Historical Views of the Rockaways
of the Rockaways
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
It Is Judgment Day For You – Rockawayite!
Today in Historical Views, you will be the judge. For many years I have been very, very negative in my views about the New York City Commissioner of everything – Robert (The Pharaoh) Moses – especially when he was Commissioner of the Departments of New York City... namely the Parks Department. Presently, the town of Babylon, on Long Island, has erected a statue of Moses. Now the local pigeon population can help express my opinion!
The two images appearing today are before and after photographs of Rockaway’s beachfront – before and after Moses came down from his mountain in Manhattan.
Many have been to other beachfront areas that are full of places to have a little fun and enjoyment while visiting. They want to know why the large beachfront and boardwalk in the Rockaways is so bland, and devoid of any place to have a little fun and entertainment.
Exhibit "A" is a photograph of the boardwalk in the old seaside area of the Rockaways – between Beach 100 Street (on the extreme right) and Beach 108 Street – before Moses built his road that went nowhere from nowhere, in 1938/1939. The boardwalk had a full plate of concessions of various kinds from Beach 108 Street eastward to Beach 73 Street, and then some!
Exhibit "B" shows the same area after Moses bulldozed everything down for Shorefront Parkway. He was kind enough to build only three refreshment areas in the 45-block run of the road along the boardwalk. Pictured is one of the city run concessions.
If I were to list all that was on the old boardwalk, from Beach 126 Street to beach 9 Street, there would not be enough room in this column or this edition of The Wave, Rockaway’s newspaper since 1893.
So, here comes the judge – namely you the reader. Which would you rather have?