When you think New York City, you don't think of crashing waves, white-sand beaches littered with shimmering blue shells, or cool, salt-spray breezes tangling your hair.
And you certainly don't think of fish tacos and iced matcha.
Well, maybe it's time to.
Rockaway Beach is one of those gems of the city, so un-urban it's hard to believe a subway brought you there. And while I'm a firm believer in the beauty New York exudes every day, this spot is a particularly breathtaking example. (And this is coming from someone who grew up on the Atlantic Ocean.)
The beach may get a little crowded on the weekends, but if you can manage to trek out here during a sultry weekday afternoon, you will not be disappointed. Even if you don't go for a swim- which is tantamount to crime in this heat- it's worth the journey for the most authentic fish taco ($3) I've ever had on the East Coast, courtesy of Rockaway Taco (95-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Queens): crispy, hot fried fish; crunchy, sweet and spicy bites of shredded cabbage and radish; a bright squeeze of lime and inevitably, all over your hands and face as you devour it.
Chase it with an icy, vibrant green cold matcha ($4; supplied by Matcha Source) from Veggie Island right next door, and you may never want to leave. This adorable coffee shop/organic vegetable market also has an extensive selection of house-made herbal iced teas ($2.50), such as black mint, nettle and sorrel.
Unfortunately, I'd put away three tacos at this point, so I had to vow to try them on my next visit- I didn't want to have to wait another 45 minutes before jumping into the water.
Although, looking back at the pictures, this meal was quite possibly worth a life-threatening cramp while swimming. There are certainly worse ways to go.