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Far Rockaway

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It was the hottest day of the year, and I spent it in Far Rockaway. The plan was simple. I would take the A train — which runs through Brooklyn Heights, downtown, Fort Greene, Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York through the heart of Brooklyn and Woodhaven, Queens and runs across Jamaica Bay — and take it to its farthest limit: the Mott Avenue station in Far Rockaway.

There are many things to see in Far Rockaway: historic commercial buildings, a Monticello-inspired post office, impressive churches, lovely homes, and more.

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This two-bedroom condo is a top floor unit in Far Rockaway—the building was built in 2005. Both bedrooms look spacious, and the kitchen has an open layout with the living room and dining room space. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances including a dishwasher. The light yellow painted walls make a nice contrast between the dark Brazilian cherry wood floors, and it looks like this condo also comes with a balcony.

The A train is a ten-minute walk away, and the Q22 and Q52 are down the street. There’s a playground across the street, and Freeway Dog Run is a short walk away. There are small shops, supermarkets, and dining options a three-minute bus ride from the building. The Queens Borough Public Library and a few schools are in the area. And Atlantic Beach is a 20-minute drive away.

The ask is $249,999 with an estimated monthly mortgage of $983.88. The tax is $449 for 900-square feet of space. Click through for more photos.

221 Beach 80th Street, #7 [Century 21 American Homes] GMAP

Summer, a glorious hope now after an eternal winter, is a wonderful thing. But watch out for what you wish for. Summer in the city is hot and sticky, smelly and polluted, and the touch of your sweaty fellow man out on the street is not desired or pleasant. It can have you longing for winter in no time. As bad as we think we may have it, most of us have air conditioning just about everywhere we go, except for out on the street. Imagine a hot, humid New York City summer without A/C anywhere, and you have some idea of life for most people in the early 20th century.

Anyone with money got out, and went to their summer cottages, bungalows and residential hotels somewhere in the country, by a lakeshore, or by the ocean. But if you were working class, and had to stay at your job and just couldn’t afford to go anywhere even if you had time off, what about your options? The rich went to their beach cottages to cool off. Starting in the early 20th century, the much less rich began to, as well. One of the most desirable of these working and middle class locations was on the Rockaway Peninsula.

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Far Rockaway seems to be Miss Havisham-esque doyenne whose beauty has long-since faded. No border between New York City and any surrounding community could be more stark: this is where the suburban ritziness of Nassau County’s Five Towns (Inwood, Hewlett, Lawrence, Woodmere and Cedarhurst) meets the inner-city grittiness of New York City. Tiffany-windowed churches stand near inner-city projects. Far Rock is a thriving neighborhood and there are surprising elements to it that make it ripe for urban exploration.

Take the A train. Like a trident, the A train has a 3-pronged terminus in Queens: Far Rockaway (above), as well as Rockaway Park on the western side of the Rockaway peninsula at Beach 116th Street, as well as Lefferts Boulevard in Ozone Park. Far Rockaway can also be reached via the Long Island Rail Road.

In Far Rockaway you will find a rare New York City example of railroad rehabilitation. As late as 1953 the Long Island Rail Road provided service from Penn Station all the way to Rockaway Park (with a change of train along the way). However, when its ancient wooden trestle spanning Jamaica Bay burned down that year, LIRR service was suspended and never revived. Enter the NYC Transit Authority, which rebuilt the span and connected it to the remaining section of its mostly torn-down Fulton Street El, and voila, subway service to Far Rockaway began in 1956. That was the last section of trackage the subways would add for passenger service until 1967!

Until the 1940s the LIRR operated on the Rockaway peninsula mostly at grade, until this lengthy concrete trestle was constructed to take the railroad above street traffic. It is the longest such trestle in the city (a much shorter one takes the IRT Flushing #7 line above Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside).

LIRR trackage was connected to the TA’s subway section till 1955 when it was severed.

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On August 11th, 1973, Kool DJ Herc and his sister Cindy organized a back-to-school party in the recreation room of a residential building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. The shindig is credited with launching the Hip Hop movement, although Queens played a huge role in the genre’s rise, thanks to Queensbridge native DJ Marley Marl, a veritable captain of the industry, and such mainstream talent as Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Salt-N-Pepa. On May 1st, Herc (above) and Marley Marl (after the jump) will spin records, talk shop, and bust rhymes at Queens Library’s central branch to kick off 31 Days of Non-Stop Hip Hop. During the entire month, the library will host free Hip Hop events at various branches throughout the borough. Here’s the schedule:

