December, 2012


Plan for Queens Boulevard first proposed back in 1923

The 1923 New Year’s celebrations promised to be a “hip-hip hooray” affair. In the past month, police estimated $10 million in contraband liquor had been smuggled into New York from ships and through Canada. More than 200,000 reservations were booked at celebrations in hotels with an additional 100,000 expected at smaller clubs. To monitor the city that evening, only 20 prohibition agents were available. Comment

Liu of ‘McBeal’ called Jax Hts. home before becoming a star

Born Dec. 2, 1968, to Chinese immigrants, Lucy Alexis Liu skyrocketed to fame in the late 1990s with a role in the TV series “Ally McBeal,” followed by starring spots in the action films “Charlie’s Angels” and “Kill Bill.” Comment

November, 2012


Queens voted for Dewey in presidential election of 1944

It is November 1944 and news of the world war fills the papers. Comment

Jamaica-born author-composer Bowles lived in Morocco

Paul Frederick Bowles was a composer, author, poet and literary translator of multiple languages. Born in Jamaica, he spent most of his life in Tangier, Morocco, writing and composing. Comment

October, 2012


Woodhaven man celebrated 50 years as a cop in 1946

In October 1946, at the Loews Triboro Theater in Astoria, Ed Sullivan, the famous Broadway columnist, appeared in person along with several acts, including dances and a comedian. Comment

Jamaica army officer maintains innocence in ‘70 triple murder

Jeffrey Robert MacDonald, a former U.S. Army doctor, is best known for allegedly murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in 1970. Comment

September, 2012


Queens overrun by gangs of young people in September ‘59

September 1959 in Queens began with news that police had thwarted a re-engagement in a war of gangs from Jamaica and Hollis. One innocent 14-year-old bystander was shot in the chest. Twelve boys, some under 15, were arrested and an arsenal of knives, broomsticks, chains and metal whips was seized. The boys were released into their parents’ custody and were to appear in court in Jamaica. Comment

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O.J. Simpson ‘dream team’ lawyer a native of Queens

Defense attorney Barry Scheck was a member of O.J. Simpson’s “dream team” of lawyers in his 1995 murder trial and is also a founder of The Innocence Project, which exonerates falsely accused criminals using DNA evidence. Comments (1)

August, 2012


Boro native Roker has been giving weather since the ’70s

Known for his catchphrase “That’s what’s going on around the country; here’s what’s happening in your neck of the woods,” weatherman and TV personality Al Roker was born in Queens Aug. 20, 1954. After majoring in broadcasting and journalism in college, Roker rose through the ranks of news broadcasting, eventually landing at NBC and anchoring the daily weather reports on “The Today Show” since 1996. Comment

City excavated 50-acre Middle Village peat bog in 1935

On Aug. 1, 1935, the Star reported that Gustav Lindenthal, designer of the Hell Gate Bridge, had died at the age of 85 the previous evening at his home, the Lindens, in Metuchen, N.J. Comment

July, 2012


First lady Nancy Reagan called Elmhurst and Flushing home

Nancy Davis Reagan was born Anne Francis Robbins July 6, 1921, in New York City. She was the only child of car salesman Kenneth Robbins and actress Edith Luckett. After spending her early childhood in Elmhurst and Flushing, she decided to pursue an acting career after graduating from college, and eventually moved to Hollywood. Comment

Queens resident experienced many vehicle accidents in 1924

The New York & Queens County Railroad Co., which operated trolleys in Queens, was in receivership and faced a shutdown of its operations. On June 4, 1924, a judge denied a motion by the receiver for the company to discontinue operations and rip up the tracks. Comment

June, 2012


United Nations called Queens home up until 1951

In 1898, New York celebrated the 50th anniversary of consolidation. Queens, Brooklyn the Bronx and Staten Island had joined with Manhattan to form an even greater city. Comment

Ex-Kew Gdns. resident Landau an Oscar, Golden Globe winner

Martin Landau is a film and television actor born in Brooklyn. Sources disagree about his date of birth, with some claiming June 20, 1928, and others the same date but in 1931. Comment

May, 2012


Jax Hts. native Rickles still in limelight after 7 decades

Best known as an insult comedian and comic actor, Donald Jay Rickles was born May 8, 1926, and spent his early years in Jackson Heights. His father, Max, came to the United States from Lithuania in the early 20th century and his mother Etta was born to Austrian immigrants. Comment

Queens suffered thru blackout, gas shortage in 1942

Stateside, the war effort was beginning to ramp up. On May 5, 1942, the sixth minesweeper to be built in Whitestone in the past seven weeks slid into the East River. The boat was christened at the Wheeler Shipbuilding Corp.’s yard at the foot of 154th Street. Comment

April, 2012


Dancer Ginger Rogers once called Douglaston home

Born Virginia Katherine McMath July 16, 1911, in Independence, Mo., Ginger Rogers was a star of stage, screen and television for five decades from the 1930s to the late 1980s. She made a total of 73 films and is still remembered by fans as Fred Astaire’s dancing partner in many productions. Rogers overcame an unhappy childhood to find an outlet for her talent and attain success through changing times. Comment

Titanic failed to claim any Queens residents in 1912

The newspapers were filled with progress and development. It was a confident age, but midway through the month a jarring note burst upon the world. It has remained seared in our collective memory to this day. Comment

March, 2012


Astronaut Glenn thrown parade through boro in 1962

It was the dawn of the Space Age, and the man of the hour was Col. John Glenn. On Feb. 20, 1962, Glenn had piloted Friendship 7 on the first manned orbit around the Earth and landed safely despite worries that the capsule’s heat shield might not hold. Comment

Beat Generation writer Kerouac called Ozone Park home

Born in 1922, Jack Kerouac is considered the father of Beat Generation literature. His iconoclastic works, such as “On the Road,” “The Dharma Bums” and “Vanity of Duluoz,” were the mouthpiece of a 1950s counterculture. Comments (1)

February, 2012


Astorian Bracken landed roles on radio, TV and in film

Born Feb. 7, 1915, to Catherine and Joseph Bracken, Astoria native Eddie Bracken enjoyed a career that spanned seven decades as a movie, television and stage actor. Comment

Slain activist Malcolm X called East Elmhurst home in ‘65

The World’s Fair was in Queens, attracting visitors from far and wide. On Feb. 3, 1965, the Star-Journal reported that the fair “made news internationally as well as locally yesterday. The city will bring the fair into court if it fails to heed the subpoena served yesterday.” Comments (1)

January, 2012


Astoria native Merman made her name singing on stage

Born Jan. 16, 1908, as Ethel Agnes Zimmermann, Astoria native Ethel Merman is perhaps best remembered for her mezzo-soprano voice in numerous Broadway musicals and Hollywood films. Her musical numbers include “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and “There’s no Business Like Show Business.” Comments (1)

Communist sympathizers disrupted Newtown HS in 1935

Two Yale students on the final leg of a 29,000-mile world tour land in College Point in early January 1935. They take more than 600 pictures of places and people with an aerial camera and plan to donate the images to the Geographical Society of America. Their last hop, a four-hour trip from Morehead City, N.C., was one of the most brutal. Facing a 45 mph headwind, the ice-covered plane lands in an ice-caked Flushing Bay. Comment
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