New York City beaches aren’t always very relaxing. As beautiful as they are, they can also be loud and crowded, especially on the weekends—with blankets spread mere inches apart, music playing from multiple radios, and the water’s edge teeming with bodies.
But if you live near a NYC beach, you have a better chance of being able to experience the shore when it’s less crowded and more enjoyable (unless you prefer a crowd)—like on a weekday or early morning. At those times, you're more likely to have the beach (nearly) to yourself—and appreciate the wide-open space and skies that are so unlike the city.
This one-bedroom, one-bath apartment, 20-45 Seagirt Blvd., #5D, would give you that ability, since it is a couple of blocks from the ocean. It is in Far Rockaway, which is not the same neighborhood where you’ll find the edgy, taco-loving surfing hipsters of Rockaway (we made some of that up) but Rockaway Beach is only a 15-minute drive away.
Don’t be confused by the rent—$1,517 is the net effective rent with one month free on a 12-month lease (the rent increased slightly and the owner took away a second free month two days ago). After the free month, a renter would actually pay $1,655, which is a little lower than the median asking rent for one bedrooms in the neighborhood ($1,674).
On the plus side, you get what looks like a roomy apartment, with an 18-foot long living room that’s bright and open, and a 14-foot long bedroom. The apartment has a dishwasher and the building has a gym, garage parking, and storage. The floors are gleaming in the listing photo—they may have been redone recently.
It’s part of Wavecrest Gardens, a 13-building gated-complex with almost 1,000 units.
The listing says there’s outdoor space, but it’s not clear where that’s located. But who cares, since it a mere two blocks from the boardwalk and ocean. (You can read "How one woman changed her life by moving to the Rockaways permanently.")
On the negative side: The galley kitchen looks cramped and dated, ditto for the bath. The neighborhood has a lot of nursing homes and urgent care facilities—and suffered massively during Hurricane Sandy.
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The A train at Beach Channel Drive is a six-minute ride away on the Q22 bus. From there it is a 90-minute subway ride to the Empire State Building. (Or you can take the ferry. Read "What it's like to commute from the Rockaways to Manhattan every day.")
So, what do you think? Is it worthwhile to live this far from the center of the city to be near the beach?
As always, when weighing New York City apartment listings, we turn to our Take It Or Leave It experts: Constantine Valhouli, founder of real estate research and analytics firm NeighborhoodX, freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, and myself.
But first, here are pictures of the apartment.
Pros & cons
"Right about now, pretty much all of us want to live at the beach but here's the rub when it comes to this one bedroom: From what I can tell, this Far Rockaway pad has zero views of the ocean so what's the point of living all the way out here? Especially if you're likely to be spending most of your time on the train instead of on the beach?" —Lambeth Hochwald
"I love the beach. I love the beach more than anybody. And I love New York City. The fact the our city still has beach neighborhoods amazes and delights me. But we've still only got a few months of beach weather a year, while your commute is going to be lonnnnnnnnnnnnng the entire year, if one is working Downtown or Midtown. Just sayin'." —Constantine Valhouli
"The beach is like strong medicine to me; the antidote to modern civilization. So yes, the commute is going to be miserable, and the apartment is nothing fancy, but being able to walk on the beach anytime you please beats everything else." —Jennifer White Karp
Whom is it good for
"An avid surfer who won't care that this neighborhood isn't quite as fun come winter." —Hochwald
"Far Rockaway is at the one of the outermost edges of the city, almost at Long Island. Perhaps if one is working on Long Island, and has a reverse commute? Or someone who is working on a book and needs to be away from friends and family for the duration of the lease?" —Valhouli
"Ideally this is for someone who doesn't need to be in Manhattan everyday, and really appreciates being far, far away from it all but still connected by the subway." —White Karp
Take it or leave it
LEAVE IT. "You can spend every weekend dipping your Metro Card and enjoying the A train ride to the beach." —Hochwald
LEAVE IT. "I neither surf nor am writing a book." —Valhouli
TAKE IT. "I say take it. Only a select group of New Yorkers can say they live at the beach." —White Karp
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