Rockaway beach is the exact opposite of everything that you think of when you think of New York. Open skies, water, sand.
Since most people leave New York for other destinations, the crowds were manageable. We took a train to the beach and were there within 45 minutes. Phoebe, Jane, and my friend Ana all met up with Jane's friend Corrine and her group of friends. Corrine, not pictured, welcomed us with warm friendly vibes.
Ana was inspired to take photos of Phoebe and Jane in their fierce red, white and blue outfits.
The water was pretty freakin cold, but refreshing. I'm not the most adept beach babe--the ocean and the waves freak me out, but my friends were sweet and held my hand and hung with me where the waves weren't crashing too hard.
Later that night we were invited onto a rooftop to watch the fireworks that night. We were running a few minutes late, so we arrived just as the show was starting. It was by far the most amazing fireworks show I've seen in my life. I thought after so many Fourth of July's there would be no awe, amazement or surprise I could feel, but I felt all of those things. We had the perfect view of the city and the silhouettes of the people on the next rooftop were beautiful against the backdrop of explosions in the sky.
Getting home was chaos. It was such a tight squeeze on the train that my body weight was entirely held up by the people squished in around me on all sides. We went two stops before getting off the train again and saw a woman crying in the train station with her family. The woman had lost her 2 year old daughter in the crowd. She had already called the authorities for help and told us it was ok, but it was still sad to think of that lost little girl.