Neponsit Malls consists of eight landscaped plots located in the center of Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Extending between Beach 140th Street and Jacob Riis Park, the plots were created in 1915 through a Rockaway Beach Boulevard improvement resolution. In 1922, the 20-foot wide malls were placed under Parks’s jurisdiction.
Neponsit is a community located on the western side of the Rockaway Peninsula. Bounded by Beach 142nd and 149th Street, it lies between the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay. In January 1910, the Neponsit Realty Company established the neighborhood and stipulated that houses costing less than $3,000 were prohibited from development. The high price of construction in Neponsit determined the community’s present character. Exclusive year-round structures built from resistant materials and designed to prevent salt and weather erosion became the standard. By the 1930s, the area had been completely developed, containing many of the mansion-style homes that still stand today.
Neponsit is also well known for its aeronautical history. On May 8, 1919, the first transatlantic flight departed from the present site of Beach Channel Drive in Neponsit. On that day, after years of preparation, the U.S. Navy dispatched four Navy-Curtis (NC) model seaplanes, which stopped for refueling and repairs in Newfoundland, Canada, the Azores Islands, and Lisbon, Portugal. Only one plane, the NC-4, arrived in Plymouth, England, on May 31, 1919. Captained by Lt. Commander Albert C. Read, the NC-4 preceded Charles Lindbergh’s solo, transatlantic flight by eight years.
This property contains several species of trees, including black pine (Pinus nigra) and blue spruce (Picea pungens). Flower planters are situated throughout the nine-block span of the malls. With 24-foot wide roadways on either side, Neponsit Malls beautify one of Rockaway’s main thoroughfares.