Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
Barbara Toborg and Stacey Pheffer Amato discuss Hurricane Sandy.Newspaper clippings and vintage photos filled many binders of those that shared memories of Broad Channel at the VFW Post 260 hall, just off Cross Bay Boulevard as the past came alive by those who attended Broad Channel Historic Day on Sunday, Oct. 16.
“Broad Channel past and present residents would come across these clippings and photos that wound up in a photo album of which were passed down to another generation,” said Barbara Toborg, chairperson of the Broad Channel Historic Society. “This is a way to show collections to the community, along with the binders and banners, framed pictures and plates. It is the larger items that we cannot keep in the Broad Channel Library. We even have architectural drawings of the railroad and train station from 1880.”
One of the tables had a display that featured dinnerware from the former Weiss’s restaurant, which had first opened in the 1930s. Onlookers were reminiscing about how this historic place provided not only a fast-food stop during the ride from the Rockaways to the “mainland,” but a place to socialize as well. Presently, the Broad Channel Library sits in its place.
Michael Clarity and wife, Mary (author) are present for signing of the book entitled Old Salt. Photos By Merle ExitSisters Margaret “Boobie” McCarthy (70) and Mickey Conner(78) delved into binders both remarking on how much Broad Channel has changed over the years. Both have lived here all of their life.
A few Broad Channel authors were on hand to talk about, sell and autograph their books, one of which was Mary Dady Clarityand her husband, Captain Michael B. Clarity, retired from the US Navy. Old Salt, the title of the book, is about “Tales from childhood, a Kings Point Cadet, a fascinating naval career.”
Barbara Toborg with a plate from Weiss's, a former BC restaurant.“My uncle was the captain of a tug boat,” said Captain Mike. “He was the person that influenced me. I recall a hurricane in the early 1940s when I had to use a boat to get around Broad Channel.”
In attendance was Stacey Pheffer Amato, who is running for State Assembly. She spent much time listening to and looking at BC’s history, particularly prior to when she was born.
Amato and Toborg were particularly interested in a display called “Stars of Hope” that focused on Hurricane Sandy and the efforts of the Red Cross.
Broad Channel’s Historic Committee produced a 2017 photo calendar, which was up for sale. February had Scout Leaders at Their Dinner Dance, 1953. St. Patrick’s Day Show at St. Virgilius Hall, 1948, was perfect for March. July pictured the Grand Opening of the Broad Channel Public Library, 1990. August featured Swimming in the 13th Road Channel. September was reserved for Mardi Gras, 1960s while October had Halloween, 1957. November had a snapshot of the Broad Channel Athletic Club Cheerleaders, 1980s. All other months had personal photos provided by residents of the area.
Ed Wilmarth from the BCVFD shows off his 1957 Mercury.