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It’s time to get some sand in your shoes.

Jack Eichenbaum — the official Queens historian as per Borough President Melinda Katz’s designation – will offer a guided tour called “Rock-A-Way Ba-by for the Sun-Set” on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m. The leisurely walk will wind on and off the Rockaway boardwalk, connecting two restaurants that overlook Jamaica Bay with faraway views of the Downtown Manhattan skyline.

The meeting spot is Thai Rock at 375 Beach 92nd St., where appetizers and drinks will be served. As the group proceeds, Eichenbaum — a Bayside native who has a Ph.D. in Urban Geography from the University of Michigan and worked in the NYC Department of Finance’s Property Division collecting data and modeling valuation of tax parcels — will discuss the area’s history and current reality. Strollers will revisit Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and learn about the re-building effort. They’ll contemplate nature, salt water, and sea gulls, and check out the architecture in Belle Harbor. The tour will end at The Wharf at 416 Beach 116th St. for sunset views, drinks, and bar food.

Eichenbaum has studied and written extensively about all of Queens. According to him, the Rockaway peninsula was the most isolated part of New York City 150 years ago. (Far Rockaway was, in fact, the farthest neighborhood from Manhattan then.) The area started becoming a beach resort in the 1880s, after railroad lines were established there. Rockaway then went through booms and busts with seasonal bungalows, public housing projects, nursing homes, and natural disasters competing with surfers, swimmers, and sun worshipers. Modern popularity among a young, multi-ethnic population has attracted high quality restaurants and bars to the area.

The fee is $20, payable at the start of the tour, and food is not included. Eichenbaum has indicated that parking is limited at Thai Rock; he suggests taking public transportation (A train/Broad Channel shuttle, Q53 bus, NYC Ferry). For more information, send an email to jaconet@aol.com.

Top: The Wharf; bottom left and right: Thai Rock; bottom middle: NYC Parks

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