Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rockaway Boardwalk Bites of Yore

Above: Concession stand at Beach 106th Street circa 1940. See more here and here.

During the 50s and 60s, there was a wildly popular spot on the boardwalk near 35th Street called Jerry's Knishes, specializing in potato and cherry-cheese varieties. Jerry moved to Florida, but according to this account one of the knish makers went on to start a wholesale business, McBride's Heavenly Knishes in Baldwin NY, half an hour away.

Crab Broils

At 0:38 in this video, there looks to be a “Crab Broil” concession next to Jerry’s.

Rice Cups

Tuck’s, aka Tuckee Cup, sold another wildly popular dish, chow mein in a cup, on the boardwalk at 34th Street.

According to one account, the Lee family changed the name to Takee Cup when vandals kept changing name to Fuckee

A former customer remembers it was a cup made out of rice that was fried to the shape of a cup and then they would put steamed rice and chop suey in it. You would eat the insides and then eat the cup it came in too.” Another customer recalls: "It was chow mein in a cup made of pressed noodles that cost $1.25 back in the 50's. So you would eat the stuff out of it with a wooden fork they gave you, and then when you were finished you would eat the cup.''

On-On Kitchen across from St. Mary's Church in Far Rockaway sold Styrofoam rice cups. On a Facebook fan page, one person says it was “best when they filled the cup with 1/2 rice, 1/2 magic orange sauce.” A former employee thinks the orange sauce was sweet and sour. Another person says that Empire Wok @ 114-07 Beach Channel Drive serves something similar (see photo), aka “rice with red gravy.” Some say it “tastes damn close to what I remember at On-On,” though others disagree.

Chow Mein Sandwiches, Virginia Ham Sandwiches, and Fried Potato Wedges

At 97th and boardwalk, Nikko's sold chow mein as well as Virginia ham sandwiches. According to this account, Nikko's served the chow mein on hamburger rolls, with crunchy noodles and soy sauce, and also served fried potato wedges. A couple of blocks away on Rockaway Beach Boulevard was Henry’s Famous Chow Mein Sandwiches.

Frozen Custard

As you can see in the 1938 photograph above, Kohr Bros. frozen custard was next to Nikko's near 97th Street. Over on Rockaway Beach Boulevard near 97th Street was Auer's, another frozen custard stand established in 1939.

Jelly Apples and Malted Milk

In between Nikko’s and Kohr Bros. was Weise’s Candy Store.

Martin’s Potato Roll Hamburgers

According to this awesome history of Irish Town pubs and restaurants, "A small Navy plane crashed into Martin’s [on Shore Front Parkway, shown above in 1958] killing 2 crew members in May 1946. Martin had another restaurant on the corner of B. 98th St. and Rockaway Beach Blvd."

Dugan’s Cupcakes

A Dugan’s cupcake truck like this one used to come around. The company is now defunct, but you can find a recipe for their cupcakes at this tribute site.

Fudgie Wudgies

According to this account, these fudgesicles were sold by “the guy with the long arms on the beach who sold stuff from paper bags with dry ice.” A recipe here

Ice Cream

There were Carvel stands on 32nd and 34th, according to someone who says he worked as a “moonshine slurp.”

Hot Dogs, etc.

Next to Jerry's was Sam's Bar and Grille, which operated on the boardwalk from 1939 to 1969.

Pizza and Fresh Fruit Ices

Sally & Larry’s Pizza was on the boardwalk in the 50s and 60s, around 32nd Street. According to one account, “Near Sally's was the fresh lemon and orange ice stand with the fruit stacked against the wall [possibly the Porcella Brothers]. The ices even contained pits. No artificial coloring or corn syrup in those ices.”


Coffeerama was coffee stand on the boardwalk, circa 1961.