2010-12-31 / Columnists

Looking Backward

What The Wave Said 50 Years Ago...

Because this is the 53rd issue of 2010, since many of issue years 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago did not have 53 issues, only the normal 52, we thought it would be instructive to look backward to the upcoming year 50 years ago – 1941, the year that brought WWII to the United States.

We have excerpted some of the more interesting and important Rockaway stories of that year.

January 2, 1941 A total of 3,225 aliens throughout Rockaway registered at the Far Rockaway Post Office during the four-month period of alien registration. That figure is slightly more than 10 percent of the total alien registration in the entire Borough of Queens.

The Board of Elections is planning to change its map in accordance with local development. As a consequence, the Rockaways may get a new voting district and 270 new voters as Rockaway Point will be assured of its franchise.

January 23, 1941 Army inductions for the second draft call were completed last week when 14 Rockaway youth were called to colors for a one-year training period. It is expected that they will be stationed in Camp Upton. Of the 14 youth, three were drafted and the others were volunteers.

February 6, 1941 More than 500 locals attended the monster rally last night at the Regular Democratic Clubhouse on Beach 95 Street, sponsored by the Rockaway Committee for British War Relief. The funds raised at the rally will be used to purchase a mobile kitchen, which will be shipped to England.

February 13, 1941 Noted Rockaway attorney A. Joseph Geist has filed a brief with the court of appeals in an attempt to keep it from overturning the G Zone that covers many areas of New York City, including Jamaica Estates and Neponsit. The G Zone says that only one-family homes are allowed in the area, but a lower court in upstate New York has declared the G Zones unconstitutional. That could mean the beginning of high-rise buildings in the west end of the peninsula.

February 20, 1941 Government officials have denied rumors that they plan to lay active mines in the waters around Rockaway in connection with the national defense program.

February 27, 1941 Borough President Harvey has been asked to petition the Board of Estimate for the opening of all of the streets under the elevated structure now being erected between Rockaway Park and Far Rockaway to eliminate the Long Island Railroad grade crossings between the two communities.

March 27, 1941 Although 10 million ears were tuned to the radio Friday night for the Joe Louis- Abe Simon fight in Detroit, few of those who listened to the exciting fight knew that Abe Simon has been a Rockaway Beach boy all of his life. Abe attended Rockaway Beach elementary schools and Far Rockaway High School.

April 3, 1941 In a report issued during the past week, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority revealed that $685,084.11 was collected in tolls on the Marine Parkway Bridge and Cross Bay Bridge and for parking facilities at Jacob Riis Park in 1940.

June 12, 1941 The Rockaways had 200,000 visitors last Sunday, the largest crowd since the opening of the summer season on Decoration Day. The crowd was driven to Rockaway by rising mercury that reached nearly 100 degrees.

June 19, 1941 Monica D. Ryan, the first assistant in English at the High School of Commerce in Manhattan has been named as the new principal of Far Rockaway High School. The appointment will take effect September 3, when the new term begins.

July 10, 1941 Local residents have been rushing to register as Air Raid Wardens at the 100 Precinct Station House in Rockaway Beach. More than 200 have registered so far, including 28 women. A roster of 720 bodies are needed to man the 60 posts in the precinct around-the-clock.

August 14, 1941 The Rockaways once again faced a massive crowd at its beaches last weekend. The official count came to more than two million, with 279,000 crowding Riis Park.

November 13, 1942 In a request to Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways has asked for rapid transit to be brought to southern Queens and particularly the Rockaway peninsula.

December 4, 1941 A bill to improve Jamaica Bay, including the widening of the channel from the Atlantic Ocean to the west end of the bay has been given approval by Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Rockaway project is expected to cost $279,000.

December 11, 1941 The people of the Rockaways lost no time in responding to the crisis that faces the nation since the Japanese forces attacked American forces in the Pacific on Sunday, December 7. Responding to the President’s call on Monday, Fort Tilden, Rockaway Point and the Coast Guard Station have been put on wartime footing and all leaves have been cancelled. In addition, all of the peninsula’s air raid wardens took to their posts and plan to remain on duty day and night. Both anti-aircraft guns and powerful searchlights now dot the peninsula.

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