Until about six years ago, Claudia Bloom led a pretty typical life on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, watching her son’s basketball games at the 92nd Street Y, shopping at Fairway and biking in Central Park. But after her son left for college, Ms. Bloom, a weekend surfer, decided to embrace the scene full time, so she moved to Arverne, a neighborhood near Rockaway Beach, Queens. Soon thereafter, she started a new company, Rock Locations.
“This is how the business launched,” Ms. Bloom said. “I walked into the surf shop on my corner, which is where I bought my board from, and I was talking to the owners, and I looked around the store, and I said, ‘The shop is so cool, has it ever been in a commercial?’”
It hadn’t. Ms. Bloom, who knew something about the entertainment industry as a former actor and casting director, immediately saw the untapped visual potential of the Rockaways. So, she decided to add “locations rep” to her résumé. Now she represents 56 businesses and 39 homes (plus three houseboats and a sailboat) in the area, matching them with potential clients like television and film producers, photographers, musicians and nonprofits — anyone looking for a particular urban beach vibe.
“I love every single one of my spaces; I don’t rep a location that I’m not crazy about,” said Ms. Bloom, who lives alone, although her son, Ben Diamond, 25, will often visit her on weekends. After all, she’s just a block from the beach.
EARLY BREAKFAST I wake up the same time every morning, usually around 7:30; no sleeping in for me. I make a dark roast coffee in my French press with almond milk, and my usual weekend breakfast is oatmeal with fresh fruit. But if my son is with me for the weekend, he likes to cook, so he’ll make pancakes, French toast or eggs with avocado.
OUTDOOR YOGA I bike up the boardwalk to an outdoor yoga class. I follow all my teachers on Instagram so I know who’s teaching when and where. To be doing yoga and looking at the ocean is pretty magical. I always run into a friend or two and I hang out for a little bit. I usually stop for an iced coffee at Rippers on the boardwalk on my way back, and I’m also keeping an eye on the waves for surfing.
SURF’S UP When I get home, I grab my beach bag, wet suit and surfboard and head out. If Ben’s here, he’ll join me. Because of Covid, everyone has learned to surf this year. Everyone’s working remotely and everyone’s surfing. There’s designated surf breaks, so it’s limited; we can’t surf where there’s also swimmers. If I find a good spot I’ll surf for an hour or hour and a half.
BEACH WALK If the water’s not good for surfing, I’ll go on a beach walk. I walk the boardwalk every day, year round, but in the summer I’m barefoot in a bikini. I’ll do one to two miles, and I’m always running into somebody I know. If I want to be alone I walk east because there aren’t as many people, and if I want to bump into people or visit the concessions I’ll walk west.
LUNCH BREAK I usually go up on my deck, where I have a big giant umbrella, so I can get a break from the sun. Lunch is usually sliced turkey and avocado and tomatoes, crackers, a piece of fruit, something light.
WORK STUFF I’ll probably check my phone and see what’s going on with Rock Locations — has anyone reached out to me? If I have a shoot going on, I might check in on them. Usually I go there at the beginning to watch them unload and see if they have any questions. I’m also taking pictures behind the scenes for my social media, but I try to stay back as much as possible. And then I’m on call; I won’t leave Rockaway on a shoot day.
OFF TO THE MARKET I might run over to a farmers market if I didn’t get to on Friday or Saturday. We have incredible markets: One is at Edgemere Farm, and one is called the Rockaway Youth Task Farm, run by local high school students. It’s an amazing piece of farm property where they grow some of their own products, and some of it’s brought in. Some people only want to buy local, but I just want to support them, and their prices are good.
BACK TO THE BEACH By now, I’m like, I’ve got to get back to the beach. It’s usually less crowded by the afternoon but it’s also when the wind starts to pick up. It gets a little choppier. I just want to be in the water, so if it’s really not a surf day I’ll swim. My favorite light is sunset, so if I can stay that long I will. I love being on my board at sunset; it may not be the best waves, but the light is just magic.
DINNER, MUSIC After I get back home and shower, if Ben is here we’ll sometimes go out for dinner. We’ll either go to the Rockaway Beach Surf Club for tacos at Tacoway Beach if there’s a short line, or we’ll go to Rockaway Beach Brewing Company. Then I might get on my bike and jump up to the boardwalk, because the magic of Rockaway is free music, all along the boardwalk. There’s either a D.J. or a band at Rippers, and at the 97th Street concessions, and at Caracas. I have a tendency to bike to all of them, and see what music I like, and then I’ll stay there.
LISTS BEFORE BED Mondays tend to be my busiest day, so I have to be ready to hit the ground. I’m a big list maker, so I’m in bed with my phone — I know you’re not supposed to turn your bed into your office, I know that rule, but I’ve broken that rule. So I make a personal list and a Rock Locations list for the next day. I recently went to our local bookstore, Avoid the Day, and bought three books. I used to be a voracious reader and I’m excited to read more this summer. By 10:30 or 11, though, I pretty much just pass out.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Claudia Bloom and Rock Locations on Instagram @rocklocations.