2003-09-12 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

From The Rockaway MuseumDedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
Threatened Green Bus Strike - 1947
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 Threatened Green Bus Strike - 1947

Historical Views
of the Rockaways
From The Rockaway Museum
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
Threatened Green Bus Strike - 1947

The year 1947 started off with taxes going up, with burglaries up, with complaints of bad-tasting water. With assessed valuations on homes rising, a rent freeze at 1942 levels was proposed The LIRR trestle caught fire, an auto use tax of 5 to 10 dollars was coming, the home curtain factory in Edgemere went on strike, the phone company went on strike, the entire city of New York was vaccinated for smallpox, band leader Guy Lombardo was to race his boat (Miss Tempo VI) here in the bay, the American Legion’s National Convention was to be held here…and… the general public in Rockaway Beach and Far Rockaway were very displeased with the bus service here, which was given by the Green Bus Line….which had received a new franchise that year with zoned fares (five cents/zone) built in. All in all, 1947 was not a happy year for Rockaway residents.

The drumming for city-operated buses on the peninsula had been sounding on deaf ears for some time now. The new Green franchise was severely objected to by the people, because of the built in fare hikes with the created zone fares! And also despite the fact of free transfers made available. The fare was still five cents, but a nickel was required for each zone now. That doubled and tripled fares for riders.

The Green Line had gone on strike in 1939, and twice in 1945. Now another strike was threatened on top of increased fares and lousy service; as reported in The Wave.

Incidents against drivers and buses now caused the police force to be brought in for protection.

Today’s Historical View is of the old Far Rockaway bus depot, which was located at the northwest corner of Mott Avenue (behind the camera). In the background at top right is the elevated LIRR Far Rockaway station. The ‘el" portion over Mott Avenue is behind the restaurant at the end of the business line (the site of Thriftway Drugs today, and the Far Rockaway subway station is to the left of the old O’Kane office building shown at top left). The old bus depot – now an off again, on again shopping center – in legal dispute – was a staging point for police escorts of cars and motorcycles – for buses leaving Far Rockaway.

A settlement was reached and the strike was called off. Riders got a promise for better service for 1948. All they received was a bus route to Euclid Avenue and another fare increase to seven cents.

Towards the end of the ‘50’s decade, and the advent of subway service to the Rockaways replacing the LIRR, the area shown in the photo today changed – in stark contrast to what it once contained!

The Far Rockaway station and ‘el’ portions over Mott Avenue – along with the downgrade towards Nameoke Street – were removed. A new LIRR station was built at Nameoke Street. The IND Far Rockaway station was constructed at Mott Avenue and Beach 22 Street (by the tall O’Kane building at top left). A shopping center and parking lot were built as aforementioned.

Old-timers still say that the Far Rockaway bus terminal should have been kept here at this old site, and a scaled down shopping center built along with a new LIRR station on the ground. The site was and still is the center of town. That is why the convergence of transportation was built here back in the old days. There is still time to put it back together Aye! Right!

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