2012-08-31 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

There Were Two Celebrations, A Year Apart, To Open Crossbay Road in The 1920s
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke


The line of march forms behind the band on Beach 116 Street, between the LIRR station and the beach. The boulevard is at right center, where an auto is seen coming down the street. The tracks shown are the Rockaway Beach Trolley Line, from the Boulevard to Newport Avenue. The line of march forms behind the band on Beach 116 Street, between the LIRR station and the beach. The boulevard is at right center, where an auto is seen coming down the street. The tracks shown are the Rockaway Beach Trolley Line, from the Boulevard to Newport Avenue. The first dedication celebration for the opening of Crossbay Road was held in early October of 1924. This event noted the completion and opening of the first Crossbay Bridge over Beach Channel to the Bay Island known as Broad Channel. It would be at least another year before the entire roadway, over the bay to the mainland at Howard Beach, would be completed.

A grand parade was held from Beach 116 Street to the bridge, and then over to Broad Channel. The line of march rested at the Bridge Plaza at Beach 95 Street, while speeches were made by many dignitaries present, and the most important of which was given by John Jamieson, the father of the causeway. Mr. Jamieson donated most of the land for the bridge approaches and landing in the Holland section of Rockaway Beach. He was a Rockaway businessman, who with his partner John A. Bond, owned and operated the Jamieson-Bond Lumber and Building Supply Company, and also dealt with hay, seed, coal, kerosene, and oils. Both men were Rockaway Beach pioneers, and were civically active for the betterment of the Rockaways.


Queens Borough President Connolly’s line of cars for dignitaries line the sidewalk on the east side of Beach 116 Street, south of the Boulevard. Queens Borough President Connolly’s line of cars for dignitaries line the sidewalk on the east side of Beach 116 Street, south of the Boulevard. New York City Mayor John F. Hylan attended the event, as did members of the board of estimate and various city departments, and all rode in the parade with representatives of the police and fire departments and local dignitaries.

The second dedication celebration was held at the end of October in 1925. This event noted the official opening of the entire Crossbay Road, and the official entourage, with cars full of VIPs and dignitaries, starting their trip over the causeway to Rockaway Beach at Howard Beach.


The line of autos exiting Beach 116 Street to cross the boulevard and go to the bayside to ride the new bay road to the Bridge Plaza. The sign notes who is in the open car behind the vehicle with the sign. John Jamieson is in the open car. The line of autos exiting Beach 116 Street to cross the boulevard and go to the bayside to ride the new bay road to the Bridge Plaza. The sign notes who is in the open car behind the vehicle with the sign. John Jamieson is in the open car. I was told by a reliable source, whose initials are J.K., that a gentleman named Tony Baffa sneaked his car through the crowd and the police, and beat the official caravan to the roadway, and was the first to run over the new road traversing the bay, on fill, to the Rockaways. Can anyone second this bit of historical news?

The 1926 beach season was the first for the new road, and an article in The Wave said that cars were bumper to bumper at all times, and one could not walk across the streets, nor businessmen make deliveries. It was also said that cars did not stop or drop out of the line to shop or eat. All the traffic that came over the road caused congestion throughout the peninsula, and there were not enough police to handle the crowds, the cars, and the arguments over fender benders.


The crowd at the Bridge Plaza was put at 5,000 by The Wave, and was orderly. If the focus was a little better, many more faces could be clearly seen, and perhaps some recognized by relatives today! The crowd at the Bridge Plaza was put at 5,000 by The Wave, and was orderly. If the focus was a little better, many more faces could be clearly seen, and perhaps some recognized by relatives today! Four surviving photos of the 1924 event appear in Historical Views today, and the line of march gathering on Beach 116 Street is shown in three, and the crowd at the Bridge Plazais shown in the fourth.

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

Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History