2017-12-13 / Features

Brooklyn Historians Pen Pictorial Book On Queens Neighborhood At Breezy Point

By Jason D. Antos

Breezy Point by Brian Merlis and Lee A. RosenzweigBreezy Point by Brian Merlis and Lee A. RosenzweigHistorians, Brian Merlis and Lee A. Rosenzweig have published a book on the little known yet fascinating history of Breezy Point, Rockaway Point and Roxbury.

The book brings readers back to a time of tent cities, the construction of the Marine Parkway bridge and the original ferry to the peninsula, but Merlis and Rosenzweig’s new book, Rockaway Point and Breezy Point gives a glimpse into that forgotten past of the beginnings of Breezy Point, Rockaway Point and Roxbury, and other trips down memory lane in the more recent history of the area. The 120-page hardcover book features more than 200 old photos, from the early 1900s to the 1970s.

Merlis said that the process for this book began when he and Rosenzweig started collecting photos of the area about 10 years ago and they started to put the book together about a year ago. Merlis, a longtime historian, said he was surprised about some of his findings about the area along the way.

Merlis and Rosenzweig have worked together on several other historical photographic books in the past, focusing on Brooklyn neighborhoods. This time the authors set their sites on Jamaica Bay.

“We’ve done so many books on Brooklyn neighborhoods, but he said ‘let’s do something in Breezy.’ I said ‘why Breezy?’ This is our first book focusing on a section of Queens.

Breezy Point made international headlines when on October 29, 2012, the neighborhood was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.

Waters from Jamaica Bay and Atlantic Ocean flooded the land between these bodies of water. Most Breezy Point homes were damaged or destroyed by high water. Residents lost everything in their basements, and hundreds of vehicles were ruined by the storm. One car caught fire when someone tried to start the vehicle. Residents put the fire out before help arrived.

At 10 pm, a six-alarm fire was reported at 173 Ocean Avenue. Local volunteer firefighters were trapped in place for several hours due to the flooding. Once the waters receded, the Rockaway Point Fire Department rescued more than 41 civilians. FDNY was delayed getting into Breezy due to the high flood levels. Roxbury FD extinguished fires by the promenade. Rockaway Point and Roxbury are located on the ocean side. Rockaway Point lost all of its rigs due to high water, and helped Roxbury with its lines. They found 130 homes burned to the ground. Nearby, another 50 homes were damaged by the fire.

According to an official report in December, rising seawater caused the fire by making contact with electrical wires.

The authors have put a few copies up for sale on eBay, but won’t be focusing too much on online sales, but rather word of mouth, so that residents can take advantage of the limited copies. Only a thousand have been printed.

For information on how to get a copy contact the author directly at brimerl@aol.com.

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