2003-05-23 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

From The Rockaway MuseumDedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
Ocean Avenue, Arverne
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 Ocean Avenue, Arverne – 1887

Historical Views
of the Rockaways
From The Rockaway Museum
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
Ocean Avenue, Arverne – 1887


Around this time in the 1880’s, the old Southside Railroad track from Far Rockaway to Seaside had been moved north (through Edgemere and Arverne) and connected to the trestle over the bay in Hammels. The old lines west of Hammels to the west end of Seaside were taken up. The Bay Railroad (The New York, Woodhaven and Rockaway line) now served the entire peninsula (east and west).

The Arverne section of the Rockaways was in its infancy – with only a dozen houses between Beach 75 Street and Beach 59 Street. The old railroad bed became Ocean Avenue (today’s Larkin Avenue) and the dozen homes mentioned straddled Ocean Avenue.

A very crude early map of the area showed two houses owned by Remington Vernam (the founder and developer of Arverne), another house owned by S. Tighman, another by N.A.M. Brute, another by W.H. Ammerman, and the last named by Mr. Dunham. The rest were unmarked.

To get to these houses the railroad provided a non-station stop at about Beach 63 Street. Otherwise, a narrow plank walk from a boat landing and railroad get-off near Beach 75 Street led south to Ocean Avenue, and then east to Beach 59 Street.

This narrow walk is shown today in Historical views, as are the Ammerman house on the north side (left) and Dunham house on the south or beach side of the walk. The camera is facing east towards Edgemere and the houses are on what became Beach 64 Street.

Remington Vernam’s houses were behind the camera on Beach 67 Street. He built the great Arverne Hotel on Beach 69 Street near the ocean. The hotel opened its door in 1888. The house in the distance was unmarked on the crude map of early Arverne.

Blowing and drifting sand often buried this walk until actual streets were built in years to come. This scene shows sand dunes preserved by growing grasses.


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