Eleven blocks of Rockaway Beach will be closed this summer due to erosion, but that’s just one setback in a long history of resilience on the peninsula. Four-and-a-half miles of the beach are open right now, with every block steeped in history. The Rockaways ushered Henry Hudson into the New World; Walt Whitman into paradise; Hog Island into oblivion; and the Transatlantic Flight into existence.
As “the brightest jewel within the diadem of imperial Manhattan,” the pristine beaches of the “Queens Riviera” became the preferred summer locale for New York’s most illustrious citizens. Later, the “people’s beach” at Riis Park helped make the Rockaways accessible to more New Yorkers. From, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to Patti Smith to Robert Mosses, everybody wanted to be at Rockaway Beach.
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Photo via Dan DeLuca on Flickr
Just days before New York City beaches were scheduled to open for the season, officials announced this week that a half-mile stretch of popular Rockaway beach will be closed this summer. The shuttered area spans roughly 11 blocks between Beach 91st and Beach 102nd Streets, considered by some to be the center of the beach. The city closed the section of the beach, previously set to open Saturday, because of safety issues from erosion, the New York Times reported. That particular area of the beach may be closed for many years because there “just isn’t enough space to operate the beach” according to Liam Kavanagh, the first deputy commissioner for the city’s parks department.
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Photo via mamojo
Four outer-borough neighborhoods undeserved by Citi Bike will host dockless bike-share programs this summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday. In July, the city’s pilot kicks off in the beach communities of Coney Island and the Rockaways. The Bronx and Staten Island will also have the bike-share program, a first for both boroughs, near Fordham University and on the North Shore. “We are bringing new, inexpensive transportation options to neighborhoods that need them,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Dockless public bike sharing starts this summer, and we’re excited to see how New Yorkers embrace this new service.”
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Looking for beachfront living that’s only a train ride away from Manhattan? Here’s your answer. This three-bedroom condo has hit the market in the Far Rockaways, at 124-11 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. It’s got all the right beachy interior details: open floorplan, big windows, two outdoor spaces, private parking, and a washer/dryer unit to clean your swimsuits and towels. Because, of course, the location is just a mere block from the Rockaway boardwalk and beachfront. After selling in 2015 for $492,000, it’s now asking a hair under $600,000.
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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
Pan Am Boeing 707-100 via Wikipedia
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