07/15/16 11:10am
Head to Long Beach on the LIRR. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

Head to Long Beach on the LIRR. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

Summer is here and that means it’s time to go to the beach! It’s a little counterintuitive, but it’s actually easier to take my five-year-old to beautiful Long Beach on the LIRR than taking public transportation to most of the beaches in New York City. Plus, there’s a sweet beach and train combo deal–when buying your ticket, choose the Deals and Getaways option which includes train fare plus a day pass to the beach all for $24. Consider that if you drove and paid for parking and for a beach pass (yes, you have to pay to get on to Long Beach). All you have to do is exchange your train ticket for a day pass to the beach at one of the kiosks along the boardwalk. Children under five ride for free and ages five to 11 ride for $1. 

Off we went on the sunny Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, starting at Atlantic Terminal, making an easy transfer at Jamaica, and ending up at Long Beach Station. The entire trip takes about an hour, but for my boy and his friend the train ride was almost as much fun as playing in the sand. The front of the train will be crowded as that’s where the exit is at Long Beach Station. If you want a seat, head toward the back. (more…)

07/07/14 12:00pm

Sponsored By New York Aquarium.

The New York Aquarium is building a world-class shark exhibit set to open in 2016.

Created By BlankSlate

Every day, we hear about all the cool stuff Brooklyn has to offer. You know what it doesn’t have enough of, though? Sharks.

Fortunately, there’s something we Brooklynites can do to rectify this situation. By donating to the ongoing renovation of the New York Aquarium, you will be helping to bring to Brooklyn a massive shark exhibit called Ocean Wonders: Sharks! The plans for the exhibit call for a jaw-dropping, 500,000-gallon tank that will allow visitors to watch several species of sharks and rays. How cool is that?

The transformation of the aquarium won’t be confined to the interior. Outside, a gorgeous, ocean-inspired art installation will wrap the building in a “shimmer wall” made up of tens of thousands of reflective tiles that ripple with the wind like waves on the sea.

You can help make this vision a reality by donating a personalized tile on the virtual version of the shimmer wall on the New York Aquarium website. With your donation, you will be joining your Brooklyn neighbors in helping to bring the aquarium to the next level. More importantly, you will be doing your part to bring sharks to Brooklyn — finally.

07/19/13 3:15pm
Tue July 30, 2013

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As a long-time freelancer, one of my favorite summer activities is to play hooky on a weekday and head to the beach. Lately I’ve been loving Long Beach; it costs $12 for a beach pass, but if you purchase a combo LIRR beach getaway package your transportation and beach pass comes to just $22.75 for the day. You can buy tickets directly from an LIRR ticket machine; just select “Deals & Getaways” and then “Beach Getaways.” Trains leave at least once an hour in both directions, and you can hop on at Penn Station, or take the 7 to Woodside and transfer to the LIRR right there–the beach is just 45 minutes away, and the train is so much nicer than your average A to the Rockaways. It’s a four or five block walk from the LIRR station to the beach, and the water is right there–you don’t have to hike a mile over hot sand like some spots. Bring snacks (the concessions are much more limited than at the Rockaways, which is good for your wallet, but requires pre-planning) or grab some ice cream or a hot dog at stands near the beach entrance, and don’t forget your water and sunscreen. For surreptitious beach sips, I highly recommend this The Hydrator, a frozen rum and coconut water punch; it’s equal parts intoxicating and revitalizing.

07/19/13 2:21pm
You can freeze a batch of The Hydrator for a boozy, lime-y slushy. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

You can freeze a batch of The Hydrator for a boozy, lime-y slushy. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

There’s nothing like sitting poolside or on a beach blanket with a frosty cocktail in hand, especially when it’s hotter than Satan’s hairdryer outside. A lot of classic beach drinks though, are very sweet and can make you swoon in the sun after just a few sips. Talitha Whidbee, owner of Vine Wine in Williamsburg and pro-beachgoer, came up with The Hydrator, a coconut water rum punch, which is far less sweet than say, a piña colada, and easy to keep drinking all afternoon. You can make it the night before and freeze it, so you have a sort of lime-y, coconut-y slushy to sip on.

07/18/13 10:19am

NYCBeachBusSignMeet the New York City Beach Bus–your $10, one-way ticket ($12 roundtrip) to a calm, easy, quick, and scenic ride from Brooklyn to Rockaway Beach or Jacob Riis Park.

The NYC Beach Bus is a little different than the other services that exist to the Rockaways and Riis like Alexis Van Lines, The Little Beach Bus or the Rockabus, in that they offer amenities and activities that make the ride more like a day camp on the beach. A bus ride (you can choose a 9:15am, 11am, or 1pm departure) on the Belt Parkway and along the coast of southern Queens offers a scenic ride, and once you get to the beach, NYC Beach Bus hosts classes like Zen Yogilates (a yoga-pilates combo) and provides the gear for football, soccer, frisbee and ball-in-a-cup on the beach, if you want to get off your blanket and get active.