2003-04-26 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

From The Rockaway MuseumDedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
Cries For Help To Save Our Beaches
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Historical Views of the Rockaways From The Rockaway Museum by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke Cries For Help To Save Our Beaches

Historical Views
of the Rockaways
From The Rockaway Museum
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
Cries For Help To Save Our Beaches


When this photograph was reproduced on a postcard in the very early 1920’s, proprietors of our beaches from Far Rockaway to Rockaway Point, were asking for municipal help to stop beach erosion.

Previous complaints and requests to city fathers led to a study of the problem as World War I was coming to a close.

There was no action taken by the city, as public funds could not be used to fix up or rebuild private property.

During the mid 1920’s, the problem was resolved by the city taking title to the beachfront in order to fill in certain areas, install wooden jetties, and build a continuous boardwalk from the Nassau county line to Riis Park.

The city got nearly everything, except a continuous boardwalk, and oceanfront proprietors lost everything. Surviving beachfront owners say they were "deleted expletive" to this day.

Thousands upon thousands of dollars were spent by private beachfront owners on all sorts of constructions to slow erosion. Jetties, bulkheads, pile clusters, rock walls, angled back stone, concrete, and wooden walls; and an occasional dredge fill all were undermined and washed away by the ocean’s fury.

Today’s Historical View shows Ostend Beach east of Beach 17 Street in Far Rockaway. Long gone was the outer beach known as Hog Island, which was just offshore in this area. The Long Beach Bar was coming west at this time, and was causing severe erosion problems down the line as far as Arverne (even though the Stone Hook jetty built at the point of long Beach stopped the western movement of that sandbar in 1933, it also made positively sure that the erosion of Edgemere and Arverne shores would continue).

The double row of piling was put in place and probably filled with rock to act as a type of jetty out into the surf. Despite this, you can still see how the beach was still being cut away, if you follow the tide line to the right or west.

Usually the east side of a jetty captures sand and the west side washes away. At the lower corner the reverse seems to have happened. The jetty was put in near Beach 14 Street at the time of the war to end all wars.

Notice the dilapidated boardwalk on the right. Roche’s Beach is past the Ostend Pavilion at right center.


Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History