2004-02-13 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

From The Rockaway MuseumDedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
Thoughts of Rockaway
by Emil Lucev, Curator

Historical Views
of the Rockaways
From The Rockaway Museum
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
Thoughts of Rockaway’s Playland – 1950’s


Historical Views pre sents two photos ac centing memories of old Rockaway’s Play land – 1902 to 1985. Playland occupied the land between Beach 97 Street and Beach 98 Street – boulevard to boardwalk – and once sported the Hur ricane Roller coaster that was 780 feet long and almost seven stories in height.

Photo one show a Triboro Coach bus stop ping in front of Playland’s main gate on the boulevard; Beach 98 Street is on the right, Beach 97 Street on the left. This photo was taken in June of 1956 when Tri boro began its service to Rockaway Park (Beach 116 Street) from Woodside, Que ens. Under the authority of the New York State Public Service Commission – not the City – the new line provided access to the seashore for LIRR rides.

Started essentially as an excursion service, it became an im portant feeder to rapid transit lines in Jackson Heights and Wood - side. Route Q53 was added to Triboro’s franchise in 1961.

Photo two, although out of focus, shows a group of Playland’s visitors posing in an old English automobile (a Flivver) with the steering wheel on the right – in what looks like 1957 on the plate at the bottom right.


Millions of this type of family shot were taken in amusement parks the world over, starting as tintype photos on metal, then shots on bromide paper, and finally on negative film (but you didn’t get the negative.)

Photo three is a "shoot-a-photo" souvenir of Rockaway’s Playland. When you hit the target on the butt of a jackass – the simulated animal gave out a loud EEE! AWW! – kicked back at you – and then the flashbulb went off on the camera taking your picture.

Have a sample for the Rockaway Museum? Bring it on down.



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