Rockaway Memories

April, 2015


My father, Teddy Mass, had a grocery store called Teddy's on the corner of 71st and Rockaway Beach Blvd, from the late 50's to early 70's. Anyone remember it? My mother, Faye, also worked in the store. As a kid, I even worked the register sometimes, standing on milk cartons. We lived in Far Rockaway (first Mott Ave., later on Dwight Ave.), but summered in bungalows just across the street from the grocery. Treasured memories.  Best,

Marian Mass

June, 2012

I don't know how or why, but I just came across this page…….35th st!

My family had bungalos on 43rd st. As a kid, I played at Lennys fascination, rode the bumper cars, and 20 years later, ran into PeeWee Weiss in Babylon, Long Island. 'BUMP-BUMP-BUMPER CARS"  That and Jerry's Knishes, the Arcade where I played shuffleboard. Somewhere in my attic, I still have coupons! Red was a full, Orange 3/4, blue 1/2, or something like that, but I do have them in a box in my attic……somewhere.

What else……..Sally's Pizza! Featured there was the meatball heroes…..Weep - 1 meatball, Peep- 2 meatballs and a Jeep-3 meatballs!

I had a friend that was a lifeguard……Paul Mattes…..he surfed…..took a trip to Hawaii and never returned. He sold Puka shells on the beach……wrote a short story and had it published…..introduced skateboards into the island with the name COBRA! Heard he ran for Governor back in 06.

My brother met his wife there. Both sides of my family spent the summers there.

Great memories.

Oh…..anyone want to go for a Tuckee cup? Then we could sit in the outdoor movie theater!

I keep remembering more: My sister-in-law Carol's brother made pizza at Sallys. Used to like to throw them up in the air to impress the girls. Got one stuck on the ceiling one day.

How about Bob's Cofferama! Throw softballs at old 78's. And wasn't there a place called "Slurpees"? ice cream or something? Digging deeper, there was a hotel on the boards in the low 30's.  I think it was where my Mom married my Dad. My Mom was also an Air Raid Warden in the summers during WWII. She patrolled the boardwalk with a German Shepherd at night. Everyone had to draw their shades and not show any lights.

My Aunt and Uncle lived on 43rd st. for many years with my cousin Jack Steinberg. Babe Ruth used to hit balls with his buddies at the end of 43rd st into the bay. There was a private airport a few blocks away.

Thinking way back to probably the late 40's, when I lived there as a child, I can remember Gypsies living in a lot off Beach Channel Drive in a wagon. My Mom and I would walk in Far Rock to go shopping.

Wait until my Sis-in-law reads my e mails. I forwarded the site to her. She spent every summer in the Rockaways with her family.

Bob Goldman

June, 2012


I spent the first 21 summers of my life in Rockaway. My parents rented a bungalow on 43rd St. I loved the beach and the boardwalk. Those were wonderful carefree days.
My brother, Mike Lublin worked in Larry & Sally's Pizza place from 1956 till 1961 or 2. Next door to them was Tuckee Cup where the Lee brothers worked. I would love to have a Tuckee Cup today. If you "Google", Tuckee Cup" , there is a huge web site all about those glorious days in Rockaway.

Every week we watched the fireworks from the boardwalk. There was always people to hang out with, games to play, and delicious food to eat. Remember Meyer's Knishes, Jerry's Knishes, homemade ices, and the best pizza I ever had.

Fifty years later, I retired to Boynton Beach , Florida. I still love the beach. I live in a huge community, and one of my neighbors, Paul Hoffer, was also a Rockaway devotee. He worked at Coffee Rama.  Great memories.

Carole Lublin Goldman

 November 17, 2010

Hi.....Having just attended the 1960 reunion, I am filled with FRHS memories! Of course, I remember ,with great fondness, Mr. Tietze and Mr. Jagust, along with many more wonderful teachers. I wonder if anyone remembers Mr. Albert Bindman who taught at FRHS for a short time in the late 1950’s. He taught Speech and Theater and was my inspiration for becoming a Speech major in college. I taught Speech ,Theater and English as a Second Language for 31 years. I will never forget my years at Far Rockaway. When I graduated from college, I started my teaching career as a substitute. Going back to FRHS as a teacher was definitely a weird experience! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.I

Maxine Held Pascal Class of 1960     Email Address:  Click Here to Email

February 13, 2010


I am younger than many of the individuals who have shared their memories on this website, but I do remember the Sugar Bowl (Yonkel made great Cherry Cokes & egg creams), Cornega Hardware, Joe's Barber Shop, etc. My dad bought Gellis Pharmacy in the mid to late1960's and had a thriving business until 1974 or so when the neighborhood went down hill. I have great memories of going to the beach and boardwalk, playing Ring-a-leery o (sp.) with every kid who lived on Mott Ave and spending a lot of time in my Dad's store. We knew all of the cops at the 101 and most of the doctors, judges and lawyers in Far Rock got their scripts filled at Gellis Pharmacy. My Dad told me the story about finding 10 k in the wall of the pharmacy (ostensibly hidden by Doc Gellis).

