It was the hottest day of the year so far, and I spent it in Far Rockaway.
The plan was simple. The day after the Hurricane Sandy-ravaged A train trestle was restored to service across Jamaica Bay, I would take it to its further reaches at the very end of Queens, the eastern end of the Rockaway peninsula, where the city has stashed housing projects and old folks’ homes for decades. I’d walk the longest boardwalk on the east coast and perhaps, the USA, from Beach 9th all the way to the end in the Beach 120s. But as the master of the Newtown Pentacle often phrases it, the ‘thermonuclear eye of God’ was burning with an end-of-July intensity. So I altered the plan into a brief walk around Far Rockaway instead.
Needless to say, this portion of New York City has been Ultima Thule as far as I’ve been concerned as long as I’ve been exploring. When I was a teenager in the mid-1970s, I would gird my loins and brave the Marine Parkway Bridge, which has perilously low railings and prompted a fear of gusting winds, and cross Jamaica Bay on my bicycle. One day the weather was sufficiently crisp and I followed the concrete el all the way to the end, and I had attained Far Rock on my bike. I felt like Captain Cook. Then, I turned around and pedaled 15 miles back to Bay Ridge. This was years before the Willyburg hipsters were pedaling to Rockaway Beach for the fish tacos.
Years passed, and I visited again a few times when researching and photographing Forgotten NY the website and the book. Gradually, I’ve gotten something of a handle on the town (it’s more like an isolated town than a neighborhood). Here, the general grid system that dictates the street layouts of most NYC neighborhoods falls away, and like downtown Boston, the layout is more like a hub, with the spokes circulating around the intersection of Mott and Cornaga Avenues, and though you do have regulation, 4-cornered intersections, but even that disappears in Wavecrest, originally a private development built around 1900.
On this walk, I covered some of the ground that I had on a Far Rock walk in 2003. 10 years! It all went by so quickly. Even on these two walks, I was unable to comprehensively cover places like Wavecrest and Bayswater, though I have touched on them. Other pages cover neighboring Edgemere and part of Arverne.
The Smith Bvilding occupies the NE corner of Mott and Central Avenues, the two most prominent avenues in the neighborhood. The building dates to 1931 and replaced an earlier Smith Building that went up in 1911; it had contained offices of the Far Rockaway Bank, whose president was named Samuel R. Smith. There is also a dead end Smith Court in the back of the building facing Mott Avenue.
This key intersection is well covered in Rockaway Memories.
Central Avenue is one of the few Far Rockaway thoroughfares that is vouchsafed by Nassau County to keep its name once entering the county. It extends for a mile or so, ending in Woodmere.
The Far Rockaway Bank was organized in 1880 and was merged into the National Bank of Long Island, becoming the National Bank of Far Rockaway, in 1903. Its marble Greek Revival building went up in 1912. The building is wedge-shaped to accommodate the former route of the Long Island Rail Road, which adjoined its left side until the mid-1950s.
Cuban-born gynecologist Perla Tate has occupied offices in the building for several years.
Engine 264/328, Ladder 134, known as “The Big House,” Central Avenue opposite the Tate Building. Anyone have any stories about the firehouse?
The Rockaway News, Central Avenue. Since the Rockaways became a resort area in the late 1800s, there have been a series of newspapers published serving the community. The first of these was The Rockaway Rattler, later the Rockaway Journal, first published in 1883. It was followed by Rockaway Life, Far Rockaway Journal, The Argus, and The Rockaway News. The sole survivor is The Wave, founded in 1893. Tragically The Wave lost much of its physical archives to Hurricane Sandy.
This arch-windowed, pedimented one-time beauty along Central Avenue was a Masonic temple at one time. All over town, Masonic temples display eclecticism and beauty in their architecture.
Far Rockaway has always had its share of multi-unit apartment buildings like The Balfour at Central Avenue and Nameoke Street. The commuter railroad to New York is nearby.
Speaking of Nameoke Street, I’m stumped about its pronunciation and derivation. It doesn’t appear on area maps until the 1920s or so; it was formerly named Roanoke Street and Carlton Avenue and I suppose its name is Native American in origin. Looking at it, I’d guess it’s pronounced na -MEE -o-kee, but I’ve been wrong about these things before, and it might well be NAMMY-oak. It’s one of those place names found exclusively in Far Rockaway, like Cornaga or Watjean.
In Copenhagen some of the street signs were outfitted with speakers that talk their pronunciations at you. (In NYC, experienced vandals would have these disconnected forthwith.)
A selection of houses along Nameoke Street. I always look for houses with older features that mark their great age. The big one with the slight gambrel, the dormers and the white fence looks like it could have been a Dutch farmhouse.
Intermediate School 53 on Nameoke Street has been called the Brian Piccolo School since 1972. Piccolo was a fullback for the Chicago Bears for four years before his death from cancer at age 26. He was played by James Caan in the acclaimed television film Brian’s Song in 1971.
Turning up Mott Avenue, named for landowner Benjamin Mott, who donated property for the original Long Island Rail Road terminal (which stood where the shopping mall across the street from the A train terminal on Mott Avenue is now).
