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2023 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am writing this column as I conclude two years as President of the Breezy Point Historical Society and welcome Barbara Johnson as our new President. It’s been an interesting two years, to say the least, as we along with the community and, indeed, the world had to adjust ourselves to a pandemic of historic proportions. We had to cancel two of our annual Hall of Fame Dinners and some other events, yet we kept other events going to the degree that we could, and we managed to initiate a number of projects. That we were able to do so evidenced, I think, that we were blessed with many active trustees and volunteers who kept the ship afloat. Cathy Murfitt regularly occupied the navigator’s seat on our bridge. Artie Lighthall, aside from being our purser also acted as the ship’s engineer. Other trustees reliably managed the oars in their own ways. We must also thank the large number of residents who were enthusiastic about joining with us as we compile, story by story, our beginnings a century ago through much of the twentieth century.

Looking back just over the past year, we conducted our usual summer programs in the Point Breeze Clubhouse. We also added a September program when a leading urban historian explained to a full house the broad sweep of how plans for one of the world’s largest ports reconfiguring Jamaica Bay repeatedly rose on the political tide for decades before finally ebbing away in the face of Robert Moses’ planning for an urban marine parkland. I think that a September program will now become a regular feature. We also published the first volume of what we hope will be an annual Journal of Breezy Point History. The Journal included, among other articles, a history of the intertwined Howard-Reid family which was instrumental in starting the seaside summer colony of Rockaway Point and its westward expansion into Breezy Point. Lillian Hess, the author and a descendant of that family, had access to family historical resources but also did an exceptional job of research which reached into the colonial roots of Brooklyn and Queens. We moved the 2022 Hall of Fame Dinner from the Clubhouse to the Colony to accommodate the swelling number of attendees, and we all agree that it turned out to be the best one yet. Jerilynn Lalor, who had steered the Dinner’s operations since the beginning, stepped back and Barbara Johnson stepped forward to assume responsibility. Lillian joined Paul Balukas, who has long been our video master in compiling the storylines which we collect and preserve, in framing the evening’s visual show. Artie Lighthall was always in the wings helping out with the technology, and, of course, everyone pitched in to put the dinner together. We were hosted this past Fall by the Director of the Harbor Defense Museum in Fort Hamilton who not only gave us a tour of the displays but also took us to the back rooms where the actual preservation work is done. We received a first-rate class in preservation techniques and technology and a primer on cataloguing documents having historical interest, which will be an important project for the BPHS this coming year. All in all, it's been a wonderful experience for me and I’d like to thank our Board, our volunteers and our residents for ensuring that the Breezy Point Historical Society has found its place in Breezy history.

Outgoing Breezy Point Historical Society President,

Kevin A. Reilly

Hall of Fame

Is scheduled for Sunday August 20th, at the Colony Theater from 6:00-9:00, attendance at which will be limited and reservations are an absolute must.

The “Shore Dinners” building in 1915 and one to the right on the photo were on the bayside beachfront north of bayside walk

The “Shore Dinners” aka Rockaway Point Inn and building to the right were on the beachfront north of bayside walk. Circa 1915.

ANNUAL MEETING

The Breezy Point Historical Society’s Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with a “Then and Now Revisited” presentation on Wednesday June 28th at 7pm at the Point Breeze Clubhouse.

View of people in Read Avenue viewed towards the fire house.

Reid Avenue was the first north to south block built. In the center rear is the RPFD Headquarters, 87 1⁄2 Reid Avenue


What Else???

...The Breezy Point Historical Society has scheduled a series of community presentations and events for this Summer. All presentations, except those in Roxbury, will be held in the Point Breeze Clubhouse with start time of 7:00pm.

We are also planning walking tours on July 22nd and on August 5th with details, time, and location to be announced. Please look for updates or any changes of the dates in the RP News.

Of note as well, will be the upcoming sale of the sixth limited edition Historical Society Christmas ornament, which as in past years may be purchased at the Ridgewood Savings Bank, or at any of our gatherings.

aerial photo of the point before the jettie

Before the Jetty…..look for the Rockaway Point Baths aka Long Shore Beach Club, the beginning of construction of the wedge, and rows of homes along East Market Street, Oceanside east of Reid Avenue and Seabreeze Walk.


Programs

For program updates, changes and additions please refer to the Events Page

aerial photo of the jetty circa 1934?

The “Jetty” was the structure which caused the community of Breezy Point to grew to what it is today. Notice that Breezy Point ended at Seabreeze Walk


Like Us

Our Facebook Page has in excess of 1,400 followers. It is regularly updated with the organization’s information and fascinating photos from our collection as well as articles of interest. Why not join our group and get a glimpse back to the days of old.


1944—RPFD’s ffirst Fire Truck was formerly a U.S. Army vehicle and was the first 4 wheel drive fire truck serving the community

11944—RPVFD’s first Fire Truck was formerly a U.S. Army vehicle and was the first 4 wheel drive fire truck to serve the community. As there was no building big enough to garage it at the time, the truck was parked under a willow tree on Highland Place. It was dedicated to Adrian Fairweather with his badge number 235 imprinted on the door. Adrian was the only RPVFD member killed in action during WW II.

Help Us

A 2023 membership application is included with this newsletter. Your $25.00 tax deductible annual membership allows us to continue exploring and saving our community’s history. Please print it— and while the office is closed— return it by mail to: mail your letters to: Breezy Point Historical Society,204-08 Rockaway Point Blvd, Rockaway Point, NY 11697. The office is closed until end-of-June due to construction in the medical building. Thank you in advance for your support.


Breezy Point Historical Society Board of Trustees

Gathering on the beachIn front of Kennedys's casino