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Posted: September 9th, 2008
The Bungalows of Rockaway

Upcoming documentary The Bungalows of Rockaway, delves into the rich history of the bungalows on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, NY, over the past 100 years. Co-producers Jennifer Callahan and Elizabeth Logan Harris discuss their upcoming documentary, along with Richard George of the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association; preservationist Caroline C. Pasion, and; moderator Eve M. Kahn. This event was held at New York’s Anthology Film Archives.


  • comments (46)
  • ADELE BRENNER

    FASCINATING, I CANT WAIT TO SEE “THE BUNGALOWS OF ROCKAWAY”

  • Nancy Fox

    I really enjoyed watching this as I have lived in the Rockaways for 58 Yrs. I used to live where all the bungalows were and my Dad had owned many bungalows on many streets. I also had loads of friends that used to come for the summers and stayed in the bungalows. Ths was the best and safest area to gtow up in.
    Thank you

  • janet borg

    The best summers of my life were spent in Rockaway. my parents rented bungalows on beach 51street and for us it was our home away from home. About a year ago i visisted that street and was heartbroken to see that area was just ana lot of overgrown weeds. How sad!!

  • ADELE BRENNER

    Rockaway was the most important place to visit when I was growing up.
    The atmosphere there was so very festive, and the attitude of the residents was always very
    happy.
    I loved going back whenever I had the chance. Eventually I was able to relocate back to the Rockaways when I visited Rockawy with my children. We were in a bungalow on B. 52nd St.and we saw that a building was being built on the other side of the the railroad tracks, and my husband and I walked over and saw the building going up on B.59th ST Right there and then we decided to buy an apartment in that co-op.
    We remained there, and raised our three children there.The saying that “once you get the sand in your shoes you cannot leave” is so true. It was a suburban life in NY city.

  • Joe Lipsky

    I have stories fron the 1940′s that may be of interest to you.

    Let me know if you want to hear what I remeber.

  • Carol Marston

    I’m delighted to see this online. I am the v.p.. oof the Far Rockaway High School Alumni Association and am always searching for older items to add to my “More Old Rockaway Photos” site, a 38-page pictorial of the entire Rockaway peninsula over the past century, give or take a decade. You can see the site here: http://www.farrockaway.com/carol/moreoldrockawayintro.html

    I remember the bungalows very well from the 1940s until I left Rockaway. My great aunt, known by all as “Tante Gietle” rented a bungalow every year and I loved visiting her.

    If anyone cares to join our association, it’s free and you can be listed as an alum or as a friend of Rockaway. Our site is http://www.farrockaway.com and when you get there, look for the “Register Here” spot.

  • Marge Sweeney

    We lived on Beach 48th street for many years and my last 2 boys were born in St.Josephs Hospital and Peninsula Hospital. Like many we used to travel from Jackson Heights to Rockaway every summer so we decided to buy a home there and enjoy the beach year round.My neighbors moved from Canarsie for the same reasons. my children went to p.s. 105,Cardoza and Far Rockaway High.I frequently visited Boggianos across from Playland, as a matter of fact, George Boggiano’s brother Dr, Boggiano delivered my last baby. We left there in 1973 and finally moved to South Florida, but my children always talk about our home in Rockaway with great affection.hank you for the memories.

  • Carol Schleifer

    I loved the documentary so far and can’t wait to see the finished product. I do have one constructive criticism and that is during the panel Q&A It is very hard to hear the questions. My suggestion is that the moderator repeat at least the meat of the question. I grew up in Rockaway, As a young child spending summers either at the beach or renting a bungalow before moving to the projects full time. I lived there in the 60′s during urban “non” renewal. Although I was just a teen then my heart broke when they raised most of the bungalows. I live on the west coast now and long to live at the beach and feel the sand between my toes, but even in this depressed housing market to own anywhere near the beach on the west coast would cost at least a million dollars for just a modest home or condo. So, lacking any prospect of an inheritance or winning the lottery my Rockaway memories will have to suffice.

