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

Cardozo brings the gritty Civil War to life for students

High school students study the Civil War every year, but rarely do they ever get a chance to see, hear, smell and taste it. Comments (3)

Bayside Historical Society salutes movers in boro

There were some new kinds of presents under the tree at this year’s holiday celebration for the Bayside Historical Society. Comment

Patrick Guidice, 94

Former College Point resident Patrick Guidice, who also went by the name Pasquale, died Nov. 15 in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 94. Comment
Fresh Meadows

Council landmarks old burial ground

The City Council voted to designate Brinckerhoff Cemetery, the burial site of several of Queens’ first settlers, as a landmark Monday despite an attempt by the cemetery’s owner to claim hardship and thus prevent the designation. Comment
I Sit and Look Out

Be thankful for people who helped you succeed through life

Toward the end of the decades-long political campaign this year, a mantra developed among some troglodytes: “No one helped me! I did it all by myself!” Comments (2)

Borough remembers WWII’s Wallenberg

Many members of Queens’ Jewish community, several elected officials and international diplomats gathered at Young Israel of Hillcrest Sunday to commemorate the centennial birthday of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish architect who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II. Comment

November, 2012


Holocaust survivor reunites with woman who hid her

Shoshana Golan was just 6 when she left the Dudziak home in liberated Poland in 1945 with a group of children orphaned by the Holocaust. Comment

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Queens voted for Dewey in presidential election of 1944

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

Daughter pays respects to mother at Flight 587 crash site

Every Nov. 12, Francisca Diaz travels to Queens to remember her mother, who was one of 265 people killed when Flight 587 crashed into Rockaway in 2001 shortly after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport for the Dominican Republic. Comment

Bayside historical pays tribute at Lawrence cemetery

Tucked away in a quiet cemetery off Bell Boulevard, the Bayside Historical Society set its sights more than 150 years in the past as interested onlookers went along for the ride back in time. Comment

FDNY honors six firefighters lost in 1962 blaze

Family, friends and firefighters spilled out of the garage at VIP Auto Body Shop in Maspeth Friday as they honored fallen heroes from half a century ago. Comment
Forest Hills

Forest Hills comes out to pay homage to Geraldine Ferraro

For 37 years Geraldine Ferraro passed through the intersection of Ascan Avenue and Austin Street on her way to and from her Forest Hills Gardens home and the community gathered there Sunday to ensure that her legacy lived on for another 37 years and beyond. 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
Douglas Manor

Modern legal decision at heart of Douglaston house tour

The most significant moment in history discussed Saturday on a guided tour of early 20th-century homes in Douglaston Manor was June 24, 1997 — about half a century after the last residences were built on the verdant northeast Queens peninsula. Comment
Forest Hills

Forest Hills street to be co-named for Ferraro

City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) will honor the late Forest Hills congresswoman and first female vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro with a street co-naming Sunday, Oct. 28., at 10:30 a.m. Comment
Fresh Meadows

Farm Museum votes to maintain old cemetery

The Queens County Farm Museum board recently voted unanimously to maintain Brinckerhoff Cemetery, the centuries-old burial ground where several of Queens’ first settlers are interred, but would not be able to carry out the plan unless the property changes owners, Museum President James Trent said. Comment

Shop to honor firemen lost in Maspeth blaze

The 1960s were a decade of transition — the political landscape shifted dramatically with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, The Beatles took everyone on a magical mystery tour and the Cuban missile crisis led many to gravely prepare for the end of the world. Comments (1)

Boro Holocaust survivor keeps memories alive

Ethel Katz has already told her story of survival more times than she could ever remember, but her eyes still filled with tears when she was asked once again to share her memories of living through the Holocaust. Comments (2)
Bayside Hills

Bayside’s Joe Lupo remembered fondly

Michael Feiner, president of the Bayside Hills Civic Association, said he has never seen more people line up to say goodbye to a loved one than he had for Joe Lupo, of Flushing, who died suddenly last month of heart complications. Comment