Unfortunately, the neighborhood got really rough around 1974 and the store was robbed and broken into several times a month.( even with the 101 a block away!). My dad made the decision to move us up to our summer home in Cobleskill NY and sold the pharmacy in 1976. I don't remember Sid and Sam's, but it sounds like it must have been great. I love reminiscing about the old neighborhood and wished that we could have stayed on Mott Avenue (if the environment hadn't change so drastically)

Walt Davies Jr   Email Address:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dear FRHS Classmates,

I graduated in Jan. 1946, having attended during FRHS’s wartime ‘glory years’. I refer to them as glory years because, while America struggled onto a wartime footing with conscription, arms production, rationing, bond rallies, scrap metal drives, victory gardens and oversea V-mail letters with hometown news, FRHS mobilized as well.

In particular, the far-sighted Physical Education Department, headed by Luft, Barry, Sierer and Reznick, are to be thanked and forever remembered. Instead of pick-up baseball and basketball games during gym periods, they instituted a system of pre-army preparedness. Similar to army basic-training, they had us do countless laps on the second-story track in the gym. Obstacle courses on the floor were improvised with heavy mats overlaying saw-horses. Two-story high ceiling ropes were lowered for us to climb with cushion mats underneath. One student suffered a fit half way up and fell, but Mr. Luft broke his fall. The result was only a sprained ankle.

Many of our young classmates like Bob McAleese, ’46 and Tony Antich, ( a cousin ), volunteered underage before being drafted. One day in 1943 or ’44, graduate Richard Davis visited F.R. in his flight uniform. The girls were all a ga-ga. With his younger sister, Sue Davis, class of ’47, he proudly walked the hallways and visited old teachers and classrooms. He never returned, lost in an air-raid over Germany . In Miss Foley’s, (English Dept.) home-room class, a monitor was appointed to sell 5 & 10 cent War Bond stamps. When the stamp booklets were filled to $ 18.75, they were exchanged in the Far Rockaway Post Office for a $ 25 War Bond, redeemable in 10 years, a much better return than the 2% interest paid at the Far Rockaway Savings Bank at that time.

On entering FRHS, I joined Ralph Stark’s orchestra as a violinist and was the first freshman from F.R. ever to be accepted into the All-City High School Orchestra which rehearsed at Brooklyn Tech H.S. on Saturdays. I also performed a Beriot Concerto at commencement accompanied on the piano by my sister Ilene Vlahov, Jan. ’45. I well remember Mr. Hamberger’s Chess Club, Ms. Gussow’s Pan-American Club which staged annual Spanish programs in the auditorium for the entire school and Ms. Liebich’s Arista leadership. In Ralph Stark’s Symphonic Club, we listened to symphonies and operas. Raul Szabo, class of Jan. ’45, and I subway-ed into NYC twice on Ralph Stark’s recommendation to line up as extras at the Metropolitan Opera House. We, along with Bowery derelicts, who couldn’t sell their unfit blood to the city’s hospitals in order to buy a gallon of cheap wine, were paid $5 a performance. One drunk actually collapsed on stage and had to be physically dragged off. During Wagner’s Lohengrin, Raul and I were decked out as Vikings with horned helmets, kirtles, leather straps to our knees and carrying fearsome fake spears on stage.

The faculty at FRHS was always extraordinarily encouraging in cultural matters. Dr. Blau, (English Dept.) recommended a series of Saturday lectures on the ‘Religions of the World’ at the Ethical Culture Society located off Central Park West. I believe that’s when I became an atheist. I spent many weekends in NYC galleries and museums, especially the Museum of Natural History . NYC was always a cultural mother-lode and FRHS’s faculty directed its mining.

