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Celebrating some of Queens’ unique communities and the people who live in them Flushing

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17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

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QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014 Page 2

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SUMMER ON THE GREEN JOIN US FOR A SUMMER LONG SERIES OF FREE EVENTS * Concerts • Movies • Family Entertainment & More! THURSDAYS | JULY 3, AUGUST 7 & SEPTEMBER 4 5  9PM: CLASSIC CAR SHOW, CENTER GREEN PARKING SATURDAY | JULY 5 5  9:30PM: KICKOFF TO SUMMER ON THE GREEN, TWO CONCERTS, CHILDREN’S ENTERTAINMENT + FIREWORKS MONDAYS | JULY 7  AUGUST 25 6  7PM: PRECONCERT FAMILY FUN | 7  9PM: LIVE CONCERTS ON THE GREEN DRIVEN BY NISSAN OF QUEENS

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Published every week by

MARK I PUBLICATIONS, INC.

MARK WEIDLER President & Publisher SUSAN & STANLEY MERZON Founders Raymond G. Sito General Manager Peter C. Mastrosimone Editor-in-Chief Liz Rhoades Managing Editor Michael Gannon Editor Domenick Rafter Editor Tess McRae Associate Editor Christopher Barca Reporter Terry Nusspickel Editorial Production Manager Jan Schulman Art Director Moeen Din Associate Art Director Ella Jipescu Associate Art Director Richard Weyhausen Proofreader Lisa LiCausi Office Manager Stela Barbu Administration Gregg Cohen Production Assistant Senior Account Executives: Jim Berkoff, Beverly Espinoza

Account Executives: Patricia Gatt, Debrah Gordon, Al Rowe, Maureen Schuler

Contributors: Lloyd Carroll, Mark Lord, Ronald Marzlock

Photographers: Gabrielle Lurie, Rick Maiman, Steve Malecki

Intern: Kaycia Sailsman

Office: 62-33 Woodhaven Blvd. Rego Park, NY 11374-7769 Phone: (718) 205-8000 Fax: (718) 205-0150 Mail: P.O. Box 74-7769 Rego Park, NY 11374-7769 E-mail: Mailbox@qchron.com Website: www.qchron.com

Welcome to the neighborhood

QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014 Page 4

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TOTAL CIRCULATION: MEMBER

Flushing .............................................. 6 Howard Beach .................................... 9 Glendale ........................................... 12 Jamaica ............................................. 14 Jackson Heights ............................... 16 Maspeth ............................................ 20 Queens Village .................................. 22 Rego Park ......................................... 27 Sunnyside ......................................... 30 Whitestone ....................................... 32 Woodhaven ....................................... 34 Supplement editor: Peter C. Mastrosimone; Supplement designer and cover illustrator: Ella Jipescu; Editorial layout: Terry Nusspickel

160,000

CELEBRATING COMMUNITIES 17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

CONTENTS

Pride in Queens has seen a resurgence this year, one that’s both welcome and warranted. The vehicle has been the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the two World’s Fairs held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The joint jubilees have been celebrated at a string of events, culminating in a May 18 festival that drew an estimated 60,000 people. “The festival rekindled memories of the two fantastic World’s Fairs and reminded us that the Borough of Queens, the most diverse county in America, remains ‘The World’s Borough,’” Melinda Katz, the borough president, said in a statement issued after the event. “It is truly a special place where people can experience the incredible variety of cultural traditions celebrated by Queens residents who have come here from more than 100 countries and speak about 160 different languages.” Here at the Queens Chronicle, we’ve celebrated the anniversaries not only with ongoing coverage of various fair-related events, but also with an editorial page

push to preserve and repurpose the long-neglected New York State Pavilion, a remnant of the 1964-65 exposition that should be a jewel in the borough’s crown, and an extraordinary series of 10 in-depth articles by Managing Editor Liz Rhoades. The series, all of which is available at qchron.com, wraps up this week with individual recollections of more than 20 people who were there. You can find it in most of our eight editions or on our website. But Queens shouldn’t be celebrated only during special events, and there’s much more to take pride in than the grand monuments and memories in our central park. Our 2.3 million residents have a lot to boast about and be proud of every day, from Astoria to Rosedale, from Rockaway to Little Neck. In this, our 17th annual Celebration of Queens special edition, we look at what makes just 11 of our many communities great places in which to live, work and play. In these pages you can read about the culinary delights that make Sunnyside an unbeatable place to be for food from all over the world. Be reminded of the old-fashioned patriotism alive and well in the community that boasts “Maspeth is America.” Encounter the mix of old and new that makes Flushing one of Queens’ most important communities historically but

