Hurricane Sandy feels like a distant memory for some and life has resumed to normal in much of New York City, but repairs from the storm’s aftermath are still very much underway. Rockaway Beach was one of the worst-hit areas, and while parts of the waterfront have been reconstructed, the rebuilding process continues.
Pentagram, the architecture studio WXY, and engineering firm C2HM have been working on the boardwalk, a 5.5-mile strip of land that snakes along the beach. The first mile-long stretch has already opened and the remainder is expected to be completed by 2017. Paula Scher and her team at Pentagram were tasked with creating wayfinding and branding for the boardwalk, which you can spy on the vivid chartreuse buildings and signage. What you can’t see clearly on the ground are the the 50-foot-tall, 100-foot-long letters that spell “Rockaway Beach” in custom typography over one mile of the pavement.
Like most sidewalks, the boardwalk’s paving is divided into smaller segments. Scher treated each one of these blocks like a pixel and designed the letters based on that module. Inspired by the color of the sea and sky, the precast concrete is dyed a light blue.
“The wooden boardwalk is gone forever and it’s being replaced by cement, which is more sustainable and less romantic,” Scher says. “But this cement boardwalk can be personalized and can belong forever to the Rockaways and can be enjoyed equally from the ground and the sky. Along with a great beach, it becomes the Rockaways’ landmark.”
So head on down to the beach, grab yourself a refreshing michelada from Rippers, and check out the not-so-hidden Easter egg in Pentagram’s visual identity for the Rockaways by jumping as high into the air as you can.