During Rockaway summers when hordes of ‘city folk’ rented bungalows, many from FRHS’s swimming team under Coach Sierer became lifeguards. Rockaway always had championship swimming teams. The proximity of Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean was a definite factor. City pools were crowded and didn’t lend themselves to practice laps. In the early 40’s Victor Cazazza was our citywide freestyle champion. We also had Valentine Vogel and a low-board diver named Ott. Both commuted daily from Broad Channel. Jimmy Braddock from Beach 47th St , came along a little later.

Sidney Leass, June ’46, and I, however, were much smarter than the lifeguards. We hired on as ‘parkies’ for the NYC Park Dept. working for a few hours in the morning spearing trash on the empty beaches. In the blazing afternoon sun, we took off our uniforms and in bathing trunks melted into the crowd, cavorting in the surf and playing gin rummy on girl’s blankets. Our supervisors could never find us. The poor lifeguards however, couldn’t hide. Visible on their watchtowers, they simply simmered and baked in the sun. On occasion, when Atlantic winds churned up huge breakers, we occasionally had a drowning scare. When a lifeguard blew his whistle and raced into the water, we ‘parkies’ joined the rescue. One time we lost a kid, Eddie Stevenson, whose bloated body washed up on 63rd Street one week later. The lifeguard shack was a clapboard affair on stilts located on the beach side of the boardwalk on Beach 43rd St. Under the boardwalk on 34th St., behind the rest rooms, we ‘parkies’ had our substation. There I had a stint as the first-aid attendant wearing a white jacket with a Red Cross pinned on my sleeve. I attended to cuts, but mostly boardwalk splinters. It was a great way to meet girls who, after dinner, would meet us by the jute boxes on the boardwalk to jitterbug. Next door was Ski-ball, Farber’s Pokerino and Kentucky Derby games of chance. Prizes were a carton of Camel or Lucky Strike cigarettes. If I had enough smokes, I usually sold my winnings to Baron’s Drug Store on Bch. Channel Drive , compelled, of course, to sell at a discount.

I remember the day the whole school walked out on strike circling the school in protest to football being discontinued at F.R. It proved effective. Football was reinstated. I also remember the day President Roosevelt died. No matter how many horror movies I’ve ever seen, I’ve never witnessed that many ‘zombies’ walking around. There were only muted whispers in the hallways. Few returned to classes that day. Most, merely wandered off home.

The day I shall always remember in high school was when I became an instant celebrity. Our principal, Monica D. Ryan, had arranged for a special free magic show. The auditorium was packed, the balcony full. Teachers lined the walls and blocked the back doorways. The entire school was there. In front of the stage, we in the orchestra opened the program with a rendition of ‘Marche Militaire’ under Ralph Stark’s baton. After a drum-roll, the curtain went up. On stage was a dark-skinned red-turbaned Indian Swami in white flowing robes and sporting a red circle imprinted in the middle of his forehead. After mesmerizing the audience with card tricks, a disappearing dove in a birdcage and a rabbit popping out of a hatbox, he came forward and called for a volunteer. Everyone raised their hand, but he selected me from the orchestra pit. On stage, he swung a gold medallion back and forth and quickly hypnotized me. I have no recall of what happened next. Later, I was told that I appeared on stage like a 2 x 4, stiff as a board. The Swami then stretched me out face-up between two chairs, my head resting on one, my heels on the other with nothing supporting me in-between. He then proceeded to sit on my stomach. At the piano, my sister Ilene, Jan. ’45, began sobbing. From my appearance, she thought her kid brother was dead. For weeks afterwards in the hallways, I was stopped by classmates wanting to know how I did it. To this day, I still don’t have an answer.

Graduation day, of course, was marred by a tragic auto accident in Inwood the week before. Our star athlete, Jack Kelly, was killed and Tony Piazza and Byron Savides, both linesmen on the football team, were seriously injured. Jack was our football quarterback and star basketball player. He had received a scholarship to play basketball at St. Johns . His high mass funeral in Belle Harbor was attended by dozens of classmates.

