2010-06-04 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

A general view of the Far Rockaway station… In the mid 1920s
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
The postmark date on this picture postcard is 1931, and was sent from Richmond Hill to Johnstown, New York. But the picture, taken from the top of the old O’Kane building on Mott Avenue (Central Avenue is on the right past the buildings shown) is at a much earlier time. The Rockaway Beach trolley is awaiting passengers (at bottom left center) and at right center the Far Rockaway Beach trolley to the beachfront is doing the same.

The Far Rockaway and Rockaway Beach trolleys stopped running in 1928, after a series of off again and on again operations prior to total abandonment. The Rockaway Beach trolley used the track in the station proper, and then ran out and across Mott Avenue to its own track towards Hammel Station, with stops at Edgemere and Arverne, and was then switched to the boulevard for points west.

The Far Rockaway trolley ran down Central Avenue to Brookhaven where a turn led the trolley to Beach 19 Street for the run to the beach. On the way back the trolley turned on New Haven and ran to Central again for the trip back to the station.

This track set-up did allow trolleys to pass each other on the single track line. So I would date this photo at 1925.

On the left are the layup tracks and the freight yard at Far Rockaway Station. The station building is at the right with a small newsstand out on the platform, and the freight office is at the center of the photo. The tower at top left is the Russell Sage Memorial Presbyterian Church on Sage Street.

The Rockaway News printing plant is also at right center, and up the line is Teddy’s Restaurant, retail stores the gas and electric company and telephone buildings, plus Winkler’s Storage Warehouse and Rug and Carpet Cleaning.

The station plaza is at lower right and out of the image in today’s view. The Far Rockaway Shopping Center occupies the site of the old Far Rockaway LIRR Station (1869 to 1957) at Mott and Central Avenues.

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