Camp Rockaway photos by Blessing Marie and Allan Schoening, via Camp Rockaway website.

While deep in the depths of a seemingly never ending winter, it is hard to even imagine that a life without layers of clothing, windchill and snowfall may (potentially) exist in a few short weeks. But alas, warmer months are closer than we think. 

Last summer, you may have spent a good deal of time in the Rockaways, either hitting up Rockaway Taco, going to Fort Tilden or dancing at Playland Motel. Everybody knows that Rockaways are Bushwick’s Hamptons. This Summer, Rockaway has even more to add to their roster:

Camp Rockaway will allow us to stay overnight for cheap!

Camp Rockaway photos by Blessing Marie and Allan Schoening, via Camp Rockaway website.

We got to talk to Kent Johnson, the director of Camp Rockaway, which is a base camp for beach-goers, day trippers and private group events. “After spending the day at the beach, having to drive home in traffic at night was always a bummer,” explained Kent. “I knew something accessible and simple could be done for this.”

Camp Rockaway will be a place where visitors can take part in family-friendly activities such as shuffleboard and pingpong, spend their days bike riding or visiting Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and ultimately be near the thick of it all.

Camp Rockaway photos by Blessing Marie and Allan Schoening, via Camp Rockaway website.

Inspired by Rockaway Beach’s unique history as an urban retreat in the 1950’s and beyond, Camp Rockaway’s mission will be to get locals and visitors camping and into the outdoors. “I saw some old postcards of Rockaway Beach’s tent cities from the 1900’s and contacted an historian so I could find out even more,” Kent says. As a nod to vintage Rockaway Beach, the camp will have a rustic layout, be comprised of 15 campsites and will incorporate the best of modern amenities and design. Design and construction will be by milktrout, Betterbuilt and Robin Key Landscape Architecture.

This is author’s grandma enjoying the Rockaways in 1950s. You’ll be enjoying like this soon.

“We have a long ways to go but there has been great progess,” says Kent.  Camp Rockaway has indeed made great strides, raising $50,000 in their June 2014 Kickstarter campaign and gaining the support of the city. In the meantime, expect a smaller pop-up camp to arrive sometime this Summer. To stay up to date, visit their website or like them on Facebook.

Rockaway Beach Dye Garden — the space to trigger good feelings by using color

Photo courtesy of Isabella Scott, Rockaway Dye Garden

Rockaway Beach Dye Garden will also call Rockaway its home for at least the next two years at Beach 45th St’s Edgemere Farm. Founded by artist and designer Isabella Scott, Rockaway Dye Garden will grow over 40 different kinds of native grasses, herbs and flowers of all types and colors in a 70ft by 70ft plot to use for natural dying purposes and more. “I want the space to trigger good feelings by using color,” explained Isabella. Prior to the Rockaway Beach Dye Garden taking residence, the lot was empty and had been collecting garbage.

Edgemere Farm, photo via Edgemere Farm Instagram

“I have always done natural dying experimentation – my design style is a 100 percent different and I like to infuse sustainability into all of my work,” said Isabella. “My mother is a master gardener and I had been foraging all around – this just seemed to be a model necessity. We are so very interested and concerned about foods, so why not take the conversation into clothing?” Awesome Foundation is also helping to make Isabella’s vision a reality – Rockaway Dye Garden was the Awesome Foundation January grant recipient.

Photo via Rockaway Dye Garden Facebook

In addition to becoming a resource for those looking for plants to use for natural dyes and other usages, the garden will also host workshops in collaboration with Edgemere Farm and will have different activities planned for the Summer, such as a midsummer garden party.

To learn more please visit their website or like the dye garden on Facebook here.