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The new operators of a Rockaway Beach snack bar found an unwelcome surprise when they unlocked the property last week and found it vandalized with rotting fish in the walls, noxious “food bombs” in the ducts and concrete in the drains.
Rockaway Beach Bazaar took over the lease on the Beach 97th Street concession on the boardwalk this year after outbidding the prior occupant, Rockaway Beach Club.
“It stings that somebody is going to come in and reap the benefits of all our hard work,” Rockaway Beach Club’s Andrew Field griped to Gothamist in January when the Parks Department, which owns the property, announced its decision to change vendor groups.
Police are now investigating the May 13 criminal mischief incident that caused $10,000 of damage and threatens the shack’s planned opening over Memorial Day weekend.
A copy of a 15-page document obtained by The Post details the destruction in photos — fish carcasses found atop old air ducts that created a “pungent stench” throughout the premises, as well as mayonnaise jars filled with condensed milk and raw fish.
These “food bombs” were supposed to stay hidden inside air ducts until the extreme heat of the summer — when they would pressurize and pop, releasing a noxious odor, according to the document that was provided to the NYPD and Parks Department by the new operators.
Drains were filled with Quikrete concrete mix, causing water backup and mold, and the management office was doused with cooking oil and urine, according to the document.
“NYC Parks and the NYPD are handling all comments regarding this matter. We are working tirelessly to try and get open ASAP and are looking forward to a great summer,” said Rockaway Beach Bazaar manager Brian Carey.
Carey’s company also runs the concessions at Riis Park at the other end of the peninsula.
Field, who also owns the popular Tacoway Beach eatery nearby, did not immediately return messages about the vandalism.
“Vandalism has no place in our parks, playgrounds, or beaches,” Parks Department spokeswoman Charisse Hill told The Post. “This is an unfortunate incident that could negatively affect the Rockaway community, but we’re hopeful that the Beach 97th street concessions will open by Memorial Weekend.
“Our new operator, Rockaway Beach Bazaar, is currently preparing for the upcoming beach season and has committed to working with previous food vendors on the boardwalk to keep much of the same great tastes that beachgoers know and love.”
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy
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