2010-10-08 / Community

Rockaway Featured In Historical Photo Book

By Nicholas Briano

Queens resident Kevin Sean O’Donoghue has compiled and written a photo history book entitled, “Historical Photos of Queens.” Queens resident Kevin Sean O’Donoghue has compiled and written a photo history book entitled, “Historical Photos of Queens.” Fourth generation Queens resident and attorney, Kevin Sean O’Donoghue, has compiled a photo history book entitled, “Historical Photos of Queens.”

Published in June, the large photo book contains nearly 200 historical photos of Queens dating as far back as the late 1800s. Rockaway is prominently featured in the book, which documents this once popular summer destination for many Queens residents, picturing its boardwalk, Rockaway Playland and other locations.

O’Donoghue, now living in Bayside, says favorite aspects of living in the borough include the beaches of Rockaway, going to Mets games at Citi Field, and arriving in serene Queens just 25 minutes after stepping on a train in Manhattan’s hectic Penn Station.

A Far Rockaway pier in 1902, visible is the Central Park Bowling Alleys. A Far Rockaway pier in 1902, visible is the Central Park Bowling Alleys. The photos were obtained from the Library of Congress, the New York State Library, and the Queensboro Public Library. Some of the featured Queens locations include the “tent cities,” Far Rockaway, Playland, Queens Boulevard, the 1939 World’s Fair, and Belmont Park, among others.

“Historic Photos of Queens” is part of Nashville, Tennessee-based Turner Publishing’s Historic Photos series, which highlights the history of cities, regions, universities, legendary figures and pivotal events across America.

O’Donoghue feels the historic photos still have relevance today.

“Looking back helps us to see the beauty in our city today. Because this is New York, so much of what existed then still exists; and yet there are some areas and buildings, though once iconic, that are now completely erased.”

An example of the many tent cities that popped up along Rockaway Beach. An example of the many tent cities that popped up along Rockaway Beach. Photographs of Rockaway Beach were among O’Donoghue’s favorites.

“I especially like the photos of the bridges, which show the beauty of Queens as part of Long Island,” he said. “They are also very significant in linking the borough to Manhattan and to the Bronx. I also like the photos showing the changes to Rockaway Beach over the years as a playground for the city; and the North Beach area, which is now LaGuardia Airport.”
The intersection of Mott Avenue and Central Avenue in 1916. The intersection of Mott Avenue and Central Avenue in 1916.
A view of the Bowery at Rockaway Beach in 1903. It was one of many amusement pavilions built by developer William Wainwright. A view of the Bowery at Rockaway Beach in 1903. It was one of many amusement pavilions built by developer William Wainwright.

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