2006-03-17 / Columnists

Historical Views

of the Rockaways The Rockaway Beach Bathing Company, Steeplechase Park, Rockaway
From The Rockaway Museum by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

of the Rockaways
The Rockaway Beach Bathing Company, Steeplechase Park, Rockaway

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

In the early days at Rockaway Beach, swimming tanks were built to cater to bathers who did not like to "dunk" in the waves at the beach. A few bathhouses had tanks inside their premises and offered "hot" fresh saltwater baths. Several hotels installed small swimming tanks in buildings close to the hotel proper for those registered. The hotel Britain at Beach 70 Street and the boardwalk had a huge tiled in-ground pool behind it, and today it is an old parking lot site at the boardwalk and Beach 69 Street.

When Rockaway's Playland opened in 1928, the park featured an Olympic-size swimming pool, where actual Olympic tryouts were held. Fresh saltwater was pumped in from the ocean 24/7. Shortly thereafter, Steeplechase Park next door opened its own giant pool. Soon the Park Inn at Rockaway Park opened a large swimming pool on Beach 115 Street near the boardwalk.

The Seaside Amusement Area had a ride called the Sea Swing. A circle swing was adapted to a circular pool, and as the seats went 'round, they also went down, and you got "dunked." A good way to cool off on a hot day.

Unfortunately, all the tanks and pools from Beach 90 Street to Beach 106 Street were in the way when Robert Moses decided to build Shorefront Parkway along the Beachfront, R.I.P.

In today's View, we have a good look at the saltwater plunge located in Steeplechase Park, before the giant Steeplechase Pool was built in the early 1930s.

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