A few days ago, a reader commented regarding the Quiksilver Live Site on the SUPERBLOCK and how they were “tearing up and getting rid of the remains of [what] was known as the Monuments on the Broadway lot. ” Further, they commented it was a “shameful thing.”
First things first, I wanted to know what they were talking about. For years I’ve seen concrete in varying degrees of disarray mixed into the SUPERBLOCK, but always assumed it was the ancient foundation of the the Long Beach Hotel or its successor which never was.
So, when the reader commented that it actually tracked it’s heritage back to WWII, I was excited to look into it. The best info I could find was over at http://www.ilovelbny.com/ (which is an incredible resource for all things LB History). There, they write that this site was actually a spotting tower for Battery Harris – but more commonly referred to as the Fire Control Tower or the Lookout Tower. You can see a great shot on the header of this post, dated around the 1950s, courtesy of ilovelbny and the Tydings family.
The site was built during WWII to keep an eye out for unwanted German naval ships trying to get near New York Harbor. Whether they were looking for surface ships, or the dreaded U-boats seems to be up for discussion, but the fact remains, that this site served as a part of the U.S.’s network of coastal defenses during World War II. According to ILoveLBNY, there was also a similar tower built at Atlantic Beach. There are a few more photos courtesy of the Tydings family here.
So onto the more contentious issue: Quiksilver (or the city) has come in to finally rip out what remains of its concrete foundation to prep the grounds for the Live Site. A shameful thing? I think not. The SUPERBLOCK has to be looked at as one of the greatest eyesores in Long Beach. A massive lot that has done nothing but grow weeds, collect garbage, and was turned into a snow melting zone after the record snowfall this past winter.
A month from now, after some rubble that has nearly been forgotten is removed from the site, the area will (hopefully) become a vibrant carnival ground, featuring music and entertainment for the public at large. I’m the biggest proponent of history and remembering what has been here before. More of a reason to put up a plaque, write a book, or have a blog gather some info on the site and write a post.
Quiksilver will leave the superblock in better condition than they found it in – and will certainly be held accountable if they do not. The City of Long Beach and its residents will benefit much more from this refreshed area as opposed to leaving it in its current state.
In closing, let’s raise a drink to this once imposing monument on the boardwalk, but also look forward to how much more the SUPERBLOCK can be, with the Live Site being the first of many new uses.