  • Rory Simmons

    Great documentary on the history of far Rockaway and much of what I lived through in the 1960′s. Seasonal residents made up much of the summer population. As a kid who worked the rides in Playland and worked for the Geist family who owned Playland and it’s midway, I was always fascinated at the change between winter and summer’s population of Rockaway. Except for a ski resort I once lived in, Rockaway Beach survived on it’s temporary residents and the additional income that came with the seasonal visitors. This documentary was very well done. Thanks for sharing. Rory Simmons, FRHS 1973, now living in Arizona

  • ESTELLE MARKOW

    I WAS BORN IN ROCKAWAY BEACH HOSPITAL IN 1941 AND LEFT WHEN I GOT MARRIED IN 1961. MY MOTHER WAS A RENTAL AGENT FOR THE BUNGALOWS EACH SUMMER. ROCKAWAY WAS THE BEST PLACE IN NEW YORK TO GROW UP. WE SPENT THE ENTIRE SUMMER AT THE BEACH FROM MORNING TO EVENING AND INTO THE NIGHT WHEN THE WEATHER WAS UNUSUALLY HOT. I LIVED ONE BLOCK FROM THE BEACH, ON THE STREET MY PARENTS OWNED A CANDY STORE.

    I REMEMBER WHEN THE PEOPLE CAME IN THE SUMMER. MY PARENTS INCOME GREW. BUT WHEN THE PEOPLE WENT BACK TO BROOKLYN, THE BRONX AND MANHATTAN, ALL OF OUR FRIENDS WOULD SING “WE HATE TO SEE YOU GO.”

    WHEN YOU WERE A ROCKAWAY RESIDENT, YOU KNEW ALMOST EVERYONE. WE ALL WENT TO THE SAME SCHOOLS. AS A TEENAGER, IF YOU DID SOMETHING WRONG YOUR PARENTS WOULD FIND OUT AS SOON AS THE NEXT DAY.

    I WOULD LOVE TO LIVE LIKE THAT AGAIN. MAYBE IN MY NEXT LIFE.

  • Lorraine Lewie

    Hi everyone,
    I was born in St. Joseph’s Hospital. My parents brought me home to Beach 44th st Edgemere. I lived in one of those bungalows until I I was about two or three. My dad painted it white with red trim. When I was about ten years old my mother took me over there to see where they lived when I was born.
    We then moved to Arverne, Beach 69th St.
    I had a nice childhood, and my class mates were all good kids.
    I can remember walking home at night with Karen Simmons in the winter and us yelling “good nite” to each other until we couldn’t hear one another anymore. She was safe at home, and so was I.
    Vivian Esposito and I would go to Far Rockaway to the movies. When we returned, and got off the bus, we could see Vivians mother standing down at the bay with a flash light waiting for Vivian.
    Those were the days when no one locked their doors.
    We spent a lot of time on the boardwalk and especially on Wednesday night. The fireworks!
    My summers were spent on the beach. From the time I could remember my mother would pack a lunch for my sister and I. I can’t forget the pepsi man on the beach yelling “hey get your ice cold pepsi”. What fun we had!

  • Paul Charosh

    My parents rented bungalows on Beach 46th and 47th Street for the summers of 1938,39,41, and part of 1943. I have photos, and they include that of a year-round home on Beach 46th Street, home to family friends (names: Kanowitz and Holland) which I believe still stands. At the end of one summer, the owner of the bungalow we were renting (a Mr. Friedman) offered to sell the bungalow to my father for $250.00. My father said no.

    I recall the service of an “ice man” (one year there was no gas or electric refrigerator) and Dugan’s bakery truck. The driver yelled “Dugan the Baker, Dugan!”, and housewives would emerge with their purses.

    I recall watching LIRR trains arrive and depart from Beach 44th Street when they still ran at street level; and I recall observing the early stages of the construction of the el which replaced these tracks. I had my first haircut on Beach 44th Street. The barber was a Mr. Petrelli. Years later I worked in an office with one of his daughters. I also recall a grocery store on Beach 44th Street and was fascinated by the fly paper hanging there. On the beach were tiny iridescent clams, the size of the nail on one’s smallest finger. They were absent from the area for a long time, but I’ve seen them again, on the west end beaches, within the last decade. Yes, I’m still in Rockaway. I’ve made it my permanent home since 1977.

  • Tony Castro

    I enjoyed the documentary especially the old film footage and photos. It helped bring back some wonderful memories of living back in the day in Rockaway. Looking forward to the finished product.

  • Donna

    I lived in Rockaway my whole life and still do and it saddens me that it just can’t stay the way it was. Some bungalows still stand but it mostly crushed by the big high risers and expensive apartment complexes. I think that what they are doing to the Rockaways is disgusting and disturbing and many of the “real” Rockaway residents won’t dare waste their money on them. I can’t wait to see the finished project.

