A few hundred yards from the Far Rockaway beach, in Queens, New York, there is another, more lushly appointed urban oasis. The Palms, which just opened a couple weeks ago, is a 5,000-square foot outdoor event space with a stunning canopy of overhanging coconut palms. The plants were relocated from southern Florida to a block of the Rockaways that is quickly turning into the leafy heart of the area’s new scene. It’s the brainchild of David Selig, the restaurateur who launched the Rockaways’ current wave of gentrification with Rockaway Taco, with the help of the creative agency The MP Shift, who oversaw much of the programming. The Palms boasts a mud bath, a coconut-water shack, morning yoga classes, and a pop-up branch of beloved art book store Dashwood. Come winter, the whole lot will be encased in a glass greenhouse, but there’s still a little time to enjoy the outdoor screenings—programmed by none other than Greta Gerwig.
The beer-hall style seating is a shady spot for enjoying an iced coffee or green juice during the day, and ideal for the magically lit dinners that Anna Polonsky and Amy Morris, the girls behind the MP Shift, have been programming with chefs like Navy’s Camille Becerra.
Frank Traynor’s Nothing Mud Bath & Seltzer House started out as an abandoned shack upstate, then turned into a pop-up art venue in Brooklyn, and now materializes as the place to cool your heels in the local mud.
The Palms’ OCAFE stand is in love with the coco, pouring an array of icy coconut water-based drinks.
The menu also includes acai bowls and juice. Pro tip: the local liquor shops seem to deal exclusively in nibs and flasks, if you need more mean in your green.
Across the street, the Summer Shift, also programmed by Polonsky and Morris, offers a rotating cast of beachy fare cooked up by the city’s finest Latino chefs, like Becerra and Carolina Santos-Neves of Comodo, who will be there through the end of the month. And next up: El Rey’s Gerardo Gonzales.
DJ-turned-surfer May Kwok curated The Notion, a chic swimwear shop across the street from The Palms, which sells Cynthia Rowley jumpsuits, Prism bikinis, and accessories from up-and-coming designers. “Everyone’s buying jewelry,” she said.
Next to The Notion, stylist Maria Ines Prieto operates Feather, a boutique that sells summery wardrobe staples and handmade home accessories.