In the early 20th century, a thriving network of vacation communities was constructed along the oceanfront in Brooklyn and Queens to accommodate the city’s working class in their summertime recreational pursuits. One of these was Rockaway, Queens, which was once home to over 7,000 modest bungalows in dozens of distinct seasonal communities. Sadly, fewer than 400 exist today, the rest having been demolished to make way for new development beginning in the mid 20th century. Rockaway’s largest cluster of existing bungalows (93 in total), located in Far Rockaway on Beach 24th, 25th and 26th Streets south of Seagirt Avenue, was once part of a Russian and German Jewish immigrant community called Wavecrest.
To learn more Far Rockaway Beachside Bungalows click here
This group of bungalows is elevated along the east side of Beach 24th Street, forming a particularly attractive streetscape. Numbers 172, 178 and 180 have a particularly high level of architectural integrity and stand out in the row for their distinctive arched porches. Numbers 172 and 180 have many similarities, including stone diamond-shaped medallions on their front elevations, concrete porches, hip roof dormers with six-pane casement windows, and original wood cornices on the dormers and roofline. Number 180 has a fabric awning and an original holder. Number 178 is slightly different from the other two with its louvered dormer window and its use of stucco on the exterior. These three houses and their other elevated neighbors contribute greatly to the charm of this area of extant beach bungalows.
Set in the rear courtyard behind Beach 24th Street, number 170A has a wood frame clad in stucco. It is fronted by a handsome arched porch. Its hip dormer contains an original four-pane casement window. Both the dormer and the roof have retained their original wood cornices, and the front door, which is wood with 12 glass panes, appears to be original, as well. The bungalow’s interior contains original moldings, wood floors, pull-down attic stairway and claw-foot bathtub, as well as its original floor plan.
These two bungalows have sustained significant alterations over the years and stand as a reminder of the staggering change that this community of bungalows has witnessed. Most notably missing from their façades is the original cladding, which has been replaced with vinyl siding. The original wood windows on both bungalows have been replaced and the dormer windows have been covered.
Number 155, which was recently restored, has a white painted brick façade, square columns on its porch, exposed rafters and an asphalt shingle roof. Number 157 is sheathed in stucco and is notable for the many original features it has retained, including its front screen door, wood window surrounds and shutters, a gable dormer with louvered vent and exposed rafters, and square tapered columns on its porch. Both bungalows, which are in very good condition, have brick planters on the front and side elevations.
Numbers 156 and 158 Beach 25th Street are well preserved and contain many of their original features. Both are clad in stucco and have dormers with louvered vents perched on their hip roofs. In addition to its louvered vents, number 158 has retained its wooden vent shutters. Their integrated porches have white brick columns and stoops. The decorative details on their porch roofs differ, with number 156 exhibiting a fabric awning in an original holder, and number 158 exhibiting exposed roof rafters and wooden shutters with seahorse scrolls (not original). The interior of number 158 has its original wood floors, window and door surrounds, and moldings, as well as 1950s kitchen appliances.
These four houses provide nice examples of the use of brick on the beachside bungalows. They are clad in stucco with multi-colored brick porches that all feature decorative patterned brickwork. Numbers 169 and 171 have scrolled brackets along the roofline of their porches, which is a less common feature for the remaining Wavecrest bungalows. Together with numbers 179, 181 and 183, the row nearly forms a unified brick street wall, except for the replacement of the brick with vinyl siding on number 177.
While some of the bungalows in this alley behind Beach 25th Street exhibit severe damage and neglect, this stucco bungalow has been very well maintained. Its porch features square columns and an original wainscot ceiling. Its roofline has exposed rafters, and its gable dormer has a louvered vent with a wood surround.
Like their neighbors on the southern end of the street, number 188 and number 190 (not pictured) feature brick-clad porches, though they differ slightly because they have been painted. The patterned brickwork can still be seen beneath the paint. The bungalows both have awnings and wainscot ceilings on their porches, paired louvered vents on their hip dormers, and original wood surrounds on the windows. Aside from their porches, the bungalows are clad in stucco.