Some of the places tweaked their act to better suit the beach ambience. Rippers, which is Parachini’s collaboration with the owners of the Meat Hook, doesn’t serve pizza (“I’m sick of pizza for a while,” says Parachini, “we’re all sick of pizza”) and pumps out burgers and fries instead. And surfboard wax. Blue Bottle, on the other hand, stoically offers $4 iced coffees and $2.75 espressos to the trunks-and-bikinis crowd. Some are thrown by the price tag, but, as the many-tattooed girl at the handles of its La Marzocco machine attests, “once they try it, we don’t have any complaints. They know we’re going to be more than, like, bodega coffee.”
Still, this doesn’t feel like gentrification, at least not yet. There are no grumblings from the Rockaways’ older, blue-collar inhabitants. “I would love to take a picture of every single person who comes out here and make a collage out of it,” says Field. “It would be A to Z, man. We feed all the FDNY, all the NYPD, all the DSNY, all the EMTs.” Come October or so, the hipster wave will quietly roll back until next May, leaving behind the core group of Rockaway romantics. This time, however, the group will be larger. Almost everyone Field invited has ended up buying or renting a year-round home blocks from Rockaway Taco.