In December 2012, the Mayor’s Office engaged Sage and Coombe to redesign a stretch of the Rockaway Beach boardwalk following extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy. Asked to design a series of entry points between the street and the beach, the firm created a set of raised platforms or “islands” at the elevation of the former boardwalk. Each one provides outdoor showers, shade, and access to concession facilities.
Spanning more than a mile and a half, the three separate sites—at Beach 86th, 97th, and 106th Street—are united by a cohesive aesthetic. At each island a generous ramp embedded with beach glass leads visitors from street level to the upper platform and back down to the beach, where stepped benches composed of wood salvaged from the former boardwalk provide vibrant communal spaces. Slated shade structures with stretched fabric canopies offer shelter and serve as vertical markers signifying access points from a distance. The same geometric forms of the structures are echoed in the design of the guardrail and screen below the platform.
Sage and Coombe wrapped surviving buildings along the boardwalk in an abstracted, boldly colored area map of the Rockaways, orienting visitors and creating a visual link between the sites without the benefit of a connecting boardwalk. Design and construction were conceived and completed within five months.