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Far Rockaway, Queens facts for kids

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Far Rockaway
Neighborhood of Queens
Far Rockaway street scene
Far Rockaway street scene
Coordinates: 40°36′04″N 73°45′25″W / 40.601°N 73.757°W / 40.601; -73.757Coordinates: 40°36′04″N 73°45′25″W / 40.601°N 73.757°W / 40.601; -73.757
Country  United States
State  New York
City  New York City
County/Borough Queens
Community District Queens 14
Named for Place name of the Native American Lenape.
 • Total 50,058
 • Non-Hispanic White 25.5%
 • Black or African-American 44.7%
 • Hispanic or Latino or any race 24.7%
 • Asian 1.9%
 • Other 1.4%
 • Two or more races 1.7%
 • Median income $27,820
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area codes 718, 347, 929, and 917

Far Rockaway is a neighborhood on the eastern part of the Rockaway peninsula in the New York City borough of Queens. It is the easternmost section of the Rockaways. The neighborhood extends from Beach 32nd Street east to the Nassau County line. Its southern boundary is the Atlantic Ocean; it is one of the neighborhoods along Rockaway Beach.

Far Rockaway is located in Queens Community District 14 and its ZIP Code is 11691. It is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 101st Precinct.


Grand View Ave, Far Rockaway, New York
Grand View Avenue in the 1910s
See also: History of Rockaway, Queens

The name "Rockaway" may have meant "place of sands" in the Munsee language of the Native American Lenape. Other spellings include Requarkie, Rechouwakie, Rechaweygh, Rechquaakie and Reckowacky.

In September 1609, Henry Hudson and his crew were the first Europeans to see the Rockaways and Jamaica Bay. Hudson was attempting to go to the Northwest Passage. On September 11, Hudson sailed into the Upper New York Bay, and the following day began a journey up the modern-day Hudson River.

Rockaway was, back then, inhabited by Canarsie Indians. The name Reckowacky, which is also spelled Requarkie, Rechouwakie, Rechaweygh, or Rechquaakie, was to distinguish the Rockaway village from other Mohawk Nation villages; "Reckowacky" means "lonely place", or "place of waters bright". By 1639, the Mohegan tribe sold most of the Rockaways to the Dutch West India Company. In 1664, the English got the land from the Dutch. In 1685, the tribal chieftain, Chief Tackapoucha, and the English governor agreed to sell the Rockaways to one Captain Palmer for 31 pounds sterling.

The Rockaway Peninsula was originally part of the Town of Hempstead, then a part of Queens County. Palmer and the town of Hempstead disputed over who owned Rockaway, so the land was sold to Richard Cornell, an iron master from Flushing in 1687. Cornell and his family lived on a homestead on Central Avenue, near the Atlantic Ocean shore; upon his death, Cornell was buried in a small family cemetery, Cornell Cemetery, which is the only designated New York City landmark in the Rockaways. The Rockaway Association wanted to build a hotel on the Rockaway peninsula. The association, consisting of many wealthy members, bought most of Cornell's old homestead property. The Marine Hotel, which was built on that site, became a place where the Vanderbilt family, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Washington Irving, eventually stayed. The Rockaway Association also built the Rockaway Turnpike. The Marine Hotel burned to the ground in 1864, but more hotels and private residences were built in the area.

Horse-drawn carriages and horses originally comprised a transport mode to the Rockaways. A ferry traveled from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. By the 1880s, the Long Island Rail Road's Rockaway Beach Branch was built from Far Rockaway station. The steam railroad went to Long Island City and Flatbush Terminal (now Atlantic Terminal), which facilitated population growth on the Rockaway Peninsula when it opened in the 1880s. Benjamin Mott gave the LIRR 7 acres (2.8 ha) of land for a railroad depot. Land values increased and businesses in the area grew, and by 1888, Far Rockaway was a relatively large village. It incorporated as a village on September 19 of that year.

By 1898, the area was incorporated into the Greater City of New York. Far Rockaway, Hammels, and Arverne tried to secede from the city several times. In 1915 and 1917, a bill approving the secession passed in the legislature but was vetoed by the mayor at the time, John Purroy Mitchel.

