I used to live in Far Rockaway
back in the very early 1970s, on Beach
19th Street and later off of Mott
Avenue. The area started out an eclectic
mix of people and ethnicities
. Some areas were rather crime-ridden
, and the housing project that was used in the CourtTV
show, The System
was near the beach side of Beach 19th Street. I had a few friends that lived there, some who were rather violence
. Nobody messed with the lone Italian
white boy who was visiting his pals, hehehe.
As the years progressed, areas became very segregated. There was a Jewish section (up the main drag, which ended up being called West Lawrence, as noted by Lith). Lawrence and Cedarhurst were the buffers between Far Rockaway/Queens and Long Island. The beach areas were crime havens for a long while, enough that they set up the aforementioned TV show to follow the folks through "the system".
Some parts are very scenic, and there are still large sections with the old 1930s/40s bungalow-style houses. Far Rockaway was a trendy and hopping place back then, and the parks and beaches were packed from folks in New York City trying to enjoy some clean air and some sunshine.
The last time I visited there, I ran into a classmate from 5th grade. He was a heroin addict begging for money. He still sucked on his index and middle fingers of his right hand, just like he did when we were kids. I haven't been back there since.