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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Drop Me a Line: 1915

Drop Me a Line: 1915

Queens County, New York, circa 1915. "At Broad Channel -- fishing at your front door." 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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The lady in white hooked a plankfish!

Take The "A" Train

Behind the houses, underneath and following the line of telegraph wires, is the Long Island Railroad Rockaway Line. The LIRR line across Jamaica Bay was closed after one of the wooden trestles burned down in the early 1950s. The abandoned right-of-way was acquired by the city and reopened in 1956 as an extension of the IND 8th Ave/Fulton St line. Originally serviced by the "HH" shuttle train the line is now served by the "A" train, providing a direct, mostly express, link to midtown Manhattan.


One day, Jake will clean out the basement.

Vacationing in waterfront slums

People willingly left their homes for this?

Big Egg Marsh

New York City Guide, 1939,
Federal Writers' Project.

The Jamaica Bay Islands, sprawled among the twenty square miles of shallow Jamaica Bay, are marshy flats on which about four thousand people dwell in comparative isolation within the corporate limits of New York City. All but two per cent live on Broad Channel island; the remainder are scattered over the Raunt and other tiny islands. Cross Bay Boulevard and the Long Island Railroad connect the region with the mainland and the Rockaways. …

The few islands that are above high tide were not permanently settled until about 1880s, when a fishing village was established on Big Egg Marsh (now known as Broad Channel). Here, before the city's open sewers contaminated Jamaica Bay, fluke, flounder, weakfish, oysters, and clams were abundant.

In 1925 Cross Bay Boulevard was built, beaches were developed, and a business district sprang up. At present a great many people stop at Broad Channel in the summer, and fish, mostly with improvised lines, from the two bridges at either end of the island. On the eastern side the shore dips and curves; here the cottages are whitewashed and trim. In other sections long rows of ramshackle buildings lean over the water on their uncertain stilts. Poverty and decay marks the dirt streets and battered houses whose gardens are decorated with mounds of bleached shells. Men in sailor caps and dungarees tinker with boats, and housewives may be seen working over kerosene stoves.

Suppose I'll have to clean that, too

Is our woman in the ruffled cap the family maid? The people around her are in a state of barely-suppressed hilarity, while she remains dour.

Breezy Point

on stilts.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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