In addition to the Far Rockaway Beach Bungalow Historic District, the Russell Sage Memorial Church, Trinity Chapel, and United States Post Office are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


48th street rockaway
Looking east from Beach 48th Street at location of former bungalows cleared for a development project

The nearby beach made Far Rockaway an attractive destination for tourists and vacationers from the other boroughs. Bungalows were the homes of choice for many residents of the community who lived in Far Rockaway. The popularity of the resort suffered after the railroad abandoned the Rockaway Beach Branch in 1950, and by the increase in automobile ownership, followed by air travel, which opened up distant destinations to large numbers . As the neighborhood's heyday as a resort community declined in the 1950s, substantial numbers of public housing developments were built. Much of the housing was converted into year-round housing for low-income residents, and some bungalows used as public housing. The 1970s New York City budget crisis had a negative impact on social services. which negatively affected the Far Rockaway.

The Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association was created in September 1984, to "improve the quality of the Far Rockaway community through preservation, education, and cultural programs." "

A collection of materials highlighingt the history, correspondence, and activities of the organization was donated to the Queens Library Archives in 2008.


Subway viaduct and houses in NYC
The IND Rockaway Line subway viaduct on a background of Far Rockaway residential buildings
Far Rockaway viaduct jeh
Another view of IND Rockaway Line viaduct

Far Rockaway is served by the following transportation services:

  • The New York City Subway's IND Rockaway Line (A train), which has a terminal at Mott Avenue.
  • The Far Rockaway terminal station for the Long Island Rail Road's Far Rockaway Branch. The branch had originally been part of a loop that traveled along the existing route, continuing through the Rockaway Peninsula and heading on a trestle across Jamaica Bay through Queens where it reconnected with other branches. Frequent fires and maintenance problems led the LIRR to abandon the Queens portion of the route, which was acquired by the city to become the IND Rockaway Line.
  • MTA Regional Bus Operations: Q22, Q113, Q114, QM17
  • Nassau Inter-County Express: N31, N32, N33. Unlike other NICE routes in Queens, these buses operate open-door in Far Rockaway, meaning customers can ride these buses wholly within the neighborhood without necessarily going to Nassau County.
  • NYC Beach Bus. A shuttle bus between downtown Brooklyn or Williamsburg and the area around Beach 84 and Jacob Riis Park.



Rooftop view of Far Rockaway
Rooftop view of Far Rockaway

Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Far Rockaway was 50,058, a change of 1,714 (3.4%) from the 48,344 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 1,251 acres (506 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 40 inhabitants per acre (26,000/sq mi; 9,900/km2).

The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 25.5% (12,778) White, 44.7% (22,400) African American, 0.3% (175) Native American, 1.9% (931) Asian, 0.1% (44) Pacific Islander, 1% (504) from other races, and 1.7% (860) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.7% (12,366) of the population.

Far Rockaway is a diverse neighborhood with many immigrants from Jamaica, Guyana, and Guatemala, as well as Russia and Ukraine. It also is home to a significant number of Orthodox Jews.



Public schools

The neighborhood, like all of New York City, is served by the New York City Department of Education. Far Rockaway residents are zoned to several different elementary schools:

  • P.S. 43
  • P.S. 104 (The Bayswater School) (Kindergarten–6th grade)
  • P.S. 105 (The Bay School)
  • P.S. 106
  • P.S. 197 (The Ocean School)
  • P.S. 215 (Lucretia Mott)
  • P.S. 253

Far Rockaway residents are zoned to M.S. 53 Brian Piccolo.

All New York City residents who wish to attend a public high school must apply to high schools. Far Rockaway High School was located in Far Rockaway, but was shut down in 2011 as a stand-alone institution. During the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2011, many large, underperforming, older traditional high schools were closed in the city. The 1929 building was renovated to operate as the Far Rockaway Educational Campus, home to a number of smaller, specialized academies that share the building. They can provide more individualized attention to their students. The former Beach Channel High School was similarly closed in 2014 and repurposed to house several smaller, specialized academies; it is in Rockaway Park, near Far Rockaway, and draws some of its students from Far Rockaway.


Queens Public Library operates the Far Rockaway branch at a temporary location at 1003 Beach 20th Street. The library was formerly located at Central Avenue. In 2013, New York magazine reported that the city planned to construct a public library in the neighborhood, to be designed by the internationally known architectural firm Snøhetta. Construction started in November 2018.

