2009-04-10 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

A Bird's Eye View Of The Holland Avenue Pier, Rockaway Beach, N.Y.
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Before the 1923/24 landfill along our bayfront in Rockaway Beach, Holland Avenue, which became Beach 92 Street in 1920, changed. The portion of the street, from the railroad north, was under water most of the time.

The block was known as the Holland Pier. Built and rebuilt since its inception in the 1870s, a wooden walkway or pier went up the middle or between the buildings on both sides. Wooden elevated sidewalks led to all the buildings standing on wooden pilings driven into the bay bottom.

The landfill, and bulkhead installed to hold it, changed the face of Rockaway's bayside. All the old hotels and boat clubs in the area were now landlocked and high and dry. A new roadway was projected along the new bulkhead, and is today's Beach Channel Drive.

Cold winters and heavy ice buildup often pulled up the pile supports, making the walks look like a bar graph. In turn water, gas, and at times electrical support facilities were out of service. Repairs were very costly, but done as soon as possible.

The landfill coincided with the building of the Crossbay Road to Broad Channel in 1924, and completed to Howard Beach two years later. Although the reason given was that the older clientele of the boat club and yacht club era was dwindling, and younger tastes changing, making new real estate was the prime objective.

Many lots remained empty long after the fill and the stock market bomb in 1929.

A lot of the old buildings shown in this 1918 view are still there as private homes, and Frey's Hotel at the end is not the location of Mickey D's and the Pier 92 Restaurant. The walk at bottom left leads to the Dalcassian Boat Club, that later became the American Legion Hall on Beach 92 Street.

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