Thu, 28 June 2012
The Rockaways are a world unto its own, a former resort destination with miles of beach facing into the Atlantic Ocean, a collection of diverse neighborhoods and a truly quirky history. Retaining a variant of its original Lenape name, the peninsula remained relatively peaceful in the early years of New York history, the holding of the ancestral family of a famous upstate New York university.
The Marine Pavilion, a luxury spa-like resort which arrived in 1833 featuring 'sea bathing', opened up vast opportunities for recreation, and soon Rockaway Beach was dotted with dozens of hotels, thousands of daytrippers and a even a famous amusement park. Not even the fiasco known as the Rockaway Beach Hotel could drive away those seeking recreation here, including a huge population of Irish immigrants who helped define the unique spirit of the Rockaways.
The 20th century brought Robert Moses and his usual brand of reinvention, setting up the Rockaways for an uncertain century of decreased tourism, urban blight and uncommon solutions to preserve its unique heritage.
ALSO: Pirate attacks, the inferno in Irishtown, the Cabaret de la Morte, the Ramones and the legend of New York's very own Atlantis!