Jewish institutions

During the early and mid-20th century, many Jewish immigrants and their working-class descendants settled in Far Rockaway, sometimes first as summer visitors. They founded numerous synagogues and private schools, including those devoted to all-boys or all-girls institutions for educating Orthodox children. Following World War II, as residential housing was developed in Nassau and later Suffolk counties, many Jewish families left the Rockaways for newer housing. According to The New York Times, Far Rockaway had "flourished in the 1940s but withered...1960s" until "a few Jewish families...started the Hebrew Free Loan Society for new home buyers."

Synagogues include Congregation Kneseth Israel in Far Rockaway (The White Shul), which was founded in 1922. Schools include Sh'or Yoshuv Institute of Jewish Studies/Sh'or Yoshuv Yeshiva, Yeshiva Darchei Torah and the Yeshiva of Far Rockaway.

Other synagogues (past and present):

  • Agudath Israel of Long Island
  • Agudath Israel of West Lawrence
  • Bayswater Jewish Center
  • Young Israel of Far Rockaway
  • Young Israel of Bayswater

Other schools (past and present):

  • Bnois Bais Yaakov
  • Siach Yitzchok Elementary School for Boys
  • Torah Academy for Girls
  • The Hebrew Institute of Long Island
  • Yeshiva Ateres Shimon
  • Mechon Sara

Notable people

<section begin=notable_residents/>
  • Richard Bey (born 1951), talk show host; went to Far Rockaway High School.
  • Baruch Samuel Blumberg (1925–2011), winner of 1976 Nobel Prize in Medicine; graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 1942.
  • Steven Brill (born 1950), journalist and founder of Court TV.
  • Joyce Brothers (1927–2013), family psychologist and advice columnist; grew up in Far Rockaway.
  • Chinx (1983–2015), rapper, grew up in both the Redfern Houses and Edgemere Houses (the latter are now known as Ocean Bay Apartments).
  • Cormega (born Cory McKay, 1970), rapper, lived in Far Rockaway as a youth.
  • Mac DeMarco (born 1990), Canadian songwriter and musician; has a house in Far Rockaway, where he recorded his album Another One.
  • Folorunso Fatukasi (born 1995), defensive end for the New York Jets.
  • Olakunle Fatukasi (born 1999), linebacker for Rutgers
  • Joan Feynman (1927–2020), astrophysicist and NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal recipient.
  • Richard Feynman (1918–1988), physicist and Nobel Prize winner; grew up in Far Rockaway and graduated from Far Rockaway High School.
  • Marcus Gaither (1961–2020), professional basketball player in France and Israel, who played the guard position and led the Israel Basketball Premier League in scoring in 1989–90.
  • Mary Gordon (born 1949), writer of novels, memoirs, and literary criticism, and professor at Barnard College; born in Far Rockaway and lived there for several years
  • Carl Icahn (born 1936), businessman and philanthropist; grew up in Far Rockaway and went to Far Rockaway High School.
  • Al Jaffee (born 1921), cartoonist best known for his work in the satirical magazine Mad, including his trademark feature, the Mad Fold-in.
  • Nancy Lieberman (born 1958), women's basketball pioneer; grew up in Far Rockaway
  • Deborah Lipstadt (born 1947), historian.
  • Bernard Madoff (1938-2021), former American stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier who was convicted of fraud; went to Far Rockaway High School, where he met his wife, Ruth Alpern.
  • Steve Madden (born 1958), shoe designer and former CEO of Steve Madden Ltd; born in Far Rockaway.
  • Cliff Mass (born 1952/53), atmospheric sciences professor and weather and climate blogger; born in Far Rockaway.
  • Alice Nielsen (1872–1943), Broadway performer and operatic soprano; owned a house in Far Rockaway in the 1920s.
  • Phil Ochs (1940–1976), folk-protest singer; resided here for a period during childhood and died at his sister's home here.
  • Kelly Price (born 1973), nine-time Grammy nominated R&B and gospel singer and songwriter grew up in the Edgemere Projects.
  • Rammellzee (1960–2010), rap pioneer; born and died in Far Rockaway.
  • Kenneth Alan Ribet (born 1948), mathematician.
  • Burton Richter (1931–2018), winner of 1976 Nobel Prize in Physics; graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 1948.
  • MC Serch (born 1967 as Michael Berrin), former member of the hip hop group 3rd Bass; grew up in Far Rockaway.
  • Raymond Smullyan (1919-2017), mathematician; grew up in Far Rockaway.
  • Herbert Sturhahn (1902–1979), football player elected to the College Football Hall of Fame; born in Far Rockaway.
<section end=notable_residents />

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