We Forced 13 Rockaway Beachgoers to Tell Us Their Feelings

Last Friday, Krista and I met at the bottom of the escalators at Broadway Junction with comically large iced coffees. Our plan was to take the long train ride to Rockaway Beach to talk to men, women and merpeople about how to extend August emotionally.

I could wax poetic about the balmy days of summer that are slipping through my fingertips as September taps me on the shoulder. I could stroke the one stiff hair that grows out of my chin and tell you I went to the beach, aching heart first, to talk to anyone who would listen about soaking up the magic in these final golden rays.

But I’ll be honest: I’m not really into the beach, I prefer colder weather and, in terms of energy requirements, I’d put the act of talking to strangers on par with running several miles. In other words, I dreaded this, and I’ll take any and all resentment you’re harboring as a result. I know I deserve it. The reason I’m voluntarily painting myself as a brat is because it’s important to put into context the feeling that coursed through my veins when I left.


Let me paint a picture. The beachgoers featured above went there to relax and feel the water and sun, presumably, and then two random reporter-like women approached, hovered over their tans, solicited their feelings about summer ending and took photos of them in their bathing suits. Anyone in their right mind would be right to shoo us away.

And yet, every time we finished an interview, we felt the need to exchange heartfelt goodbyes, genuine expressions of gratitude and, if we were lucky, sandy high fives. I don’t want to be dramatic about spending three hours at Rockaway on a Friday, but there was something oddly life-affirming about crossing the invisible borders I put up between myself and “strangers” only to remember they’re less than invisible: they’re nonexistent.

Click through above to read about how this wonderful group of people feels about the end of summer.

Photos by Krista Anna Lewis.


Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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