Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Only Private Beach in the Five Boroughs

When viewing Breezy Point from the Rockaway Inlet it is easy to forget that you are a mere 22 miles from Manhattan in a waterway that separates Brooklyn from Queens. The khaki colord sand beach is very clean and usually empty. On the beach sits the large "Lighthouse" Fire Control Tower, which looks lighthouse missing that is missing its light, or a huge lifeguard tower, with a row low-slung beachhouses of various styles, but all maintained beautifully framing the beach. From the beach, there is a great view of Manhattan, Brighton and Coney Island Beaches, Jamaica Bay, and the Manhattan Skyline. And because it sits on a bay, the beach is significantly less rough than the ocean side (it does get very rough, however.)

Breezy Point, which the New York Times calls "the whitest neighborhood in the city," is a small neighborhood of about 2800 homes on the Western end of Rockaway Point. Known as the Irish Riveria, Breezy Point is the only private beach in the five boroughs and run as a cooperative where the Breezy Point Cooperative, Inc. owns the land and the co-op members own the building only. Houses rarely go for sale on the open market and are typically sold through word of mouth. If you do find one, you'll have to need to put at least 50% down and use to use one of two co-op approved banks. You will also need three references from established residents, a large percentage are fourth and fifth generation. You'll need to do all of this prior to getting board approval.

The neighborhood, which is gated, with security guards, has no schools and very limited shopping. In addition to the seclusion and beautiful beaches, It is the home of the Rockaway Point Yacht Club and also has one of the most diverse populations of state and federally listed collection of shorebirds in the area, with over 1,000 nested terns (non-gull birds) in the co-op.

Non co-op members can visit Breezy Point by picking up a free one-day permit at the Jacob Riis Park Visitor Center, which will permits a car to park at the lot at the end of Rockaway Point Boulevard. Or do what we do, and check it out from the water. Either way, you won't be disappointed.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sailing to Brooklyn from Ireland

It is really amazing how many international sailboats come through Brooklyn. Earlier this year, Thomas Coville's maxi trimoran Sodeb'O was moored at Gateway Marina prior to its attempt to set a North Atlantic crossing record. And last year, we came across the crew of S/V Pasha, who came to Brooklyn in search of a laundromat.

I was fortunate enough to go sailing this weekend. With Baby Salt's arrival, it has been rather difficult squeezing in time for a sail (more on that to come). Following the sail, we saw the sailing vessel Safari of Howth, a Halberg Rassy 42, docked at Miramar Yacht Club. The ship, owed by Carmel & Ken Kavanagh, hailing from the Howth Yacht Club, was easily identified by its Irish flag flying from the stern. Safari of Howth left Ireland about two years ago and comes to Brooklyn by way of a long journey which included stops in the Caribbean, Florida and up the Eastern Seaboard. The boat will be in Brooklyn through the end of August, then will sail to the Chesapeake and Washington areas where they will stay until mid-October. Then its back to Ireland for Christmas.

The skipper, graciously invited us aboard, prior commitments kept us from accepting his offer. And while we didn't board the Safari of Howth, the skipper didn't leave us empty handed. We were each handed a beer prior to our departure.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Sailboats in Newtown Creek

Our good friends at Gage & Desoto Design sent us a shot of two sailboats docked against a bulkhead on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek. The small sloop looks to be under 20 feet with the other in the 29-to-33 foot range.

Of course we don't have any information about these vessels, their captains or the sailing scene along the Brooklyn/Queens border, but we're happy to see more sailboats in unusual spots in Brooklyn.

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