2013-08-30 / Community

Far Rock Bungalows Get National Historic Recognition

By Miriam Rosenberg

In their hey-day they were known as the place where both the elite and the not so elite came to spend the summer.

Now almost a century later the National Park Service (NPS) has listed the bungalows on Beach 24th, 25th, and 26th Streets in Far Rockaway on its National Register of Historic Places.

The listing of the Far Rockaway Beach Bungalow Historic District became official on July 17th; several months after the bungalows were added to the NPS State Register of Historic Places.

Richard George, the president of the Beach Bungalow Preservation Association said the listing meant “the bungalows will be preserved as an example of vernacular architecture for this and future generations who can experience them as one of the last remaining remnants of Far Rockaway in the early 20th centu- ry.” He added, “The low lying bungalows, with common walkways to the ocean, are a tribute to their vitality as the ideal structure suited for a coastal environment that continues to thrive into the 21st century.”

The quest to be listed on the register began in 2005 when a representative for the NPS photographed the bungalows and made a presentation to the park service board.

“The National Park Service Board approved our bungalows to meet the criteria of the National Park Service [to become] a historic district,” said George.

After that each bungalow then needed to be documented. For that $10,400 needed to be raised. In 2011 Bootleg Productions, which produces the HBO Martin Scorsese series Boardwalk Empire, gave $10,000.

Cast and crew were on site in 2010 using the bungalows as backdrops for the show. The rest of the money needed was raised from members of the BBPA.

In 2012, Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association earned a spot in the city’s Historic District Council’s Six To Celebrate! as one of six locations that year that the council chose to help in preservation efforts.

During that time, Nancy Solomon of Long Island Traditions was hired to handle the research and paperwork needed to apply for the nomination to the State Register.

Daniel McEneny, who is a Preservation Program Analyst for New York City/Long Island/City of Buffalo regions at the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation of the State Parks Department, helped with the process.

After the bungalows were approved for the State Register in December 2012 McEneny said the nomination was “forwarded to the National Park Service for final listing on the National Register.”

Being on the register does have some benefits, such as a 20 percent historic preservation tax credit for homeowners of properties listed on the registers for rehabilitation of the property.

The registers are separate from the city’s Landmark Preservation program, but being on the NPS State and National Historic Registers can be an advantage if the area does seek landmark status.

“The National Park Service made us document each and every bungalow and it means the Landmarks Preservation Commission has less work to do,” said George.

According to George the designated historic bungalows were built between 1919 and 1921.

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