Three of the band members are dead, and the original crew hasn’t been seen together since an event at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square on July 20, 1999. Nevertheless, the Ramones are the focal point of a recently launched Queens tourism campaign. The punk legends’ song “Rockaway Beach” is part of a radio ad campaign to attract visitors to the peninsula, where businesses have been rebuilding since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Working with the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Volunteers of Legal Service, altruists from the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman, led by attorney Jennifer Carmen, secured the rights to the ditty, which was first released in 1977. Citi Community Development then sponsored the ads as part of a larger project to restore businesses along Beach 116th Street.
In a way, the Ramones have come full circle, as they grew up in Forest Hills and rode many waves at Rockaway Beach during their youth. Here are some lyrics from the song: Chewin’ at a rhythm on my bubble gum; The sun is out, I want some; It’s not hard, not far to reach; We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach. Click here to listen to one of the ads, which are currently playing on WFAN, WCBS and WINS.
Some of those seeking to boost tourism in the Rockaways gathered for a photo on Beach 116th Street on Thursday. They are (from left): Seth Bornstein, Queens Economic Development Corporation; Robert Kaskel, Thai Rock; Tom Murphy, Curran’s Superior Meats; Denise Diehm, The Gift is Love; Mark S. Mina, MSM Elite Productions; Michael Adel, Paninico Café; Krzysztof Sadlej, Beach 116th Street Partnership; Glenn DiResto, Rockaway Jet Ski; Ben Cox, Volunteers of Legal Service; Sharon Banks, Citi Rockaway Branch Manager; Edward Odom, Citi Community Development; and Michael Badalov, M & L Hair & Nail Salon.
Top photo: Ramones FB; Bottom photo: Queens Economic Development Corporation