  • History of Hip Hop with Kool DJ Herc and DJ Marley Marl, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. Teens only. Free ticket is required. May 1st, 4 pm.
  • Who’s the Best MC: the Voice of Harlem and DJ Ted Smooth, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 2nd, 4 pm.
  • Family Day Jam: Zulu Nation, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 3rd, 2 pm.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 4th.
  • Who’s the Best MC: Actor and Personality Marc John Jeffries & DJ G-Money, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 5th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 6th, 5 pm.
  • Teen Fashion Entrepreneurs: Keith Perrin (founder of FUBU), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 6th, 4 pm.
  • Teen Fashion Entrepreneurs: Keith Perrin (founder of FUBU), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 7th, 4 pm.
  • Create your own music experience, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 8th, 4 pm.
  • Battle of the DJs: Media celeb Steph Lova & DJ G-Money, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 9th, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book/Movie List – A Facebook event, #HipHopElements. May 10th.
  • Hip Hop College of Music & Arts: Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 12th, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop College of Music & Arts: Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 13th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 13th, 5 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book Review, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 14th, 4 pm.
  • Poetry Live: Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 15th, 4 pm.
  • Break Dance Workshop: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 16th, 4 pm.
  • Dance Competition: DUOLIVE (MC Fre and DJ Sid V), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 16th, 4 pm.
  • Family Day Jam: Zulu Nation, Arverne Branch, 312 Beach 54th Street. May 17th, 2 pm.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 18th.
  • Break Dance Expo: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 19th, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 20th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 20th, 5 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue,  Far Rockaway. May 21st, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue,  Far Rockaway. May 22nd, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 23rd, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book/Movie List on Facebook, #HipHopElements. May 24th.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 25th.
  • Hip Hop Elements Picture of The Day, #HipHopElements. May 26th.
  • Intro to Graffiti Art, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 27th, 4 pm.
  • Graffiti Art Workshop: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 28 4 pm.
  • Rock the Mic: DUOLIVE, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 28th, 4 pm.
  • Poetry & Art Showcase, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 29th, 4 pm.
  • Intro to the Entertainment Industry: “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 30th, 4 pm.
  • A Visual History of Hip Hop: “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 31st, 2 pm.

Back in the 1930s, during the height of the Great Depression, the United States Post Office went on a building spree. The Works Progress Administration, (WPA) that great New Deal agency that put millions of desperate people back to work, sponsored the building. New post office branches went up all across the country, the largest building project for the PO, ever. The architects who were chosen to design these buildings were also from all over the country, and were varied in talents, styles and materials. Some of the post offices were Art Deco in style, while others were designed in many of the other popular styles of the day, most especially the Colonial Revival style, reminiscent of our Federal-era buildings.

Ever since the turn of the 20th century, Americans had been in love with Colonial Revival architecture. It resonated with the national feeling of patriotism, so important during this time of national economic struggle. The architecture was reminiscent of the Founding Fathers, the Revolutionary War, and the gracious life of the Georgian period. Good red brick, white painted wood trim, Palladium windows, Classical Greco-Roman details, what’s not to love? It was quintessential America, and considered eminently suitable for a national service such as the US Post Office.

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Thanks to Old Homes Queens for pointing out this sprawling Colonial house in Neponsit, at 145-04 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. It looks like a truly gorgeous home on, according to PropertyShark, a 9,955-square-foot lot. There are five bedrooms, a wood burning fireplace, a music room, formal dining room, eat-in kitchen, garage and front and back yards. There aren’t many photos of the interior but as far as we can tell there are some wonderful details that will need a little TLC. It’s asking a grand total of $1,400,000. Like it?

145-04 Rockaway Beach Boulevard [Zillow] GMAP

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Today DNAinfo reported that uber-hip pizza joint Roberta’s, located in Bushwick, is eyeing a second space in the Rockaways. According to DNAinfo, “A lease was signed earlier this month for a lot on Beach 96th Street off Rockaway Beach Boulevard” and sources say the new tenant is Roberta’s. The lot, located across the street from Rockaway Taco, now houses a rundown, empty house and garden. Roberta’s isn’t spilling any details on the type of restaurant or the construction timeline. The owners of Roberta’s also operate Rippers, a bar and burger spot at the Beach 86th Street concessions, during the summertime.

Roberta’s Pizza Eyeing Rockaway Outpost, Sources Say [DNAinfo]

Photo via Yelp

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It’s time to break away from winter and jump into the great outdoors! Good thing the borough is ready. Tomorrow, the Queens Botanical Gardens will host two programs for nature lovers. At 10 am, the Flushing green space will launch its intergenerational garden (above). Interested individuals will be able to tour the facilities, meet gardeners of all races and ages, and learn the ropes with the coordinator. Then at noon, QBG will offer an introductory workshop on how to grow summer vegetables indoors. Meanwhile just south of Little Neck Bay, Urban Park Rangers will teach wilderness survival at the Alley Pond Park Adventure Center. Participants of all ages will learn how to build shelter, start a fire without matches, and find water sources in a forest. The fun continues on March 10th at the Rockaway Community Park Coastal Clean-Up, where do-gooders will work with Natural Areas Volunteers from the Parks Department to remove debris from the shoreline and protect Jamaica Bay’s natural habitat.

Details:

  • Intergenerational Garden Open House, Queens Botanical Gardens, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, March 8th, 10 am, free.
  • Start Your Summer Veggies Indoors, Queens Botanical Gardens, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, March 8th, noon, $6, advance registration and payment required at education@queensbotanical.org or 718-886-3800 ext. 230.
  • Wilderness Survival, Alley Pond Park Adventure Center, vicinity of Little Neck Bay, Long Island Expressway, Union Turnpike, Springfield Boulevard, Douglaston Parkway and Hanford Street, March 8th, 11 am, free, but call 718-352-1769.
  • Rockaway Community Park Coastal Clean-Up, meet at corner of Almeda Avenue and Beach 58th Street, Far Rockaway, March 10th, 9 am to 1 pm, free, but register via 212-360-3318 or nav@parks.nyc.gov.

Photo: QBG