Bungalows of The Rockaways

The Rockaways
Jewish Life

JewishGen Home Page
KehilaLinks Home Page

Compiled by Barbara Ellman

Created: Apr, 2014

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Ellman

Today it is difficult to realize that a seaside “resort” once existed within New York City along the  11-mile barrier reef at the city's southeastern edge and forming the city's only oceanfront community replete with wide beaches, a long boardwalk and honky-tonk amusements - The Rockaways!


The Rockaway bungalows were built in waves beginning in 1905.  The low rents allowed regular working class New Yorkers – butchers, clerks, house painters – to have a modest vacation place near the beach.  By the late 1930’s there were more than 7,000 humble bungalows in the Rockaways.  Fewer than 100 survive today on three blocks bound by Beach 24th Street, Seagirt Avenue, Beach 26th Street and the oceanfront boardwalk.


These cottages originally had only basic amenities: 2-3 bedrooms, indoor toilets, cold water, and outdoor showers.

Edgemere Bungalows


In the past, many New York families, whose breadwinners worked as butchers, domestics, bus drivers, seamstresses, longshoremen, and peddlers, rented the same bungalow summer after summer, returning to the tight-knit seasonal communities that developed among generations of vacationers. 

Most residents were Jewish and Irish immigrant families who spent their days outdoors, at the beach, in the bungalow courts, and on their front porches. Far Rockaway, Edgemere, and Arverne, were frequented by Jewish families.

Bungalow Today

With the decline of the area’s resort community after World War II, the bungalows fell into disrepair. The city moved welfare recipients into them in the off-season, even though few were winterized.

In 2013, the district of surviving bungalows was placed on the State Register of Historic Places.  The placement of the district on the State Register automatically nominates it to be on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Far Rockaway Beach Bungalow Historic District was added to the National Register in July 2013.


Rockaway's Summers

The Boardwalk


Rockaway Playland

Kiddie Park
    Kiddie Park
Beach & Playland ca. 1930

 1930 Playland

 Thanks to the Leiman Library for use of the postcards shown.

This page is hosted at no cost to the public by JewishGen, Inc., a non-profit corporation. If it has been useful to you, or if you are moved by the effort to
preserve the memory of our lost communities, your JewishGen-erosity would be deeply appreciated.