2008-03-07 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Bungalow Rows From Street Ends Out to the Old Arverne Boardwalk
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev,Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Before the New York City Commissioner of everything Robert Moses declared that the Rockaways as an Amusement and summer resort should never have been built many living, eating, amusement places, and a few movie houses of the open-air type did adorn our long ocean promenade.

Today's view shows, what Beach 71 Street's beach end looked like when bungalow rows were allowed to be built from the street end to the old Arverne elevated wooden boardwalk.

The only pre-requisite was that the street end and the walk be about the same height. So all would be on a level plane! As you can readily see, the beach at this street end slopes downward, and all the bungalows are on an even keel, if you will! The Arverne wooden walk (1901-1926) came west from Beach 59 Street to Beach 74 Street… and was straight when compared to the wavy beachfront it was built upon, and also level when compared to the height and slope of the sandy beach underneath!

Storms did damage these beach constructions, but they were repaired at owner's expense. When the city built a new beachfront and boardwalk in the 1920s, buildings along the new promenade were limited, and when Moses was made Parks Commissioner in 1934 by Mayor LaGuardia, they disappeared one by one due to storm and fire in the east end and were not allowed to be rebuilt.

In the west end, Moses built his road from nowhere to nowhere, called Shorefront Parkway. Due to this road, all structures within 200 feet of the walk went down, destroying the seaside amusement area outside of Rockaways' Playland. Destruction is what Moses did for fun and laughs in his time! The Rockaways' boardwalk has been like hospital food for many years… bland!

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