2008-04-25 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Oldest Building in the Rockaways Became History in 1985
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev,Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

In 1876, James J. Curley purchased a strip of land from James S. Remsen, the owner of Seaside Section, and built the first Curley's Atlas Hotel on the beachfront of the strip.

Curley's purchase was about 200 feet in width from ocean to bay, on the east side of Henry Street (now Beach 102 Street).

Curley also purchased rights to land under water out into the ocean for about another 1000 feet.

After the defunct big hotel was torn down in 1889, Curley bought land on the beachfront at the southwest corner near the present boardwalk. Then a vast amount of lumber purchased from the wrecker of the big hotel, was used to build the new Curley's Atlas Hotel thereat.

The old Atlas Hotel in Seaside, built a roadhouse on the boulevard (today's Irish Circle), Rockaway's first city police station (the present Crystal Hotel), and a barber shop.

In later years Schilling's became Jolly's Hotel, and in more contemporary times, known as "Dingy Dan's Bar and Grill."

Curley's Hotel on Beach 116 Street was torched by kids playing with matches in 1965, and after being disclosed as the oldest building in the new Rockaways, Curley's old hotel, now Dingy Dan's, mysteriously burned to the ground in 1985.

The Crystal Hotel and Irish Circle were unscathed by the fire, which is shown in today's view.

New housing has been built on the site.

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