The US Post Office on Mott Avenue and Beach 18th St was finished in 1936 and designed by architect Eric Kebbon. It was built in a Colonial Revival style and its dome was inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
The oldest church in Far Rockaway, now the Beth-El Temple, can be found across Beach 18th from the post office. It was built in 1858 to a design by famed ecclesiastical architect Richard Upjohn of Trinity Church fame. It was a chapel of the Trinity parish before it became the independent St. John’s Episcopal Church in 1881. It became the Beth-El Temple in 1975. The roof is apparently under repair, with a blue tarp stretched across it.
Two handsome churches of a certain age are next door from each other on the south side of Mott Avenue, the Doric-columned Refuge Church of Christ and God’s Pentacostal Church, which caters to a Latino congregation.
So many police precincts in NYC built in the 1920s have the Italian Renaissance Style, such as the 101st Precinct on Mott Avenue just west of Cornaga.
Though New York Newsday stopped publishing several years ago (there’s still a Long Island edition) this convenience store on Mott and Cornaga still has the old sign.
One of southern Far Rockaway’s premier homes, complete with dormers, gables, a porch and topiary, at Caffrey and New Haven Avenues. James Caffrey founded Far Rockway’s seashore Transatlantic Hotel in 1843.
Around the corner, on Caffrey, is probably Far Rockaway’s oldest artifact, the Cornell Family Burial Ground, one of Queen’s many vest pocket family cemeteries. The first formal settlement by an Englishman in what is now Far Rockaway was Richard Cornell’s homestead, built in 1690, located on what would now be Beach 19th Street. Cornell’s descendants lived in the area until 1833. This cemetery was established in the early 18th Century. Family members include Ezra Cornell, who founded Cornell University, and Alonzo Cornell, a NYS Governor from 1879-1882 (Alonzo Road, elsewhere in Far Rockaway, is likely named for him.) The actual tombstones fell and were carted away decades ago. Till recently the cemetery was hidden behind hedges and overgrowth, but the Parks Department has cleared them away.
Richard Cornell not only owned much of Far Rockaway at one time, but much of eastern Queens along what is now the Queens-Nassau County Line, all the way north to Little Neck.
A 1946 account has a photo of the cemetery, overgrown even then, with gravestones intact.
Far Rockaway is full, and I mean full, of odd alleys and dead-ends, many of which don’t make the maps or are even granted street signs. Grandview Court (top) and William Court, both on Caffrey Avenue, are two of these.
Beach 9th Street, called Jarvis Lane and Oak Street before 1916, when Far Rockaway acquired its Beach street numbering system, is a main north-south thoroughfare in the eastern part of the town. Between Cornaga and Central Avenues, it features a phantasmagorical collection of freestanding houses built from 1890-1920 that can rival anything in Richmond Hill or Prospect Park South. “You’d Never Believe You’re in Far Rockaway” eh?
Despite all that, we’re still in Far Rockaway — so there’s an empty lot filled with “Collyer trucks” (stuffed with unusable things.)
Another beauty at Sage Street and Alonzo Road, named for Governor Alonzo Cornell. What’s that unusual conifer in the left background?
Some of the utility poles in Far Rockaway are equipped with these things. Can anyone identify their purpose in Comments?
Alonzo Road runs into Doughty Boulevard. The strange thing is that the houses along the road are all in Far Rockaway, while the boulevard itself is in Lawrence, one of the Nassau County Five Towns. The city line runs on the sidewalk, apparently.
Also: notice that the hyphen, the trademark for most Queens County house numbers, does not appear in Far Rockaway.
NYS 878 at Central Avenue. this surface arterial highway, which runs from Rockaway Turnpike in Cedarhurst to the Atlantic Beach Bridge, is relatively new: it was completed in 1990. Another section of the 878 parallels the Belt Parkway along Kennedy Airport; that section is signed as Interstate 878.
Handsome Tudor-esque apartment building at Virginia Stret and Central Avenue.
I live in Little Neck, also along the Queens-Nassau line, and there aren’t any “Welcome to Queens” signs there, though there are some “welcome to Nassau County” signs.
The doyenne of Far Rockaway churches is the Russell Sage Memorial First Presbyterian Church, on Central Avenue facing the north end of Beach 9th.
Financier and philanthropist Russell Sage (1815-1906) left a considerable fortune to his widow Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage (1828-1918), who established Russell Sage College for Women in his hometown, Troy, NY, established bird sanctuaries in Louisiana, and founded NYC’s Russell Sage Foundation, dedicated to research in social welfare, public health, education, government, and law. Mrs. Sage also funded this magnificent building, the magnificent First Presbyterian Church, a.k.a. The Sage Memorial Church, with its stained glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. It was built in 1909 by Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson.
Feeling the heat, it was time to head for home. Making my way toward the tracks, this early 20th Century leftover on Augustina Avenue and Nameoke Street boasts a conifer in the front yard.
We’re edging toward the tough part of town. This Nameoke Street house has seen better times. When those times were, I don’t know.
I’ve seen a number of Long Island Rail Road terminals (Penn Station, Flatbush Avenue, Port Washington, even Long Island City) and by far the Far Rock terminal is the most perfunctory. Heavy metal screens protect the windows. This became the terminal when the LIRR severed the connection to what became the A train after 1956. All trace of such a connection has vanished.
