2009-07-10 / Letters

Tent City

Dear Editor,

Ms. Pagano, in the last issue of THE WAVE, speculates that the tent city pictured in the reprinted postcard had something to do with a religious revival. Please let her know that generations of NYers and others who loved our beaches came down and stayed every summer in these tents so that they could enjoy a few months away from the heat of the city. My mother, Margaret Conboy Quealy, who was born in 1911 in the Hell's Kitchen section of New York City used to tell us about leaving the hot, dirty streets in NYC as soon as the school year was over and joining her grandmother and cousins in a large tent that her grandmother rented for the entire summer season. She remembered enjoying the beach during the day and then, in the evening, having cookouts and playing with her cousins on the beach. She loved her Rockaway summers so much that she and my father relocated here from Stuyvesant Town in the 1960s when my father retired from the GPO on 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue. I'm not sure which tent city she stayed in, but my husband remembers his grandparents talking about a tent city somewhere around Beach 102nd Street. I don't remember my mother ever mentioning that these tent cities had anything to do with religious revivals other than many people who believed in a Supreme Being camped out in them during the summer.

KATHLEEN GORMLEY

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