2009-11-27 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Belle Harbor Yacht Club, Belle Harbor, Rockaway Beach
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

In 1905, the Belle Harbor Yacht Club was built on the bay-front in the section of Rockaway Beach known as Belle Harbor. This section of the Rock away peninsula was opened and lots were put on sale in 1902. This new yacht club was situated between Orienta Avenue and Pelham Avenue (Beach 127 and Beach 126 Streets) and had a dock extending more than 200 feet into the bay.

The view featured was shot from Beach 124 Street and what was then called Bay Avenue, in 1935 or 1936. Beach Channel Drive now runs over the area where the dock and the boat are shown.

When New York City gained the title to Jamaica Bay to the high water mark in 1925, I believe, the club lost the riparian rights to the land under water in front of the building. When Beach Channel Drive was built from Beach 116 Street to the Marine Parkway/Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge in the mid 1930s, the club's walk and docking facilities became history. With the new land created around the club's building, the yacht club was higher and drier than it had ever been. This change provided more parking space and room for tennis courts.

The club continued, sponsoring races and regattas in Jamaica Bay, the most memorable of which was the Gold Cup Regatta in the 1940s. Famous bandleader Guy Lombardo raced his 'Miss Tempo' boat, powered by an Alli - son aircraft engine. He finished third due to engine trouble!

The old Belle Harbor Yacht Club still maintains a strong presence in the community of Belle Harbor and is considered a landmark by some.

If You have Any Old Photos or Historical Information About The Rockaways Please Send It To: HISTORICAL ROCKAWAY C/O THE WAVE P.O. BOX 930097 ROCKAWAY BEACH, N.Y. 11693

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