  • ADELE BRENNER

    HI,

    ANY PROGRESS ABOUT THE FILM.
    SOMEONE TOLD ME THAT THEY SAW I, BUT I WAS NEVER INFORMED

    ADELE

  • Anna

    When did Rockaway, specifically the Belle Harbor area, make the transition from a summer bungalow town to a year round residential neighborhood?

    Thank you.

    I’m also conducting some research on the crime drop in the 1990s and I’m going to be focusing on Rockaway Beach (once again, specifically Belle Harbor). I’m having some trouble with this so if anyone has any useful information for me I’d truly appreciate it!

  • Aileen Gonzalez Trimarche

    I had the pleasure of being born during the summer of 1965 and right after I was born in New York City, my first trip was to my grandparent’s bungalow in Far Rockaway on Beach 24th Street. I spent the best of my years growing up in Far Rockaway – I looked for the last day of school in June to pack up, leave New York City, then Queens and head off to our bungalow until September. I have been back often and it saddens me that they have taken our historical bungalows and destroyed them to block the views of our never ending boardwalk and our views of serenity. I went back about a year ago to visit with my daughters and they just couldn’t understand by the looks of it now, why I was tearful and how I could have ever spent my summers growing up there…they will never have what I had.

  • Sharon Nusgarten

    Nothing can compare with the joy of those Rockaway summers. We spent virtually every summer from about 1945-1958 there, primarily on Beach 36th Street in a bungalow behind Friedman’s rooming house. From about 1959 – 1968 we stayed in various bungalows in the Twenties. It was so exciting to pack up on the last day of school and wait for the moving truck to take our boxes from the Bronx to the beach. It was wonderful to reunite with our summer friends and spend endless days on the beach and boardwalk. Somehow, all 7 of us (3 generations worth) squeezed into a tiny 3-bedroom bungalow with one indoor bathroom and an outdoor shower. The furniture — iron bedsteads, mirrored dressers, heavy chairs and porch rockers — was coated with dozens of layers of paint. The windows had flimsy plastic curtains, and the floors were covered in linoleum. No complaints from us — summers in Rockaway were heaven to us.

  • Marian Mass

    My father had a grocery on 71st Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd. called “Teddy’s”. We used to rent rooms on 71st Street in the summer from Mrs. Schneid and Bertha Abfel. Does anyone remember my parents, Teddy and Faye Mass? Many thanks.

  • rg

    Bad news ,that small area is a jungle with human animals dealing drugs ,Good news upscale housing being built & the fact that it is prime ocean front property in NYC is a plus with subway service as well as being right next to upscale shopping in Cedarhurst as well.Give it 2 years & it will start to look like an artsy mini Hamptons.

  • joe marcotte

    I lived in rockaway durring the years 1958-1960. I’m seeking imfo about the neighbor hood I grew up in. It was somewhere around Norton ave. There was an elementary school nearby. I lived in bungalow houses very near to a bay I think was on norton ave.This bay was fairly large and a shoreline with rocks where we used to fish for crabs . Many minows and such. Sometime around 1960, a hurricane hit this area and flooded the streets surrounding this area in this neighborhood. On what I presume to be Norton ave, there was a line of phone booths, about six connected together not far from the bay and the bungalow homes.Ther may had been a fire station nearby too. I rember a ice cream company with a fence yard containing ice crteam trucks parked in the yard. Just ahead of the street with small gravel pebles rocks on the ground.If anyone knows anything about this area I would like to hear about it, or have photos of it around 1960.My goal is to locate this area and find pictures of the house I lived in. The entrance to this neighborhood was off from Rockaway blvd. My email is newyorkblackcrow at yahoo.com

  • randi savron

    I have lived in rockaway since 1967. My family came here from The Bronx every summer starting in 1926 with my grandparents on beach 28th st. My parents came 1953-57 on beach 42st and then moved to “Springer Court” on beach 57th form 1957-1966. Those memories I will never forget. I have remained in Rockaway and never gave up on the potential of the area. I recently purchased a beautiful penthouse condo on beach 100th st. We must continue to rebuild and restore Rockaway!!! cant wait to see the film

