2011-05-20 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

A scene on the beach at Seaside – Rockaway Beach, N.Y. –1918
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

This photo of the beach at Seaside is an historical gem, in the sense that you see all that was repaired and replaced after the storm of 1914, and lost or destroyed again during the storm of 1920. The iron pier at Beach 105 Street lost the pavilion you see and quite a few feet of the pier decking. The platforms and pavilions shown were whacked, destroyed, and washed away, as was much of the beach shown. In return, King Neptune and Mother Nature left tons of hard-shelled clams and other crustaceans. The wreckage on the beach wound up as firewood in many houses, but the clams and other sealife that washed up, had to be cleaned up before the nostril agonies set in! Several years later it was not-to-worry any more. The new citybuilt boardwalk did not allow structures on the beachside of the boardwalk anymore. Along with the new Ocean Promenade came wooden beach jetties at the end of each block.

Shown in today’s historical view is the Seaside ocean pier, originally 1080 feet into the ocean when it was installed in 1880, and shortened by each storm thereafter, until the last section was ripped out with the coming of the new Ocean Promenade in 1926.

The many signs tout cold beer here!, rooms and tents for rent!, and a ten cent bowl of clam chowder!, and basket parties (people with their own food) were welcome, but had to buy their favorite beverage. Advertised on the beach umbrella were Sun-Proof paints and Bloomingdale’s department store in the city.

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