Arverne, Queens

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Neighborhood of Queens
Arverne-by-the-Sea development
Arverne-by-the-Sea development
Country United States
State New York
City New York City
Borough Queens
Named for "R. Vernam", the signature of Remington Vernam
Population (2010)
 • Total 18,540
Race and Ethnicity
 • White 16.4%
 • Black 66.4%
 • Hispanic 22.0%
 • Asian 2.8%
 • other 3.0%
 • Median income $34,999
ZIP code 11692
Area code(s) 718, 347, 917

Arverne is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, on the Rockaway Peninsula. It was initially developed by Remington Vernam, whose signature "R. Vernam" inspired the name of the neighborhood.[1] Arverne extends from Beach 56th Street to Beach 79th Street, along its main thoroughfare Beach Channel Drive, alternatively known as Rev. Joseph H. May Drive. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 14.[2]


Vernam's original plan was to name the neighborhood Arverne-by-the-Sea, and one grandiose plan, influenced by his wife, Florence, included a canal running through the neighborhood, reminiscent of the Amstel canal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. When this plan fell through, the canal right-of-way was converted into a thoroughfare, Amstel Boulevard, which, except for a stub west of Beach 71st Street, was later incorporated into Beach Channel Drive.

While Arverne became well known as a beachfront community with inexpensive summer bungalows, and hotels of varying levels of expense and luxury as well as amusements and boardwalk concessions, it also attracted a year-round residential community. On January 3, 1914, a violent storm devastated the neighborhood as well as other neighborhoods on the peninsula, and completely swept the Arverne Pier Theater, which was capable of seating 1,200 people, away to sea.[3] On June 15, 1922, a large part of Arverne was leveled by a disastrous fire which left about 10,000 people homeless, although the neighborhood was quick to rebuild.[4]

During the 1950s and 1960s, the advent of commercial jet air travel encouraged people to travel to distant destinations during the summer, rather than to utilize local beaches and resorts. As a result, many of Arverne's summer bungalows became vacant. New York City's urban renewal projects of the 1960s leveled to the ground most of the summer resorts and some of the residences, many of which had been abandoned. The process eventually transformed most of Arverne, from Rockaway Beach Boulevard southward to the beachfront, into vacant land used as a dumping ground.[5] This area was slated for a large redevelopment that never came; the area's redevelopment was cancelled after economic downturn in the 1990s. The proposed area of redevelopment was the former site of Rockaways' Playland. According to a 2003 New York Times article:

For nearly four decades, grand plans were offered for the 52-block stretch from Beach 32nd to 84th Streets, between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and the boardwalk. [There was to be] a phalanx of mid- and high-rise condominium and rental apartment buildings, [as well as] more than $1 billion... enclosed amusement area on the Arverne site, to be called Destination Technodome, with rides, movie theaters, an indoor ski slope and a hotel.[6]

In the early 2000s, Mayor Michael Bloomberg started to revitalize Arverne with new housing and parks.[7] This built upon a movement started in 1999, when forty houses were built in the portion of the 308 acres (125 ha) "Arverne Urban Renewal Area" between Beach 59th and 61st Streets.[6] Arverne and other parts of the Rockaways increasingly got attention and press as the redevelopment of the beachfront continued.[8] By 2012, Arverne by the Sea, a new housing development, was largely developed with some parts under new construction.[9] The area now has new retail establishments, such as Stop and Shop Grocery Store, Chase bank branch, restaurants, and Subway sandwiches. Phase I was completed in 2011; Phase II was begun in 2006.[10] In 2012, Arverne suffered substantial damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

The piece of the Arverne-by-the-Sea development in Arverne is mostly complete. However, the section of the development west of Beach 59th Street, in nearby Edgemere, named "Arverne East", is still under construction. As of 2003, this 97 acres (39 ha) "Edgemere Urban Renewal Area" will have 400 houses built within it.[5] Of these, 47 acres (19 ha) are houses, 35 acres (14 ha) is a nature preserve, and 15 acres (6.1 ha) is a segment of preserved dunes on the beach.[10]


The New York City Department of Education operates Arverne's public schools.

The Queens Borough Public Library operates the Arverne Branch.


    • Ocean Bay Houses (Oceanside), formerly Arverne Houses,
    • Ocean Bay Houses (Bayside), formerly Edgemere Houses,
    • Carleton Manor
  • Mitchell-Lama
    • Nordeck Apartments (co-operative)
  • DHCR
    • Ocean Village Apartments



  1. ^ Vandam, Jeff (February 13, 2005). "On the Beach, a Brand New Life". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2007. His wife names the area Arverne because he signs his checks R. Vernam 
  2. ^ Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.
  3. ^ The Wave of Long Island, January 10, 1914, p. 1
  4. ^ "400 Buildings Burned at Arverne; 10,000 Made Homeless; 60 Injured, Loss $4,000,000 in Half Square Mile". The New York Times. June 16, 1922. Retrieved August 21, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Nathan Kensinger Photography". Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Steven Hevesi (7 December 2003). "In Rockaways, a Tide Is Coming In". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Bloomberg's Big Day In Rockaway" (PDF). The Wave. November 10, 2006. Retrieved May 11, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Top 10 neighborhoods for real estate investment". New York Daily News. August 10, 2012. Retrieved Oct 15, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Rockaway Beach becomes ‘Hipster Hamptons". Newsday. August 13, 2012. Retrieved Oct 15, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Large-Scale Development: Arverne,
  11. ^ NYC Subway Map
  12. ^ Queens Bus Map

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°35′30″N 73°47′02″W / 40.591568°N 73.784008°W / 40.591568; -73.784008