I think that only the lack of a turnaround at Inwood has prevented that from being the terminal. Heading back to town, I noticed that the 5 Towns stations were anchors of busy, prosperous neighborhoods, with plenty of shops and restaurants. Here, you’re faced with an auto repairs shop across Nameoke Street when you get off.
I’ll be back to the Far Rock when it’s cooler.
The unusual conifer in the background at Sage Street and Alonzo Road is actually a white pine which has been affected by Sandy. White pines across the region are struggling to survive after being dried out by strong salty winds during the storm.
I lived in that house….virginia st. side 🙂
i lived in that house…virginia st. side 🙂
Great coverage! I took some photos around Hammels a couple summers ago and would like to go back and check out these sections here also.
Perhaps that ‘device’ on the pole was a gunshot detector?
That area that you are saying [gun shot detector ]borders one of the most expensive upscale areas on the east coast with that part of Far Rockaway called West Lawrence having homes worth in the million dollar vicinity ,so yes being within a 10 minute walk to the A train subway stop & that being that the area where you have had issues in the past ,
however with the gentrification of the area around the subway that as well is a thing of the past.
FAR ROCKAWAY…Moved there in 1951 when you traveled the LIRR(my late father worked for the LIRR)he converted a summer house into all season house on Bch 6th…I attn. PS39(behind the PO)the JHS198(BCH 60TH)then rode the A train to high school in Manhatten(1959-1962).The fire house in the 1950’s had 2 ARENS-FOX piston pumpers and 2 ladder trucks,and there was a Buick dealer door,also next to the firehouse was the public library….walked or rode bikes 99% of time….before the subway came out Rockaway was a ghost town between Labor Day and May 31,only the locals!!!!Got my draft card at the PO in 1962(still have in my wallet)….and played baseball for one of the PAL teams out of the 101PCT…..
Live in Wyoming these days…..miss FarRockaway but no NYC!!!!!!!
There was a park in between that fire station and the library. It had a few swings, see-saw, slide and a sprinkler that was only on when it was extremely hot and I can remember it being on about 3 or 4 times.
I remember in the early 70’s going to that park near the library.
i rem that park! There was another closer to my house. It was on Nameoke between Dinsmore and Cornega … maybe. Next to the school.
I lived/grew up in a turn of the 19th century 4 story walk-up on Cornaga Ave intersecting with 20th St, the playground in between the firehouse and libray was our closest playground, it had swings, slides and sewsaws. It later got taken over by the fire department for parking 🙁
Does anyone remember a hotel on Seagirt Blvd (address was around 1402 I think) back in the late 50’s? It was renamed the Peri Hotel for a short while and was later sold.
JHS 198 is on 56th St and Beach Channel Drive, not 60th. I lived on 59th and Bch Channel Dr from 1960-1976. And the street Nameoke is pronunced nammy-oak.
Do or did know Steve Coopersmith
He should be about 81.
Those are the shot spotter system …it detects if someone fired a gun….and using triangulation it can determine where the shots came from
kevin, I do believe they are wi fi “hot spots”
I am amazed that the Beth-El Temple, which you say took over the former church it uses in 1975, still has a cross on the steeple. I would have expected that would be the first thing to be removed. Is it landmarked or something, preventing its removal?
I found the answer. The Beth-El Temple is NOT what that short name suggests. The full name of the place is “Bethel Temple Church of God in Christ”! Now the picture makes sense. Oops.
Route 878 has a long and fairly tortured history and is in fact a remnant of a failed Robert Moses project. There is a great article on 878 at http://www.nycroads.com/roads/NY-878/.
Also, I believe that it is broken up into two parts because of that failed project.
Nameoke (Nammy-oak) is the correct pronunciation as far as I know is an Algonquian word which was anglicized it means Fishing place
Correct. That’s the only way I’ve ever heard it pronounced.
I grew up on that street and you have the correct pronunciation.
Funny, I went to school at IS 53 and lived in the area on Cornaga Ave, we always pronounced it Nay-mee-oak
I was at IS53 in 1973 …. Mr Goldstein
He was my teacher also , I lived on Beach 47th Street
In Far Rockaway is an old LILCO power plant from 1952 being slowly torn down. On that site was also an even older power plant from God Knows When, which was torn down in the 1970s. If anyone has pictures of these, or other LILCO properties, I’d love to see them.
My Wife worked in the Lilco Office early 70’s and I worked at the Lawrence Post Office. Fifty years later we are retired 10 plus years now and living in Medford Long Island since 1976. Great Memories and Great people from Far Rockaway and they were always a Blessing
You featured the firehouse almost one week after the station turned 100. It opened on May 24, 1913. It was built on the site of the former quarters of Protective Engine 1, Oceanic Hose 1, and Protective Ladder 1. The three volunteer companies were disbanded on September 1, 1905 with the reorganizing of a permanent paid engine and ladder company taking their place in the station.
The old station was torn down in 1912 with the new, current station built in its place opening on May 24th, 1913.
I used to make the same bike trip with a friend from the Homecrest section of Brooklyn when I was a kid in the late 1960s, usually in cooler weather. There were never too many people around. With the ocean, the beach, and good transportation I could never understand why the Rockaways were not more developed. Of course I was a kid, and didn’t understand things like hurricanes and tropical storms.
