In The Continuing Series: I Remember The Rockaways -

Looking directly south down Central Avenue on March 8th of 1914. The large newly-constructed (completed in 1910) National Bank of Far Rockaway building at the east (left side of photo) --the photographer is standing slightly off the trolley-car tracks which were located at the east side of the railroad station - Far Rockaway Branch. This was an active trolley ride back in those days - the car would head off in a southerly direction, take a drastic (easterly) curve on Far Rockaway Boulevard (now Central Avenue) and turn south again shortly in front of the old library building and then travel down the east side of Central Avenue towards the oceanfront. A newly created building (originally constructed as a one-story affair) was in the process of completion at this time - see work being done about in center of the print. The old Waldorf Opera House (in our days the Whelan's Drug store) with the turret at top stands at the southwest corner of Central and Mott Avenues. The four-story building slightly to its west is the Goetz Piano Store - then a small alleyway (see arch) and then the famous Manhattan Hotel ~ all of which can clearly be determined from this excellent and revealing vantage point. The photographer took several other matching and complimentary pictures on that same day — almost a century ago! See next photo. Photo Credit: This image is copyright by the State of New York — use of this image by this specific website is granted under compensated contract. Permission to download and transpose to any/all other internet websites/blogsites/Facebook/Twitter is expressly denied by outright purchase of said privilege from Queens Borough Public Library, Long Island Division, Public Service Commission.

Several years ago I was privileged to be one member of a caravan which had ventured into the town of Far Rockaway to reminisce as well as to take photographs of the area as it currently appeared. As to myself: I readily admit that I am not much of a photographer but I felt confident that with the proper application of "pressure" I could easily be persuaded to supply a bit of "color commentary" based upon my observations during this long overdue hometown visit — certainly I could provide some writings which might eventually stir up some memories.

Our mini-bus parked within the remains of the centrally-located Far Rockaway Shopping Center, our group of six exited the safety of that vehicle with only good intentions which amounted to nothing more than a desire to mill about and hopefully blend in with the local populace. Well, perhaps "blend in" is not the best choice of words for we were obviously aliens in this strange land causing the locals to give us "wide berth" for they immediately recognized that we were different and were, most probably, up to "no good." For starters, we were carrying cameras and leather camera cases. As one inquisitive passerby phrased it so eloquently — "What the hell is there in Far Rockaway worthy of being photographed?"

Warning: Don't even try to explain to the current residents of Far Rockaway that the place was once a popular summer resort town. That kind of information simply "does not compute," for to them, those who live there and walk its streets on a daily basis, Far Rockaway is just another small New York City community in the Borough of Queens — and the fact that a lovely beach can be found only a few blocks away is a matter of absolutely no significant consequence.

For the most part, our impromptu committee was ignored. We were deemed of no real concern but to be honest the locals DID stand aside during our photographic efforts; yet they were most cooperative. No one even complained when we held up vehicular traffic at the major intersection of Mott and Central Avenues while taking some "looking down-the-road" shots.

- 1 -