Posts Tagged ‘Far Rockaway’

The Coney Island earthquake of 1884

January 20, 2010

New York City isn’t immune to earthquakes; a couple of small tremors measuring about 2.5 on the Richter scale even struck back in 2001 and 2002.

But on August 10, 1884, a more powerful earthquake hit. Estimated from 4.9 to 5.5 in magnitude, the tremor made houses shake, chimneys fall, and residents wonder what the heck was going on, according to a New York Times article two days later.

The quake was subsequently thought to have been centered off Far Rockaway or Coney Island.

[This photo shows a sweet Coney Island beach day in the 1940s, site of a tremor a mere 60 years earlier.]

It wasn’t the first moderate quake, and it won’t be the last. In a 2008 Columbia University study, seismologists reported that the city is crisscrossed with several fault lines, one along 125th Street. 

[Headline of The New York Times, August 12, 1884]

With that in mind, New Yorkers should expect a 5.0 or higher earthquake centered here every 100 years, the seismologists say.

Translation: We’re about 30 years overdue. Lucky for us the city adopted earthquake-resistant building codes in 1995.

Whatever happened to Hog Island?

October 20, 2009

A mile-long spit of land that surfaced off the coast of the Rockaways in the mid-1800s, Hog Island eventually became a popular summertime seaside resort along the lines of Rockaway Beach and Brighton Beach.

This favorite vacation destination for Tammany Hall politicians featured the usual late-19th century bathing facilities, pavilions, restaurants, and regular ferries. 

Farrockawayprint

This print depicts neighboring resort Rockaway Beach. Hog Island probably looked similar.

So what happened to this modern-day Atlantis? First, it was battered by the Hurricane of 1893. While this category-2 storm reportedly triggered 30-foot sea swells off Coney Island on the night of August 23, it decimated the buildings on Hog Island.

A few more brutal storms in the 1890s sealed its fate; the sea swallowed it back up in 1902.