I’ve done the walk you initially intended to do along the boardwalk a few years back and I hope to do so again this summer. Took the A train to Far Rockaway – Mott Ave and walked down to the beach. Walked on the boardwalk west, to the end if I remember, and came out in what I guess is Belle Harbor. From there, walked west a bit more to the Gil Hodges Bridge and up Flatbush Ave. At this point it was getting dark and Flatbush Ave was kind of desolate in terms of being on foot. At the time I was living in Greenpoint, so I think we kept walking to Nostrand Ave and caught the B44 which took us almost all the way home. Long day and a long walk, but I look forward to doing it again! Thanks for the reminder!
While traveling to the Rockaways across Cross Bay Blvd, we would see the burning testle of the LIRR that crossed Jamaica Bay ….This happened so often.. LIRR continued to operate the mainland route thru Lawrence and Hewlett to Far Rockaway….always wondered why the railroad operated the two Rockaway branches anyways….I took the LIRR from Flatbush Ave many times and you did not have to change at Jamaica, which was always nice…
My friends and I used to ride our bikes from the beginning of the boardwalk in Far Rockaway on 17th Street, to the end of the boardwalk in Belle Harbor, beach 125th street. I do miss those days!!!
So sad about very old cemeteries; wonder who carts the tombstones away when they are damaged and where they are stored. Parks Department?
Great job Kevin. Thanks!
I REMEMBER COMING HOME FROM SCHOOL ON SCHOOL BUS AND WHEN WE PAST THE CEMETARY AT BEGINNING OF BEACH 11TH STREET WE USED TO PUT OUR THUMBS UP TO SHOW REPECT. I ALSO REMEMBER WHEN MY SONS WERE SMALL WALKING PAST SAME SPOT AND TOMBSTONES AND WHOLE CEMETARY BEING GONE. I THINK THEY BUILT HOUSES AND APARTMENTS THERE.
The old marble tombstones are buried on the site.
My family lived in Far Rockaway from before WW1 until 1976. Brian’s pronunciation of Nameoke is correct. The firehouse used to have a playground next to it with swings and a teeter-toter, on which I played as a pre-schooler. It was made into a parking lot for the firehouse. Gary Muhrke, winner of the first NYC Marathon was a fireman there. Last September I ran the entire boardwalk back and forth before going for a swim. I’m looking forward to running it after it is re-built (hopefully with a minimum of concrete).
I lived in Far Rockaway first on Empire Ave, than on Demott Ct. The pictures reminded of the great times I had there when my boys were young, Thanks to whoever put this wonderful down memory land together
the tombstones are still there but they are not located on the parks property,they are located behind the nursing home on gateway blvd and they are on state property
We moved to Redfern Houses when I was 6 months old (around 1960). Their was a post office that opened up on the corner of Nameoke St. and Redfern Ave. I filled out a card to get my social security number there when I was twelve (sort of a rite of passage). Right next to it was the LIRR Station. I did ride it a few times but we had a car or rode the bus to get to anywhere we wanted to go. Across the street from there was a building- Studley’s Paper Manufacturing. I can smell it as I type this. Right next to that building is what we used to call “The Dirt Road”. It was part of where the LIRR and the A train connected. We used it as a short cut to The Village which began at he corner of Mott & Central Aves. Many more stories and a few pictures too.
How nice to hear from someone who also grew up in the Redfern projects. I remember the “dirt road.” I remember too we used to play in that Studley’s Manufacturing building when it was abandoned. It later burned down. Back then, Redfern projects were a study in multicultural living. We had whites, blacks, latinos and asians living together in a community. Those days are long gone.
I don’t know if you are related but I’m looking for 2 old friends Chuck and or Al Caban they were originaly from redfern THANKS
I grew up with a family named caban from redfren they had a son called milton a daugter named elba they attented the spainsh church on mott
not sure about those names do remember there were a few brothers and sisters they later moved to about 45 ST. their dad was a minister
How nice to see some refer to “The Village”! I lived in Bayswater and we all called the shopping area “The Village.” Wonderful site! For tons (39 pages) of more Rockaway “stuff,” please visit my site:
Does anyone remember Pete and Steve who owned the Concord Restaurant on B.20th St across the street from the old Strand Theater and about four doors down from Mortons Army and Navy Store? Pete was my dad. Him and my uncle Steve bought the restaurant in 1972. My dad died in 1980 and we closed down around 1982.
On Seagert AV there is a a marsh and abanded inn you should check it out
Great pictures. Brought back many memories. When I pledged for a society while going to Far Rockaway High School, we walked in front of the firehouse & the firement dropped water balloons on us. My aunt lived on Nameoke St. I lived on Greenport Rd.
When I lived in Far Rockaway I lived on Beach 51st Street in the Egdgemere Houses. My address was 409 Beach 51st Street which was on the corner where P.S. 105 was and Penninsula General Hospital was. Could some of you guys who live in the area do me a favor and show me some pictures of the Edgemere Houses area and the Park in that area? I would also like to see the area where Gino’s Pizza is and the boardwalk area from Beach 25th Street to 35th Street.
I used to live in 409 beach 51st apartment 3b.
Edgemere projects ares now called ocean bay.
What a pleasure it was reading this info about Rockaway. I grew up in Edgmere 51 st, then Greenport Rd., then Dayton Towers.
