There’s a section of New York City that I’ve been fortunate to get to know, thanks to my pal Riva, who loves to surf.
In Rockaway, Queens — which is accessible by subway — you can spend the day at the beach, ride some challenging waves, and then top it off with some delicious food and wine (if you know where to go). Rockaway is a gritty but resilient place. A few years, Superstorm Sandy nearly decimated the place. But it’s bounded back, thanks in large part to the surfer community, which came together post-hurricane to keep the neighborhood afloat. The longtime locals have a lot of stories to tell, that’s for sure, and I’m sure there’s grumbling about the demographic change that’s underfoot. But much like the tides turn, so too is Rockaway….and that’s a good thing.
On a recent evening, Riva and I left Manhattan by ferry (a soon-to-be discontinued service) — and arrived at B108th in Rockaway right as the sun was going down. We headed to Thai Rock, on a pier overlooking Jamaica Bay. An evening chill descended as it became dark…fortunately, the restaurant had blankets on hand (comfy!), which they handed out to patrons like ourselves, sitting in the outdoor section over the water.
The impressive menu has a number of curry options — I ordered the Pineapple Curry with Shrimp, which came with a nice amount of spice. I liked how they used whole cherry tomatoes, fresh chunks of pineapple, and a bit of basil, bell pepper and mushroom. Delicious!
Truth be told, I had been a bit skeptical about what I’d find in Rockaway, in terms of Thai cuisine. But not only was the meal authentic…so was the feel of the place. It brought back memories of being on an island in the Gulf of Thailand, at a restaurant on a spindly pier. So what if that was New York traffic on the Cross Bay Bridge zipping by — this still felt like a bit of Thailand, in an unexpected place. A big thank you to Riva for introducing me to Thai Rock…and Rockaway!