also one that in many respects is barely recognizable from what it was just a few decades a go. See how Jamaica too retains its roots as one of Queens’ key historical places while ever adapting to a changing world. Learn that Queens Village was named by the Long Island Rail Road. Read the insight of a Rego Park waitress who hits the nail on the head when she says, “The whole United Nations is here.” Read how Howard Beach transformed from a resort area into a bedroom community with six component neighborhoods, from the one whose name came to encompass them all to the pleasantly named Ramblersville. One thing you’ll find is that people in many of the communities are proud to say they still have a smalltown, close-knit feel. That’s Queens. Despite ongoing development that is without a doubt fundamentally transforming some areas, each part of the borough retains a unique feel defined by its housing stock, commercial districts and, of course, its people. That’s what we’re celebrating here — not only “The World’s Borough” but the many small worlds, the distinct, evolving communities, that it comprises. Welcome to the neighborhood.

Peter C. Mastrosimone

Editor-in-Chief


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Flushing

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD! by Mark Lord When it comes to combining the old and the new, it’s unlikely that any place does it better than Flushing. Steeped in tradition, with more than a handful of historic locations in its downtown section alone, the area is also filled with recent arrivals to this country who are welcomed to their adoptive home and brand- new way of life. Bounded by Flushing Meadows Park to the west, Utopia Parkway to the east, the Long Island Expressway to the south and Willets Point Boulevard to the north, Flushing was established by Dutch settlers in 1645. By 2010, Asians, primarily Chinese and Koreans, comprised 44 percent of the population. In between, the area made a name for itself for, among other reasons, becoming the birthplace of religious freedom in the New World, thanks to a document known as the Flushing Remonstrance, which protested religious persecution. Among the early settlers was an English colonist named Joh n Bowne, a farmer, who defied a prohibition on harboring Quakers by allowing them to meet secretly in his house, built around 1661. The house stands at 37- 01 Bowne St. and is one of the oldest in the city. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, it has served as a museum since 1947, two years after being deeded to the Bowne Historical Society. It is now part of the Historic House Trust and is closed for extensive renovations. Nearby, the Old Quaker Meeting House at 137-16 Northern Blvd., a National Historic Landmark built

17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014 Page 6

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A REAL COMMUNITY OF CHANGE Flushing reflects a mixture of the old with new arrivals

in 1694, is the oldest known house of worship in New York City still in use as a religious institution and stands as a throwback to an earlier time in the midst of Flushing’s ever-growing business district. Visitors are welcome to tour the house and adjoining graveyard, where it is believed Bowne is buried, and to attend silent meetings for worship every Sunday at 11 a.m. Across the street from the Old Quaker Meeting House is Flushing Town Hall, at 137-35 Northern Blvd., which dates to 1862. Built to serve as a recruitment center and to house troops during the Civil War, the building went on to serve as a courthouse and police station, complete with jail. According to the hall’s deputy director, Sami Abu Shumays, the building was out of use for a while after that and then had brief incarnations as, among other things, a dinner theater. In the 1980s, despite being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building, an example of Romanesque Revival, was on the verge of condemnation, when former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman came to its rescue. Today, it is home to the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, which is celebrating a 35-year-old tradition of offering a wide variety of performing and visual arts programs, with a particular emphasis on jazz. A current exhibit, “The Collage Aesthetic of Louis Armstrong — in the Cause of Happiness,” pays tribute to the legendary musician, a longtime Corona resident. Shumays indicated that major demographic changes began to occur in the area after the second World’s Fair, in 1964-65, when a lot of Asian immigrants started moving into this area.

The Quaker Meeting House in downtown Flushing dates back to 1694.

A street scene in Flushing, which is the second busiest transportation hub in the city. Not far from the hall is the Lewis H. Latimer House, built between 1887 and 1889, which today serves as a museum and tribute to the African-American inventor who lived in the house from 1903 until his death in 1928. The son of fugitive slaves, he played a vital role in the development of the telephone and the incandescent bulb. Now located at 34-41 137 St., the house, according to Alfred Rankins, president of the Lewis H. Latimer Fund, which operates the house, had been threatened with demolition. It was eventuallly taken on a one-and-a-half mile journey from its original location on Holly Avenue in 1988. Seven years later, the house, constructed in the Queen Anne style and restored to appear as it did when Latimer lived in it, was designated a city landmark. Today, the house serves as a science and math museum for children. “It fits right in. We reach out to all ethnic groups in Flushing,” Rankins said. A few steps away may be found traces of the area’s colorful past in the form of the remains of the RKO Keith’s Theater, built in 1928, where vaudeville and movie stars performed. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the theater was illegally damaged and has changed hands repeatedly in recent years. Plans call for restoration of the lobby and ticket office, which were landmarked by the city and will be the entrance to a high-rise apartment building.

