This website is a marvel. I've just sent word of it to several
other Rockaway-in-exile friends out there and I really want to commend
the people who designed it and currently maintain it: bravissimo! Is there
an email that goes out to all the Rockaway "Liebhaber" or afficianados,
informing about latest updates and additions? I'd love to be placed on
I lived in Far Rockaway from year of birth 1960 until 1981 and I'll
never forget the wonderful times, the summers that never seemed to end.
They were years of innocent youth, but also of some (borderline) harmless
mischief, especially during those teenage years in the early '70s. But
what typified those years most was a warm feeling of kinship with folks
of all religions and colors. All in all it was a sweetly diversified childhood
on that magical peninsula. If ever one could set the clock back... I am
constantly encountering people spread about the greater New York environs,
soul after soul with a Rockaway story often in the vein of O'Henry to relate.
Yes, it's heartening to know that deep in the very marrow of this
great city, the Rockaways continue to play a vital role, not only in contributing
to New York's overall robust and unique calling as the quintessential modern
city; but also in contributing that more salty but sturdy stuff, typifying
the true New Yorker. And not only the ultimate sacrifice of so many of
the peninsula inhabitants on 9/11 is emblematic of that.
Unfortunately I didn't have the luck to attend Far Rockaway High
School, although I did have the luck to attend the High School of the Performing
Arts in Manhattan. What an adventurous four years that was; of long, arduous
rides on the "A" train, with its winding route through all kinds of neighborhoods
in Queens and Brooklyn. But even without the imprimatur of a FRHS. diploma,
I still count myself a Rockaway spirit and hope you will allow me a perth
in your guestbook, all this while residing in exile in Forest Hills.
With great acuity I'm reading as quickly as possible the fascinating
postings at this website. Suddenly the vivid blue colors and smells around
the boardwalk, the gusts of wind from the Atlantic Ocean, all seem to overwhelm
me. And of course the expert graphics from this website also play a role
in transforming these isolated feelings into a very tactile sense of nostalgia.
It's remorseless, I've now stumbled onto all the pictures from various
Rockaway locations and I'm immediately conjuring up more and more ghosts
from the past. Images of Benny the Cop ready to write a ticket; or of Singing
Eddie in his faded yellow short-sleeve shirt ready to sing your favorite
song request; a softball game within the confines of the church grounds
at Russell Sage Church on B. 12th St and Brunswick Ave; even an early spring
Saturday morning stickball game now, this time further south on Brunswick
Ave. and Wheatly St., where the old plumbing supply company existed alongside
the LIRR tracks. For those hunger pangs, how about a slice of pizza, of
course at Gino's on Central Ave. (or do we call it B. 20th St.?) but for
a mere 25 cents; a rice cup at the On-On Kitchen across from St. Mary's
Church, the small cup again just one quarter; or for that matter, with
a kid's allowance, how about a nickel bagel a block away across from Sunnydale
Farms, or yet closer (but more expensive), a black and white cookie to
be had at the very next corner, at Zomick's Bakery.
Ferlenghetti, you must have had in mind all the dispersed Rockaway
folk out there when you wrought it in stone: "I still would love
to find again/ that lost locality/ Where I might catch once more/ a
Sunday subway for/ some Far Rockaway of the Heart."