Rockaway was a great place to grow up in. I remember going on Sat. Mornings with my father to buy fresh bagels. So many good memories.
Is it safe there these days? I’m thinking about visiting there soon.
This walk was so wonderful and informative. I always had an curiosity about some of the buildings and their history. Thank you for sharing the walk in Far Rockaway. Now I’ll go rest my feet from all of that walking. #homesick
Yes Far Rockaway was so much fun back in the day. Much has changed. I lived in Bayswater 1965-1986. My parents own the house from 196? to the present. Yes they still live there. Went to P.S.104, I.S. 53, and Far Rock High. Unfortunately The Rockaways are not what they used to be. Don’t take this the wrong way, but it is not as safe as it used to be. There have new homes and buildings put up in past years, they don’t seem like they belong. Some are on top of each other. On the old Rockaway Beach Blvd there are so many vacant over grown lots that have been cleaned up and built on. When I’m there I don’t recognize where I am. Hurricane Sandy really destroyed so much. A lot has been lost. So many memories, buildings and businesses are now gone. But my parents still live and work there and also my brother. They do not wasn’t to leave.
those odd things on the telephone poles are some kind of warning siren, as a kid growing up in Far Rockaway i remember a few of them going off, not exactly sure what triggered it though.
The boxes on the poles are for Wi-fi. The warning sirens you recall were air-raid sirens — part of the Cold War preparedness the nation went through in the 50’s and 60’s. They would be tested from time to time and set off by the utility, in this case LILCO, by switching supply current from 60 cycles to 50 cycles.
Love the pictures they bring back a lot of memorys especially Is 53 behind 101 precinct. damnnnnnnnn Big up Rockaway
Hoping to find who built the mansion on 830 Hicksville Road. Legend has it that it was built by Sam Goldwyn and I grew up in one of the sectioned off apartments and would love to know the truth of who built this amazing old house.
Can anyone help??
No matter if some one searches for his essential thing, so he/she needs to be available that in
detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.
Look into my website newsboys
In the early 60’s, I belonged to a Boy Scout Explorer Post that met once a week in the basement of the firehouse on Central Avenue. The room we met in also housed a large coal-fired boiler with a nearby coal chute and coal bin. The coal fire was stoked and fed by the firemen. They shoveled the coal from the coal bin to the boiler.
I grew up in FarRockaway in the 50s 60 early 70s seeing the pictures of my old neighbor hood brings it all back for me Thanks
[…] is also home to both the Rockaways, which has a large beach and boating culture of its own, as well as the small community of Broad […]
I grew up on Nameoke Street in the 1960s, and the residents pronounced it NAMMY-oke. Central Avenue had it’s own night life, of sorts, back then. We’d hang out at Gino’s Pizzeria, where you could watch them fling the pizza dough in the window, then maybe go across the street to the 2nd-floor pool room next to Grant’s Dept. Store. The other main store on Central Ave. was Woolworth’s, which still had a lunch counter back then, as well as a pet department, where I used to buy tropical fish. Mothers would park their baby carriages outside while they popped in for a quick shop. If we got too boisterous, we’d be chased by Benny the Cop, while Crazy Eddie (no connection to the later electronics chain) would stand in 20-degree weather in short sleeves, singing a cappela classic rock songs from an oversize looseleaf. If we got lucky, we’d induce some nice girl to stroll a few blocks east to the boardwalk for a romantic walk by the nighttime surf, and if we got really lucky, we’d spend some time under that boardwalk. By day, we’d stop off at Barton’s for a charlotte rousse (stale sponge cake with blob of whipped cream and a cherry), and I would buy pens and refills from the stationery store on Central Ave. (I forgot the name). I lived around the corner from the Sugar Bowl luncheonette on the corner of Mott and Cornaga, where you could get an egg cream for 15 cents and call your girlfriend (from the boardwalk, remember?) in a private, wood-paneled phone booth. There were two movie theaters, the Lowe’s and the Strand, I think, where, for $1.25, you could see two feature films, cartoons, and a newsreel. During the summer, there’d be fireworks off the ocean every Wednesday night that you could watch from the boardwalk. And during the summer, the beach area would be overrun by tourists, occupying the sea of bungalows that used to line the shore until they were all torn down to create low-income high-rise housing in the 1970s. Far-Rockaway also had some of the most beautiful architecture, which we, of course, didn’t appreciate as kids, by I remember me and my friends spending many happy hours walking and walking and walking through the various neighborhoods. If we wanted big-city action, we’d get on the A-train at the subway terminal, which was then a double-fare zone (30 cents instead of 15 – a fortune!). Later, the fare changed to 25 cents and they dropped the double. For a token, we’d travel into Manhattan and hang out there, but there was always a comfortable familiarity about returning to our little jewel at the foot of the pennisula.
The stationery store was Neveloff’s.
There were three movie theatres: Strand, Columbia, and Pix.
You bought your pen refills at Neveloff’s.
I love your reminiscence of Far Rockaway, I too, grew up in FR, on Sage Street, across from the Russell SAge Memorial Presbyterian Church. I also remember On On Kitchens for the great chinese take out, and what about the one that was above the woolworths, where they gave you an orange sherbert scoop with a fortune cookie on top. Ahh, Ginos pizza and a coke. great memories. WE used to ride our bikes from Far Rock all the way into Lawrence and visit the duck pond there amongst those rich houses. Riding to the beach in the summer was the greatest. How about that concession stand at like beach 13th street, with the knishes on the griddle… mmm, with some mustard. Love seeing this. I moved away in 1978, havent been back. Kinda sad to think of what it might look like now.