After graduation, I attended CCNY uptown with Seymour Lefkowitz, David Lawson and Bert Langfur. At Howard, the Negro university in D.C., I received my degree in Pharmacy. Rutgers followed for my Masters and then the University of Toronto after immigrating to Canada to join my renowned water-colorist sister Ilene. There, I met and married a true Canadian colleen, Lois Anne Greene, actress, artist and PR officer for W.R. Grace and Co. in Canada . While owning and operating two ‘Shopper’s Drug Mart’ supermarket drugstores in Oakville , Ontario , I expanded my hobby of writing into a second career. I wrote for the stage, Canadian T.V. and short story magazines. On retiring to Mexico in 1988, I tackled novels. To date, I have published four: ‘Fighting the Man, ‘North Star Pilgrim’, ‘The Splintered House’ and ‘A Candle Before Midnight’. I used the Rockaways as the background in all of my novels. In particular, in the ‘Candle Before Midnight’, the story is about an Edgemere girl who attends FRHS. Howard Schwatch, Editor of ‘The Wave’ newspaper in Rockaway and another F.R. alumna, did a book review in the Aug. 14, 2009 edition of ‘The Wave’.  My novels, along with further biography, are posted on,(under fiction)

My many memories of high school and the Rockaways are still vivid, but slowly getting dimmer as the years pass. You should also visit the Far Rockaway H.S. website, chaperoned by Marty Neslick, It will spark cherished memories. I recommend it to all alumni, regardless of your graduation year. In particular, Marty has compiled student graduation pictures from our Dolphin yearbooks. My year, Jan. ’46, like many others, is missing. I lost mine in the flooding of Hurricaine Donna in 1960. If your Dolphin graduation pictures are posted, enjoy! If they are not and you still retain a copy of your Dolphin, I plead with you to contact Marty so that we all may enjoy the faces of our youthful classmates once again. Should you feel you are not versatile enough to scan the photos or share your Dolphin with Marty, try to get someone to help. But please, get in touch with Marty! For now, happy holidays. With affection,

Ed Vlahov, Jan. ‘46    Email Address:

January 21, 2008

Dear Skip,

The youtube video clip brought back some subway memories.  Steve Goldberg and I (we both graduated FRHS in 1962) were attending HI-LI in 1958. At that time we both had ambitions of attending Brooklyn Tech the following year. In order to qualify we had to pass the entrance exam which was held in Brooklyn. Coincidently, the exam was scheduled on the same day that the subway was opening in Far Rockaway. So, we took the day off from HI-LI and took the first A train out of Far Rockaway.

The only regrets I have of that day are that we boarded the train at the Wavecrest Station. Our parents mistakenly thought that the opening festivities at the Mott. Avenue Station might interfere with our ability to get on the train.

The other regret, I didn't make it into Brooklyn Tech.  But, in retrospect I would not now have all these fond memories of Far Rockaway High School.

Attached is a pdf of the New York Times article with photo describing the Far Rockaway subway opening.

Marty Nislick

January 20, 2008

What I find fascinating is there is normally a rather large divide in perceptions between people that came of age in Rockaway in the late 50's-early 60's and the late 60's early 70's for example...Yet on your website that divide is not apparent...the common thread is true affection for a place and a time that transcends eras...if THAT makes sense....

I've always equated the appeal of your site as akin to the success of Barry Levenson's film Diner....I know when I saw Diner I saw the STATE diner...But while Levenson's vision turned out to be universal yours is very specific....

I know in my case my Mom started spending Summers, EVERY Summer, in the Bungalows beginning when she was 8.....that was 1933....Wavecrest was the gateway..  my Grandparents were the first tenants in 20-41 in 1951 and my parents followed them to 20-45 in 1953...And I think nearly EVERYONE I knew growing up had a similar story....Rockaway seemed to be a community where
the kids were 1st and 2nd generation Jewish Irish Italian....

To me one of the funniest stories, and I don't know how many people even know this...were our parents bought the American Dream....but part of the reality of the American dream was the breaking down of barriers...In the mid 60's between the dances at the Hartman Y, St Gertrude's, Bayswater Jewish Center and the high school there suddenly was an explosion of dating between the Jews, Irish and Italians....the parents were getting very concerned....and there actually was a summit meeting between the Rabbis
and the Priests to try and find a way to stop it...I only heard of it years later from my father....Obviously whatever they attempted failed!....

God Skip...this has opened the floodgates for me...I better get around to writing that novel!...

Ben Budick     Email Address:

January 16, 2008

Dear Skip and Carol,

Thanks for writing about this whole web site "issue." I recall perhaps a year ago (maybe two?) getting e-mail indicating that the FRHS site was being moved to a (very) commercial host, I think "," which sends endless solicitations for money and so on.

I have gotten to the point where I don't even open those e-mails, I just delete them. No matter what they "tease" you with or promise you can see, you'll have to pay a lot of money first.