  • Freddy Hellman

    I was a 14 year old in 1939 and had the best year of my young life on B 36th Street. I wish that i could reconnect with all the kids of that summer. Somehow we all went our own ways and the war intervened as we grew older bringing us marriage, children, new careers .We just never thought of forming an association for keeping in touch. I hope to see some of the photos I contributed to this project. Kudos to the people who made this documentary.
    My appetite has been whetted,

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  • Larry Hirschhorn

    I was born (1942 St. Joseph’s) and bred in Far Rockaway and lived in Bayswater most of the time. I would love to see this documentary in it’s entirety but i do not have access to 13 TV where i am now, in Romania. Will this documentary be posted online somewhere? How can I get access to it?

  • Carol Blum

    I just watched the first part of the Rockaway show. My mother came from Rego Park. She had a BSEd but the only job she could get in the mid 1930′s was as a cashier ( and later manager) for the Movie house on Beach 80th Street. She made $10.00 a week during the year, but in the Summer, because the theater was open later, she made $15.00, so she could rent a room and stay. She traveled home by LIRR. There was no night depository in the Rockaways then, so she would bring the night’s receipts with her on the train to Rego Park, where the cop would meet her at the station and walk her to the bank on Queens Blvd so she could deposit the money. She was a young attractive woman, and she said she was more afraid of the cop than any robber.

  • Bob Brown

    To the makers: Thank you for your work.
    “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Groucho Marx
    I’m third generation living in Rockaway, year-round since ’44. My mother first came here in 1919 and met my father here. I couldn’t quite understand why the other kids at Brooklyn Tech never heard of Rockaway. Today, I wish the rest of the city didn’t either!
    From the complete safety of going to the Ocean or the Bay with a bunch of kids on our own, or spending all day, every day barefoot, fishing, water-skiing, dancing at the pier and especially beach-blanket time with the girls; I thought my life in Rockaway Point was as good as being a kid could get. Now, the fresh air, quiet on the beach, wildlife and the entire littoral cycle of life and way of living satisfies my soul. My gratitude for this place in my life goes beyond my ability to express.
    Our beautiful, peaceful and safe playground of life was, and continues to be ruined and taken away from future families and kids by clueless politicians [usually redundant, I know] and ignorant ‘city’ people. Whether it was the displaced Manhattanites pushed here in the 50s-60s or those escaping the suffocating congestion and misguided immigration policies affecting the neighborhoods closer to Manhattan in the 70s-90s, the ‘city’ people bring their ‘city’ ways and values to Rockaway, slowly but surely destroying our safe and secure, salt water and sand, way of life. It is a travesty.
    Seemingly every time the various departments of NYC are reminded Rockaway is here, they find another way to further undermine the quality of life here. Is secession possible? Trouble is, Nassau County taxes are unconscionable and NYC would still tax us anyway. Luckily, though we get less benefit from NYC than most in the city, we get more from mother nature, the neighbors who remember ‘when’ and the new-comers who do understand the magic of this place; a trade-off I’ll always choose.
    Thank you
    Bob

  • Al Rothman

    Grew up on Beach 42nd St. in Edgemere where my grandparents had a summer home. We all have wonderful memories of the beach, playland, and skeeball on the boardwalk. I am amazed to see that so many people are still interested in the place. I will go by the next time I am in town. It always saddened me when they torn down all the homes on the block.

  • Naomi Eckstein Garai

    My family went to Rockaway every summer from around 1957 till 1970. The first two years we were on Beach 65th Street,and after that we were on Beach 30th, at the Jefferson Hotel. My aunt and uncle, Bella and Edward Mermel, owned the hotel at that time. I had some of the best summers of my life there. My children went to camps every summer, but I think that pales in comparison to my Rockaway summers!

    Thank you for making this film.

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  • mildred

    I lived in Wavecrest for 30 years from 1962-92 and understand there was a lot of film of Wavecrest and the area bungalows shown – unfortuneately missed the program and would like to know if & when it will be repeated for all of us who did – I would really like to see it –
    Can you reply to me?

  • bill proefriedt

    please send highlights from film.

  • martin goldstein

    Just happened on Bungalows of Rockaway on DVR. Brought back fond memories. Grew up for 8 summers during the 50′s in various B’s in Arverne, B.56-58sts. And talk about blast from the past, they highlighted the arcade and games on B.35th st., where we kids went whenever we had some spending money. And when the Chinese fast food shop and their ‘Tuckee’ cup was mentioned, I just fell off my chair. Great nostalgia. Great stuff. Thanks.

