December, 2013


Jackson Heights native Rettig starred in TV’s ‘Lassie’

Best known as Jeff Miller, the star of the TV series “Lassie,” Queens native Tommy Rettig was a child actor who appeared in numerous films and television shows in the 1950s and ’60s. He performed alongside Hollywood stars, including Marilyn Monroe, Robert Mitchum and Ronald Reagan. Comments (1)

‘Spirit of ‘76’ made 318th stop in Queens during 1948

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1948, Pearl Harbor Day, the “Freedom Train” rolled into Queens and stopped in Flushing for a four-day stay before going on to Jamaica for another two days. It carried priceless documents: the original Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Emancipation Proclamation and other important historical papers and artifacts. Comment

November 1956 saw a rash of teens causing mischief

November brings to mind crisp autumn breezes, weekend football games and Thanksgiving turkey. In 1956, the nation sent President Dwight Eisenhower back to the White House that month, with only seven mostly Southern states backing Democratic contender Adlai Stevenson. Comment

November, 2013


Second half of Simon and Garfunkel hails from boro

Legendary singing duo Simon and Garfunkel helped define the singer-songwriter generation of the 1960s with their blend of folk and pop music, charming melodies and catchy lyrics. Half of that storied partnership is Forest Hills native Art Garfunkel, born Nov. 5, 1941. Comment

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October, 2013


‘Civic Virtue’ made its Queens debut in October 1941

In October 1941, with the war in the United States a little more than a month away, war clouds gathered as the Japanese “peace cabinet” stepped down and the United States ordered all ships in the Far East to make for friendly ports. Ships were leaving Japan with American nationals on board while Japanese nationals were preparing to leave America. The Japanese press whipped up hysteria over the Allied oil embargo. Comment

Boro Germans in 1914 hoped the kaiser would win

Over summer 1914, Europe plunged into its first continent-wide war since the days of Napoleon. In the United States, public opinion was divided over the war. German and Irish Americans were the country’s two largest ethnic groups. Comment

September, 2013


Queens’ Gorman made his name playing Lenny Bruce

Longtime New Yorkers should remember character actor Cliff Gorman for his breakthrough stage roles as Emory in “The Boys in the Band” and as Lenny Bruce in the eponymous “Lenny.” Comment

Astoria, Howard Beach besot by drag racing in 1958

It was 1958 and we called it “The Golden Age of Television.” At 6:30 p.m. on Channel 4, you had the news with Gabe Pressman. At 7 p.m., one could either watch the evening news with Robert Trout or sports with Howard Cosell. At 7:15 p.m. ran “World News with Douglas Edwards.” Comments (1)

August, 2013


Queens residents torn over Kinsey report in August ‘53

In August 1953, the Korean War truce was signed. Just returned to stateside, Airman First Class Raymond W. King, of Astoria, received the Distinguished Flying Cross for meritorious service over North Korea. As a flight engineer on a B-26 bomber, King was taking part in a reconnaissance mission the previous year when his crew spotted a convoy and destroyed 22 enemy vehicles. Comment

Debi Mazar, known for playing Jersey Girls, hails from Jamaica

Mae West once said, “Personality is the most important thing to an actress’s success.” Seemingly having followed this advice, movie and television actress Debi Mazar (b. 1964) has cultivated a specific persona — that of the sassy, Italian Jersey Girl. Comment

July, 2013


S. Jamaica’s 50 Cent made his name as rapper, actor

During an almost 20-year career as a recording artist in rap music, Curtis Jackson III, a native of South Jamaica, has been better known by his stage name: 50 Cent. Comments (1)

Little green men visited Queens in summer of 1952

The year 1952 will be remembered as the summer of UFOs on the East Coast. Since the 1947 sightings of unidentified flying objects over Roswell, N.M., Americans from various parts of the country had been reporting seeing strange phenomena in the night skies. Comment

June, 2013


‘Little Prairie’ star Michael Landon born in Forest Hills

For more than 30 years, Queens native Michael Landon entertained American television audiences with family-friendly shows such as “Bonanza,” “Little House on the Prairie” and “Highway to Heaven.” Comments (2)

Quakers protest germ weapons in Flushing during 1960

Relations between the United States and Cuba were very strained. On July 6, 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower slashed the Cuban sugar quota by 700,000 tons, virtually eliminating it, and sending Fidel Castro into a rage. Comment

May, 2013


Baysider went to Nevada to test atomic weapons in 1952

Supporting a bid to stem juvenile delinquency in May 1952, Queens District Attorney T. Vincent Quinn hailed a court decision upholding a ban on certain publications as a “timely and powerful aid” to end the sale of “objectionable literature” at local newsstands. Comment

People of all stripes came out for 1939 World’s Fair

The official opening of the 1939 World’s Fair came with the president’s opening remarks at 3:12 p.m., along with Gov. Herbert Lehman, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and fair President Grover Whalen, who headed the list of other speakers from 60 other participating nations. Comment

April, 2013


1936 saw Lindbergh baby killer’s body cremated in boro

It was 1936, the midpoint of the Depression. About 1,500 Queens families on relief could cultivate some of the 5,000 “subsistence gardens” in the borough. The gardens were open to all on home relief, those on work relief who did not receive supplemental home relief and those on work relief receiving only the minimum security wage of $60.50 a month. Comment

Hollis Hills’ Donny Deutsch made millions in business

If you have watched NBC’s morning show “Today” in recent years, then perhaps you have encountered the show’s popular discussion segment “The Experts.” Comment

March, 2013


Former head of CIA had ties to LIC fire department

The spy genre in movies, books and television has been popular in America for decades. This year’s 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series and the popularity of the TV show “Homeland” are examples of this. The real stories of men and women in the service of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency are often as fascinating and outlandish as their fictional counterparts. Comment

Film, stage actress Cecily Adams, 46, born in Jamaica

Actress Cecily Adams was born in Jamaica Feb. 6, 1958, to singer Adelaide Efantis and actor Don Adams, of “Get Smart” fame. Comment

February, 2013


Plan was made in 1959 for boro to secede from N.Y. over taxes

In 1959, the City Planning Commission formally received plans for the Big Six Towers Feb. 2, a proposed cooperative apartment housing complex sponsored by New York Typographical Union No. 6. Comment

January, 2013


January 1936 a month of misery for many in Queens

The double bill of Shirley Temple in “The Littlest Rebel” and “Last of the Pagans” was at the Astoria in January 1936. The Triboro had “A Tale of Two Cities” with Ronald Coleman. Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland starred in “Captain Blood.” The Broadway Grand and RKO Proctors were showing Katherine Hepburn in “Sylvia Scarlet.” “Annie Oakley” starred Barbara Stanwyck, Melvin Douglas and Preston Foster. Comment

Filmmaker Ed Burns grew up in Woodside, Valley Stream

Actor, writer and director Edward Burns was born Jan. 29, 1968, and raised in Woodside and Valley Stream, L.I. Burns is known for his role as Pvt. Richard Reiben in “Saving Private Ryan” and for later directing shoestring budget romantic comedies such as “Nice Guy Johnny” and “Newlyweds.” Comment
CNG: Community Newspaper Group