Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by NaugyRR
Hey Everyone,

I've been considering taking the A out to Rockaway one weekend to check out the beach and the ocean. How's the general vibe there? Some people have told me parts of Rockaway can be a little sketch, but the same can be said for anywhere. I'm assuming the usual just be aware of your environment and just behave like a normal person rules apply?

About how long is the ride from Penn? On the map it looks pretty far out there. I'd consider taking the LIRR but the station looks a lot farther from the beach than the subway terminus on the west end of the island.


*Edited for Freudian Slip*
Last edited by NaugyRR on Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by GirlOnTheTrain
Far Rockaway is a pretty awful station. Went out there once, went to the McDonald's downstairs for a drink and the bathroom...there was a gang fight breaking out in the dining room.

It looks like Long Beach station is close to another beach.
  by NaugyRR
Yeah, I misspoke (mistyped? Lol)

I meant Rockaway Beach (A) and Far Rockaway (LIRR), not Long Beach. I don't know why my brain put out Long Beach, haha.
NR: The LIRR Long Beach Branch goes to the City of Long Beach, Nassau County.
The beach and boardwalk is about four blocks south of the LIRR station.
Long Beach is well worth a trip this time of the year.

The A Train to Far Rockaway travels at times within sight of Rockaway Beaches - the more acceptable portions are the low
number "Beach #" streets closest to Atlantic Beach - Better yet go the other way to Rockaway Park on the Rockaway Shuttle
(Broad Channel-Beach 116 Street). Their beach and neighborhood is better than Far Rockaway is...MACTRAXX
  by NIMBYkiller
Best part of Rockaways is Rock Park. I'd say take the shuttle to Beach 90th and Beach 98th.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Use some extra caution in Far Rockaway between the Far Rockaway A station and the Far Rockaway LIRR Station. I would probably try to avoid that area after dark. As other's mentioned, the best part of the Rockaway peninsula is Rockaway Park and I agree with them. I have ridden the subway out there many times and it's great! True beach communities even though you are still in NYC. It's a very long ride on the subway though so allow plenty of extra travel time. During the rush hour on weekdays only, there are A trains that run direct to Rockaway Park so you don't have to switch at Broad Channel. They take just under an hour and ten minutes from 34th St-8th Ave to the last stop in Rockaway Park. Unfortunately, the A trains that serve Rockaway Park head north during the am rush and then come back south again in the pm rush and there aren't too many of them. During the weekend, you must switch at Broad Channel Station from the A train to the S train. The ride will take you 1 hour and 15 minutes and that is on a normal weekend day when there aren't any service outages.

A couple of miles across the NYC/Nassau County border is Long Beach and that is a great town. The LIRR terminal is extremely close to the beach. The station is located right in downtown.
  by NaugyRR
Thanks everyone for the helpful input. At the moment I'm leaning towards Rock Park at the end of the Shuttle, but the LIRR to Long Beach is looking just as appealing. I'd like to actually ride the LIRR (never have) and get some 'island' miles under my belt, haha.

I'm guessing the LIRR takes just as long from Penn to Long Beach (and involves a change in Jamaica?) as taking the subway to Far Rock? An hour's a loooong time to stare at the advertising on an R46, haha.
  by ExCon90
If you've never ridden the LIRR, absolutely consider the Long Beach option, and if you have to change at Jamaica (I don't think anyone can say they've ridden the LI if they haven't changed at Jamaica) spend some time in the station--I think the east end of the platforms is best--just watching the action. There should be plenty going on, even on a weekend.
  by njtmnrrbuff
In general, when you travel to Long Beach from Penn Station, you can just stay on your train. In fact, on weekends, all of the trains that run to Long Beach are direct from Manhattan. The ride on most trains takes 55 minutes to an hour. During the summer, there are a few nonstop express trains from NYP to Long Beach which do the trip in 45-50 minutes. There isn't much equipment variety on weekends though as many of the trains use M7 sets. During the week, much older M3s do make it to Long Beach. The plus about the M3s is they have a railfan window. They will be soldiering on for five more years. It's faster to take the LIRR to Long Beach from Penn Station NYC than it is to take the subway to Rockaway Park. Just before Long Beach Station, the LIRR Long Beach Branch crosses a bridge over what's called Reynold's Channel and the views are great from the windows as you cross the bridge.
  by Head-end View
I too strongly recommend Long Beach over the Rockaways. Much better ride than the A-Train. Also LIRR and the City of Long Beach are safe places. Downtown area between the LIRR station and the beach is a good place for a summer day trip. Long beach boardwalk is cool too.

Also if you choose to hang around Jamaica Station for a while just for the railroad action, you can go to the upper level Air Train Station where there are rest rooms and a deli/convenience store.

Have a fun day!
  by bellstbarn
During the summer time, I would select Rockaway Park Beach 116th Street over Long Beach. The station is closer to the ocean than the Long Beach station, and there are no beach fees. Beach 116th Street is busy, busy. One of my weird memories is a summer's day about 1972. Wife was on the beach with a friend. I, avoiding sunburn, dropped into a public library. Coming out, I was approached by a stunning tall gal in a bikini, who begged a dollar. I laughed! Ridiculous, incongruous.
Before you go, hunt up the history of the Rockaway Park station in the LIRR era.
  by Kilgore Trout
On weekdays there is also direct service to Long Beach from Atlantic Terminal, which would be a fun ride. The Atlantic branch is an interesting one to railfan, since it starts in subway, switches to elevated viaduct, returns to to subway (with some interesting trackside sights of the surface-level East New York station, the abandoned Woodhaven station, and abandoned Rockaway branch turnoff), and pops up to surface level next to the Morris Park yard, finally entering Jamaica with a great trackside view of the three-way junction between the Main Line, Montauk, and Atlantic branches.

No direct service on a weekend, but it would give you a chance to visit Jamaica and hang out for some train watching action while you wait for a connection.