2008-10-24 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

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

Now that a formidable attempt is being made to restore marshes and marsh islands in Jamaica Bay, let us retrogress back to the early 1930s, for a look at what used to be. The area shown is west of Cross Bay Road, and Broad Channel bay community on big egg marsh. The old Long Island Rail Road is shown at top right, and the original three-lane Cross Bay Bridge crosses Beach Channel to the Rockaways at the bottom just right of center. Old long bar juts in at lower right just below the old Broad Channel Draw (as it was known) and Broad Channel Moves Down to Beach Channel and the Cross Bay Bridge, brushing by the community of Broad Channel as it does. The colonies on the trestle known as the Raunt Channel and Goose Creek are also at the top right corner. The old Raunt Channel is to the right of the big landfill patch south of dead man's curve, where a small sluice way went under Cross Bay Road. Grassy Bay, which was dredged out for JFK Airport (Idlewild) is also at top right. To the left of the railroad trestle here is the North Channel Bridge, with North Channel running along the top of the view. Howard Beach is above and to the right of the North Channel Bridge, as is the Hamilton Beach area.

Giant bar and little egg marshes are at lower right, and the boomerang shaped little egg marsh sort of palms (so to speak) black wall and yellow bar marsh islands. Rulers bar is to the left of upper Cross Bay Road, like the blade of a jack knife! Beside this is Pumpkin Patch Channel and Marsh, the scene of a passenger plane crash many years ago.

Elders Point Marsh is next (the work site of today to restore) and below are duck point, Canarsie Polder, Stony Creek, and Ruffle Bar Marshes.

On the right side of the railroad is Silver Hole (cove) and Silver Hole Marsh, plus Jo-Cos and East High Meadow Marshes.

And if you look real close - there is no toll booth(s) to be seen at the Broad Channel end of the Cross Bay Bridge, and all the Johns on land and Bay, and smaller flying ones, began polluting Jamaica Bay and killing the marshes long ago. Even with our sewage treatment plants at various sites around the bays perimeter, residue problems must be dealt with. Our bay needs a flush…

One way to achieve this is to pump fresh seawater into the bay at Far Rockaway - using a solar powered pumping station, and a discharge line around the north perimeter of the bay shore thereat!

Another would be to cut a new inlet at Beach 108 Street to have two outlets to the ocean, and possibly ease the force(s) of outgoing tides via one outlet; also reduce - erosion and undermining stresses on marsh outer edges! What say you!

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