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Rockaway Beach – New York City

Long beloved by New Yorkers as an easily accessible escape from the urban grind (just take the A train!), funky Rockaway Beach is just one stretch of the nearly 14 miles of beaches run by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Beyond the five boroughs, however, many Americans may not have even known about New York's beaches until they were thrust into the national spotlight by Superstorm Sandy. It all but destroyed Rockaway's boardwalk and the surrounding neighborhood in October 2012. But locals weren't going to let their favorite beach hangout go without a fight: After $140 million in cleanup and reconstruction, the "Irish Riviera" is still very much a work in progress, but much of the beach was reopened for business by Memorial Day 2013. Located on a thin peninsula in Queens, Rockaway is the only official surfing beach in the city and has recently attracted crowds of hipsters and foodies, thanks to newfangled concessions like Rockaway Tacos and Veggie Island.

(Credit: Flickr / Mondayne)
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