2014-03-14 / Columnists

Down In Old Rockaway

By Dan Guarino


Rockaway’s Playland circa 1941. Photo courtesy of William Louw Rockaway’s Playland circa 1941. Photo courtesy of William Louw You can almost still hear the roller coaster as it rattles up the steep wooden track and the screams as it zoomed down.

Though closed nearly 30 years ago, memories of Rockaway’s Playland still linger on.

“I found this in my parent’s old collection,” said William Louw of this photo taken from the boardwalk. He dates it to around 1941.

Located at Beach 98 Street between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and the boardwalk, the most well know of Rockaway’s many amusement parks opened in 1902 and closed in 1985.

Rich Ayrey recalled, “I spent my summers in a bungalow in Rockaway Park from the early 1950s until 1965. My family finally moved there in 1966.”

“As a teenager I worked at Playland during the summers and loved the merry-go-round and the roller coaster. I can remember stretching out to grab the brass ring.”


Strike up the band! This undated group of visitors stops for a souvenir photo of their day at Playland. Photo courtesy of Rich Ayrey Strike up the band! This undated group of visitors stops for a souvenir photo of their day at Playland. Photo courtesy of Rich Ayrey Currently living in Flagstaff, Arizona, Ayrey found this group photo of long ago park goers for sale at an antique mall in Phoenix.

Pictured among them are what appear to be several musicians in striped-blazers, along with a saxophone, violin and a drum.

It was a bit before his time, Ayrey admitted, but he was curious if anyone could date the photo.

So, Wave readers, if you have any information on where this picture was taken or who the people are in it, send it to dan@rockawave.com.

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