2011-08-26 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Cornaga and Central Avenues, Far Rockaway- 1923
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

In September of 1924 the trolley stopped running from the LIRR Station by Mott and Central Avenues, to the beachfront at Beach 19 Street and South Street (Seagirt Boulevard). The end of service on this part of the trolley line, run by the Ocean Electric Railway Company, owned by LIRR, was the first step in the total abandonment of the trolley line in the Rockaways. The last stop on the peninsula was at Riis Park and Beach 149 Street.

In this 1923 photo, a group of men are apparently waiting for the trolley to the Long Island Railroad Station, at the Cornaga Avenue stop in front of the Lowe Brothers Pharmacy. The Far Rockaway Bank is on the other side of Cornaga Avenue, and in the distance are the Far Rockaway Knights of Columbus building, Berger’s Deli, apartment houses, hotels and the 101 Police Precinct station on Mott Avenue. To the left of the camera was the Gotham Inn Hotel and Restaurant, and to the right the Dunlop Sporting Goods Store (that became Morty’s Army & Navy Store – Levis @ $5.08 a pair.

To the right of the bank was the Strand Motion Picture and Vaudeville Theatre, which is shown in the second view appearing today. The Strand had 2,000 seats and a nice make-out section up in the rear section of the sloping seat arrangement. Far Rockaway once had three movie houses (Columbia/ Strand/Gem) and all three closed up near the latter part of the last century.

Due to the public outcry, the trolley line was brought back for a short time, and stopped forever in 1928. The Far Rockaway portion began as a horse trolley in 1886 and was owned by local men. The Electric Trolley Service began in Far Rockaway in 1898, and down the peninsula in 1904.

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