THE BUNGALOWS OF ROCKAWAY

(56 min)

Narrated by Academy-Award winner Estelle Parsons, The Bungalows of Rockaway tells 100 years of the tragicomic story of New York City's largest summer bungalow colony, that of the Rockaways. With enticing vintage postcards, archival photography, Marx Brothers home movies, hilarious boardwalk tales, personal accounts recounted by bungalow residents and Rockawayans alike, all grounded by historians, the film brings viewers close to the highs and lows of a large, thriving, affordable, urban seaside resort.
Vernacular architecture and its attendant themes, architectural as well as social and political history, and, in Rockaway's case, race, ethnicity, urbanism and grassroots activism, center the film, the first time in a documentary. The Bungalows of Rockaway opened in 2010 to sold-out, standing-room only screenings to diverse audiences in New York City and continues to attract fans, from far and wide, today.


"The Bungalows of Rockaway, the documentary by the gifted filmmaker Jennifer Callahan, is an incisive analysis of urban policy making, and at the same time a vivid and compassionate portrayal of the injustice that a city's misguided policies can play on the lives of its most impoverished citizens."

- Robert Caro, winner of National Book Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Critics Circle Awards

"The Bungalows of Rockaway is perfect--very informative, intelligent and warm. It's part of a much larger story: what happened to working-class New York City? This is an exemplary job of filmmaking."
- Phillip Lopate, award-winning writer and film critic

"Fun, informative, and empowering. What a combo. This loving portrait of the vibrant bungalow community of Rockaway captures the history and challenge of preserving an American vernacular architectural form that made vacations affordable and memorable for a century to working people. No less poignant is the struggle to preserve remaining bungalows against the onslaught of developers and gentrifiers. New Yorkers will love this look at their famous Queens beach community, but the story of an American iconic form -- its legacy and the struggle to preserve it -- resonates as well with countless tales of destructive American urban 'development' and 'renewal.' "
- Daniel Walkowitz, Professor Emeritus, Department of Social, Cultural Analysis, History, New York University

"The Bungalows of Rockaway is an arresting and important documentary. Jennifer Callahan uncovers a crucial aspect of working-class history and of New York City's built environment that teetered on the brink of erasure, while also telling a multi-layered story of community activists speaking truth to power as they organize to protect vernacular architecture in a neighborhood returning to life. Deftly connecting broad historical forces to local everyday events, this well-written and well-crafted film is a terrific resource for educators and for anyone interested in architecture and urbanism."
- Sharon Marcus, Orlando Harriman Professor of English, Columbia University; Editor in Chief, Public Books; author Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London (University of California Press, 1999)

"Jennifer Callahan has made a wonderful contribution to the global history of the bungalow, rescuing both the history as well as the actual bungalows of Rockaway Island from under the shadows of New York's towering skyscrapers. This is a fascinating story of community resistance to the rapacious forces of development and will be of real interest to planners, architects, and urban activists of many kinds."
- Anthony D King, Emeritus Professor of Art History and of Sociology, Binghamton University, State University of New York; author The Bungalow: The Production of a Global Culture (Oxford University Press, 1995) and Spaces of Global Cultures: Architecture Urbanism Identity (Routledge, 2004)

"Outstanding" - The Rockaway Times

"Vivid and affectionate" - Sam Roberts, The New York Times

Library Journal - Starred Review

"Extraordinary" - Donna Gaines, author Teenage Wasteland

"Wonderful"- The Bowery Boogie