2011-09-30 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

A rare view of Beach 147 Street in Neponsit
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

This ca. 1936 picture postcard of Beach 147 Street in Neponsit has a strange history. You would think that it would be mailed from Rockaway Beach to a faraway place, but it wasn’t. Instead, it was mailed from one faraway place to another. The card was sent to the National Bellas Hess Company in Kansas City, Kansas, to request a new 1936 Spring and Summer catalog by Mrs. Minnie Butler of Emmett, Kansas.

In the early days of the picture postcard, collecting of same was a very, very popular endeavor. People sent several cards in an envelope to a dear friend, who was expected to reciprocate. Cards were placed in albums and shown at parlor parties. There was no TV, just radio. Pictures of faraway places were in vogue and only available for stereo-opticons. Picture postcards were cheaper and easier to come by!

Perhaps someone from Neponsit sent a bunch of cards to a friend in the State of Kansas, who kept them, that is until they absolutely and positively or definitely, with an Oh!, needed something to fill out and mail!...and said to hell with it…and used a card from a friend (who will never know!) and sent for the catalog.

I found it at an auction in New Jersey, and the card has a nicely done sepiatone view of Beach 147 Street in Neponsit. The camera is on Rockaway Beach/Old Neponsit Boulevard, pointing toward the beach. The card was posted in 1936, but that is not necessarily the date of the photo, but close!

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