Tag Archives: Beach

PHOTOS: First Poseidon Parade makes a splash in Rockaway Beach

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso


Sea-lovers of all ages donned a colorful array of costumes, fins and floats and strutted down the newly refurbished boardwalk during Rockaway Beach’s inaugural Poseidon Parade on Saturday.

The parade is the brainchild of the Rockaway Mermaid Brigade, the reigning Motorized Float champions at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade for the past two years. After representing the Rockaways for years at the iconic parade, the group was inspired to bring the fanfare and festivities to the shores of Queens.

“We’re honoring the ocean and artistic expression, like we experience each year in Coney Island,” wrote parade co-founder and 2015 Queen Mermaid Casey Brouder. “Poseidon is a symbol that speaks to the resilience of Rockaway. After all we have been through as a community, we can pay homage to the strong and beautiful ocean we can’t seem to live without.”

Adults and children masquerading as mermaids, sea creatures and pirates participated in the parade, with special prizes awarded for Best Bike, Best Baby Carriage and Best Pet. A post-parade celebration featuring face-painting and a DJ was held at the Beach 95th Street plaza.

The Poseidon Parade also included a tribute to Whalemina, the beloved whale sculpture and symbol of the Rockaways that was washed inland and shattered along Shore Parkway at the height of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

A large inflatable version of Whalemina was created by artist Geoff Rawling and anchored to a grassy spot near the boardwalk at Beach 95th Street for the duration of the parade. Parade goers posed for photos and were encouraged to sign the big balloon as a tribute to Whalemina.


Rockaway Beach residents Nicholas Rowe and Joshua Southerton are part of a group working to raise funds to replace the Whalemina sculpture. The new whale would also be created by Rawling, who also refurbished and redesigned the original Whalemina after she was brought to Rockaway Beach in the 1990s from the Central Park Zoo where she was previously known as Jonah.

“We’re trying to raise $20,000 so that we could have a new, permanent whale,” Southerton explained. “Once we do, we’re going to dismantle this whale and make it into a permanent mural for Rockaway Beach.”


Some of the Rockaway residents and members of the group working to recreate Whalemina pose in front of the inflatable version of the beloved whale.

Both Southerton and Rowe explained that they each still have a small piece of the original mosaic Whalemina sculpture found near their homes after the storm. Local author Laura Cryan even wrote a children’s book in Whalemina’s honor with artwork by Rawling.

“There’s been a whole lot of fundraising efforts,” Southerton added. “We’re really trying to pull the community together and bring back our whale.”


Woman wanted in connection to homicide of missing woman whose body washed ashore in Breezy Point

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


Police are looking for a woman in connection to the death of a missing woman whose body washed ashore on a Breezy Point beach in February.

According to the NYPD, on Saturday, February 16 at approximately 8:40 a.m., officers responded to 149 Bayside Avenue in Breezy Point after a body was recovered from the beach. The body was later identified as 24-year-old Marisha Cheong, who went missing from her Jamaica residence, where she was last seen at approximately 10:30 a.m. on December 19, 2012.

According to reports, Cheong’s live-in boyfriend was supposed to pick her up at a Forest Hills subway station on the day she went missing, but she never showed up. There was no sign of the young woman until her remains washed up just across from 121 Bayside Avenue.

In May, the Medical Examiner’s office ruled Cheong’s death as a homicide.

There are no arrests and the NYPD is attempting to find an unknown female that can be seen in a surveillance video leading Cheong from her home to an unknown location.

Police have released the surveillance video.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.


Rockaway hosts 6th Annual Rockstock and Barrels Surf Festival

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

The waves were low, but spirits were high over the weekend as people flocked south to hang ten — or just hang out.

The Sixth Annual Rockstock and Barrels Surf Festival, held on Saturday, June 23 in Rockaway Beach, celebrated the surfing culture that has been revived in the area, along with hosting competitions in surfing and skate boarding, and live music.

The event was founded with the intent to be an unofficial start to summer, said Steve Stathis, owner of Boarders Surf Shop and one of the fest’s organizers. Nike sponsored this year’s surf race, which included a $3,000 prize; Red Bull sponsored the Manny Mania skateboard competition. This was also the first year the festival featured a paddle-surf competition, sponsored by H2O Generation — a shop that makes retro 1950s and 60s surfboards.

“We did this so young kids could surf and play,” said Walter Hornung, who coordinates the live music side of the festival. Ten to 12 bands will normally perform, Hornung said, all local and all original music. Toy Sugar, a local, young band opened the music portion of Rockstock and Barrels, and closed with a cover of The Zutons’ “Valerie.”

