together our younger individuals for achievement in a worldwide economic system but in addition assist to place Birmingham as a frontrunner in worldwide schooling.”

Dr. Mark Sullivan, Superintendent of Birmingham Metropolis Colleges, added, “We’re thrilled to accomplice with Birmingham Sister Cities and Miles School to supply this transformative program to our college students. IDEA aligns completely with our mission to assist college students obtain excellence whereas getting ready them to achieve a worldwide society.”

Miles School President Bobbie Knight mentioned, “Because the president of the faculty, I’m deeply honored to be a part of this groundbreaking initiative. The Worldwide Twin Enrollment Academy (IDEA) represents a step ahead in our collective mission to equip college students with the instruments they should excel in an ever-evolving world panorama.”

Purposes are open from March 15 to April 19, 2024, with this system working from Might 6 to December 11, 2024.

For extra details about the Worldwide Twin Enrollment Academy, go to

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Finest street journeys in Lake Tahoe



Finest street journeys in Lake Tahoe

In Lake Tahoe, the peaks of the Sierra Nevada rise above turquoise waters so clear you’ll be able to peer more than 70 feet below the surface. In winter, skiers prize the Tahoe Basin’s 14 ski areas, whereas in summer season, folks flock to seashores, mountaineering and biking trails. Maybe the best time to visit Lake Tahoe is the shoulder seasons in spring and fall when the area is much less crowded and lodge rooms are extra reasonably priced. 

Along with its pure magnificence, Lake Tahoe’s location is inside driving distance of lots of the greatest locations in California and Nevada. In different phrases, Lake Tahoe is the best base for scenic drives and street journeys. To encourage you, we’ve rounded up our picks for the perfect street journeys in Lake Tahoe.

1. The Lake Tahoe Scenic Drive

Finest street journey for surroundings

Begin and finish at whim; 72 miles, 3 hours 

One of the best street journey for surroundings in Lake Tahoe circumnavigates the lake by way of US 50, NV 28, and US 89. Start in Stateline and dive into the surreal expertise of driving by way of a strip of high-rise casinos glimmering in opposition to the backdrop of the wilderness. Subsequent, comply with the route clockwise to Taylor Creek Customer Heart, the place you’ll be able to stroll alongside the wheelchair-accessible Rainbow Path and meander all the way down to dog-friendly Kiva Seashore.

Up subsequent in your itinerary is D.L. Bliss State Park, residence to the highest-elevation lighthouse in america; from there, proceed uphill to Emerald Bay State Park. Even in case you don’t hike all the way down to Vikingsholm Castle, it’s price stopping right here for vistas of tiny Fannette Island, the one island on the lake. 

Wind alongside the shoreline previous Homewood to Carnellian Bay, the place you’ll be able to cease for lunch with a view at Gar Woods Grill and Pier, considered one of just a few true waterfront eating places on the lake (well-known for a colourful frozen drink cheekily named the Moist Woody). Afterward, swing by Magic Carpet Golf and Arcade for a spherical of mini golf. Proceed driving to Tahoe Metropolis to discover charming outlets and boutiques earlier than you make your approach to Incline Village. 

Make a brief detour in Incline Village to take a look at Bowl Incline, an leisure heart with bowling, axe throwing, billiards and an arcade. The hooked up Sam Choy’s Ohana Diner is the perfect place for poke bowls in Lake Tahoe. Proceed to Sand Harbor State Park, well-known for its golden sand seashores, turquoise water and clean, mammoth boulders.

Earlier than you come back to Stateline, you’ll journey by way of the world-famous Cave Rock Tunnel, which passes by way of a mountainous volcanic rock formation lengthy held sacred to the area’s Indigenous Washoe folks.  On the opposite facet, discover extra seashores and mountaineering trails at Zephyr Cove

Skilled tip: Though this route is attractive in winter, the drive shouldn’t be advisable in snowy or icy situations. Wait till the roads are clear. You’ll seemingly encounter heavy site visitors across the lake in summer season, particularly on weekends.

Dawn in Reno, Nevada
The street to and from Reno makes for a stunning drive © 4kodiak / Getty Pictures

2. Incline Village to Reno 

Finest brief street journey

Mount Rose Freeway; 37 miles, 45 minutes

No go to to Lake Tahoe can be full with out a cease in Reno. This Lake Tahoe street journey begins with a scenic driving route on the Mountain Rose Freeway. On the summit, you’ll see Tahoe Meadows to your proper, and you will find a protracted boardwalk that winds by way of a meadow that delivers views of seasonal wildflowers and alpine surroundings. For those who proceed into the woods, comply with the indicators marked “Tahoe Rim Path” as much as breathtaking vistas of Lake Tahoe. This space is named Chickadee Ridge, which earned it the moniker from a inhabitants of mountain chickadees who nibble birdseed out of your hand. Parking is free alongside the facet of the street.

