Posts Tagged ‘Rockaway Beach’

Getting out of the water at Rockaway Beach

June 8, 2015

Coney Island may be New York’s favorite seaside playground, but at the turn of the century (and for many decades afterward), Rockaway Beach rivaled Coney as the city’s premier beach destination.


This 1907 postcard, from the Museum of the City of New York’s digital collection, shows us unspoiled sand, tents and hotels for guests, and a young girl in bathing attire that looks extremely uncomfortable by today’s standards.

Rockaway has been rediscovered again, supposedly by hipsters and surfers—but it’s doubtful that anyone will venture into the water in black tights.

“On the Beach at Rockaway”

July 27, 2010

Beachwear sure was formal back when this (undated) photo was taken. Unlike the men, at least the little girls get to bare their legs!

[Postcard from the NYPL digital collection]

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. 


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.

“A frolic at Rockaway Beach”

July 23, 2009

In 1903, when his photo was taken, Rockaway Beach was earning a rep as “New York’s Playground.” Rockaway Playland amusement park had just been built in 1901, and thousands of city residents regularly crowded the boardwalk and beach.


Like so many other city neighborhoods, Rockaway Beach began its decline after World War II. It’s still hanging in there, just an A train ride away, luring day trippers and surfers in search of New York’s best waves.

“Taking a sun bath at Rockaway Park”

August 6, 2008

Coney Island gets all the love, but lets not forget New York City’s other major seaside destination.

Rockaway Park was once called “New York’s Playground” for its amusement park and then the “Irish Riviera” thanks to the large number of Irish-Americans who flocked there for summer vacation and as a place to live year-round. There’s still a big Irish presence here; 36 percent of the population is of Irish descent, according to the 2000 census.

Hot beach babes and their funny swimsuits

July 4, 2008

Imagine hitting the sand and surf on a scorching summer day and having to wear a dress, bloomers, and stockings, with just a sash at the waist to allude to the curves of your body. No wonder these early-1900s Coney Island chicks hiked up their skirts for the photographer. A girl’s gotta show a little skin.

Of course, guys also covered up at the beach. By the 1920s they could wear a tank suit with shorts, but it wasn’t acceptable for men to go bare-chested until the mid-1930s. Below, studly lifeguards showing off at Rockaway Beach.