The popularity and the number of participants has grown over the years, the organizers said, especially as surfing has once again become popular in the Rockaways.

“Every year it just gets bigger and bigger,” said Jimmy Dowd, another organizer and owner of St. James Clothing Company. Dowd said there have been several times where people will come to Rockaway Beach, come across the festival and develop an immediate interest in surfing.

Erick Daschagas, who normally surfs at Rockaway, said it was good there was a festival that brought attention to the small surf culture that exists in south Queens. “I think it’s good in itself for the surf culture,” he said.

Escaping with The Yes Team

| bdoda@queenscourier.com

Jonathan Walsh, Kinnie Dye, Jackson Price, TJ Moss are The Yes Team

While so many people just dream of leaving their troubles behind, packing a van full of essentials and heading to the Pacific Ocean, The Yes Team actually did it.

In what they dubbed “The Kindness of Strangers Tour,” The Yes Team – a folk, pop and roll band straight out of Astoria featuring young musicians Kinnie Dye, TJ Moss, Jonathan Walsh and eventually San Diego’s Jackson Price – packed their acoustic guitars, an African djembe drum and their positive vibes in search of the best locations to display their talents on the West Coast.

“We dream big dreams and live bigger lives,” said Dye. “I don’t think we were prepared for how much of our money was going to be used to get across the country. We went out there not knowing anyone and relying on friends of friends to house us. It was an incredible experience. Life changing. We met so many amazing people by just being open to every moment and every opportunity.”

When they finally reached the “Welcome to California” sign, their reliable purple van – that was their living space and sleeping quarters for many consecutive days – broke down and they spent the night in an Auto Repair parking lot. According to the Team, it was the best part of the trip.

Dye and Walsh were part of Moss’ first project, The TJ Moss Band, which had national successes opening for Joss Stone and being featured in

TimeOut New York Magazine for winning “Battle of the Bands: Brookyn vs. Queens.” Eventually, Dye and Moss, who had met during their college years, decided they wanted to get out of the city and have their music reach new ears. After petitioning many friends to join them on their trek to California, only Walsh said yes. And just like that, The Yes Team was born.

“We originally were going out as two separate entities, but once we got in the van and started singing together we knew…it was instant. We were starting a brand-new project together,” said Dye.

Their first gig together took place in San Diego at an open mic coffee shop named Rebecca’s to a crowd of about 70 people.

“We got there having been a band for about 24 hours. We killed it. After we finished, we knew we had something special,” said Dye.

The Yes Team is reminiscent of Jason Mraz with a touch of Jack Johnson mixed with a Corona and lime. Their beachy, politics-free, laid back grooves are mirrored by an even more relaxed, but not lazy, vocal. For a band that is just beginning to blossom, their harmonies are well thought out and playful. Their title track from their six song EP “Back to the Sea” tells the tale of leaving the day-to-day grind of city life in search of a more hassle-free environment closer to sun and surf. Other songs like “Life is Good” challenge listeners to stay positive even when times do not seem too optimistic:

“You have to fight for what you believe in / You have to believe in what you’ll be receiving / when you look inside and decide to love what you see / Life is good to those who seek it /And refuse to be defeated…”

For Dye, these affirmative lyrics are not just words, but a way of life. She even has the word “yes” tattooed on her hand.

“It’s all about attitude,” said Dye. “The tattoo on my hand is a constant reminder of what I’m putting out there in the world. Kindness is often taken defensively in the city. People aren’t used to actual contact on the street. I make eye contact and smile at strangers. Weird, I know. How many people will smile back? Our music is soothing, positive and sends out ‘feel good’ vibes.”

Since moving to Astoria in 2004, Dye has noticed that there is always a live music scene going on around the Long Island City and Astoria area. Before extensive touring, she was involved with booking local acts through Why Leave Astoria – a web-based movement that focuses on local happenings, eateries and news.

You, too, can hear the band play at Session House in Manhattan on Friday, November 11 or on Thursday, November 17 at Rest Au Rant in Astoria – a cozy tapas wine bar and featured dating hot spot. Their entire EP, videos from their trip across the country, as well as their social networking link are available online at www.yesteamgo.com.

Bottom line: The Yes Team is worth checking out to escape from the weight of the world. Their acoustic melodies have just begun and to those paying attention, the best is yet to come. Who wouldn’t want to head back to the sea?