Let’s not forget about Grant’s, the department store on Central Ave aka 20th St, in The Village between Mott Ave and Cornaga Ave
I remember well, Larry. The movies were the Strand, Columbia and Pix. And Crazy Eddie was Eddie Landsfield who later relocated to Long Beach.
What a shame we all had to flee when the City relocated thousands of “underserved” problem families into the neighborhood.
I grew up in Far Rockaway in the 1950’s-80’s. The 2 churches you describe on Mott Avenue opposite the Post Office, formerly had different uses. The white Doric columned Refuge Church of Christ was a Christian Science Reading Room. Next to it, the brown God’s Pentecostal Church was a Masonic Temple. I remember playing on the steps of both of them as a child.
I grew up on 44th street,(342beach 44th street) to be exact. I remember my mom taking us to town(beach 20t street) to go shopping. My mom didn’t drive so we walked. I remember W.T. Grants, Woolworths, with the lunch counter. My favorite part was popping a balloon to see how much you would pay for your lunch. I remember Darlings Toy Store,The Pickwick Restaurant , Harveys Toy and Bicycle Store, Mortons Army Navy Store where I would purchase my gym clothes while attending Far Rockaway High School,( graduated in 1972). I remember the bowling alley upstairs over Grants ( I think that’s where it was.) The record store, Whelans Drug Store. I remember the little Playland on the boardwalk with all the concessions where you could play games. Rockaways Playland, the fireworks every Wednesday night on the boardwalk at 9 pm . Saint Marys’ Church. The
Aid Store, I remember Bohacks Grocery Store, and going to buy our Christmas tree in the parking lot of Cozzys Bar. I remember Cornaga Hardware Store, also Wetsons Burgers. Sorry I’m all over the place ,but I’m writing as my memories are coming back to me. I remember the summer bungalows along the beach and anticipating all the summer people that would come and all the new friends we would make. I remember the Big Z burger place on 73rd street(I think). I also remember taking bicycle rides from 44th street to Kings Plaza Mall in Brooklyn,( boy that was some ride.) And,Who could forget the State Diner on the corner of BCD and Mott Ave, and Thriftway Drugstore. So, so, many memories, all good, but then Rockaway changed, it wasn’t such a nice place to live any more, at least certain parts, and I moved away. I now live in Suffolk County, but every time I cross the Atlantic Beach Bridge and smell the water, I feel like I’m Home. In my heart, Far Rockaway will always be home.
What a beautiful recounting of past Rockaway. I lived in a few places with my family as a kid. I lived in the two bungalows on B36th street and BCD across from a gas station. We also lI’ve on Norton Avenue, 312 B28th street (on the corner of Seagirt Boulevard. Wis I had a picture of that old house which is now gone), 525 B28th street and 600 Beach 25th street. I went to PS 215, IS 53 and FRHS. I left Far Rockaway in 1978 or 79.
I went to the same schools
I lived in the corner building of Cornaga Ave the first year of my life as a baby in 1961. My family then moved to a cape cod home in Inwood. We often would shop in Far Rockaway and my mother would point the building we had moved from. I am thinking back now and reminiscing. I live in NJ now.
I just had a flood of memories. I remember Whelan drug store and also a big Woolworth’s on the main street. Also there was a famous shoe store on the left side where my mother bought me shoes as a child. I think it was called Mc something or other.
shoe store was tom mccanns my kid brother sold the daily news there at night
I would like to invite you to join my Google+ group “Growing up in Bayswater in the 1960’s-1980’s”
to join the google+ group
create a gmail account, it’s free.
then in gmail, sign up for google+.
once in google+, search for “communities”
then find the “Growing up in bayswater during the 60’s – 80’s group and request to join.
I’ll let you in.
Baruch C. Cohen, Esq.
Law Office of Baruch Cohen APLC
4929 Wilshire Boulevard, # 940
Los Angeles, CA 90010
grew up in far rock 1948 1978 inwood 1978 2003 Lt fdny far rock 1991 2002
Wow I’m learning so much about my town, iv lived here my whole life 1980 yes I’m one of the young ones and after reading these comments I can appreciate this town even more, the pictures are so real I enjoyed the information you guys provided for us younger generation to learn from
I grew up in New Haven Avenue, first in the Holiday House at the corner of B. 22nd, then later halfway down the block on the second floor of 22-36. Went to PS 215Q, then IS53. I remember getting air-popped popcorn at Grant’s, Harvey’s toy store, the Strand, the Blue Bell cleaners (still there today), riding the old subway cars of the HH, E, and A trains, getting Good Humor ice cream on the beach from a vendor on a bike, and, of course, Gino’s pizzeria (also still there today). Far Rockaway is in my soul, and always will be. I can’t bear the thought that all of it will be at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in a few short decades…how sad.
