We were there: Jacob Riis Park on Memorial Day

Photographs by Beth Greenfield


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Monday afternoon brought boys and girls, packed hip to hip, to the Rockaways, where a small spit of sand in Jacob Riis Park serves as the citywide gay beach. There were colorful wind walls (much needed in the chilly breeze), straw castaway-style sun umbrellas, surreptitiously sold cocktails, trays of fried chicken, several sources of club music, topless dykes and frisky tattooed folks from all around the tristate area. The biggest attention whore, though, was the ubiquitous Oswaldo Gomez ("Miss Colombia"), 66, the Jackson Heights resident whom you'd recognize by his green beard, dyed poodle (Candi, age 12), pet parrot (Rosa, five years old) and flouncy, festive frocks. He was queen of the sand here, flaunting themed outfit changes ("Tutti Frutti," "Christopher Columbus," etc.) all afternoon, until a mass of ominous clouds and a fierce wind send half of the lively crowd scurrying home, albeit reluctantly.