2001-06-09 / Columnists

Historical Views by Emil Lucev

During the early days of February, 1920, a northeaster came up the coast and lashed the Rockaways for two days. The day after the storm ended, local residents and shore property owners checked the beachfront area. They found unbelievable storm damage to many bathhouses, hotels, bulkheads, boardwalks and small elevated walkways, amusement piers, street ends and bungalows. Weird looking ice formations had formed around wooden pilings under the undamaged places along the beach. Most of the structures that were still standing were severely undermined and had to be shored up with timbers.

Tons and tons of an assortment of shellfish (clams and oysters), crabs, horseshoe crabs, lobster and skimmers were washed ashore – literally covering the beach, like a paved road of hard shells.

When the weather warmed a little, with a strong sun hitting the beach, there was a terrible smell. The stench was said to be unbearable whenever an onshore breeze was blowing.

Today’s historical view shows a gang of local kids (nine boys, four girls and a dog) along with buckets and pails, gathering and opening clams…Chowder, anyone?

The group is on the clam bed at the foot of Beach 86 Street in the Hammel’s section of the peninsula.

Who are they and where are they now?


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