I have much to say and write about thinking of Rockaway. I grew up in Arverne (the "forgotten community") and attended PS42, JHS198, and then "the rock." I've very slowly started to get all the many, many negatives I shot during those years (I did a lot of the candid photos for the '64 Dolphin) and one of these days, might actually make some digital scans and send them in. We'll see.

If anybody thinks of having a reunion of my class year, I'd love to know about it. There are a terrifying number of details about the school, the community, the stores along Central Avenue, the stores on Rockaway Beach Blvd., and so on, all of which fill my head and "leak out" from time to time. Somewhere, I have photos of the block I lived on when the ocean and the bay met during Hurricane Donna in September of 1960, with all the cars partly submerged in water that was sometimes 4-5 feet high. I'll try to find those pix one of these days.

I also recall seeing more than one airplane crash smoke plume while in the 5th and 6th grades at PS42- those high windows overlooked (then) Idlewild. One of the crashes was an early 707, if I recall. I also remember going with the family up to Cross Bay Boulevard to se a Riddle Cargo Airlines DC-6 that belly landed just on the side of the road, near the old version of the North Channel Bridge (wooden?).

I am now working in my 40th year "making stars" with no plans to quit soon (I'm a planetarium astronomer, working in two planetariums and two colleges) and am having other kinds of fun in spare time.   A small, recent photo is attached.

A couple of years ago I ran into Steve Beck as a result of your site.

Enough for now- keep up the site, please. It is a great place to wander in, and to linger in, especially in the wee hours of "night thoughts."


Sam Storch    Class of 1964    Email Address:

March 27, 2007

I've looked for a PS 39 site but have not found one. One of the teachers I remember from FRHS was Mr. Ottenstein. He had me do a report at the Queens Public Library and my love of public speaking continues. Does anyone remember the kindergarten teachers Ms. Morris and Ms Ring at PS 39 or Mrs. Burkander? If you remember any of the teachers from PS 39 from around 1945 to 55-57 do write me personally. I went there from kindergarten to 8th grade. I do believe we were the last class to graduate the 8th grade before it changed to a Jr high school formula . I lived right across from the school at 20 Mott Place behind the police station.

Brenda Ceren Rosenthal      Email Address:

February 2, 2007

Why is it most everyone gets the Rockaways mixed up with our little town "Far Rockaway"? I know the Rockaways were part of the peninsular - but Far Rockaway was a very special little seaside town all in its own close to Atlantic Beach.. It had 3 movies (The RKO Strand was an old vaudeville house) two five and ten cent stores 3 bakeries a slew of clothing stores- libraries, banks, many many bars, schools, the fire department, telephone company, gas and electric company ......all within a mile radius of each other. Just about the whole town was built either on or centered around Central Avenue. It cannot be compared with Rockaway Beach - that was one long stretch of road.

Did anyone know that in the late 1800's, early 1900's trolley cars ran through the town of Far Rockaway down to the beach?. These tracks were later paved over....but if you dig deep enough they are still there..

The the whole place went to hell in a handbag.

No Name    Email Address:

January 22, 2007

Hello, I'm from class of 78. I was born and raised in Rockaway ! My dad had a car service (Rockaway Car Service) located between beach 44th  and beach 45th street on Rockaway Beach Blvd. I remember a lot of the stores (or what was left of them in my years). Rockaway was a fun place to grow up, the beach, the boardwalk from 32nd street (Cinderella land, the pizza place and the chineese place where the plate was the noodles).  I really miss those days !! I now live in Florida with my children.

Joseph Diodati    Email Address:

My mother and grandmother owned a woman's clothing store in downtown Far Rockaway on Cornaga Ave.  It was called "The Villager".  I spent almost every Saturday in town.
The store was next to the back alley to the movie theatre and I spent many hour there throwing a ball ( pensey - pinky ? ) against the wall.
I always ate at the Pickwick.  I felt like a big - shot !  I'd go in there order whatever I wanted and then I would sign the check and leave.  The cook would throw some onions into the fryer while making my french fries.  And always a chocolate malt shake !
I would then go across the street to the department store ( Grant's ? ) and get a big bag of popcorn.  Then off to the movies ( one of the 3 theatres in town ) and watch 2 movies .
I remember the toy store ( Harvey's )  , the army - navy store ( Morton's ) , the A & W, the Chinese restaurant, the bowling alley upstairs, the jewlery store , and the slot car racing store.
We lived across from St. Josephs Hospital until we moved to the Five Towns.
My baby siter was Denise Winston, now a match maker in NYC.

Martin Steinberg    Fort Lauderdale, FL   Email Address:

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