The Rockaways, New York, USA

Including the communities of

Far Rockaway, Bayswater, Arverne, Edgemere, Belle Harbor, Rockaway Park

The Rockaways
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Compiled by Barbara Ellman

Updated: Aug 2020

Copyright 2014-2020 Barbara Ellman

Best known, for its beaches, the phrase "The Rockaways" refers to all of the communities that are located on the Rockaway Peninsula, from Rockaway Point at the far western end, to the community of Rockaway Beach in the middle and Far Rockaway at the eastern end.  Those communities, and all of those in between, encompass a range of social, economic, and ethnic groups.  The peninsula is located between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean

The western end of the peninsula includes such communities as the gated communities of Breezy Point, the affluent areas of Neponsit and Belle Harbor, and the more commercial neighborhoods of Rockaway Park and Rockaway Beach. The eastern half contains communities such as Arverne ,  the residentially dense Far Rockaway, and the suburban enclave of Bayswater.   Historically, a sizable Jewish population has been present on both ends of the peninsula.

Map of The Rockaways

Rockaways Map



      Far Rockaway is a suburban New York City community in Queens, bordering on Nassau County.  It is situated on the eastern corner of the Rockaway Peninsula, a thin sliver of land jutting out from the south shore of Long Island and into the Atlantic Ocean.  Originally an Irish resort town, Jews began to settle in Far Rockaway in the second half of the nineteenth century. 

      By 1910, some 200 Jewish families lived all year around in Far Rockaway, with an additional 2000 Jewish families spending their summer vacation in rented rooms and hotels in the Far Rockaway area. 

The original Jewish settlers were mostly Reform Jews, but a steady influx  of Orthodox Jews ultimately transformed Far Rockaway into an area known for its famous rabbis, scholars, Jewish communal leaders, Jewish institutions and its philanthropy.  Sometimes Far Rockaway has been referred to as "Torah by the Sea".  Far Rockaway's Jewish community has had a major impact on the development of Orthodox Jewry in the nearby Five Towns (Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, and Hewlett).

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