Rainy Day Rockaway, Part I

VINTAGE BEACH BUNGALOWS in New York City. Yes, they still exist, though in numbers much smaller than they used to, and on only two blocks in any significant concentration: Beach 24th and 25th Streets in Far Rockaway, in the distant reaches of Queens. I was there the other day to visit a friend who’s just finished renovating one of the more dire specimens, to see her dramatic improvements. (Read M.’s ‘before and during’ story here. ‘After’ photos to come.)

She gave me a tour of the district. M. knows the back story on each and every bungalow. Who lives there, for how long, whether they own or rent, what kind of work they do, how many kids they have, the state of their health, and more. It’s a friendly community, and M. has met a lot of people in the 2 or 3 years she’s been working on finding, buying, and fixing up her place.

Each bungalow has its individual character. Some are painted bright Caribbean colors, a couple look like the surf shacks you might have found in the Venice Beach of old. Many retain their original striped awnings. Some have new roofs and smooth stucco; others are sadly peeling and sagging.

Weather-wise, it was a dull day, good for capturing the melancholia of these stalwart 1920s cottages. Enjoy the tour, and be sure to let me know in the comments which you like best.

For more information on Rockaway bungalows, and to see another of my previous posts on the subject, go here.

WordPress is balking at so large a post; to be continued in Rainy Day Rockaway, Part II.

7 thoughts on “Rainy Day Rockaway, Part I

  1. Love the combination of this post and the one from 2010 — lots of information, visual and historical. Thanks!

  2. Love the pink lady. Are the awnings an original detail on the cottages? And since they are so uniform, were they built as a development?

  3. Funny idea, E, but not one I’m in favor of. The houses are very small (700 sq. ft. or less, with no yards to speak of) and the general surroundings less than charming.

  4. Yes, AC, the awnings are original, mostly on the west-facing cottages (they face either east or west). It certainly seems they were built as a development, or many developments. There were once some 7,000 bungalows, now just a few hundred, and they’re scattered for the most part, with the exception of these two blocks.

  5. My favorite, hands down, is the red and white one with an awning that says 186. Never noticed that one before–your photo really brings out its beauty. You made a great couple of posts out of a gray day.

  6. Charming without being big. Small doesn’t have to equal ugly. While this doesn’t represent great art, it does show that well-proportioned houses come in all shapes and sizes.

    I deal with all kinds of houses on my website and would love to create an article about small houses and point back to this page of your blog. Check me out at http://www.house-design-coffee.com .

    Keep up the good work.

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