2009-09-18 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Rockaway Beach Boulevard In Arverne … A Century Ago!
From The Rockaway Museum by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Today's Historical View takes us back to the Arverne section of Rockaway Beach one hundred years ago. Our camera is facing west at old Remington Avenue (Beach 69 Street) and shows the new business block built. To the right is the old Long Island Railroad and Jamaica Bay (North Arverne had not been dredge filled as yet) and to the left is the giant Arverne Prince Hotel, Casino, and Bathhouses by the beachfront.

On the left corner and down are cottages, apartment houses, and homes still in the building stage. A sign posted by the Karelson Real Estate Company tells of many lots still for sale in the area.

On the right is Herz's Hungarian restaurant which served a mean dish of old world goulash (like momma used to make) and other classic foreign and domestic meals. Above were offices and apartments, some with porches that had awnings. Next door were grocers and butchers establishments, realty offices, shoe store, a tailor shop, and a dress shop. Two movers were in between all these. From Beach 70 Street down were beautiful homes.

As the decade of the 1950s approached, these buildings were old and weather-beaten. Suddenly the lot was cleared and the giant Britain Hotel was moved from Beach 70 Street and the beach to this spot on the boulevard, and converted into stores and living spaces, and office space. On the right side corner the Chalet Luncheonette was opened, and next door the Foorcrest Supermarket was opened. The old hotel site and giant in-ground tiled fresh water swimming pool became a municipal parking lot, courtesy of Robert Moses!

In later years the entire area from Beach 73 Street eastward to Beach 35 Street was demolished a little at a time for Arverne/Edgemere renewal. This renewal program has been ongoing to the present. First came a housing project and a few homes, later a school, and most recently - Arverne by the Sea.

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