2004-08-06 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Railroad Grade Crossing Elimination In The Rockaways
From The Rockaway Museumby Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Historical Views of the Rockaways
Railroad Grade Crossing Elimination In The Rockaways

From The Rockaway Museum
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Construction of the Rockaway Elevated Line of the Long Island Railroad began in April of 1940. The first, or west, section from Beach 84 Street to Beach 116 Street was opened in January 1941, and the eastern section from Beach 84 Street to Far Rockaway was opened in April of 1942.

The Freeway was then completed officially in 1944 and opened to local traffic. It soon became known as â01CDeath Drive.â01D Many accidents causing deaths took place until lights and speed limits were put in place.

By the summer of 1941, the time frame for this Historical View, the el was reported as up -- but not running -- as far as Beach 28 Street. At this time, work was to begin on the last section of the Mott Avenue and Far Rockaway Station -- where the train went back to ground level to the Five Towns.

Shown today in Historical Views is the uncompleted Edgemere Station, with nice old cars running on Beach 35 Street. Beach Channel Drive is out of the photo, and is behind the car shown at right center.

Rockaway Beach Boulevard goes from the lower left crossing Beach 35 Street and heading west.

The temporary track crosses Beach 35 Street and runs beside the el (on the north side), and became the Freeway, as did the way under the el.

In the background is Edgemere Avenue and a line of stores such as the Beach 35 Street Food Center, Berger's Delicatessen, Rubin's City Price Store and the Best Shoppe for Sportswear.
The temporary station is to the left of the children on bicycles at left center.

Despite all the grade crossings that were eliminated, more deaths have occurred on the Freeway than when the crossings were in place. Crossing the Freeway was worse, especially this one at Beach 35 Street and later with the one at Seagirt Boulevard built years later, a short distance to the east.

Our mystery gas station shown last week is to the right of the car shown at right center in today's View. Did you get it right? 

 

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