2012-03-02 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Central Avenue Looking North, Far Rockaway, New York – Late 1920s
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Central Avenue in Far Rockaway has always been the hub of the shopping sector of Far Rockaway and it still is, but not like it was in the past. The movie houses are gone for some time, as are Grant’s Department Store and the F.W. Woolworth Store, Vimm’s Appliance, Flagg Brothers and Florsheim Shoe Stores, Morty’s Army and Navy Store, Albrecht’s Dress Shop, Cushman’s Bakery, Jack’s and Meyer’s Men’s Shoes, Jimmy the Shoemaker, The Central Deli, The China House, the children’s shops like Harvey’s and Harvey’s, Brody’s Furniture, Columbia Camera and Record Shop, Red Cross and National Shoes, Skolnick & Kravitz Jewelers, and Feldman’s Tuxedos ... to remember a few. Space does not permit a complete list of all the great stores that enhanced Central Avenue, and if you recall a few, send us a remembrance and a photo if possible!

Today we see Central Avenue looking towards Mott Avenue, from the areas of the old Strand Movie Theatre, with 2,000 seats! The time is in the late 1920s, which were called the Roaring Twenties!

On the left, going up to Cornaga Avenue and Mott Avenue are a smoke shop and stationary store, a barber shop where a hot bath could be had, and Dunlop’s Sporting Goods Store (the future Morty’s) is on the corner. Across Cornaga is the Gotham Inn and a variety of shops down to the large department store known as Nebenzhal’s (the future Grant’s Department store).

On the right side we have Feldman’s Dresses (later Tuxedos), Goetz’s Piano Store, the Strand Movie House, an electrical shop, restaurant, billiards and bowling, Mullen & Buckley’s Furniture Building, and the Far Rockaway Bank on the corner of Cornaga Avenue. Across Cornaga is Lowe’s Drug Store and Soda Fountain, Brower’s Boots and Shoes, the Hotel Francais, The Columbia Theatre, and a string of various shops and a bakery. The Strand is showing a movie about somebody and the devil. You will notice that Central Avenue is a one-way street, as it always was from Mott Avenue down to the beach at Far Rockaway.

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