2007-04-13 / Community

Picture Postcards Of Rockaway Form New Book

Wave Columnist Shares Collection With The World A Wave Review
By Howard Schwach

Wave Columnist Shares Collection With The World
A Wave Review


By Howard Schwach

Emil Lucev, the columnist who writes the highly-popular "Historical Views of The Rockaways" and has now written a book about the peninsula's history.
Emil Lucev, the columnist who writes the highly-popular "Historical Views of The Rockaways" and has now written a book about the peninsula's history.

For decades, Rockaway and Coney Island were the destinations of choice for those seeking summer thrills and solace from summer heat on city streets.

Along with those summer crowds, when Rockaway would swell from fewer that five thousand residents to more than a quarter of a million, came picture postcards.

Those postcards depicted the summer attractions, beach scenes and scenes from other parts of the peninsula, usually during the summer months, when the rest of the city cared that Rockaway existed.

Emil Lucev, The Wave columnist who pens the highly-popular "Historical Views of The Rockaways" column, has been collecting those postcards since he was a young man.

Now, he has joined his love of postcards and Rockaway history in a book from Arcadia Publishing, entitled "The Rockaways," which is part of the publisher's "Postcard History Series."

The cover of Emil Lucev's new book, "The Rockaways," which includes dozens of postcard views of the history of the peninsula.
The cover of Emil Lucev's new book, "The Rockaways," which includes dozens of postcard views of the history of the peninsula. Lucev, 74, is a Rockaway native. His family came to Rockaway in 1911 and put down roots. He is a Korean War veteran and a retired employee of the New York Daily News.

His venture into the history of Rockaway began while researching a few antique glass bottles bearing the names of locals businesses and hotels. Lucev came to The Wave to research his finds and became the fast friend of Wave publisher Leon Locke.

Soon, Lucev was writing his column and delving deeper into the history of his home community.

Lucev says that "long ago" he went to a memorabilia show and sale at Kings Plaza in Brooklyn. There was a man there selling Coney Island items and Lucev told him that he had a bottle from that community's past.

The man offered to trade with Lucev, anything he had on his table for the bottle.

Among the items on the table were several postcards depicting Rockaway's past.

The dining room of the Harbor Inn on Beach 116 Street. Many of the big bands of the day played the venue.
The dining room of the Harbor Inn on Beach 116 Street. Many of the big bands of the day played the venue. He made the trade and never looked back. Today, he has hundreds of postcards in his collection.

The new book, "The Rockaways," is the outgrowth of his twin loves of postcards and Rockaway history.

The book is split into chapters, each dealing with a particular section of the Rockaway peninsula.

Each chapter is replete with postcards from the past, with captions that give interesting and often arcane information about the subject of the postcard. One can learn much about Rockaway and its past from looking at the postcard reproductions and reading Lucev's captions. The book is published by Arcadia Publishing and is available at local booksellers and on the web.


The boardwalk at Beach 120 Street.
The boardwalk at Beach 120 Street. Then, it was called Fifth Avenue. Today, it is better known as Beach 116 Street.
Then, it was called Fifth Avenue. Today, it is better known as Beach 116 Street. In 1882, this was the first railroad station in the west end of the peninsula.
In 1882, this was the first railroad station in the west end of the peninsula.

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