2006-05-12 / Community

The Notorious "Dead Man's Curve" On The New Crossbay Road- 1926
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

Crossbay Road in Broad Channel and the first Crossbay Bridge from the Rockaways to Broad Channel opened in 1924. The rest of the Crossbay Road to the north, and the North Channel Bridge over Grassy Bay, were completed in late 1925. The entire roadway was opened in late October of 1925, but was celebrated officially when the season of 1926 opened. Officials and dignitaries came over the new causeway in a grand procession of vehicles from the Howard Beach area to the Bridge Plaza in Rockaway Beach.

The then-Crossbay Road came southwards from the North Channel Bridge to a very sharp curve at the north end of Broad Channel. Many automobiles in the late 1920s had a very high center of gravity. This factor, when compounded with high speed, caused some vehicles to overturn and flip after entering the sharp curve. If not they simply ran off the road into the sandy roadside and turned topsy-turvy! Injuries and deaths that occurred pinned the name of Dead Man's Curve on this part of Crossbay Road in Broad Channel.

Despite speed limit signs and warning signs posted accidents still took place. After several years of this condition it was decided to straighten out the turn.

Originally the road was to go straight down to 17th Road and the approach to the Crossbay Bridge. This was objected to by the Broad Channel Corporation, which had leased Broad Channel from the city, for the road would cut across canals and home buildings completed by the corporation. Litigation settled the problem and the road was curved to the east and then south to connect with the part of Crossbay Road thru Broad Channel proper that had been completed by the Broad Channel Corporation in about 1915. The city and the Broad Channel Corporation were always accusing each other of not performing as contracted, but the bottom line was that the city wanted the BCC out of Jamaica Bay altogether, so the bay could be converted into a huge seaport. The great port idea died, and the BCC was ousted in 1939.

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