Wavecrest Lake, Queens

The Rockaway Peninsula offers plenty of sights for urban explorers and historians with its alleys, old buildings, the fort at its tip, and numerous inlets on the side facing Jamaica Bay. Until recently I did not know that the Rockaways had its its own internal waterway.

Wavecrest Lake existed at the turn of the 20th century, surrounded by mansions and summer homes of the rich at a time when the peninsula served as the city’s seaside retreat.

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Barbadoes Basin, Queens

The northern shore of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens is one of industry, derelict piers and solitude overlooking Jamaica Bay with the noise of airplanes using the nearby JFK Airport.

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Unlike the sandy and straight ocean side, the bay side is punctured with inlets that shifted with the currents and storms but over the past century have been bulkheaded, assuming their present outlines. Continue reading

Were the Rockaways ever an island?

Yesterday, the urban history site Forgotten-NY published my photo essay on Seagirt Avenue, a two-lane road located in the extreme southeast of the city. Separated from the rest of Far Rockaway by Bridge Creek, this avenue is a peninsula inside a larger peninsula.

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On the above topographical map, Seagirt Avenue is highlighted with Bridge Creek running to its north. The constantly shifting sands of the city’s oceanic coastline raises a question, was the Rockaway Peninsula ever an island? Continue reading