Meet the Rockaways’ Cycling Newsman – The New York Times

[Want to get New York Today by email? Here’s the sign-up.]

It’s Friday. The greenest block in Brooklyn is in Crown Heights, according to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Weather: Sunny, with a high in the mid-80s. The weekend will be dry and a little cooler.

Alternate-side parking: In effect through Saturday, then suspended Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for Eid al-Adha.

CreditKevin Hagen for The New York Times

The Times’s Corey Kilgannon writes:

Newspaper editors often remain behind the scenes.

Not Kevin Boyle, 60, the owner and editor in chief of The Rockaway Times, a free weekly in New York City’s very own oceanfront town.

Mr. Boyle is the Rockaway Peninsula’s cycling newsman. He pedals daily, sniffing for stories, chatting up locals and delivering issues.

While the newsroom is officially located in a former paddleboard rental business, Mr. Boyle practically runs the paper from his bike — where he is constantly looking for news to call in to his staff (one editor and one part-time reporter), talking with advertisers or taking photos.

“It’s mostly a way to keep in touch with the community,” he said. “On a bike, you can pedal right up and look at stuff, spur of the moment, or just lay back and absorb things.”

In fact, Mr. Boyle’s old bike is the paper’s logo: a boardwalk cruiser, the bicycle of choice in the neighborhood for those making short trips to the beach, boardwalk or bar.

These days, he has switched to an electric bike, a concession to the strong ocean breeze.

On a recent day, he loaded his bike basket with copies of the latest edition, whose cover story — “Marty Has Landed” — described the reaction to Marty, a new mobile robot that scans aisles for spills at a local Stop & Shop.

The article quotes a shopper so fed up with the robot’s constant calls for cleanups that she tells a store worker: “This is driving me crazy. I can’t even imagine how badly you want to kill this robot.”

The paper is a slice of Rockaway life, as is a bike ride with Mr. Boyle, who rolls along the boardwalk, shouting hello to food concession workers and bantering with residents who pedal or walk by.

He pointed out a school of dolphins swimming along the shore, not far past the bathers.

Whale sightings are also common here. One of Mr. Boyle’s covers featured a reader-submitted photo of a humpback whale splashing out of the water near a boy on a surfboard, as if to say hello.

Mr. Boyle creates much of his paper from articles and photos submitted by residents, and as he bikes, he encourages those he meets to provide material.

The paper is also online, but Mr. Boyle said readers rely on hard copy. Up to 10,000 copies are printed each week and distributed, some through a delivery service and the rest by Mr. Boyle.

Mr. Boyle said he started The Rockaway Times in 2014 after serving as editor of The Wave, a longtime weekly serving the Rockaways. At the time, the area was growing in popularity as a subway-accessible surf spot.

Riding down Beach Channel Drive, Mr. Boyle dropped off a stack of the “Marty Has Landed” issue in an insurance office and then replenished a news rack at a ferry dock.


CreditKevin Hagen for The New York Times

He later checked in with Jerry Rea, a city sanitation worker who runs a used-car lot. At the Rockaway Brewing Company on Beach 72nd Street, he said hello to Sarah Peltier, who operates the Taco Bay food stand there.

He pulled up to a parcel on Jamaica Bay and walked through tall reeds to a dock where a local artist, Geoff Rawlings, was working on his boat: a tricked-out vessel resembling Puff the Magic Dragon.

Mr. Boyle pedaled farther, past tumbledown houses overlooking the bay behind Kennedy International Airport.

“If there’s a middle of nowhere in Rockaway, this is it,” he said, pulling up to a narrow bungalow where Dora Helwig, 88, has lived for 50 years. She even stayed put in her flooded house during Hurricane Sandy.

“We’d love to write you up for the paper,” Mr. Boyle said. “It’s such a great Rockaway story.”

She agreed, and Mr. Boyle hopped back on his bike to continue his rounds.


CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Forty-six years ago this Sunday, Clive Campbell hosted a party in the Bronx. He stood behind a pair of turntables, and when the best part of a song was about to finish, he pulled the record back and played it again. And again.

