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Jacob Riis Park, Queens

#2 of 7 in Outdoors in Queens
Beach · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Jacob Riis Park, also called Jacob A. Riis Park and Riis Park, is a seaside park on the southwestern portion of the Rockaway Peninsula in the New York City borough of Queens. It lies at the foot of the Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, east of Fort Tilden, and west of Neponsit and Rockaway Beach. Originally run by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, it is now part of the Jamaica Bay Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, and is managed by the National Park Service (NPS). It features an extensive sand beach along the Atlantic Ocean coastline and several historic Art Deco structures.

In 1912, the city, urged on by social journalist Jacob Riis, acquired the land for a park initially called Seaside Park and later Telawana Park. In 1914, the park was renamed for Riis. During World War I, the site was used as the Rockaway Naval Air Station, one of the first naval air stations in the United States and, in 1919, the launching point for the first transatlantic flight.

The signature bathhouse was built in 1932, but much of the park's infrastructure and approaches were built between 1936 and 1937 by New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, who envisioned it as a getaway for New York City residents, like Jones Beach State Park further east on Long Island. The park was built along with the Marine Parkway Bridge and the Belt Parkway in nearby Brooklyn, which provided access to the park.

After a period of decline, Jacob Riis Park was transferred in 1974 to the control of the National Park Service. The Jacob Riis Park Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

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Jacob Riis Park reviews

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  • I really love the beach there! And it is in my plans to camp there for a few days in about 2 weeks! They have a campsite with tall, white barracks which have a queen bed, two fans and a safe box for valuables. There is even a hot water shower (just for the campers, though, no private showers for beach goers whether hot or cold, which is a pity!). But the beach is clean and well kept and we didn’t have to pay to get in. There is also a cafeteria, which I have not tried yet, but looks delicious!
  • Absolutely gorgeous beach with heavy yellow sand and beautiful waves! Sad to say I didn’t get any photos because I was enjoying the water way too much! There is a small fee to get a day pass, but it’s totally worth it to lounge on the pristine beach which is regularly patrolled by police and security so you won’t have to worry if you’ve brought young kids or expensive equipment. The entire atmosphere is laid back and friendly. The locals seem a bit annoyed by tourists at times (what’s new) but it’s easy to get over if you just ignore the old cranks 😂 Overall the boardwalk was clean and easy to walk, with trash cans every quarter mile or so, and there’s a whole host of restaurants to chose from if you get peckish.

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