2005-03-04 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Arverne Boardwalk And Beachfront
by Emil Lucev

This one in a million photo of the Arverne beachfront in 1920, was probably taken from a hired aeroplane, by the postcard publisher. After the storms of 1914 and early 1920, there wasn’t anything on the beachside of the walk – that high and that far out – to take a picture like this one.

The big or giant shadow like structure shown on the right horizon is the huge Edgemere Club Hotel at Beach 35 Street. Going to the left, the next beachfront hotel is the Jerome on Beach 63 Street. Again to the left of the beachfront, we next have the Arverne Open Air Movie House.

This elevated boardwalk, Arverne’s first built above the beach, began at Beach 74 Street (to the extreme left and not in the photo) in the west – and ended at Beach 59 Street on the east.

You will notice that there is no walk past the Arverne Open Air Movie, down to the Jerome Hotel, where a breakwater and jetty have been put in. The storms mentioned previously, severely damaged and destroyed portions of the walk’s east end, which was condemned and closed by the city inspectors.

Also very noticeable is the encroachment of the ocean – inwards – between the Edgemere Hotel and the Arverne Boardwalk Open Air Theatre. In the early 1920’s (+ or -) the Long Beach bar was coming up to the west offshore. The bar caused the erosion along the Arverne and Edgemere beachfront, along with the help of the breakwater in front of the Edgemere Hotel. Both had the same effect on the beach to the west, and I believe that we have been thoroughly educated on this subject by living here – and reading past Historical Views on the very subject.

Shown on the left is the Wavecrest Baths, a large bathhouse on the walk at Beach 71 Street. The tower at left center is the south end of the Arverne Prince Hotel on Beach 69 Street. At dead center are the Remington Avenue Halcyon Batchelor Apartments. The walk at this point was ten feet wider than the rest and contained a variety of stores and shops.

When the new City boardwalk was built in the mid-1920’s, the old one was ripped out and the beach filled with sand from the bay bottom. Wooden jetties were built out into the surf at the end of each block. The rest is history!

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