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Rockaway Bungalows: 1910

Rockaway Bungalows: 1910

Vacation bungalow colony at Rockaway, Queens, c. 1910. View full size. George Grantham Bain Collection. Note "front yards" of sand decorated with seashells.


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B. 29th bungalows

I know EXACTLY where you were. My grandmother too had a bungalow, about 5-6 before the boardwalk ramp. They were on the left side, because on the right side was a parking lot or a building (I can't remember it exactly). But up the block was two hotels - the Regency and another one. They were both owned by the same people - Mr. and Mrs. Hecht, german/lithuanian-jewish folks. If you remember, there was a wooden bridge that connected the two buildings, and the courtyard was shared by the two. The showers were both underneath the front of the buildings behind the, lattice and then common showers/bathrooms in the hallways. There was one public phone on each floor and a television on each floor. When my grandmother could no longer stay in the bungalow (either they were sold, torn down or condemned), she went into the Regency Hotel. She was in the basement which was very cool in the summer. They dodn't need air conditioning.

The last party of the season was Mardi Gras. My grandmother, being on the heavy side, loved to wear blackface makeup and put her hair up with a tied kerchief - she was "Aunt Jemima."

I only wish I had a place like 29th street to bring up my children in the summers. We ended up renting cabanas in Atlantic Beach from when they were little, then moved to Atlantic Beach, but retained memberships at the beach club. We can't get the sand out of our shoes!

Sand in Queens

A similar group of bungalows still exists in the Breezy Point Coop and Roxbury in Queens. Many have been expanded and converted to year round use now, though some are still used only for the season. They refer to Breezy Point and Roxbury as the "Irish Riviera" due to the strong Irish presence.

Beach 106 Street

Between 1951 and 1958 or so I stayed with my good friend Donald Sullivan and his family in bungalows on Beach 106 Street. I don't remember the court name - if it had one. I do seem to remember Highland Court but this was centuries ago and memory may play tricks.

Beach 107 Street

My aunts, grandmother and uncle would whisk us away to Rockaway the minute school closed for the summer. We would stop at Weiss's for fish and chips, then drive over the old Cross Bay Boulevard bridge and see the top of the roller coaster and the ocean beyond. In a few minutes we would be at our bungelow in Highland Court, the second one in. We thought we had arrived since we had a hot water heater. It was a great place for kids to grow up. Every day my sister and I would open the window with the sun shining down on us. We would get into our bathing suits and run to the beach, riding the waves until we were dragged out by our relatives.

Rockaway Bungalows

There was nothing better than spending the summer in Rockaway. Most of your family members rented bungalows in the court. Everyone was out every night. The beach was just a few steps away. Fathers came out only for the weekends, even if you lived in Queens...

Beach 29th Street

I am very curious exactly where on 29th Street the bungalow was. I lived on 29th just off Seagirt Blvd. It was a year 'round dwelling. The area was VERY crowded during the summer and VERY empty from after Labor Day until Memorial Day.
Do you have any pictures from there? I would love to see them!
Far Rockaway refugee now living in Bayside, NY

Beach 29th street

My family rented a bungalow on Beach 29th street until I was around 12 years old. As soon as school was over, my parents would pack up a van and off we went until Labor Day. It was the most amazing summers of my life. No locks on doors, showers in the backyard, fireworks Wednesday nights. My parents belonged to a group called FROGS- Far Rockaway Ocean Goers. The Bungalow owners, Mr. and Mrs. Herman, would let my Dad come before the season to fish. The last time I was there was about 36 years ago. It was so sad to see the destruction of these amazing bungalows. Ours was white and green, and all the furniture inside was painted a sticky tacky gray. My Grandma and Nana lived a few blocks up in a rooming house. It was very sad to watch as these homes burned to the ground. Such a day-gone-by era.

Sadly, most of these

Sadly, most of these bungalows are gone, as Doug points out above. There are only a few left, and they face demolition by developers who want to turn the Rockaways into yet another bland housing development. These were vacation homes for folks in Manhattan and the other boros, not company houses for factory workers. How close were they to the beach? How does less than a city block sound? In the Rockaways, as at Coney, Manhattan, Brighton, and other New York City beaches, the streets are set up perpendicular to the beach and are only a few blocks long. The last block actually ends at the boardwalk. Across the boardwalk is the beach. The Ramones were from the Rockaways.

Rockaway Bungalows

I'm pretty sure these are not there anymore. In fact Rockaway Beach today is quite run-down. If you take the A Train out there, these must have been between the tracks and the water, where there are now streets with no houses. Only weeds.

The yards are super.

The yards are super. Send the kids down to the beach to bring back sea shells to decorate with! Talk about a family project.

Re: Bungalows

The were seasonal at first. More info at the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association:

By the 1920s, Rockaway Beach was the poor man's Riviera. It had a six-mile long boardwalk lined with amusements, and thousands flocked to the beach every summer weekend. Many families rented tents for the entire season, while those a little more affluent rented small bungalows. The concept of the bungalow in America was well established by this time as they were built for summer communities on both coasts. The plans could be purchased from catalogues and were designed in numerous styles.

This last remaining bungalow colony was built by Richard Bainbridge in the 1920s. The one and a half story houses all have front porches and pitched roofs. The design and style vary from street to street. Some of the bungalows are in a Spanish Revival style of stucco with wood trim and green the roofs, and others are in an English Tudor of brick. Lacking heat, they were closed for the winter months. The lanes leading to the beach have permanent easements for common access.

As development pressures change the Rockaways, this small district has become endangered. But it would be appropriate to preserve and restore this remnant of past summer amusements.


[Never heard of Rockaway Beach? - Dave]

Well I've heard of Rockaway Beach here in Oregon. :)


Were these for living or vacation rentals? They sure are cute. Does anyone know how far from the water they were?

Sand in Queens

I wonder if any of the buildings are still standing. Since they are tract of small bungalows, I wonder what company supplied that lot for workers to live in.

Sand in...Queens?! Wow.

[Never heard of Rockaway Beach? - Dave]

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