While you attain Reno, park close to the Riverwalk the place you’ll be able to stroll alongside the Truckee River. The realm is residence to casinos with cool, classic signage and the well-known Reno Arch, which proudly boasts that Reno is the most important little metropolis on the earth. The sidewalks of downtown Reno are brimming with public artwork, from the murals of Midtown to large-scale Burning Man sculptures (essentially the most well-known, Area Whale, is especially dazzling when it lights up at night time). Different must-see sights embody the Nevada Museum of Art and the National Automobile Museum

Earlier than you head again to Lake Tahoe, cease by the Peppermill Resort, Spa, and Casino to deal with your self to all-you-can-eat sushi at Oceano, adopted by a cocktail within the plush, retro Fireside Lounge.

Passing through the Virginia City mines on top of a yellow steam locomotive
Study all in regards to the mining and railroad historical past of Virginia Metropolis © alexroch / Shutterstock

3. South Lake Tahoe to Virginia Metropolis 

Finest street journey for quirky enjoyable

US 50; 43 miles, 1 hour 

Dramatic orange hills flank the winding freeway as much as the historic mining city of Virginia Metropolis. Maintain your eyes peeled for wild horses, which may virtually all the time seen grazing alongside the street. Virginia Metropolis dates again to 1859, and it was a booming metropolis with a inhabitants of 25,000 after the invention of the Comstock Lode. At present, Virginia Metropolis is a pleasant mixture of touristy and genuine experiences. Wooden plank sidewalks, historic buildings and old-time saloons line the road, and locals steadily costume in classic garb. You possibly can spend a complete day wandering into watering holes and memento outlets. Actions shedding mild on Virginia Metropolis’s historical past embody exploring Piper’s Opera House,  touring the Chollar Mine  and using a steam locomotive on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad.  

Virginia Metropolis is among the quirkiest small cities within the nation, as evidenced by annual occasions just like the World Championships Outhouse Races, the International Camel and Ostrich Races and the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry

Expertise gorgeous surroundings and be taught in regards to the area’s historical past in Donner Memorial Park © Jared Alden / Getty Pictures

4. Truckee to El Dorado County

Finest California street journey 

US  I-80 West; 94 miles, 2 hours  

Begin your Lake Tahoe to El Dorado County street journey in Truckee. The historic railroad city is full of eating places, breweries, outlets, and galleries. You should definitely cease by the Donner Memorial Park Customer Heart to be taught extra in regards to the space’s historical past, which incorporates the Indigenous Washoe folks, the plight of the notorious Donner Get together and the laborers who constructed the transcontinental railroad.

Subsequent, head to Placerville to immerse your self in California’s fascinating gold rush history. Placerville’s historic Foremost Road is overflowing with superbly preserved Nineteenth-century structure housing artwork galleries, vintage outlets, eating places and museums. Subsequent, drive 5 minutes to the El Dorado County Historical Museum to be taught in regards to the space’s Indigenous historical past, the early days of the gold rush and the El Dorado Western Railroad. After you’ve had your fill, make your means up Apple Hill, the place you’ll discover farm stands, orchards and vineyards like the stunning Boeger Winery. While you return to Truckee, head up the mountain to the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe to cap your night with a drink subsequent to the gorgeous 55-foot fire.

5. South Lake Tahoe to Genoa 

Finest brief street journey for historical past buffs

NV 207; 20 miles, 35 minutes

Genoa is Nevada’s oldest non-Native settlement, based by Mormon pioneers as a buying and selling station in 1850. Historic houses, Victorian mattress and breakfasts and Nineteenth-century buildings infuse this tiny city with oodles of appeal. Prime sights embody The Pink House, positioned within the city’s oldest constructing. The eatery hosts stay music on the weekends and a Monday-Friday completely happy hour with drink specials and half-price pizzas.

You too can sidle as much as the bar at Nevada’s oldest watering gap. Genoa Bar was established in 1853 and the saloon is every thing you hope it might be, with a brick exterior and an vintage counter and mirror courting again to the 1800s. Historical past buffs ought to cease by the Genoa Courthouse Museum, the historic Genoa Cemetary and Mormon Station State Historic Park, which options artifacts from the pioneers and a reproduction of the unique buying and selling put up.

Maintain planning your Lake Tahoe journey:

Take in some solar on the 5 best accessible beaches in Lake Tahoe
Work out the perfect time to go to with Best time to visit Lake Tahoe
Expertise Tahoe on a finances with Lake Tahoe’s can’t-miss experiences that cost next to nothing
Do not miss a factor with Top things to do in Lake Tahoe

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Man tries to pet hungry javelina throughout street journey – it would not go nicely



Man tries to pet hungry javelina throughout street journey – it would not go nicely

Javelina may not be as harmful as feral hogs, however placing your fingers close to one’s snout is not the most effective thought, as one man realized on a latest street journey. 

In a video shared this week by way of notorious Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks (which makes a speciality of calling out dangerous habits at websites of pure magnificence) the person might be seen wiggling his fingers by means of a automobile window to coax one of many pig-like animals nearer. The javelina approaches, however quite than acquiesce to go scratches, jumps as much as chew him.

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