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Explore Ramblersville, Queens, nicknamed "The Venice of New York" and the city's smallest neighborhood

Explore Ramblersville, Queens, aka "The Venice of New York"
Explore Ramblersville, Queens, aka "The Venice of New York" 01:57

NEW YORK -- Nestled along the coast next to Howard Beach in Queens is Ramblersville, known to some as "The Venice of New York."

Fishermen were known to "ramble" through in the 1800s before it became a 20th century vacation destination.

Today, houses in Ramblersville are perched high along dead-end streets and boats appear to outnumber people. It's considered the smallest neighborhood in New York City. 

Exploring history of Ramblersville, Queens

Gail Wetzel is a mail carrier by day and a treasure hunter by night, digging for rare artifacts that tell the story of Howard Beach, the coastal community of her childhood.

"I just started loving the history, and it went on from there," she said.

She explores library shelves and online auctions, finding objects like a 1902 swimming medal from Hotel Howard, which burned down years later. 

Much of her research focuses on Ramblersville, which is part of greater Howard Beach.

"Ramblersville itself was considered the Venice of New York," said Roger Gendron, president of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association.

Gendron is helping Wetzel grow her collection into the first ever Howard Beach Historical Society. Their work is churning up memories for community members with deep roots. Some donate money to the project via GoFundMe. Others contribute old family photographs that have survived storms including Sandy.

"Adult children are getting stories from their parents when they're showing them these pictures that they never know about," Wetzel said.

The Howard Beach Historical Society is eager to involve younger generations.

"I think everybody should know the history of where you live and where you were born and where you grew up," Gendron said. "This is one way that we can keep that history going."

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