2007-04-13 / Columnists

Opening Day Of The New Coney Island Boardwalk - 1924

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

While the Rockaways were giving City Hall a case of agida from the constant clamoring for beach protection (from erosion) and a full beachfront boardwalk, the city took care of Coney Island first... simply because the new subway lines to Coney were raking in those "nickel" fares to fill the coffers of the then Transit Authority. The citizens of the Rockaways also wanted a rapid transit system since before the first World War!

The crowd shown is unbelievable as it is practically elbow to elbow, and if there were Rockaway representatives there, they probably got agida.

The uproar that resulted here made the city get off the snail machine, and by 1930 the Rockaways had a new beach and boardwalk built. Coney had an eighty-foot walk, but the Rockaways got half that width.

The crowd in the foreground is watching the goings on in Steeplechase Park at the West 16th Street side, and in the left background is the Giant coaster which replaced the double looper coaster in 1910.

The present old Cyclone coaster replaced the Giant coaster in 1927.

The Rockaways also got Crossbay Road in 1926, a real estate boom, and increased pressure on the mayor's office for the city to purchase the LIRR line over Jamaica Bay to Rockaway for the construction of a rapid transit line, to what the city considered the "stix."

Then meaning well Robert Moses, the city's Commissioner of Everything, was "sicced" on the Rockaways by Mayor LaGuardia.

Moses destroyed the Rockaways (as well as Coney Island) as the mayor lived up to his nickname- "The Little Flower"- who wilted!

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