At the eastern end of Jamaica Bay, where the Rockaway Peninsula widens into the mainland of Long Island is one of New York’s smallest and least developed State Parks. At 12 acres of wetland, shoreline and lawns, Bayswater Point State Park seems like an unexpected member of a family that includes Niagara Falls, Bear Mountain, and Montauk Point.
The park is one of more than a dozen along Jamaica Bay that are managed by the city, state, Nassau County, and the National Parks Service. This park was previously a private estate that was given to the public in the will of its last owner and then purchased by the state.
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.
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 →