Between Ocean and City
Rockaway Beach was once a popular seaside resort in south Queens with a small permanent population. Shortly after World War II, large parts of this narrow peninsula between the ocean and the bay became some of New York City's worst slums. A historian who grew up in the community and his wife, a social worker, together present an illuminating account of this transformation, exploring issues of race, class, and social policy and offering a significant revision of the larger story of New York City's development. In particular, the authors qualify some of the negative assessments of Robert Moses, suggesting that the "Power Broker" attempted for many positive initiatives for Rockaway.
Based on extensive archival research and hundreds of hours of interviews with residents, urban specialists, and government officials past and present, Between Ocean and City is a clear-eyed and harrowing story of this largely African American community's struggles and resiliency in the face of grinding poverty, urban renewal schemes gone wrong, and a forced ghettoization by the sea.