The Far Rockaway terminal station for the Long Island Rail Road's Far Rockaway Branch. The branch had originally been part of a loop that traveled along the existing route, continuing through the Rockaway Peninsula and heading on a trestle across Jamaica Bay through Queens where it reconnected with other branches. Frequent fires and maintenance problems led the LIRR to abandon the Queens portion of the route, which was acquired by the city to become the IND Rockaway Line.
The proximity of the location to the beach made it an ideal place for tourists and vacationing people from the other boroughs. Bungalows were the homes of choice for many residents of the community who lived in Far Rockaway. In the 1950s and '60s the Rockaways saw many public housing developments built because the neighborhood's heyday as a resort community ended about 1950. The families that used the nearby Long Island Rail Road to get to the area each summer began to vacation elsewhere as travel by automobile became more accessible to many people. The popularity of the area also suffered after the railroad abandoned the Rockaway Beach Branch in 1950, making travel to the Rockaway Peninsula far less convenient to people from other parts of New York City. Much of the housing in the area was converted into year-round housing for low-income residents, and some of the bungalows were used as public housing. In the 1970s, New York City went through a crippling budget crisis that had a massive negative impact on social services. This decline in service impacted the Far Rockaway community severely.
The Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association was created by Betzie Parker White, Roger White, and Carole Lewis in September 1984. The mission of the organization was to improve the quality of the Far Rockaway community through preservation, education, and cultural programs. Fellow community resident Richard George became a board member in 1985 and became organization chairman in 1990. He continues the mission of the founding members with a special emphasis placed on the preservation of the bungalows “because they are a piece of the city’s history and a reminder of what the Rockaways were.”
The collection was donated to the Queens Library Archives in 2008. The collection contains 11 boxes of materials that highlight the history, correspondence, and activities of the organization devoted to the preservation−but not conservation−of the Far Rockaway bungalows.
Alan M. Kriegsman (1928-2012) Born in Brooklyn, but raised in Far Rockaway; graduated from Far Rockaway High School; won Pulitzer Prize in Criticism (1976), the first and thus far (2010) only such Prize awarded for writings on the art of dance.