Other places of historical interest in the downtown Flushing area include Flushing High School at 35-01 Union St. which was founded in 1875 and is the oldest public high school in New York City, and the Kingsland Homestead at 143-35 37 Ave., built in 1785, originally the home of a wealthy merchant and today home to the Queens Historical Society. One of the few surviving 18th-century homes in the borough, it was declared a city landmark in 1965 and moved to its current location in 1968. Flushing is one of the most religiously diverse communities in America, with an estimated 200 places of worship. These include the Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was first erected at its present site at 37-22 Union St. in 1837. One of the oldest churches is St. George’s Episcopal on Main Street between 38th and 39th avenues, which dates back to 1702. The first church at the present location was built in 1746, with the latest in 1854. Founded in 1917, making it the oldest Reform synagogue in the borough, the Free Synagogue of Flushing, located at 41-60 Kissena Blvd., remains true to the ideals of its founders as an all-inclusive community. While the demographics around it have changed drastically since it opened, it continues to promote inclusiveness. Today it finds itself in the middle of a bustling area that has come to be known as Flushing Chinatown, one of the fastest- growing

PHOTOS BY MARK LORD

Chinese enclaves outside of Asia. It is here that businesses with names like Hang Sang Jewelry and Chang Jiang Supermarket live side by side with Burger King and Citi Bank. On a typical day, the sidewalks are packed with people, creating a vibrancy that sets Flushing apart. The downtown is the second-largest transportation hub in the city. It is the “grit and determination” that are most likely to impress anyone seeing it for the first time, according to Assemblyman Ron Kim, who represents the area. “The character is what is great about the entire community. When you get on the 7 train, you will see hundreds of working families going to work with that spirit of striving to be better. That spirit is alive and well in Flushing. That is why people still come to this country.” Sherrell Jordan, who has lived in Flushing for 37 years and organized Sistas in the Hood, an outreach ministry for low-income moms, is taken by the cultural diversity that she has seen spring up around her. “When we were growing up, there were a lot of African Americans and Hispanics,” Jordan said. “Over the last 10 to 15 years, an Asian inf lux has taken over. I think the Flushing community has so much to offer. One of the great things is there is so much going on. It’s culturally diverse. That’s what makes Flushing Flushing.” And she was just referring to the downtown area. Flushing extends continued on page 10


C M CELEB page 7 Y K Page 7 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014

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WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

Bay breezes bring people in, despite planes, trains and hurricanes is actually located just south over the 102nd Street bridge. Together these four communities make up the section of the neighborhood known as “Old Howard Beach.” Rockwood Park is the section of the neighborhood west of Shellbank Basin — including Cross Bay Boulevard — commonly referred to as “New Howard Beach,” and Lindenwood is the more densely populated section, with co-ops, condos, garden apartments and semiattached homes, between the Belt Parkway and Conduit Boulevard. The communities each have a distinct flavor. Ramblersville and Hamilton Beach are known for their bungalow-style homes and narrow streets, while Howard Beach and Howard Park offer larger homes, but still boast a working-class environment.

by Domenick Rafter If Howard Beach had its own Facebook page, it would perhaps not come as a surprise if its relationship status were “It’s complicated.” In it’s relatively short, turbulent history, the neighborhood has experienced some of the worst of nature’s elements — and has also been forced to contend with some of man’s own nuisances. Fire, wind, water, low-f lying planes, squealing subway trains, packed buses and the oft-congested Belt Parkway make Howard Beach, for some, an unlikely place for anyone to want to make a home, let alone the 30,000 residents who do. But here they are, some spending their entire lives living in the one- or two-family homes on tree-lined streets, some on shorelines that sparkle pristinly in the summer months. “There’s a word to describe people who live in Howard Beach: resilient,” said Joann Ariola, president of the Lindenwood/Howard Beach Civic Association. “People who live in Howard Beach love their neighborhood, love their community, love their religious institutions and their schools. They can choose to live wherever they want, they choose to live in Howard Beach.” Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, said many residents can’t imagine living anywhere else. “It’s home,” he said. “Everybody knows everybody. Everybody looks out for everybody else.” It is one of Queens’ youngest neighborhoods, but Howard Beach has a tale to tell like any other community in the borough.

A plane landing at JFK AIrport flies low over homes along Shellbank Basin in Howard Beach. PHOTO BY DOMENICK RAFTER

that chilled the summers while searing heat scorched Manhattan and Brooklyn. The marketing campaign was headed by William Howard, who in 1899 opened the Victorian Howard Hotel at what is now Frank M. Charles Park. A boardwalk and several homes were build there — what’s referred to now as “Old Howard Beach” — in the first decade of the 20th century. Vacationers were able to reach the hotel via the Rockaway Beach LIRR, which had a stop in what is now Hamilton Beach, where the A subway line now passes through. The grand hotel burned to the ground in 1907 and the neighborhood never recovered as a resort location, instead be coming one of Queens most desired places to live.

