2005-02-04 / Community

Historical Views of the Rockaways

A Scene On The Boardwalk At Rockaway Park, New York In 1915
by Emil Lucev


Despite the printer’s blemishes under this varnished and glossy old postcard, the view presented is excellent. The camera is on the slightly elevated and twenty foot wide Rockaway Park Ocean Promenade (which was also known as Triton Avenue) at about Beach 114 Street, looking east.

The background at right-center, is the new bungalow and private homes and hotel development that replaced the 385 camps or tents of Frank Chafee’s once popular tent city. Behind this site is the westerly end of the Seaside amusement area’s Ocean Avenue midway.

The old Rockaway Park boardwalk, repaired many times due to storm damage, was originally built by the big hotel owners in 1880. The hotel never opened, and became a white elephant due to cash flow and legal problems. It was torn down as second hand lumber in 1889. The land was cleared and then sold to the Rockaway Park Improvement Company, which mapped out the old walk’s route as Triton Avenue, but rebuilt the walk in its stead.

In 1923, the residents of Rockaway Park ceded their beachfront to the Parks Department of New York City, in order for the city to build a modern oceanfront promenade, elevated slightly as the old, out of concrete, steel and suitable wood. Several years later, a connection was made at Beach 109 Street to the easterlyheaded new City boardwalk, and an extension west to Beach 120 Street to Beach 126 Street was added.

The big building in the background is the St. Malachy’s orphanage at Beach 112 Street. On the left, and out sight on Beach 114, are the old Park Inn Baths. Beach 113 Street runs off to the left of center.

Senior and medical care facilities, a girl’s high school, and a boy’s home occupy this beachfront at present.

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