2012-08-03 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

An Old View Of Rockaway Point - CA 1911 — With A Closer Look Attached
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Early in 1911, an article in The Wave newspaper announced that the Rockaway Point Company (a subsidiary of the Union-Pacific Railway, Andrew K. Vandeventer, President) would construct a Rockaway Point tent and bungalow city on its 900-acre tract between the lifesaving station and the end of the Rockaway Peninsula. Convenience stores are also to be included for the seasonal tenants.

The article continued mentioning that there were six to seven hotels at the Point at present, and that 1000 tents are scheduled to go up, as well as several hundred bungalows, all of which are to be part of a new white city – with lots of stores for shopping, a dancehall, plus churches and chapels for all denominations. Bathing facilities were to be on both ocean and bay shores. As a result, squatters will be arrested and removed from the site.

At this point in time, after many years of litigation, the courts finally vested ownership of the point in Vandeventer and the railroad, who in turn, passed managerial function to the Rockaway-Pacific Company, and they to the Rockaway Operating Company (which proved later to be a quasi dictatorial organization which ruled with an iron fist, to protect their monopolization of their Point property).

Today’s historical view appeared on a postcard published by Mr. George Burkle more than 80 years ago and contains two panoramic views of the Point near a century ago.

The top view was taken from a boat in Rockaway inlet off Reid’s Pavilion and Dock, at the Bay end of Reid Avenue at the Point Colony. The area shown is to the west of Reid’s Pavilion and Hotel, and three docks are observed. These are for private boats and ferries; the ferry dock being Reid’s Dock at the right, coming out from his Pavilion/ Hotel.

Off to the left, and barely noticeable, is the Roxbury section of the Point Colony area.

Many large and small canvas tents can be observed, as is the float attached to the ferry dock. A beauty of a sleek (future rim-runner) and fast boat has just departed the float.

The bottom view was shot from Reid’s Float, and gives us a much closer look at two of the docks, the tents, and Reid’s Pavilion/ Hotel. On the roof a sign identifies the place, stating that bay dinners are a specialty.

Next to Reid’s is Frieberg’s Pavilion/Hotel, another favorite spot at the point. The high peaked roof building on the left (in both shots) is Captain Seaman’s Hotel and Chowder House.

Also in 1911, the land for Riis Park was procured by the city of New York; Bayside, Rosedale, and the Rockaways wanted out of greater New York; the first Rockaway Beach hospital opened at Beach 85 Street and Java Place; and the Old Meyer Neveloff stores in Rockaway Beach closed, and Neveloff opened a brand new and larger store on Central Avenue in Far Rockaway.

If You have Any Old Photos or
Historical Information About The Rockaways,
Please Send It To:
HISTORICAL ROCKAWAY
C/O THE WAVE, P.O. BOX 930097
ROCKAWAY BEACH, N.Y. 11693

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