By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – It seems a decrepit old piece of concrete on the beach at Douglas Avenue is near and dear to the hearts of many Margatians, who fondly recall their younger days on Margate’s beach.
After the city announced it has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove what remains of an old seawall or possibly the old Margate boardwalk foundation, several residents called the concrete remnant an iconic and “magical” landmark that should remain for future generations to enjoy.
Barbara Borow said her family is disappointed the rock will be removed and is considering starting a “Save the Rock” petition.
“My family grew up on Essex Avenue and the rock was the cool place to hang out. To our family, it was a Margate historical landmark. We were totally in shock when we heard it was being destroyed.”
Her daughter Lindsay, now 24, dreamed it would be the place where she would someday marry, and she cried last week when she learned it would be demolished.
“Now that will never happen” she said.
Barbara’s husband Hugh, who lived in the family’s summer home since he was 12, said the family had its own walkway to that section of beach near the fishing pier. Hugh Borow said it was his rock growing up and that it will forever be his rock.
“It was such a landmark to us, and we thought of it as ours because it was in our backyard,” he said.
Children and teens always gathered there thinking they had privacy, he said, but the family viewed all kinds of goings-on from their kitchen window. They laughed, but never called the police, he said.
“We saw them do all kinds of things. It was a great place for kids to meet and socialize – a gathering place for young people,” he said. “In the 40 years we lived there, every now and then it would attract a large and rowdy crowd, and the police would come and chase them away. But we never called. It was ‘The Rock’ after all.”
Feeling melancholy over its potential demise, Hugh Borow said the dune project changed everything “magical” about the rock.
“It lost its appeal because if you climb it now, all you see is a wall of sand,” he said. “You’re sitting in a gully.”
His parents Arlene and Ken Borow bought the house in 1976 and the family cried when they finally sold it two years ago. There are several hundred photos in the family’s collection in front of the rock. When the house was sold, the family gathered there for one final photo.
“It was sad. We cried. We went to the rock and chipped off a couple of pieces and we brought them home – one for each member of the family. One 20-pound piece was encased in glass, mounted and engraved. It sits on my parents’ mantel in West Palm, Florida,” he said.
Hugh Borow was so emotional about leaving their beach house and the rock behind that he filmed a short video, claiming it as his rock, forever.
“If only the rock could talk” was the sentiment offered by several online posters.
“Many, many stories at the rock,” Jack McDermott said. “It’s an archaeological site and should be protected for all Margatians, present and future.”
Michele Fisher said she spent a lot of time on the rock.
“It never caused harm, was a great place to meet with friends,” she wrote on the Downbeach.com Facebook page.
Although she believes change is good, and there are lots of changes happening in Margate, “getting rid of this rock need not be one of them,” she said.
Her great-nephews and their friends, who were pictured in a photo taken at the rock on New Year’s Day, need a place to meet up, she said.
Giulietta Consalvo of Ventnor said when she was a teenager, she and her friends hung out at the rock, which they eventually named, “Bob Rock.”
Living near the Margate border, the rock was the place to try grown up things out of the view of their parents, she said.
“We found Bob was the place where someone would receive their first kiss,” she said. “One night, my friend Tommy Rhoads of Margate looked at me and said the rock needed a name, so he called it, Bob Rock.”
Twenty years later, the two went to visit Bob Rock to “bury the sins of our childhood,” she said.
Instead, they wound up burying Tommy Rhoads in the sand, and soon enough, they got chased off the beach by the police, just like they did in the old days. They often return to Bob to reminisce, she said.
Rhoads, who now lives in New York City, said he could tell “100 funny stories about happenings at Bob Rock”, most of them not printable, he said.
“It’s amazing that you can take a large open space like a sandy beach and human beings will find the one odd thing sticking out, and that’s where children congregate. Every time we went there, the police would rouse us. I don’t know how they knew we were there. Maybe a neighbor called,” he said.
Rhoads said he understands that the jagged concrete could pose a danger to young children and that the city might be justified in asking that it be removed, but his friend does not agree.
“Bob was magical for our friends. A place where we shared our hopes and dreams,” Consalvo said. “We went there to explore ourselves and now as adults, we go there to reminisce about the hopes and dreams of our youth.”
Consalvo said it should be maintained as a “monument to youth” and their “hopes, dreams and fears.”
“Bob gave us solace,” she said.
The Rock stands as a testament to youth.
Copyright Mediawize, LLC 2019