That was how Mr. Campbell, known as D.J. Kool Herc, created hip-hop.

“That was the first time a hip-hop D.J. spun records,” said Renee Foster, a member of the advisory board for the Universal Hip Hop Museum, which lacks a permanent home despite the genre’s popularity.

“If everyone who ever loved the culture or bobbed their head” donated, Ms. Foster said, “we could build the museum entirely.”

A temporary exhibit is slated to open this fall in the Bronx, in space provided by the Related Companies. (Related’s chairman, Stephen Ross, is facing a backlash for planning a fund-raiser for President Trump today on Long Island.)


CreditUli Seit for The New York Times

A man stabbed his wife to death at the nail salon in Queens where she worked. He then hugged her body and sobbed.

How the police used Antifa to investigate the Proud Boys, a far-right group.

“Comrade de Blasio” entered the Fox News den to spar with Sean Hannity.

Dean & DeLuca and Barneys made shopping feel like art. Now they are both in financial free-fall.

[Want more news from New York and around the region? Check out our full coverage.]

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

The Police Department will open its first stand-alone community center in East New York, Brooklyn. [WNYC]

A subway worker jumped onto a track to stop a train from hitting a woman. [New York Post]

The Van Wyck Expressway seems to be the dividing line in Queens separating vulnerable Democratic lawmakers from incumbents the party’s establishment can protect. [Politico New York]


Hear the David Zheng Jazz Quartet at the Red Room at KGB bar in Manhattan. 8 p.m. [Two-drink minimum]

Head to the Target Community Garden in Brooklyn for a screening of the documentary “Decade of Fire.” 7 p.m. [Free]


Summer Streets clears nearly seven miles of roads for walking, running, biking and playing in Manhattan. 7 a.m.-1 p.m. [Free]

Spend an afternoon dancing at the Queensboro Dance Festival in Queens. 2 p.m. [Free]


Jessica Henderson, a stand-up comedian, performs at the Pit in Manhattan. 8:30 p.m. [$12]

— Derek Norman

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.


CreditBrooklyn Academy of Music

The Times’s Rebecca Liebson writes:

When Susan Seidelman graduated from New York University’s film school in 1977, she had no clue how hard it would be to work as a director.

“Part of the joy of working back then, especially in New York, is I was so naïve,” said Ms. Seidelman, who is perhaps best known for her 1985 film “Desperately Seeking Susan.”

“I was just a girl who was bored of living in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia,” she added. “I wanted to be in a city that I thought was vibrant and a mecca for all different kinds of people with artistic aspirations.”

Thirty-four years later, “Desperately Seeking Susan” is returning to the big screen. Tomorrow at 9:30 p.m. it is part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s film series “Punks, Poets & Valley Girls: Women Filmmakers in 1980s America.” Earlier in the evening, the event will show Ms. Seidelman’s 1982 debut, “Smithereens.”

Both movies reflect her own experiences: They follow female protagonists who escape their cookie-cutter lives for Lower Manhattan’s grimy post-punk scene.

The neighborhoods Ms. Seidelman fell in love with have since been scrubbed clean by gentrification. She said she hoped her films would give younger viewers a glimpse of what New York was really like in the 1980s.

“That cheapness and that grittiness was part of the style of that time,” she said. “I didn’t want to make a phony, totally art-directed version of that.”

It’s Friday — fall in love with a neighborhood.


Dear Diary:

I saw him about halfway across the pedestrian pathway on the Williamsburg Bridge. He seemed to be loitering as I approached. It was late, and there was no one around except him and me.

I knew I was about to be mugged. Steeling myself, I gripped my keys between my fingers and prepared to fight back.

“You’ve got to see this,” he called out to me as I got closer. “It’s beautiful!”

He was gesturing toward Manhattan. He was right. It was gorgeous. Clouds seemed to ring the skyline, and the buildings were aglow in the moonlight.

“It’s beautiful,” he said again.

I put my keys back in my pocket.

— Yonah Lempert Luecken

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. Sign up here to get it by email. You can also find it at

We’re experimenting with the format of New York Today. What would you like to see more (or less) of? Post a comment or email us: