Historical Views of the Rockaways
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.
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.
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.
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