2006-11-03 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

An Addition To The List Of SidewheelSteamboats To Rockaway
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

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

Today's Historical View is an 1899 photograph of the small sidewheel steamboat H.H. Plant that plied the waters of lower New York Bay on its circuit trip from lower Manhattan piers to Coney Island and then to piers in Jamaica Bay's seaside shore.

Small boats such as the H.H. Plant were hired by private parties for excursions to the beaches of Coney Island and the Rockaways, who did not want to go on a steamboat line with hundreds and hundreds of passengers, which at times were rowdy and unruly.

The opening of Crossbay Road in 1926 all but ended steamboat traffic to the Rockaways in summer. During the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Rockaway's Playland contracted for excursion boat service to the Playland Pier at Beach 98 Street on Jamaica Bay. These boats were diesel-operated dayliners. In the late '60s, the pier was eliminated by Robert Moses for his rebuilding of the new Crossbay Bridge, which opened in 1970 after much controversy by those who had had a bellyful of Moses and his highways. Moses wanted to build a viaduct over the peninsula to his Shorefront Parkway. He was told to stuff it! And he did.

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