  • Diane Accardi

    This was a very interesting video. I only wish that there were a ‘traveling microphone’ so that the view could hear the audience comments or questions more clearly.
    I was so shocked to learn that an owner who wanted to build a high rise, raised so many wonderful bungalows…such a shame!
    I would love to experience a week at the beach in one of the restored bungalows…before we’re both gone…LOL

  • Artie Gold

    I was there in the 60′s, took a ride on the boardwalk last month. So sad!!
    Living nearby in Long Beach now ….. where the summer bungalows became year-round residences. Many former Rockawayites here.

  • Carol Michel Kaplan

    Wonderful memories. We were on Beach 36th St in one of the rooming houses but had family in the bngalows.
    Takee cup and meeting friends on the boardwalk was something we all looked forward to.
    I was there from age 16 to 19.

  • Paul DiGiovanna

    I lived on B.47th st From ’60 to ’70 attending P.S. 105, JHS 198, and finally Far Rock H.S. for the the first half of 10th grade when my family moved to L.I….I remember jumping roof to roof as a kid ( we weren’t too bright) of those bungalows…The summer romances with the kids who came out from the “City”. My Mom (Marie) was secy to the adminisrator at St. Josephs Hospital and my Dad (Thomas) was Personnnel Director there…I was the roller coaster boy for a few years at Rockaways Playland….

  • Carol Forestieri

    would love to see. When will Bungalows of the Rockaways be broadcast?

  • Joe Marcotte

    says: My post above as Joe marcotte February 3, 2010 at 4:34 am.. is outdated and has no longer a valid email address as newyorkblackcrow@ yahoo dot com it should be re edited but I can’t do this at my end.

    New imfo…The Bay is called “Conch Bay” next to Elizabeth Ave and Norton Ave and beach 45, 46, 47 streets that are my area of interest… Any old photo’s of these areas in mid 1950′s or later before the three bungalows facing the bay got demolished I like to see them. My new valid email adress is Joeymars1@yahoo dot com

  • Martha Boyles

    I am seeking information about my birthmother, Holly (Hilda) Louise Holowchak. She grew up in Far Rockaway and attended Stella Maris High School where she graduated in 1948. She was the only child of John and Mary Holowchak. Holly went on to Fordham University and then into the Navy and Air Force where she spent years…..she passed away 7-07-88. Please forward your stories, memories, pics and anything that would include Holly……I am grateful for whatever you can share. Martha Boyles tumblingdice62@comcast.net

  • http://theshutterdistrict.com/ Richard Tomkins

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my website so i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  • nicola chiulli

    j know that my grandfather,named as me, lived in rockaway park, 129 beach street. he died in 1941 and was a gardener. is there some one which knowed him. he died in rockaway beach hospital ; can some one tell me what there is now where there was hospital or informations about that hospital ?thank

  • marc berland

    i grow up in wavecrest 2008 2020 from 1960 1986 b25 st b26 st b46 st i loved growing up there it made me

  • Debbie Baron

    I spent some of the best years of my life on Rockaway. We stayed
    across the street from playland on 98th st. Does anyone know what that area is like today? I had friends that stayed at their aunts house on 116th st. Does anyone know what the area between 98th and 116th st. Is like now? I hear alot of people from the other boros head to the beach on 116st. I would not mind doing the same if the area looks and feels safe. I would appreciate any information anyone can provide. Thanks

  • A. Tobin

    how can one obtain a copy of the documentary

  • Jessica Janniere

    This video was very interesting. I lived on B. 26th street from 1988-1992. It was not a pleasant “getaway” during that time. I was only about 9-10 years old and my Mom and I were (we are german) minority residents in an all black poverty stricken and crime ridden community. During those years the crack epidemic was at its peak and the bungalows were a big part of trafficking that and displaying the sad effects of this issue. I am currently writing a book about my experience of growing up in Rockaway. My bungalow experience is a big part of my story. Most of my neighbors are either deceased, in jail or stuck in a system of poverty. I always heard the stories of the Rockaways in the “good ole days” and couldn’t believe it actually exisited. My reality was completely opposite until I was 20 years old and moved out on my own to Belle Harbor. Thanks for posting this video.

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