2012-01-13 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The west side of Central Avenue in 1919, looking north to Mott Avenue
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

With Far Rockaway station at the bottom right of this photograph, on the other side of Mott Avenue, we can travel down Central Avenue past the cone shaped tower of the big United Cigar store on the southwest corner of Central and Mott Avenues. At the turn of the century, before 1900, this was the Waldorf Opera House, where spectacular shows were held, including Wild West shows and rodeos. Next is a four story general store, followed by Robohm’s Ice Cream Parlor, Gray’s Stationary, a shoe shine and hat cleaning shop, a small two story transient hotel, shoe repair shops, a bicycle store and shop, a meat market, and a few tailor shops. The largest was Louis Nebenzahl’s giant department store (which became Grant’s in the 1930s).

Classic autos and horse drawn wagons are on the avenue, and trolley poles and tracks are still visible. This view is on an old picture postcard which was published by William F. Gray, whose stationary store is shown in the photo.

The scene must be early in the morning or a weekend morning. The avenue is all but deserted.

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