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Breezy Point, Queens

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Title: Breezy Point, Queens  
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Subject: Effects of Hurricane Sandy in New York, Queens, Rockaway, Queens, Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York City Fire Department
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Breezy Point, Queens

Breezy Point
Neighborhood of Queens
Breezy Point Shopping Center
Breezy Point Shopping Center
Nickname(s): Irish Riviera, Cois Farraige
Breezy Point is located in New York City
Breezy Point
Country United States
State New York
County Queens
 • Total 0.78 sq mi (2.0 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 4,079
 • White 98.2%
 • Black 0.1%
 • Hispanic 1.2%
 • Asian 0.6%
 • Other 0.1%
 • Median income $86,941
ZIP code 11697
Area code(s) 718 Exchanges: 318,474,634,734,945.

Breezy Point is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, located on the western end of the Rockaway peninsula, between Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay on the landward side, and the Atlantic Ocean. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community District 14.[1] The community is run by the Breezy Point Cooperative, in which all residents pay the maintenance, security, and community-oriented costs involved with keeping the community private. The cooperative owns the entire 500-acre (2 km2) community; residents own their homes and hold shares in the cooperative.[2] Breezy Point and the Rockaways are less urbanized than most of the rest of New York City.

Breezy Point Tip, to the west of the community, is part of Gateway National Recreation Area, which is run by the National Park Service. This isolated, 200-acre (0.81 km2) area includes an ocean-facing beach, a shoreline on Jamaica Bay, sand dunes, and marshland. It is a breeding spot for the piping plover, least tern, black skimmer, American oystercatcher and common tern.[3]


  • Demographics 1
  • History 2
    • Hurricane Sandy 2.1
  • Ecology 3
  • Education 4
  • Shops 5
  • Notable residents 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


According to the United States Census Bureau, the community's ZIP code (11697) is 98.2% white (compared to 16% white in nearby Far Rockaway and has the nation's 2nd highest concentration of Irish-Americans, at 60.3% as of the United States Census, 2000 (Squantum, in Quincy, Massachusetts, is #1, at 65%).[4] The community's demographics are maintained as a result of a Cooperative rule that a person, prior to buying a house, must be recommended by three members of the Cooperative and approved by its Board of Directors.[2][5] Breezy Point functions mainly as a summer get-away for many residents of New York. Estimates put summer residency at 12,000, while year-round residency was 4337 in the most recent Census.[4]

Due to its history of Irish-American population, Breezy Point has been called the "Irish Riviera." Since the mid-1990s, Italians and Jews have also moved into Breezy Point, making the concentration of Irish-Americans drop.[6]


Apartment house abandoned during construction, 1973

The community began as summer beach bungalows, in the "early 1900s", according to the New York Times.[6] Breezy Point was sold to the Atlantic Improvement State Corporation for $17 million in 1960. The residents of the community purchased half of the land for approximately $11 million and formed the Breezy Point Cooperative. Today, it consists of about 3,500 homes.[7] The construction of apartment buildings commenced in the late 1960s and was halted by City ordinance.[8]

Breezy Point is patrolled by its own private security force that restricts access to owners, renters and their guests. It also features three of New York City's nine remaining volunteer fire departments.[9]

On September 8, 2012, the community was struck by a tornado shortly before 11 a.m. that started as a waterspout over the Atlantic Ocean and came ashore at the Breezy Point Surf Club.[10]

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy damage

On October 29, 2012, Breezy Point was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean flooded the land between these bodies of water. Most Breezy Point homes were damaged or destroyed by high water. Residents lost everything in their basements, and hundreds of vehicles were ruined by the storm. One car caught fire when someone tried to start their vehicle. Residents put the fire out before help arrived.[11]

At 10 pm, a six-alarm fire was reported at 173 Ocean Avenue. Local volunteer firefighters were trapped in place for several hours due to the flooding. Once the waters receded, the Point Breeze and Rockaway Point Fire Departments rescued more than 41 civilians. FDNY could not get into Breezy due to the high flood levels. Roxbury FD extinguished fires by the promenade. Rockaway Point and Roxbury are located on the ocean side. Rockaway Point lost all of its rigs due to high water, and helped Roxbury with its lines. They found 130 homes burned to the ground.[12][13] Nearby, another 50 homes were damaged by the fire.[11] According to an official report in December, rising seawater caused the fire by contacting a house's electrical wires.[14]


U.S. Geological Survey Image of Breezy Point and the surrounding area.

According the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, beaches on the Breezy Point peninsula are home to one of the most diverse breeding shorebird areas in the Metropolitan area. Shorebirds that breed here include:

The beaches in Breezy Point Tip are owned by the federal government and are federally and state-protected areas in which development is extremely limited. The beaches in Breezy Point are owned by the Breezy Point Cooperative as a consequence of litigation with the federal government in the 1980s.


Breezy Point residents are zoned for schools in the New York City Department of Education. P.S. 114 Belle Harbor serves grades Kindergarten through 8.


Breezy Point Shopping Center includes the Blarney Castle pub, Deirdre Maeve's grocery store, the Sandcastle work clothing store, a Ridgewood Savings Bank branch, a coffee shop, a hardware store, a liquor store, and an auto repair shop and independent gift shop. The main office of the Cooperative is also located here.

Elsewhere in the community are a beauty salon, a beach bar, two restaurants, a surf shop, a travel agency, and The Dug Out, a walk-up bar-style candy, snacks shop, and teenage hangout, which operates during the summer.

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Breezy Point include:


  1. ^ Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Sciolino, Elaine. "A Cooperative on the Beach Loves Privacy", The New York Times, September 10, 1984. Accessed November 21, 2007.
  3. ^ Breezy Point Brooklyn Bird Club, Accessed November 24, 2008.
  4. ^ a b QT-P13. Ancestry: 2000 for 11697 5-Digit ZCTA, United States Census Bureau. Accessed October 2, 2007.
  5. ^ Richardson, John H. (March 2013). "The Neighborhood".  
  6. ^ a b Herszenhorn, David M. "THE CENSUS -- A Region of Enclaves: Breezy Point, Queens; Bounded by Gates, Over a Toll Bridge", The New York Times, June 18, 2001. Accessed November 1, 2007. "The neighborhood, started in the early 1900s as a summer bungalow community and called the Irish Riviera..."
  7. ^ "Rockaway - - Wave of Long Island". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Documerica 1973, The Atlantic Magazine
  9. ^ Hamill, Denis. "Brave firehouse heroes get my vote", New York Daily News, April 26, 2007. Accessed September 8, 2008.
  10. ^ "NYC Neighborhood Startled By Unexpected Tornado". Huffington Post. September 8, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Seattle Post-Intelligencer 
  12. ^ hpt=hp_t1
  13. ^ "Update: Breezy Point, Queens blaze upgraded to 6-alarm fire, at least 50 homes completely destroyed by fire - @FDNY". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Cause of Breezy Point Fire During Sandy Determined: City Fire Marshals say that rising sea water came in contact with electrical wires WNBC News, Dec 24, 2012
  15. ^ Kovaleski, Serge F. "A Baseball Lover, Key to Tarnishing a Yankee Era", The New York Times, December 15, 2007. Accessed February 19, 2008. "Mr. McNamee was raised in the Breezy Point section of Queens, on the westward end of the Rockaway Peninsula, an area with many police officers, like his father."

External links

  • Breezy Point Tip visitor information
  • Breezy Point 9/11 Memorial
  • Breezy Point Catholic Club Pipes & Drums Band
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