Letters and Emails

From Brendan Grubb to Rockaway Memories, Dated March 24, 2011:

Dear Marty,

Great photos evoking greater memories!

I grew up in Rego Park. But, every year we "summered" on the " Irish Rivera" at the first house on the boardwalk and Beach 114th Street. I read Tom McManus and Brian McManus's comments in the guestbook. They were Belle Harbor lads who spent summers on Beach 114th Street in their families' large homes rented to the likes of my family. There were nine Grubb brothers and sisters who crowded into two basement rooms and we thought we were living large. One of my first paying jobs was working at Curley's for 90 cents an hour. I supplemented my income by hauling beach chairs and umbrellas for Harry Nemith on the boardwalk. One of my best friends is Pat Gildea of the "Gildea Beer Garden" clan. It's odd that he also spent the summer at "the beach" on 96th Street. But, we did not see each other until we headed back home to begin school.

In later years many a night were spent at Manns, Fitzgeralds or McGuires. Later, I worked tending bar for John McGuire at Pep-McGuires in Kew Gardens while I was paying my way through St. Johns University.

I live in Florida now. But, whenever I get up to visit Mom we always take a drive to "the beach", still one of the unsung best beaches in the northeast.

"Dog ball" on the beach at night, hit it in the water at high tide and it was a homer, ring a levio, johnny ride the pony, rubber band rifles made from orange crates that shot pieces of roof shingles, Mameys for Ice cream, the Park Theater on a rainy day in the upstairs section, fishing off the barge at 116th Street and the bay when a nickel brought you a drop line hook & sinker and a large clam for bait was also a nickel, Wednesday night fireworks after listening to the music from the St Johns Boys Home, large beers in tall paper cups from the Whitehouse, very spirited, competitive basketball games at 108th Street park, having the local cop from the 101st precinct chasing us off the railings on the boardwalk, collecting all the colors of the wrist string needed to get into the Pool on 114th Street, hot dogs and fries from Tweenies, sand sifting for coins using those orange crates, collecting bottles to return for deposit and washing them off in boardwalk water fountains, and using the coins at the penny arcades on 116th Street, first kisses from summer loves on the lifeguard stand, throwing the lifeguard stands into the surf at night, late summer storms that brought large waves for fantastic body surfing, late season Labor Day court parties, so as Bob Hope said, "Thanks for the Memories. "

I spent every summer from 1948 through 1963 in Rockaway, most of them on Beach 114th Street. My mother told me that I was actually conceived in Rockaway in July, 1947. After 1963 it seemed I spent every Summer (and many a winter) night in Rockaway. It was a marvelous way to grow up. I have several great stories to tell, some quite humorous. So, if you want to hear more let me know.

Good luck with your venture. I am sure that there are lots of us that will love reading this book . By the way, my friend Pat Gildea is one of John Gildea's three sons. He owned several saloons in Rockaway and the infamous Gildea's in Sunnyside.

Best Regards,
Brendan Grubb


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