2011-03-25 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Roche’s Beach, Far Rockaway, N.Y.
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

There are still a few oldtimers around who will remember Roche’s Beach in Far Rockaway, which stretched along the oceanfront between the ends of the boardwalk at Beach 19 Street, eastward to beach 14 Street. Mr. Edward Roche fought the building of a boardwalk over his private beach, vehemently defending his riparian rights to his shorefront beach property. He installed many shorefront erosion control constructions such as rock and wooden jetties, at his own expense, to maintain his first class beach resort at Far Rockaway. The brochure in Views today describes the place to a ‘T’ and I need not say more.

Roche developed his private beach beginning in about 1908, and operated it until his death in 1931. He died intestate and his estate fell into the hands of the State of New York. The beach property went to the city, who rented out the place for a while, but the effort lacked the Roche knowhow and slowly fell in popularity.

Over the following years the development of O’Donohue Park and the building of a concrete ocean promenade, a playground, and parking lot increased beach use, but only after the serious erosion problem was fought and almost, but not quite, won!

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