For the last three months, the white dome that stood like a punctuation mark at the end of Beach 94th Street — the main route into the Rockaways from the Cross Bay Bridge — has been sort of a town epicenter for this section of the peninsula devastated less than nine months ago by Hurricane Sandy.
The structure, called the VW Dome 2, was built by MoMA PS 1 and is a replica of a similar dome that had been at the museum’s Long Island City facility. The museum constructed it as a gift to the storm-ravaged community. The dome opened in late March at the end of the parking lot between Beach 94th and 95th streets, just steps from the beach. It has played host to community meetings and arts events throughout the spring.
Originally scheduled to close by Memorial Day, MoMA PS 1 extended the life of the dome by another month, but decided to take it down at the end of June. The parking lot it sat in, which is owned by the city Parks Department, and is used by beachgoers.
“The VW Dome 2, a Buckminster Fuller-inspired geodesic dome, has served its purpose well,” Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA PS 1, said in an email sent to a number of Rockaway civic leaders last week. “But now the beach is back and for sure everybody worked very hard to get their spaces, restaurants, stores, and concessions back to be the social heart around the splendid beach.”
A weekend-long celebration was held at the dome for its closing featuring music Saturday night and thank yous from Rockaway civic leaders on Sunday morning.
The dome’s opening in March featured a performance by singer Patti Smith, who lives in Rockaway Beach. Biesenbach also owns a home in the Rockaways.
Local civic leaders were originally skeptical of the dome, but MoMA PS 1 allowed residents to use it as a community center. The dome also played host to a number of community meetings focused on Sandy recovery.
The dome also hosted events put together by the peninsula’s growing arts community, such as poetry readings and art contests.
In May, the premiere of the movie trailer for the upcoming documentary “Jamaica Bay Lives” was held in the dome. On Memorial Day weekend, hundreds came to the dome to cast their votes for the best design for the Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project.