Opening Shot

A New Hotel in Rockaway Pays Homage to the Storied Beach Town's Past—and Pulls It Into the Future

A facade inspired by the neighborhood's historic bungalows, a reinvented landmark restaurant, and an elevated art program curated with local talent are just a few of the standout elements at the Rockaway Hotel.

Opening Shot is a column that peeks inside new hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops with dreamy interiors.


Location: Rockaway Beach, New York

Designers: Morris Adjmi Architects and Curious Yellow Design

On Offer: Once a thriving seaside hamlet—it was referred to as “New York’s Playground” thanks to a thriving amusement park and other turn-of-the-century Americana splendors—Rockaway lost its luster after WWII. In recent years, signs of a comeback have emerged, earning it the moniker “Williamsburg on the Rockaways” thanks to the influx of Brooklynites who adopted it as a summer stomping ground. Now, the revival story is reaching full velocity with the debut of the Rockaway Hotel, a 53-room arrival designed by Morris Adjmi (Wythe Hotel, Edition Hotel and Residences), whose contextual approach to architecture can be witnessed in the clapboard facade that finds synergy with the neighborhood’s historic bungalows. Inside, Curious Yellow Design has done up the place in beachy Scandinavian modernism, a deft blend of rattan furniture, teak finishes, and vintage Indonesian textiles. Coming soon: Margie’s, an American restaurant in the corner plot where the beloved McGuire’s once stood, and a subterranean spa outfitted with infrared saunas.

Standout Features: There’s a lot to like about the Rockaway Hotel, from the transporting pool deck encased in greenery and rimmed by angular cane wood loungers to the rooftop bar with dueling views of the Atlantic Ocean and the New York City skyline. But the art program adds depth not typical of resort-style getaways. Displayed on walls, shelves, and stairwells, the locally skewed collection, curated by partner and Baxter Street Camera Club president Michi Jigarjian, comprises original commissions from Zoe Buckman and Hannah Whitaker, and hand-selected pieces by Derrick Adams, Herbie Fletcher, and Roe Ethridge. A piece by Rockaway resident Tom SachsMoon Rock Box: Gibraltar, hangs in front of the lobby stairwell. The biggest triumph, however, is across the street in an elementary schoolyard. There, visual artist Shantell Martin has transformed an asphalt surface into a 16,000-square-foot mural of her signature black and white drawings.

(Photos by Kyle Knodell)

All Stories