September, 2012

East Elmhurst

St. Michael’s holds 9/11 Memorial Run

St. Michael’s Cemetery held a “Remember Me Run” to support the children of those who died from working on the 9/11 World Trade Center pile. Funds raised were slated to go to the Christopher Santora Scholarship Fund, which was started by Santora’s parents. Comment

Broadway Bill remembered

New Yorkers pounding the pavement every day on their way to work have grown accustomed to the city’s homeless population. Sometimes spare change is given, while other times eyes are averted as the commuters dutifully board trains and buses to their jobs. Comments (1)

Kingsland Homestead in Flushing renovated

A newly restored Kingsland Homestead was on full display over the weekend as the Queens Historical Society celebrated a new beginning in Flushing with the completion of its 2012 capital project. Members of the group joined with city residents and officials Sunday to celebrate the restoration of its old roots while also establishing some new ones. Comments (2)

McManus park 9/11 memorial still strong after 11 years

Organizers and visitors to the annual 9/11 memorial ceremony at McManus Memorial Park in Astoria Heights last week were heartened that the 150-strong crowd was still present 11 years after the tragedy. Comments (3)

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)

Exhibit celebrates 150th anniversary of Flushing Town Hall

Flushing Town Hall has worn many hats in its 150 years, but its latest incarnation may be the one that most resembles the first. Comment

Quiet ceremony marks 9/11

Twin sisters Amanda and Emily Ortiz smiled as they posed for photos with family friends at the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero Tuesday morning. The young girls from Whitestone were just 5 months old when their father, Emilio, perished in the attack on the World Trade Center 11 years ago. Comment

Roddick retires at 2012 US Open while Federer licks wounds

Tennis fans bid farewell to two big names at the 2012 US Open Wednesday, one of them for good. Comment

Queens victims immortalized in memorial at Ground Zero

Eleven years have gone by and the cityscape has changed drastically, but now there are names, like those of Bayside’s John Thomas Resta and his wife Sylvia San Pio Resta, which will forever be inscribed in Lower Manhattan. Comment

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
Fresh Meadows

Fresh Meadows woman ushers in her 100th birthday (WITH VIDEO)

Fresh Meadows resident Claire Goldberg, who still lives on her own and uses an iPad, celebrated her 100th birthday in style last week surrounded by three generations of her family and elected officials. Comment
Fresh Meadows

Brinckerhoff burial ground landmarked

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission ended a 12-year battle over the fate of Brinckerhoff Cemetery, a colonial-era burial ground in Fresh Meadows where some of Queens’ earliest settlers are buried, by voting Tuesday to make it a landmark. Comment
Fresh Meadows

Brinckerhoff Cemetery receives landmark status

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to make Brinckerhoff Cemetery a landmark in a move that will protect the historic Fresh Meadows burial ground from development. 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
No Holds Barred

Georgetown’s president speaks out on civil discourse

(Note: This is the conclusion of my column of Aug. 2, based on “The Second Coming,” by William Butler Yeats.) Comments (1)

Jazzin’ up Queens for 150 years

We always tell our audiences: “Welcome to Flushing Town Hall — you’re in The Jazz Capital of Queens,” says Clyde Bullard, producer of the Jazz Live! Series and other concerts presented there. Comment

Koo presses for Queens comfort women memorial

City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) is moving forward with plans to rename a Flushing street after the comfort women from World War II, much to the chagrin of the Japanese community. Comments (7)

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
Our History

Sophisticated postal service existed in ancient Rome

The Romans had a postal service in the second century that might be called “letter perfect.” Nothing, or almost nothing, could keep their postal carriers from completing their rounds. Comments (3)
Rockaway Beach

Marine Parkway celebrates 75 years connecting boros

The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, which helped turn an isolated area into a key recreational destination in the city and sparked the growth of the Rockaways, is celebrating its 75th anniversary. 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
I Sit and Look Out

