Rockaway's New Playland Motel: A Poor Man's Hamptons?

By Jenny Miller

Rocktauk? Monkaway? We're brainstorming new names for Far Rockaway, since the scruffy little beach enclave - despite devastating hurricane damage to its famous boardwalk - is fast becoming less down-at-the-heel. The latest upswing is the Playland Motel, which opened a few weeks ago not far from the beach, and is already jammed with in-the-know Brooklynites at its weekend patio parties.

The aesthetic is something like Surf Lodge-meets-Ruschmeyer's, all weathered or whitewashed boards, and a sprawling back deck strung with lights and outfitted with sandy areas for lounging, wading in an inflatable pool, or playing ping-pong or cornhole. (The games are appropriate since the motel is named for the Playland Amusement Park, which was razed in the 80s.) Each of the rooms upstairs - there are just 12 - has been decorated by a different artist. We heard rumors of astroturf, an ersatz murder scene, and a teepee.

This past Sunday, a DJ spun late into the evening, while defectors from the too-crowded Tiki Disco party on the boardwalk, and others who simply preferred the new place, danced, drank concoctions like a strawberry-prosecco cooler and dug into upscale diner fare from the El Almacen and Rosarito Fish Shack folks. A pizzeria should open next week: we're told the crew is "still seasoning the oven" for the Neapolitan pies.

Should you decide to take the A-train east this weekend, more dance parties are planned: No Ordinary Monkey starts Saturday afternoon at 4 PM, and Mexicoco begins Sunday at 3 PM.

You could reserve a room for the night, or spring for the Rock-a-bus, which is making special return trips both nights at 7 PM, 10 PM and 1 AM for $10 one-way.