2007-02-16 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Far Rockaway- 1954- A Blast From The Past Do You Remember?

From The Rockaway Museum

Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator

Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Many, many, many, many and many years ago, going back decades, Rockaway Beach and Far Rockaway each had a couple of new car showrooms.

The Herbst Brothers sold Oldsmobiles, Finegold Inc. sold Pontiacs, Mel Chevrolet sold Chevys, and Fords were sold at the Ford dealer across from the firehouse. Most were on or a block or two away from Central Avenue, but Mann Auto Sales, located on Mott Avenue and Beach Channel Drive (opposite the State Diner), sold Plymouth, Dodge, Desoto and Chrysler automobiles.

Located in Hammels were dealers for Studebaker and Kaiser-Fraser cars, and in west Arverne there was the famous Young's Chevrolet showroom on the Boulevard at Beach 77 Street.

If my memory serves me right, the Finegold Pontiac dealership later moved to Nameoke Street and Beach Channel Drive, and later another Pontiac showroom turned up at Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive. At Beach 92 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, I believe, was another Chrysler Corporation showroom for a time. The Herbst Brothers Oldsmobile Company started business in Arverne at Beach 71 Street and Beach Channel Drive, but moved to Nameoke and Redfern Avenue in the 1950s. There was a Chevrolet dealer at the foot of the Crossbay Bridge in the 1930s, and I believe this was Young's Place, which moved to Arverne in 1936 or 37 when the bridge was widened and rebuilt with a grade separation on the Rockaway side. One by one, as sales dropped, auto dealers closed up or relocated out of town. Does anybody know which dealer was the last to go and turned off the new car sales light in the Rockaways? What year did the last new car auto dealer leave the peninsula?

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