6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, we share a set of vintage photos documenting Rockaway Beach in the 1940s. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
These days, beachgoers give nary a thought when stripping down to their skimpy bikinis and short-shorts, but 70 years ago wearing much more modest swimsuits was enough to get you a ticket from the NYPD. Noted LIFE magazine photographer Sam Shere (who’s best known for his iconic photo of the Hindenburg disaster) documented this “indecent exposure” phenomenon at Rockaway Beach in 1946. Starting with a sign that reads “wear robes to and from the beach,” Shere’s series shows women sunbathing in high-wasted two-pieces, men walking the boardwalk in just their shorts, and the way in which these beach bums seem unphased by the cops writing them summonses.
See all the photos here
Changes are afoot at JFK International Airport; construction has already begun on the transformation of Eero Saarinen’s masterful TWA terminal, out of commission since TWA folded in 2001, into a 505-room first class hotel, and just a few months ago, Governor Cuomo announced a massive $10 billion overhaul of the whole airport, which will involve interconnecting the terminals, redesigning roads, and improving parking, amenities and security. When finished, the airport will bear little resemblance to what it once was, which has a much more interesting history than one might think. Ahead, 6sqft delves into how JFK changed from a playground for the rich to a major international airport, with some interesting debacles in between.
The whole history ahead
Mayor de Blasio announced today that the Citywide Ferry Service, now officially named “NYC Ferry,” will be launching two routes on the first day of May: the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route. As DNA Info learned, the Rockaway route takes passengers from the new dock on Beach 108th Street to the Brooklyn Terminal, and then Wall Street’s Pier 11. Expect service on the South Brooklyn Route with stops in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook and Brooklyn Bridge Park to begin on June 1. The Astoria Route will be launched sometime in August and the Lower East Side and Soundview Routes have a launch date set in 2018. Find out more here
Set sail for home in Jamaica Bay on this $59,000 houseboat, now for sale. According to its listing, the 400-square-foot model is good for year-round living and is equipped with central cooling, carpeted floors and wonderful waterfront views. Plus this “single family” vehicle has one bed, one bath, a very large covered deck and “great solar potential”—not to mention you’ve got the ocean as your playground. The listing says the houseboat, a 2007 Custom Flo-Lodge, was hauled a year ago across the Verrazano Narrows to its current docking point at Far Rockaway’s Marina 59, and has been floating there ever since.
Yo ho a pirate’s life in Queens
“We shouldn’t settle for second best on anything,” Governor Cuomo proclaimed at the opening of the Second Avenue Subway this past weekend, and he was serious. This afternoon Cuomo announced that John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) will receive a massive overhaul that will transform the dated hub into a modern, state-of-the-art facility that can finally “meet the needs of a 21st century economy.” As laid out by the governor’s office, the revamp will address three main issues: unifying all the terminals with an interconnected layout so the airport is more easily navigable; improving road access to the airport; and expanding rail mass transit to meet projected passenger growth. In 2016 the airport served 60 million passengers, and this number is expected to increase to 75 million by 2030 and 100 million passengers by 2050.
more details and renderings this way
Edgemere is a small neighborhood in the Rockaways that was full of beachfront hotels and bungalows back at the turn of the century. After Robert Moses tore down its most magnificent hotel and replaced it with a parking lot in 1941, the area soon fell into disrepair and became a ghost town. Just this year, however, the city released its Resilient Edgemere Community Planning Initiative to repair Sandy damage, protect the neighborhood from future flooding, improve transportation, and build resilient housing. One of these new projects is called Beach Green Dunes, a brand new Passive Building at 44-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard with amenities like a roof garden, courtyard, parking, and fitness center. An affordable housing lottery for its 100 units opens today, ranging from $653/month studios to $1,597/month three-bedrooms.
Find out if you qualify
Rockaway Beach is having a rebirth of sorts as more and more New Yorkers head for its waters on the hottest of days. On top of new restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, surf clubs and other hipster hotspots popping up along its main drags, now comes an opportunity to live in a brand-new construction at 9306 Shore Front Parkway, just steps from the sand. Per the NYC Housing Connect, households of up to six earning 40, 50 or 150 percent of the area median income can now apply for 63 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments priced between $494 and $2120.
more details here
You don’t have to leave town if you’re looking for a late summer getaway. You could just rent this restored Rockaway Beach bungalow, available on Airbnb for $130 a night. The two-bedroom pad, which the hosts call a “classic old bungalow,” fits five guests. Lots of windows and a double-height ceiling mean the space has a lofty vibe, but mostly it’s a charming and cozy place to shack up in New York City’s surf town.
Take a look around
For $850 a night you could nab a room at the iconic Plaza Hotel or something much, much less traditional: a houseboat in the waters of Far Rockaway owned by a Vermont hipster. That’s right, this kooky houseboat, dubbed the Ziggy Stardust, is up for rent at the aforementioned nightly price through Airbnb. It is pretty decked out inside with surfboards, guitars, and pieces of reclaimed driftwood. We’ll go out on a limb and say it’s one of the most unique places to spend a night in New York City.
Take a tour of the boat
Those who laughed at Kent Johnson’s plan to bring a “glamping” site to the Far Rockaway can now eat a slice of humble pie. It looks like the designer has raised enough funds via Kickstarter to make the “luxurious” campsite a reality. Johnson targeted $50,000, and just a mere five hours ago managed to exceed his goal by $789.
More on Camp Rockaway this way
And the glamping trend continues…
Designer Kent Johnson has just launched a Kickstarter campaign that aims to bring a “luxurious” tent campsite to the Rockaways. From fully furnished tents with crisp white linens, to private fire pits and hot tubs overlooking Jamaica Bay, this is not your everyday man’s campsite. And if you think the idea sounds crazy, think again. It’s actually an initiative inspired by the area’s past, which once found incredible success!
More on Camp Rockaway this way