OLDNYC.COM--> Virtual Tour --> Rockaway Ave. to Rockaway Park Picture Gallery #7

A staircase from the platform takes subway customers to street level.  Notice the wood wall that helps to block the wind off of the ocean.



The old LIRR platform lights are still in use today!  Very rarely do you see incandescent light bulbs provide lighting for the length of the subway platform.  Fluorescent lights or the new sodium lamps are standard issue lighting for subway platforms.  The incandescent bulbs add to the station's charm.

Oldnyc.com frequent contributor Jim Guthrie recently visited the stations.  Jim notes: "I see they have drilled holes in the platforms for new lighting - the Holland and Playland stations in particular.  The last of the LIRR incandescent bulbs seem to be about to go.  My guess is the TA El Station type walls will go up to replace the PRR-style safety fences as well."



A view of the Atlantic ocean from the window of the subway car.  These two large buildings are housing projects.



Rockaway Beach was once a vacation destination for many New Yorkers.  Many small bungalows and private homes dotted the landscape.  In the 1960's, the City of New York instituted a "slum" clearance program.  Many of the bungalows were demolished.  During the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) programs in the late 1960's, public housing projects were built in many areas of New York City.  With many of the bungalow houses cleared, the City decided to build public housing project on the land formerly occupied by the bungalows.  There are strings of high-rise public housing projects that are located throughout this area.  There is also a lot of vacant lots, many now undeveloped, that are waiting for some type of development to take place.  The Rockaways have undergone substantial transformation in the past thirty years.



Last stop, Rockaway Park Beach... last stop.  This is the end of the line, the last stop on the virtual tour.  Before the NYCTA took over operation of the line, Rockaway Park Beach was a terminal for the LIRR service in this area.  Far Rockaway was not a terminal, since the connecting loop service provided travel to other destinations.

The LIRR Rockaway Park station was upgraded for the NYCTA takeover of the line.



** Epilogue **

I sincerely hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of the LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch.  It was certainly a lot of fun taking the "real" tour and pondering all sorts of questions and thoughts that raced through my mind as the tour progressed.  When you stop to think about it, it is really quite fascinating that an abandoned railroad ROW exists within the City of New York.  With land prices and the building boom the way it is, it is amazing that this piece of property continues to remain untouched.  Steve Anderson, whose excellent site www.nycroads.com, recently posted information that Robert Moses was planning on using the abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch for a spur of one of his highways.  What was to be I-78, the Bushwick Expressway was to have a spur route that would have utilized the RR ROW for it's route.  You can read more about it by following this link: http://www.nycroads.com/roads/bushwick/

A forest (albeit a narrow one) runs through the middle of Queens, and not many people know about it or even think twice about it if they do know about it!

Thanks for taking part of the virtual tour of the Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach Branch!

If you still want to acquire even more knowledge about the Rockaway Beach Branch, check out these two websites:

Forgotten-ny.com at: www.forgotten-ny.com/SUBWAYS/Rockaway%20Line/rockline.html

LIRRhistory.com at: www.lirrhistory.com/rockpics.html

*** END OF THE TOUR ***

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