I moved to Far Rockaway in 1972 when I was 11 years old. Our first apartment was also in Holiday House..apartment 5E in 22-10. My dad owned the Concord Restaurant on B.20th St. a few doors down from Mortons with my uncle. (Anybody remembrr Pete and Steve?)We delivered food to Mortons, Harvey’s, the record shop near Grants. Chase Manhattan bank was on the corner of B.20 and Cornaga. Across the street from the bank on Cornaga was a fish market and upstairs from the fish market was a hippie clothes store. There was another restaurant across the street from Mortons and I believe the name of it was Pic Wicks or something like that. Supposedly there was a bowling alley upstairs from that restaurant but it had closed down before I moved to the Rock. I remember when Grants burned down and when the old St. Mary’s burned down I saw it from my window in Holiday House. People were saying that the pastor at the time, Father McKenna started the fire because he wanted a new modern church…who knows if that’s true. I remember On On Kitchen Chinese restaurant across the street from St. Mary’s. They had the best rice cups with that red sauce.50 cents for a small cup and $1 for a large one. When I moved to Far Rock I was just entering sixth grade. I.S.53 wasn’t finished being built yet so sixth graders were split up brtween PS 215, 104, and I believe 197. We were the first sixth grade class at I.S.53. (The school was finished halfway through my sixth grade). Does anybody remember the folding walls between the classrooms? You could hear the teacher in the other classroom yelling at their students. lol. From there I went to Far Rock High. Anybody remember Mrs.Klapperman or Mrs.Curley? We only lived in Holiday House for two years. In 1974 we moved to Rose St. which is a dead end street off Cornaga one block before B.9th St. It was great. We were the only Christian family living on a completely Orthodox Jewish street. It was awesome. Sometimes on a Friday night or Saturday the neighbor across the street would come and ask my sister if she would light the stove for her. (Being religious observant Jews they couldn’t light the stove during the sabbath). I also lived on B.31, B.32 and B.48th Streets. I miss Far Rockaway. It was a great place to grow up but I am glad I am out of there now. Crime is terrible in the Rock now. It is very unsafe. Moved to Florida where there is still a semblance of sanity. But no matter how bad it is in Far Rockaway I will always consider it home.
I forgot about Zomicks bakery on the corner of B.20th and New Haven Avenue. Plus Jacks barbershop which was on Cornaga and then he moved to B.20th. Then there was Adolphs furniture store. The Strand theatre was right across the street from our restaurant. It was closed when we moved there but opened for a while showing X rated movies. That didn’t last long. There was Dr. Cohen the optometrist a door or two down from the Strand. Carvel was on B.20th closer to Mott Ave and not too many doors down from Ginos pizza. And then there was Benny the cop. He came into our restaurant every day and always sat at the small table at the back. I couldn’t stand him but my younger cousin Andy would talk to him and hang on his every word. I never understood why. Then there was the Animal hospital across the street from the PAL building on Cornaga. There was also the kosher store on Cornaga and B.19th. A little further up from there on Cornaga was Cornaga Hardware and across the street from there was the Sugarbowl. Thping this is bringing back so many memories. The police station and post office on Mott Ave. I remember when they knocked down that trailer restaurant on Mott Ave and put a McDonalds in its place.
I lived on Beach 13th St in Far Rockaway from 1966 – 1970. Does anyone recall Champagne Bicycle Shop on Central Avenue, or Joe the Italian Barbar, Sam’s Pizza & the Fish Store on Mott Avenue? What were the owners names or what happened to them? They were all always very nice to me when I was a kid.
Does anyone know what the location was of Stark’s Hardware? My grandmother was the daughter of the owner, my great-grandfather, and I’d like to get a picture of the location while I’m in town!
I have been trying to remember the name of the day camp in Far Rockaway bounded by Caffrey Avenue, Dorian Court, Cornaga Avenue and Mador Court. No one can remember the name, but they all recall the day camp. Any memories out there?
The Hartman Y?
I lived with my grandparents in an apartment building at 750 Empire Avenue ; attended PS 39; JHS 180 ( in the SP) and one year at FRHS in the late 50 and 60s. Your commentary as well as of others brought do many memories back. Thank you all for bringing back the pizza place, the Sugar Bowl, Charlotte Russe and great appetizer/deli. There were also beach clubs, with lockers and ping pong tables… not fancy but … I went back 25 years ago and so much had changed … some day I still want to ride the A train.
I grew up in Far Rockaway. Wavecrest to be exact. 20-33 Seagirt Blvd. From the fifties until I graduated in 1964. Then moved immediately to NYC. I have the best memories of the summers there with friends and family. It was a great time to grow up. No worries. Just bike riding, playing with your friends until your mom literally called you in for dinner through the window. And of couyrse those glorious days on the beach!
Wavecrest Alumni Association
Wavecrest Alumni Association~
Far Rockaway, the coolest place on earth. What a great place to grow up. Comfortable soft and iconic wearing one of these will just make you feel better.
10% of all profits from this item will be donated to the Semper Fi Fund a non-profit 501 organization that provides a variety of programs to assist wounded veterans in all branches of the United States Armed Forces.
Just in time for the holidays, they make a great gift and you’d be helping a worthy cause.
