2010-06-11 / Columnists

Historical Views

of the Rockaways The Early 1900’s Beachfront at Arverne, and the boardwalk
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke
The first elevated Arverne boardwalk was built in 1901 from Beach 59 Street on the east, to the Beach 74 Street on the west. Between Beach 70 Street and Beach 68 Street the walk was wider than the rest (About 50 feet) and the bath house, a drug store, ice cream parlor, a tailor and dress shop, a souvenir shop, and restaurant were opened on the land side of this wide part.

In today’s view the end of the walk at Beach 74 Street is in the distance, and the widened portion of the walk is shown.

The larger building at the top right is the Arverne Baths, and the ramp leads down to Jessica Avenue (Beach 68 Street) in Arverne.

The next two story building is that of the Remington Bachelor Apartments at the end of the Remington Avenue (Beach 69 Street).

The dome and tower in the background belongs to the Arverne Hotel run by Shanley and Merthens which entertain the elite of New York’s German society from the Manhattan section of Yorkville.

The camera was on top of The Arverne Theater and Entertainment platform built over the beach at Beach 67 Street in 1904, and washed out to sea by the great storm of 1914. The boardwalk shops were severely damaged with some undermined and left hanging.

The group of pilings on the surf side of the walk presented an enigma. The postcard which contained this rare view of the old walk was mailed out to Albany, New York in 1904. Nothing was found on any existing atlas of the Arverne area, but it is possible that it was built and not completed, destroyed by a storm, or stopped by injunction after complaints. Being the date on the card is 1904, that throws a little light on the old mystery. Later views of the beach show the pilings, but earlier ones do not. So the big storm of 1903 might have been the culprit. A 1905 photo shows that the group of pilings had been removing.

The beach has some bather safety lines shown in the lower left quarter of the view, and those two horse drawn delivery wagons are on the boards.

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