If Tony's video contribution to the Rockaway web site is an indication of what's out there, there must be a treasure trove of old 8mm film waiting to be transferred to video so that it can make it's way onto this web site. The outpouring of heartfelt comments received after posting Ben Budick's excellent song, There Used To Be A Boardwalk Here, only serves to remind us how special Rockaway was to all of us. Tony has also struck a nerve with his video. While I am a little older than he, I instantly related to his wonderful images recalling the names and faces of the guys that I played ball with every single day after school. It was a religion and continued until it was too dark to see the ball. Thanks Tony for sending it for all of us to share.
Like most of us, I have fond memories growing up in the Rockaways. I lived on Beach 84 street at the Hammel Houses. Most of the guys I hung out with lived in the same project and practically all of us loved baseball. We decided to form a street league of different neighborhood teams from Arverne, Dayton to Surfside. I always had a passion for film making and when my dad came home with an 8mm film camera, I instantly decided that I would go out and document some of our most memorable moments.
In 1971, with the assistance of my brother (Robert Castro), we began filming our friends playing baseball and other affairs. We always practiced on Beach 86 street (near 7 Brothers restaurant) but our home field was the school park at P.S. 183.
Today, I've decided to put together a collection of old crumbled rolls of 8mm film and some photos for this presentation of several parts. Part (1) features my neighborhood, the "Hammel Houses area" which includes the American Irish Hall. Pay close attention to the background scenic views. You will find them without question, intriguing views of the past. Enjoy!
Tony Castro, Class of 1974 Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
p.s. I would like to thank Marty Nislic for his technical guidance.