2006-05-05 / Columnists

Beach 116 Street, Rockaway Park, In About 1919...Oh How Sweet It Was!!!
From The Rockaway Museum by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
From The Rockaway Museum
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

This clean, uncluttered, and spacious air view is what Beach 116 Street looked like in the days before the Roaring 1920's rolled in, after the war to end all wars was over. When the French Marshall Foch read the armistice document, he remarked that this was not an armistice; it was only a ceasefire for twenty years! And he was correct!!

Anyway, our boys came home and went back to their old jobs or started new careers and business. Many were the carpenters and construction workers that built the old Harbor Inn and its 410-foot dock out into Jamaica Bay at the foot of Beach 116 Street (shown behind the trolley car to left of center). The place started out small, but after the Great War it was expanded immensely. And later a lighthouse adorned the front.

Also, after the war, a brand-new brick railroad station was constructed to the right...behind all the trees and the backed in automobiles.

The trolley car has just turned up from Newport Avenue (on its return trip from Neponsit) and is heading from the boulevard for the trip to Far Rockaway Station. There was no Beach Channel Drive as we know it today, just Bay Avenue to about Beach 126 Street from sixteenth! The Jamaica Bay front came up close to the railroad station on the right, before the great Bayfront Landfill of 1922-23!

On the left is the brick firehouse (1913), the Queensborough Gas & Electric Company offices, and stores, shops, more offices, and a gas station and flat fix establishment in the cluster of commercial establishments. The names of these places, at times, changed like the weather in these olden times.

You are now most likely being awestruck by comparing this photograph with what sixteenth looks like today. Which would you rather have? The corrupted street of today, or the openness of yesteryear? I bet you have chosen the latter.

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