I’m proud to be an American, because the Parks Department just opened another stretch of Rockaway boardwalk, from Beach 97th Street to Beach 106th Street (i.e. from Low Tide Bar’s concession stand to the Caracas concession stand). Okay, fine, so the construction company is Swedish, but whatever. As you can see from the slideshow above, shit is looking good.

With this latest stretch expanding on the one completed in May, you can now walk from Beach 86th Street (aka Rippers) to 106th. Beach access has been added at Beach 98, 101, 105, and 102 and 103, where there’s a gleaming new handicap ramp.

There are still some finishing touches to be made, including the installation of permanent light fixtures and the permanent buildout of temporary sand ramps to the beach. Parks employees were seen installing plants today. But construction vehicles have cleared out and disruption to the area should be minimal during beach season.

The next major expansion, from Beach 106 to 116, will start in November and should be done by Memorial Day of next year. The whole shebang, from Beach 19th to 126th, should be done by Memorial Day 2017.

Of course, we can’t post about Rockaway without telling you what’s new in the way of food, so here goes: in addition to the new oysters at Low Tide Bar, the concession stand at Beach 97th Street now houses Bite Size Catch’n, offering clam, mussel and/or shrimp boils for $10 to $16. As you can see from the counter display, they come in a hand-sized paper basket loaded with potatoes, celery and mushrooms. Sides ($5) include scallion pancakes, pork dumplings, spicy green papaya salad, and corn cobs with your choice of cilantro butter or sriracha butter.