“We’re just really hoping our Rockaway Point dock gets fixed,” said Ms. Hogan, referring to a piece of ravaged neighborhood infrastructure. “If that dock could talk …”
Pressed for details, she mentioned that it had been a spot for teenagers to make out. Now, she said, young couples retreat behind the newly built sand dunes.
Breezy Point is a private community; since 1960, the land has been owned and managed by the Breezy Point Cooperative. Homeowners hold shares, paying monthly fees that cover private security, trash removal, grounds maintenance and water.
This close-knit structure bolstered spirits in the aftermath of the devastation and helped Breezy Point recover as quickly as it did, said A. J. Smith, chairman of the Breezy Point Cooperative board. Volunteers were so enthusiastic, in fact, that in his absence they removed not only a staircase that had washed up on his deck, but also a perfectly fine exterior staircase attached to his home.
What You’ll Find
Breezy Point consists of three small neighborhoods: Breezy Point, west of Ocean Avenue near the tip of the peninsula; Rockaway Point, between Ocean Avenue and Beach 201st Street; and Roxbury, about a mile east, near the Marine Parkway Bridge leading to Brooklyn.
Rockaway Point Boulevard runs between the sections. Gates restrict access to the side roads, where houses with shingles, decks and, increasingly, raised concrete foundations and multiple gables are packed closely together. The Wedge, so called because it is a triangle formed by Oceanside Avenue, Breezy Point Boulevard and Suffolk Walk, is once again a desirable place to live. There, cars are banished throughout most of the year and children can play safely on the sandy lanes.
Though summer folk once outnumbered the permanent population, Mr. Smith of the cooperative board estimated that 85 percent of current residents lived in the area most of the year. (Among them he counts snowbirds, who relocate to warm places in winter.)
The community of 4,000, nicknamed the Irish Riviera, is 99 percent white and is the only place in the United States where a majority of the population (54 percent) claims an Irish heritage. Mr. Smith said the lack of ethnic diversity was “not intentional.” Rather, “I see it more as a family kind of place,” he said. He estimated that 85 to 100 of the neighborhood’s approximately 2,800 houses change hands every year, many of those transactions between families.
What You’ll Pay
Buying a house in the Breezy Point Cooperative requires a down payment of at least 50 percent, in cash. Both buyers and summer renters must obtain three letters of reference from current shareholders.
According to Janet Redmond, a real estate broker and resident, the average price of a renovated two-bedroom bungalow is about $425,000, an 11 percent increase over last year’s average. A two-bedroom house with storm damage costs about $250,000, and a vacant oceanfront lot of 26 by 100 feet sells for about $500,000. Larger houses occasionally top $1 million.
Because of the many services covered by the co-op fees, “once you buy in Breezy Point, it’s one of the cheapest places to live,” she said. A two-bedroom house currently on the market, for example, has a fee of $320 per month.
Chalk it up to life on a narrow strip of sand, but Breezy Point radiates intimacy. “We live close to each other,” said Donna Melli, a summer resident. “You’re watching your neighbors’ television in their living room.”
Ms. Redmond finds it easy to spot outsiders, who are known as D.F.D.s (“down for the day”), simply by their greeting. Or lack thereof. “If you don’t say hi, we know you don’t live here,” she said.
The neighborhood, with its working-class history, is home to many police officers and firefighters. Almost all of its adult residents knew a victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and it has not just one 9/11 memorial, but two.
There are no public schools in Breezy Point. Many of the children attend P.S./M.S. 114, at 400 Beach 135th Street in nearby Belle Harbor, Queens, which serves about 640 students from kindergarten through eighth grade. On the 2015-16 state tests, 61 percent of the students met standards in English, versus 38 percent citywide; 60 percent met standards in math, versus 36 percent citywide.
Among parochial school options, St. Camillus Catholic Academy, at 185 Beach 99th Street in Rockaway Park, Queens, serves about 185 students, in prekindergarten through eighth grade. Tuition is $4,000 for families affiliated with a parish, and $5,400 for nonaffiliated families.
Once the most convenient local high school, Beach Channel High in Rockaway Park was closed in 2014. The building, at 100-00 Beach Channel Drive, currently houses three specialized public schools: Channel View School for Research, Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability and Rockaway Collegiate High School.
Channel View has 825 students in sixth through 12th grades. On the 2016 SATs, the average score in reading and writing was 484, versus 443 citywide; the average in math was 469, versus 466 citywide.
Breezy Point is easily one of the least accessible points in the five boroughs. But this month, NYC Ferry service was introduced between Pier 11 on Wall Street and Beach 106th Street in Rockaway, about a 12-minute drive east of Breezy Point. The trip, which includes a stop in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, takes about one hour and costs $2.75.
The Q22 bus runs from Breezy Point to the Rockaway Park-Beach 116th Street subway station, where a shuttle connects to the A train. There is also a cooperative-run bus.
In 1911, the West Rockaway Land Company was formed to turn 900 acres at the end of the Rockaway Peninsula into a summer tent colony. Boardwalks, hotels and other permanent structures were built with lumber recycled partly from dismantled Coney Island buildings across the bay. By 1920, Breezy Point had 2,000 bungalows.