Tag: Rockaway

The Rockaway Hotel Is More Than Just a Summer Scene

The peninsula is known for its panoramic views of New York, and the hotel, which is wrapped in zinc paneling and stands six stories high, offers all of them. There is the ocean to the south, the bay to the north, the bridge into Brooklyn and the Manhattan skyline just beyond it. Bungalows, some of which were built in the 1920s, punctuate the streets, their clapboard exteriors and sagging telephone wires proof of an enduring beachfront community.

On the roof, a large wooden bar with a marble and black metal top is set behind a wall of glass windows was designed to entertain outdoor dining guests even on the windiest of nights, acting as a shield against the strong winds that come off the ocean, says Jigarjian, reinforcing the local knowledge that went into the construction of the site. “The wind, the light—it was all considered.”

Due to the coronavirus’s looming second wave, many of the hotel’s amenities, like two large, ballroom-esque event spaces, forthcoming spa, boutique Warm NY, a full service restaurant offering seasonal fare called Margie’s (named after the Tubridy’s grandmother), and the grab-and-go Greenhouse Cafe are either not yet open, or opened at limited capacity and on the weekends only. On the outdoor pool deck, which is located on the main floor, a large heated tent replete with wooden tables situated six feet apart and oversize blankets was set up by staff for Thanksgiving. Still, the optimism is paramount. “We’re lucky to be able to provide these communal spaces, but we also provide privacy: a chance to be alone, or with one other person,” says Jigarjian, a reminder that even hip hotels can act as escapes from crowds and homes, especially ones that have become our offices, kids’ schools, and gyms.

Like the outdoor terraces, every room has a view, either of the Atlantic Ocean or Jamaica Bay. There are standard rooms and suites as well as eight long-term stays called bungalows; custom made bamboo chairs and rattan beds are topped with crisp white linens by Hill House Home, and flanked by black sconces by Cedar and Moss. Hanging on the teak slatted walls is more art: a picture of a red-headed boy at the beach, a flamingo picking at its feathers, kids in a field eating berries. These photographs and prints were sourced from a variety of nonprofit visual arts organizations and COVID-19 benefit programs, such as Pictures for Elmhurst, a fundraising print sale that dedicated proceeds to medical workers at the hard-hit Elmhurst Hospital Center.

Photo: Courtesy of The Rockaway Hotel
Photo: Courtesy of The Rockaway Hotel

But the most personal piece of art at the Rockaway Hotel isn’t at the Rockaway Hotel at all. It’s across the street, on the playground at Waterside Children’s Studio School, an arts-first public elementary school. A large mural by the installation artist Shantell Martin covers the newly re-sealed blacktop; stick figures and faces swirl around words like “power” and “pop” and “yes you are you.”

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Rockaway Hotel Captures the Laid-back Essence of the Queens Shoreline

The lobby of the Rockaway Hotel in Queens by Morris Adjmi Architects and Curious Yellow Design is defined by white-oak shelving, plastered walls, and custom furniture by Curious Yellow. Photography by Kyle Knodell.

In 1977, when Queens natives the Ramones released “Rockaway Beach,” the punk band’s classic paean to the borough’s oceanside neighborhood, it was against a backdrop of high crime and low budgets. Fast forward to 2012 and, like much of the city, the working-class riviera—the largest urban beach and boardwalk in the nation—had gone from worn-out to welcoming. Then came the epic devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Eight years later, rebuilding efforts are nearing completion. And now comes a crowning jewel, the Rockaway Hotel, which embodies the coastal getaway’s restored charm and relaxed aspirations.

Nearby, the custom teak table stands on semipolished-concrete flooring across from a Guillerme et Chambron reproduction armchair. Photography by Kyle Knodell.

A spit of land a few blocks wide, the Rockaway peninsula sits between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, with the skyscrapers of Manhattan glimmering like the Emerald City in the distance. Its ready accessibility by bridge, subway, and ferry made it an attractive site for the new hotel, the brainchild of sustainability-minded developer 7G Realty, which took a hands-off approach in its brief to Morris Adjmi Architects and Curious Yellow Design. “We wanted to strike a balance of urban and beach,” recalls 7G partner and chief social impact officer Michi Jigarjian, who was determined that the building not disrupt its context of row bungalows and low-rise apartment blocks.

Vintage Giovanni Travasa chairs compose another lobby seating vignette. Photography by Kyle Knodell.

Morris Adjmi was a perfect fit for the project, having won a load of street cred years earlier with his seminal Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—another high-profile property that helped transform a neglected city neighborhood.
Although Adjmi’s 84,000-square-foot Rockaway Hotel encompasses a restaurant, rooftop bar, street-side coffee shop, large-scale event space, and outdoor pool area, it delicately nods to the existing architectural topography, complementing the historic bungalows, some of which date to the 1920s. They determined the hotel’s modest six-story height as well as the use of zinc exterior
paneling, which echoes the row houses’ colors and style. “We tried to create something with a relaxed vibe that really fits in the neighborhood and becomes an instant go-to place,” Adjmi says. “It feels like it belongs here.”

A custom rattan pendant fixture hangs from the lobby’s white-oak ceiling. Photography by Kyle Knodell.

Curious Yellow was also influenced by the hotel’s setting as well as ’60s beach culture. Partners Anna Cappelen and Chloe Pollack-Robbins—veterans of a previous oceanside success, the Hero Beach Club in Long Island’s Montauk—created an eclectic yet calming atmosphere embellished with items that a contemporary surfer might have collected on the road. “It’s a place where the city’s grit and luxury and the beach all come crashing into each other,” Cappelen says. 

Blackened-steel balustrades wrap around a Kennedy Yanko sculpture. Photography by Kyle Knodell.

The hotel

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