Development destroying Far Rockaway bungalows

April 21, 2009 12:55PM

Photographer Lynn Guarino recently toured the Far Rockaway’s remaining
bungalows to capture how they have become dilapidated and worn down
over time due to shifting demographics (see slide show at right).

Guarino said that in the 1940s, “Far Rockaway was pegged as ‘the new Hamptons,’ and the bungalows
were popular vacation destinations for New Yorkers,” but when the city
built low-income housing in the area, its tourism industry declined. A
local preservation group called the Beachside Bungalow Preservation
Association has made preserving the bungalows its mission.

“I wanted to show in the photos the impact the city has of making
or breaking neighborhoods depending on the zoning laws and types of
housing they build,” Guarino said.

Last year, the preservation group reportedly won a battle in court when
a state judge ruled that a row of three-family apartment buildings on
Beach 26th Street were improperly built, according to the Daily News. The new buildings blocked an easement that
runs parallel to the street and gives waterfront access to many
bungalows.

Far Rockaway is part of the Rockaway section in Queens, and the
recession has slowed the Rockaway real estate boom. New condos that
started rising before the area’s rezoning was proposed are now sitting empty. The rezoning was adopted in 2008, and established a low-scale zoning framework to protect the bungalows, according to the Department of City Planning.

A stretch of Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park has the highest
proportion of abandoned retail storefronts of any shopping district in
Queens, according to a report by Rep. Anthony Weiner’s office.

In Rockaway, the number of
residential sales fell every quarter in 2008,
hitting 103 sales during the first quarter of 2009. The median residential sales price was $400,000 during the
first quarter of the year, up slightly from $390,000 in the prior
quarter, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel. TRD