The Rockaway Hotel Promises to Be a New Creative Hub for the Arts Community

7G Realty and IGC Hospitality dreamed up the 84,000-square-foot venue, whose amenities reflect the Rockaways’ diverse culture and attractions. Wellness and adventure seekers alike can enjoy the property’s plethora of amenities, among them a full-fledged spa, heated pool, surf school, and boat lessons; live-music fans can listen to performances and DJ sets; and those looking to shop can visit the in-hotel outpost of Manhattan boutique Warm. In addition to four dining spots, the rooftop offers 6,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, and like the 53 guest rooms and eight long-stay residences, it boasts views of the Atlantic Ocean, Jamaica Bay, and the Manhattan skyline.

Visual art, however, is at the hotel’s core. “Long before we broke ground, I embarked on a listening tour to not only honor the rich legacy and work of the artists, activist, and community organizations that currently and historically worked to preserve it but also to gain a better understanding of the depth and breadth of the community’s needs,” Michi Jigarjian, the hotel’s partner and chief social impact officer, tells Galerie.

From commissioned works by Zoe Buckman, Hannah Whitaker, and Kennedy Yanko to pieces by Derrick Adams, Roe Ethridge, and Tom Sachs, art factors into every guest room. Jigarjian sourced photographs and print editions from nonprofit visual arts organizations and collectives, including Aperture Foundation, Magnum Photos, and Printed Matter. Amid COVID-19, the hotel also contributed substantially to Pictures for Elmhurst, a sale of work by New York photographers, with all proceeds benefitting Elmhurst Hospital Center medical workers.

“Art has really become the soul of the hotel,” says Jigarjian, whose ultimate goal is for the venue to be an anchor in the Rockaway community. Whether for local artists or Manhattanites looking for a staycation with a change in scenery, she hopes the hotel will not just be an urban beach but also “a living room for all.”

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