Starting from Rockaway Beach, the bridge-and-boulevard meanders through the Big Egg Marsh and the Jamaica Bay Refuge before eventually finding its way to Howard Beach 5 miles north. And on the drive, everyone passes through the small neighborhood of Broad Channel.
Broad Channel, which occupies the southern portion of Rulers Bar Hassock (or Broad Channel Island), has the feel of a “highway town”, almost like a Pacific northwest pitstop with all the amenities. Except where there are roads there’s just water instead. But the small community is not nearly as remote as it sounds - Broad Channel is a residential area with its own school, church, park, playground, and even subway stop. The subway stop is the real seller here - residents get all they want out of a waterfront residence (marina included) with a walking-distance subway station to boot.
The community started out as a Dutch fishing island in the 17th century, and has had a fairly colorful history. In the early 20th century it enjoyed a reputation as an exclusive resort town on the way to the Rockaways, yet only a few decades later the nearby swamp became a wildlife sanctuary. The local community has spent the last 50 years resisting the city’s attempts to develop projects in the one part of Broad Channel that is still open to development (i.e. the residential area), which has preserved a quiet and quaint living experience. Broad Channel is very small (although by New York standards very small is still 3,000 residents), and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
But what a lively little community it is. Between the Broad Channel Athletic Club, the Marina, the Historical Society, the parks, and easy access via road and subway, it really is a fully-functional neighborhood. It’s the place could have fond memories of growing up, with Downtown Manhattan only a 40-minute subway ride away. For a small neighborhood it has no shortage of things to do or place to be. Popular restaurants include the smartly-named “Bay Gull Store”, Rock N Roll Bagels, Tommy’s Pizza, and “And Coffee.”
Transportation to Broad Channel is very available. While Broad Channel Blvd is the only major road leading into and out of the community, all buses that travel between Queens proper and the Rockaways have to pass through Broad Channel, and the A S train Broad Channel station is very convenient.
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