2010-08-27 / Community

Rockaway Debut For Bungalow Film A Hit

By Miriam Rosenberg

Amazing! Educational! Loved it! Wonderful! Those were some of the reviews from viewers for ‘The Bungalows of Rockaway’ which was shown at Fort Tilden last Sunday. Amazing! Educational! Loved it! Wonderful! Those were some of the reviews from viewers for ‘The Bungalows of Rockaway’ which was shown at Fort Tilden last Sunday. After a premiere at the Museum of the City of New York and a screening at the Queens Museum of Art the documentary “The Bungalows of Rockaway” finally made its way to the peninsula last Sunday night.

Seats were at a premium at the Post Theater at Fort Tilden on August 22 as community members past and present gathered to see the culmination of a 5 1/2 year effort to tell the story of Rockaway’s bungalows and how they affected the make up of the area.

There were oohs and aahs as audience members recognized photos they had lent to the producers; and reactions as parts of the film ingnited memories of times gone by. There was also a recounting of a history of the peninsula that provided newcomers with a sense of what Rockaway was like before they came.

RMACs Sharon Gabriel introduces Callahan to the audience. Co-producer Elizabeth Harris Logan was unable to attend the screening. RMACs Sharon Gabriel introduces Callahan to the audience. Co-producer Elizabeth Harris Logan was unable to attend the screening. Mostly there were memories of a time and place where people knew each other and before the policies of Robert Moses and former Mayor John Lindsay changed the landscape of the peninsula.

“I remember all the bungalows and stores…,” said Sharon Gabriel, of RMAC. She did take issue with one interviewee in the documentary who recalled racial discourse in the area. “I never remember any racial [problems],” said Gabriel.

Jate Doremus called the film “very good and well made.” He added, “It brought back a lot of memories.”

Jennifer Callahan, the director and co-producer along with Elizabeth Harris Logan told The Wave earlier this month, “Watching the cut a lot recently I found myself having so much envy for all these people that have the same memory of going to the same bungalow year after year.”

The film’s producer and director Jennifer Callahan and RMAC’s president Steve Yaeger talk before the screening. Yaeger was heard to say “There was a lot of history [in the film].” The film’s producer and director Jennifer Callahan and RMAC’s president Steve Yaeger talk before the screening. Yaeger was heard to say “There was a lot of history [in the film].” She called making the film an adventure and the people she met along the way were a big part of it.

She said, “There have been so many joys [making this film]! I’d say some are: working with great people; meeting so many great people – in Rockaway and not, bungalow residents and not – during this adventure; learning a lot about Rockaway and its bungalows; receiving so many generous loans of precious family photos; the outpouring of memories and thoughts; and then, personally, being able to finish the documentary.”

Bungalow owner Richard George, who was a major player in getting the bungalows to be eligible for inclusion in the historic registry of New York, poses with Callahan after the film’s successful showing. Bungalow owner Richard George, who was a major player in getting the bungalows to be eligible for inclusion in the historic registry of New York, poses with Callahan after the film’s successful showing. The Rockaway Music and Arts Council sponsored the event and were the first fiscal sponsors of the film. According to Steve Yaeger, the president of RMAC, the idea was brought to the late Barbara Eisenstadt who brought it to the entire RMAC board.

On September 16 at 8 p.m., the documentary will be aired on PBS WNET Channel 13.
It was almost a full house at the Post Theater at Fort Tilden for the first Rockaway showing of “The Bungalows of Rockaway” last Sunday evening. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg It was almost a full house at the Post Theater at Fort Tilden for the first Rockaway showing of “The Bungalows of Rockaway” last Sunday evening. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg

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