Famous runner at NYU first attended Newtown HS

As readers of this column know, I spent three happy and productive years as a student at Newtown High School. I had graduated from JHS 73 and the transition was not any easy one in the first semester, but I managed to do better and was a member of Arista by the time I graduated. Comment

June, 2012


Louis Armstrong garden to get $150k revamp

At the end of his life, jazz great Louis Armstrong considered the garden at his Corona home, now a world-famous museum, a sanctuary, and with a new $150,000 grant the museum hopes to make Satchmo’s beloved backyard even better. Comment

Past returns to Douglaston

City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) and members of the Douglaston-Little Neck Historical Society popped open bottles of champagne Sunday for the long-awaited return of the neighborhood’s original street names to the historic district. Comments (1)

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
Our History

Steamboats once served Queens, L.I.

In the early days of steam navigation, there was no interest from the locality of the North Shore of Long Island to navigate the waters of New York. The one exception was for sailing vessels. Comment
Forest Hills

Old Forest Hills firehouse singled out for recognition

As advocates fight to keep Queens firehouses open amid budget cuts, one building in Forest Hills is being recognized for its rich history of close to 90 years. Comment

Tragic General Slocum fire remembered in Astoria Park

Before the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the largest loss of life in the city’s history occurred on a June day in 1904 when more than 1,000 people died when the General Slocum caught fire in the East River off Astoria. Comment

Daughters of the American Revolution at Prospect Cemetery Chapel in Jamaica

Officers for the newly-formed “Increase Carpenter Chapter” of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) were installed during a ceremony at the historic Prospect Cemetery Chapel of the Sisters on the campus of York College. Comment

St. Saviour’s could rise at Onderdonk

A deal to save a historic Maspeth building is on the table but far from done. Comment

Respect for the Dead

It is the mark of a civilized society when an organization is willing to stand up for the rights of people they have never met, whose names they don’t know and who happen to be dead. Comment
Kew Gardens Hills

Parkway Village listed on national historic register

A village where some believe diversity began in the borough finally received recognition on a historic level. Comment

Forest Park Carousel opens after three-year hiatus

Adults relived their childhoods while youngsters shouted in delight as the Forest Park Carousel whirled for the first time in more than three years last week. Comment

LPC must landmark Brinckerhoff

On behalf of the board of directors of the Bayside Historical Society, I am writing to express our desire that the LPC designate the historic Brinckerhoff Cemetery in Fresh Meadows as an official city landmark. Comments (1)

Flushing Town Hall eyes leftover city grant funds

Landmarked sites in Queens missed out on a large chunk of funding after a preservation contest did not go the borough’s way, but there is still more money to be had. Comment
I Sit and Look Out

Columnist celebrates nine years penning his thoughts

Early in 2003, TimesLedger Newspapers printed a notice that it was looking for columnists. More than 300 columns and a few blogs later, here is the story about how this flack came to be a columnist. 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
Our History

Farmers first settled Flushing

The town of Flushing was first incorporated Oct. 10, 1645, by the order of the governor of New Netherlands, William Kieft. Comment

Koo caught in firestorm over WWII comfort women

City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) has been stirring up an international controversy with his plans to honor Asian women forced into prostitution by Japan during World War II. Comments (10)

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

Angelina Marie Sora, 94

Angelina Marie Sora, of Carmel, N.Y., and formerly of Bayside, died April 24. She was 94. Comment

Queens Library archives provide window into past

It is hard to imagine Queens as anything other than a bustling urban borough, but the crowded asphalt streets were once country road-lined farmlands from Bayside to Long Island City. Comment

April, 2012


Boro athletic club should receive commemorative plaque

As the great-grandson of Irish immigrants to Dutch Kills, who once enjoyed the spectacle and competition that was Celtic Park, I take great pride in preserving the history of the times and places in which my ancestors and their neighbors lived. Comment
Forest Hills

