by Kevin Walsh

This white enamel directional sign can be found on Seagirt Boulevard just east of Beach 9th Street. It was probably placed there and is incomplete; it likely had an arrow at one time, as traffic needs to be prepared to turn right in order to cross the Atlantic Beach Bridge, at the end of the boulevard. Seagirt Boulevard was constructed in 1952 as an express route connecting Beach Channel Drive and Beach 35th Street with the bridge. It overlies much of a preceding route, Seagirt Avenue, and there are a pair of orphaned sections of Seagirt Avenue in Far Rockaway south of the Boulevard.

The Atlantic Beach Bridge connects the communities of Lawrence and Atlantic Beach, each in Nassau County just east of Far Rockaway, Queens. It also connects two islands, Long Island and Long Beach Barrier Island; travel east from Atlantic Beach and you will arrive in the popular seaside community of Long Beach. This is the second Atlantic Beach Bridge on the site; the first was a 120-foot drawbridge that opened in 1927. It was replaced in 1952 by the current span, also a drawbridge but 1175 feet long and with six traffic lanes instead of the former three.

One quirk of the Atlantic Beach Bridge was not only an original vehicular toll of 25 cents but also a toll on the pedestrian and bicycle lane of five cents, enforced by a turnstile. The walkway toll was eliminated when the vehicular toll was raised for the first time. Also, on the approach ramps, you’ll see a set of metal “Whitestone Bridge” lampposts, now a rarity in the five boroughs.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”



Andy Koeppel August 13, 2020 - 12:08 am

As you may know, to build the 1927 bridge, the Albany legislature passed a law that allowed Nassau County to annex a
small strip of land from Queens County to enable the approach road to the bridge to be entirely in Nassau County.

Andy August 13, 2020 - 9:39 am

I know the sign and its location, and the sign is definitely incomplete. It needs two arrows, one for Atlantic Beach and one for Rockaway Turnpike, which would be the route to “New York.” No doubt the arrows fell off and were never replaced, since the sign is a 1950’s style that was once common on New York parkways and expressways.
Seagirt Boulevard ends about a half mile beyond that sign, at a trumpet-style interchange. The first turn (right) leads to the Atlantic Beach Bridge (the meaning of “Atlantic Beach” on the white sign in the photo); there is also an almost hidden off-ramp for local streets. Continuing straight will lead to a 270-degree turn that leads to Rockaway Turnpike going north into mainland Queens and connections with the Belt Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway (the meaning of “New York” on the white sign in the photo).
Signage on Seagirt Blvd. at its east end is vague and terrible, worse than anyplace else in NYC or Long Island. Beyond the white sign, there is only one other, a tiny green and white sign where Seagirt Blvd. ends and one must choose between the AB Bridge and Rockaway Tpke. Even to someone like myself, a veteran driver and 40-plus year resident of a nearby Nassau County community, this stretch of road is poorly signed. Most people who use it are presumably local residents of either the Rockaways or Atlantic Beach and are thus completely familiar with the area.
One final note – the AB Bridge does not accept EZ Pass and still collects tolls by hand. Many users have an annual permit affixed to their vehicles. The Nassau County Bridge Authority, an independent agency, operates the AB Bridge. Toll collection was suspended between March and June 2020 due to COVID-19.

redstaterefugee August 13, 2020 - 10:42 am

As featured in “The Godfather”:

Peter Slaton August 13, 2020 - 6:28 pm

I worked at Hennings Fishing Station on the west side of the bridge in Atlantic Beach back in the early 70’s. I remember paying the toll to ride my bicycle across. They also sold monthly ticket books for commuters. Hen I g’s was owned by Sy Rubin and Leon Miller back then. Some of the best summers ever working there for $1.85/hour.

Anonymous August 14, 2020 - 7:24 am

From the time I was 3 until the time I was 7 I lived in Long
Beach, across that bridge. I lived in houses in CT (1) NY (3) and
Philly (4) growing up. Long Beach my favorite – nothing like
being 10 minutes from the beach.

John August 14, 2020 - 6:01 pm

The B&W sign reminds me of the old Belt Parkway signs.

Reuven August 14, 2020 - 8:51 pm

One of my father’s pet causes was trying to eliminate the toll on the bridge, which basically goes to cover the salary of the toll takers and some “bridge commissioners.” The people of Atlantic City thinks the toll keeps the riff-raff out. My feeling is if they want private streets they should pay for them.

redstaterefugee August 17, 2020 - 9:31 am

You mean Atlantic Beach, don’t you?

Lawrence Hughes August 19, 2020 - 5:59 pm

I still have a receipt for having paid a five-cent toll for walking over the bridge.

Ed Greenberg August 25, 2020 - 6:00 am

I remember this bridge. I was under 10 years old when we regularly used it. My great aunt and uncle (my Grandfather’s brother and his wife) lived in Forest Hills, but they had acabana (an seasonal rental, I imagine) on the beachfront at Atlantic Beach. This would have been 1955-1965.


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