The first arrivals in the area were fisherman, among them a NY attorney named Remington Vernam. He was very interested in the prospects for real estate development in Rockaway. He was persistent in buying land owned by William Amerman’s heirs. After several years he was successful in acquiring the land that now makes up the section they named Arverne. According to legend, it was Mrs. Vernam who suggested this name when she observed her husband’s signature, “R. Vern,” with the last letters “am” almost illegible.
In 1884 he incorporated Ocean Front Improvement Company where he wanted to open a new vacation village. Essential to this was the construction of a large hotel, completed in 1888. Despite a good start, Vernam’s hotel did not share in the general success of the community. Financial difficulties came early on. In January 1899 he filed for bankruptcy. He died unexpectedly in 1907, and his son Clarence continued his father’s work. In 1916, Clarence sold the last sizable open tract of land to investors.
Arverne began to decline in the 1950’s and by the 70’s, most of the buildings had been leveled. Recently, the “Arverne by the Sea” project has been revitalized.
The library was initially housed in a drug store from November 10, 1914 through 1929. It was temporarily relocated to PS 42 for one year when in 1930 it was replaced by a bookmobile stop. In 1951, the branch was established in small quarters in a housing project, and on October 23, 1964 a newer rental facility opened for service at the present site. A new title was vested with the City and was designated for Library use on September 6, 2000.
History of the Rockaways by Alfred Bellot
Old Rockaway, New York in Early Photographs by Vincent Seyfried
Queens Library HealthLink
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately one of two American men and one of three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during their lifetime. Queens Library HealthLink seeks to increase access to cancer screening and cancer treatment among medically underserved communities in Queens. Queens Library HealthLink is a partnership between Queens Library, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Queens Cancer Center of Queens Hospital and the American Cancer Society.