Rockaway Frolics

I like this guy's style
"Ladies Bangs Curled 15¢"
This main drag was called the Bowery
"A frolic at Rockaway Beach, 1903"
Featuring Quail or Squab on Toast, Oyster Omelet and 12 kinds of potatoes
"WANTED 500 men to eat Frankfurters"
Pristine white dresses, that exceptional flourish comme des garçcons and flirty little purses. Love
A disturbing entertainment pavilion, ca.1927
I'd wear this, sans hat.
A truly monstrous architectural concatenation in Arverne, 1900.
Evidently developer-driven McMansion buildings have a precedent.
This establishment was called the Kuloff... Cool Off, geddit?
A couple friends and I checked out Rockaway Beach this past weekend. We went armed with our iPhone GPSs, and New York Times articles charting hipster sightings and boardwalk culinary highlights, and hoping to scope out some appealing bungalow* real estate. We were not complete cultural tourists though since one of us could actually recount Rockaway excursions from high school, and I grew up in Queens, so that counted for something. We did have some street cred.

Rockaway— or The Rockaways—
is the largest urban beach in the United States. It comprises Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, and Far Rockaway which sit along side Neponsit, Arverne, Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, and Edgemere on a peninsula of Long Island (that happens to be completely part of Queens). As Wikipedia winningly points out, Broad Channel is also "psychographically", if not strictly geographically, part of the Rockaways as well.

Once a summer retreat for the well-heeled in the early 19th century, successive campaigns of transportation upgrades (railroad, subway, and then bridges) made the area more accessible—and less exclusive. With Rockaway Playland opening in 1901 the area had its heyday as an egalitarian  recreation spot in the vein of Coney Island around the 1910s.

After WWII city officials thought it was a good idea to raze everything you see above. They put in 13 story housing projects some of which became the Fort Apache—The Bronx kind, some were middle income, all were soul-deadeningly ugly.
A Rockaway housing project
*There is a great-looking documentary The Bungalows of Rockaway, about the vintage 1910s-1920s bungalows of the area that I'd love to see. Its criminal so many of them were demolished for the crap that replaced them.


Anonymous said...

Rockaway Post Office also now to close!



Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

Those are some real old photos, and I loved looking at them.

Anonymous said...

The housing projects shown above are The Baisley Park Housing Project which are not in the Rockaways, but Jamaica, Queens. I know because I grew up there.


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