Writer + Photographer
Ever wish you could escape city life and summer heat, just for one day? The Rockaway Beach Bus is back in action this summer, providing a seamless forty-minute commute for Bushwick residents to experience Rockaway’s beaches for less than $25 roundtrip. Not only do the air-conditioned buses seat around fifty guests, provide complimentary Narragansetts/Austin Eastciders and offer plenty of storage for bicycles, but creators Betsy Maher and Jamie Killey truly encourage their passengers to explore all Rockaway has to offer.
The Rockaway Beach Bus runs every Saturday and Sunday (if weather permits!) from Memorial Day through mid-September, providing service to the Lower East Side, Williamsburg and Bushwick. There are multiple pickup and drop-off times during the day, offering transportation to six different Rockaway beaches and later in the afternoon to the Rockaway Brewing Company. The most popular drop-off locations include 86th St. Beach, Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden.
Betsy Maher (Pearl’s Social & Billy Club owner) and Jamie Killey (OvRride founder) create a friendly, relaxed bus ride for passengers and truly lend themselves as ultimate resources for “everything Rockaway.” Whether it’s recommending certain beach locations, daytime activities, or go-to bars, the two are more than happy to present suggestions catered to your interests.
Maher and Killey became very connected to the Rockaway community after witnessing first-hand the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The two provided immediate relief – running supplies and volunteers from Pearl’s to Rockaway in 2012, using the same buses that would in later years service the current beach-goers. It was then that the two communities of Bushwick and Rockaway became very connected and shortly after, Maher began organizing recreational buses to the beach, which some may remember as the Bushwick Beach Bus.
Since partnering and rebranding as the Rockaway Beach Bus two years ago, Maher and Killey have truly helped drive business and ridership from Bushwick to the Rockaway area. They have partnered with almost every business and concession out there to provide special deals and discounts for beach bus passengers—including for Riis Park Beach Bazaar (the sister venue of Brooklyn Night Bazaar!).
Maher and Killey’s shared passion to blend the Rockaway and Bushwick communities is integral in how the Rockaway Beach Bus came to be.
Maher elaborates, “Bushwick and Rockaway are very similar—they’re super tight-knit communities. All of the local businesses—we help to elevate each other and bring each other up. We try to encourage people to care about their neighborhood, to give back to it and to participate in it. It’s so nice to have a community, you know?”
To learn more about the Rockaway Beach Bus and to purchase bus tickets, visit their website.