I am constantly reminded that I have more yesterdays than tomorrows. Having no immediate family and, therefore, no one to visit my grave to bestow artificial flowers on any annual or semi-annual basis, I have it written in my will that I would prefer to be cremated rather than buried. In fact, I have instructed the executor of my humble and modest estate to gather my cremains and to scatter my ashes over Roche's Beach. Frankly, I'm not even certain what I have requested is even legal. If it is, I rely on him to carry out my final wishes. If it is not permissible, I beseech him to find another way to comply - even if it means "sneaking" ashore in the middle of the night to perform that "unholy" act.

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... Through my young-adult years I seldom gave Rockaway's Playland any serious consideration. I was not surprised when I heard that the amusement park had "changed hands" - been sold off. I figured that insurance costs were steadily increasing. After the season of 1984 - the new ownership "threw in the towel" and the place was not to reopen for the spring of 1985. Shortly into that year, the old park ("Loads of Family Fun Since 1901") having been a Rockaway fixture for over eight decades gave way to become a housing development. I wonder if the current homeowners whose houses currently occupy the space once devoted to the enjoyment of millions - appreciate the precious history of the very land upon which they now reside. I would "warn" them: On hot summer evenings - don't be surprised if you hear the laughter of ghosts of so many former revelers.

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Thanks to our good friend, Rockaway historian and collector and long time contributor to Rockaway Memories, Robin Greenberg Johnson (FRHS, 1971) for graciously sharing this precious article about the great Arverne Hotel and the woman most responsible for its creation, Florence Vernam. We have reprinted it here from the pages of the July 5th, 1894 issue of the once prominent weekly news magazine, Leslie's Illustrated. Accompanying the article is an introduction by Robin and a very revealing and contextual addendum by Allan Bline.

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