My parents owned a dress store and a cleaning store in Neponsit. Both stores were named Milberts. There was a one block in Neponsit on 145th st with all types of commercial stores. Turner’s pharmacy, Gross the grocer, Mitchneck’s real estate to name a few. I went to PS 114. I remember when McCans shoe store on Central Ave in Far Rockaway had a fluorascope machine to measure your feet. Who knows how much radiation we were exposed to. The arcade on B35th St and the boardwalk. Tiki Roll was a also a favorite.
The arcade you mention was Fascination. I spent a lot of time (& money) there during the summers of 1968 & 1969. Wasn’t Tiki Roll originally Tuckee Roll? The name was changed to Takee Roll after vandals continually defaced the sign, as you might expect. My favorite snack, though, was a potato knish from Jerry’s. (See http://nycshore.blogspot.com/2011/03/rockaway-boardwalk-bites.html .)
Thank you for the information.
Muy parents lived on Nameoke street. They pronounced it nammy-oak.
I am looking for a picture of the old beach haven hotel on 19th st. My parents sold Nameoke and moved there as the owners.
If it was historic its a shame as it was torn down and made into adulpex/ multi family units.
243 beach 19th st
There is a photo on line of the old hotel, I believe I have a copy of it. As a child I lived across the street from the hotel in the Campbell Building, which was located on the corner across from St. Mary’s Church. We moved out of the Campbell Building in 1960, when my parents purchased a house in Bayswater.
I’m 67 (ugh!). My family lived in the Bronx. We spent many terrific summers in Far Rockaway from the 1954 to 1968, first in what was then called a “bungalow colony” called
Ostend Gardens on New Haven Avenue at Beach 14th Street and later on Beach 25th Street. They had been summering in the Rockaways since around 1930. They *always*
referred to Far Rock town center as “the Village” and constantly talked about the days before 1940 when the LIRR ran on the surface out to Rockaway Park, with the trestle
connection to the city. I was, unfortunately, completely unaware of the wonderful architecture that you’ve pictured, especially the amazing detached homes that look more like those
in a typical small town.
When I was a kid I thought Far Rockaway was in Nassau County and was surprised to learn it was actually part of Queens. My friends & I always cycled into Lawrence where my
aunt lived, and often farther. The area to the east of Lawrence (eg, Woodsburgh, Hewlett Bay Park) was still countryside. We sometimes got lost there. Until the late 60s Wave Crest Gardens were the only apartment buildings in the area. Later they built nearby high-rises for seniors. I remember the beach before they extended the boardwalk (in concrete) east of Beach 19th Street in the early 60s. There were rocks and a lot of remains of old hotels there. Does anyone recall the name of the hotel on Seagirt Blvd at Beach 25th Street that laterbecame the Phoenix House drug rehab center? My aunt stayed there in the 60s.
I remember rambling old hotels in the Beach 30s & 40s still in use in the early 60s, and the “concessions” on the boardwalk in Edgemere where you played skee-ball and bought
pizza or a hot dog for 20 cents. Or Tuckee Cup where the “cup” was actually a large bowl-shaped crunchy noodle that you could eat after you’d finished your chow mein. Actually,
very environmentally friendly! I recall the fireworks being on Tuesday nights, not Wednesdays (I think!). We used to watch them every week. Always an event! In all the years we were there, never recall a single “crime event”, although sadly by the end the “village” was becoming a bit run-down. Haven’t been back since the late 70s. Miss it terribly.
Seven years later…
The last two houses on Alonzo Road at the corner of Doughty Boulevard, across the street from each other, actually had Lawrence addresses.
The street off Caffrey that you called Grandview Court is really Grandview Terrace.
Thanks for the memories!
I spent a summer or two at a lovely rooming house in Far Rock called “Legman’s. It must have been about 70 summers ago., and is It was NOT near the beach and for subsequent summers we would rent
bungalows by the beach, on Beach 28th or Beach 29th Streets. But I will always remember Legman’s Rooming House..
By any chance, are there any other fellow old-timers here who might remember a summer Far Rock rooming house named Legman’s ?
That hotel on Seagirt Blvd. and Beach 25th Street was called the Manor. I spent many summers
there coming out from the Bronx. Enlisted in the Navy in 1952 and in 1954 while on leave, I met
my future wife at the Manor, so I will always remember the great times we had there.
We lived on a small street, Moss Place, which is between Harris and Doughty and near Empire Ave.
It was the last house in Queens on that block with the next door neighbor in Lawrence, Five Towns.
There was a empty “Lot” 4 blocks square at Doughty. The rumor, eventually proved true, was that a highway
was going to be built there. But meanwhile it served as an unofficial play area for the neighboring kids.
We used to climb trees and run around the meadow. There was one abandoned house. Does anyone know
the history of that property, who lived there etc.? And any alumni from the Moss/Harris/Empire area?
Does anyone remember the Village Tavern from the 50s & 60s?
Yes. It was my Dad’s place. I’ve been searching it’s address or at least the street name.
Born at St Jo’s in 1950. My mother was always proud of her working experience in women’s stores in Far Rockaway in the 1940s; justly. She was especially proud of rising to manager of a store I recall spoken of as “Maman’s” ( unsure of spelling). As I put some thoughts together on family history, I’d love to see a picture of that store around the ’40s if possible. Great memories of time in Far Rock as a kid; beach, boardwalk, knishes on the b’walk, learning to drive on crazy streets, good times. Thanks for the memories.