Holocaust tales retold to keep memories alive

Six million counts of murder. Comment

WW II vets visit Qns en route to Poland

For years, March of the Living has tapped Holocaust survivors for trips bringing Jewish teenagers to Poland and Israel, but the program’s latest educational mission focuses on the liberators. Comments (1)

Greater Astoria to host activities celebrating the 1800s

Steam power and corsets are making a comeback in New York City, at least for a weekend. Comment

City must show respect for the dead at Old Towne

As the co-chairman of the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground Conservancy, I am writing to you to ask for your assistance with a crucial issue facing the 19th-century cemetery. 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

City mediates grave damage

Members of a Flushing house of worship met with a developer and the city Monday morning to answer lingering questions about how much of a historically marked cemetery was disturbed by construction crews last month. Comment

Titanic turns 100

As Queens commemorates the 100th anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic and the events surrounding her fateful journey, it’s customary to recount those fascinating, decades-old tales and anecdotes that are part of this never-ending story. Comment
Middle Village

Maltese marks Triangle fire

Serphin Maltese’s roots run deep in New York City and immigration history. Comment

Discover an Interwoven World

Visitors to Flushing Town Hall will find they have stepped into a nomadic Turkish village. Simulated living spaces of nomadic tents complete with hand-woven Turkish carpets and home furnishings are a highlight of the exhibit “Interwoven Worlds: Exploring Domestic and Nomadic Life in Turkey,” running through April 29. Comment

March, 2012


Flushing Armenians recall genocide in home country

Keeping the story alive has always been most important, according to Dr. Dennis Papazian, national grand commander of the Armenian fraternal service Knights of Vartan and founding director of the Armenian Research Center . Comments (1)

Astoria historical society remembers the Titanic

The story of the RMS Titanic is getting a closer look next week. Comment

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

Douglaston cheers its new (old) streets

The people of Douglaston know their history. Even more so, they embrace it. Comment

Olympic champs’ names recalled

Where apartments and car-filled streets now stand in Sunnyside, there was once a grand stadium, Celtic Park, that produced some of the greatest Olympic champions. Comments (3)

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)
I Sit and Look Out

Columnist’s friend thinks people behave irrationally

The last of the five friends who read my columns in manuscript came up with a good many gripes, following my own column about my concerns. The other four have had their say and I invite you to make your gripes known through TimesLedger Newspapers. Solutions are most welcome, too. Comment

Bangladeshi man tells Jamaica about country’s birth

America’s founding fathers are often conjured from the past to bolster various political arguments, but Sunday in Jamaica a soldier from Bangladesh’s war for independence was there in the flesh, speaking about the bloody fight and how there are always two sides to history. Comments (1)

Old Douglaston names of streets might return

Douglaston’s street names may soon be more apropos to the neighborhood’s historic character. Comment

February, 2012


Proper spelling of boro place names never conventional

The article “Queensborough Bridge accident driver sues city” (Astoria Times, Dec. 15-21) contained excellent reporting, but I wish to bring up a few points. Comments (1)

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)

Mandingo honored for lifetime as community crusader

Activist Mandingo Tshaka has probably earned his weight in proclamations and awards over the years, but the Bayside Historical Society, which honored him for Black History Month, thinks he is worth every ounce. Comment

Flushing remembers civil rights activist Rev. Mitchell

After the longtime pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Flushing died late last month, his funeral Friday served as a sombre way to start off Black History Month. He was 81. Comments (2)

January, 2012


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

‘Flatiron of Astoria’ gets new coat of paint

A historic building in Astoria that looks like a shrunken-down version of Manhattan’s Flatiron Building recently got a face-lift in time for the holidays. Comment
I Sit and Look Out

Civility is a forgotten and missed art in public places

This started out to be one column to be sent out into the world at anytime. It has turned into more than that and I think the comments in these columns may be something to think about in the new year. They represent my thinking and those of a group of five younger friends who see my columns on a regular basis. Comment
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