A resort by the bay A neighborhood is born

With the hotel and resort gone — and more modern, quicker modes of transportation coming into vogue — Howard Beach began to develop as a bedroom neighborhood. First to develop was Hamilton Beach, followed by Howard Beach near what is now Charles Park and around the current Coleman Square, where the area’s train station is located. By World War II, new houses had spr u ng up along the canals, which cut t h roug h t he c om mu n it y l i ke arteries, giving it the nickname “Little Venice.” A nd t h at wa s long b efor e t he Italians showed up. Besides the man Hurricane Sandy was not the first storm to devastate Howard Beach. In September 1960, Hurricane Donna hit into the community, bringing down who is perhaps the FILE PHOTO n e i g h b o r h o o d ’s trees and flooding homes, including on 99th Street, above.

Six communities, one ZIP code What we call Howard Beach is actually six different neighborhoods sharing the same ZIP code: Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Ramblersville, Rockwood Park, Lindenwood and Howard Park. Howard Beach is the area around Coleman Square, often referred to as “town,” while Howard Park is the section of the neighborhood inland from the canals between Shellbank Basin and Hawtree Creek. Sitting on a marshy peninsula between two branches of Hawtree Creek just south of Coleman Square is Ramblersville, often lumped in as part of Hamilton Beach, which

Battling Mother Nature Being on the bay, Howard Beach is often at the mercy of Mother Nature. Low-lying parts of the neighborhood, like Hamilton Beach, Ramblersville and parts of Lindenwood, often suffer from flooding during coastal storms or even a regular high tide. Nor’easters have brought flooding to the area, most notably during the Ash Wednesday storm of 1962 and the December 1992 storm. But nothing has been as bad as the neighborhood’s experience with hur ricanes, especially Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which most residents would say was the worst crisis Howard Beach has ever faced. Howard Beach was hit hard by Hurricane continued on page 10

17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

Speaking to its location on the shoreline, Howard Beach was born as a resort — a bayside getaway for folks seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of Industrial Revolution-era Manhattan. It was branded as “the coolest place in New York,” because its location near the Atlantic Ocean put it in the path of cool sea breezes

most famous resident, mobster John Gotti, the neighborhood was also home to tennis player Vitus Gerulaitis, Keith Gottfried, a senior aide to former President George W. Bush, and American Idol contestant Pia Toscano. Folk singer Woody Guthrie and rocker Joey Ramone also called the community home for a time. As the community developed, so did the area around it. In 1948, Idlewild, later JFK, Airport opened next door and Howard Beach residents were forced to contend with the problem of low-flying airplanes. On at least one occasion in the 1970s, a landing airplane clipped an antenna on the roof of a home in Hamilton Beach. The plane landed safely, but the story is often told as an example of the concerns residents have and the often-contentious relationship the community has with the airport. That same decade, Howard Beach was front and center in the fight against allowing the Concorde supersonic jet to fly into JFK Airport. The battle was lost and for 35 years, the roaring jet, which served London and Paris from JFK, flew over the neighborhood at least twice a day. Airplane noise has been an ever-present concern at civic meetings since then.

Page 9 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014

Howard Beach

Italian pride on display at the Columbus Day FILE PHOTO Parade in Howard Beach.


QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014 Page 10

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continued from page 6 beyond that, to include Flushing Meadows Park, home of two World’s Fairs and the iconic Unisphere, which served as the centerpiece for the 1964-65 incarnation. At 1,255 acres, the park is the largest in the borough. Other major parks in Flushing include Kissena Park, measuring 234 acres, and the Queens Botanical Garden, which covers 39 acres. Other schools in Flushing include Townsend Harris High School, one of the most highly rated public schools in the nation, and Holy Cross High School.

Queens College, while having a Flushing mailing address, is actually considered to be located in Kew Gardens Hills. Flushing has played a role in popular culture. The first series of Charmin toilet paper commercials featuring the now legendary Mr. Whipple were filmed at a Trade Rite Supermarket on Bowne Street. The rock band Kiss is rumored to have derived its name from the area’s Kissena Boulevard. Famous residents who have lived in Flushing include TV sitcom star Fran Drescher, Boy Scout of America founder Daniel Carter Beard, illustrator Charles Dana Gibson and former First Lady Q Nancy Reagan.

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continued from page 9 Donna in September 1960. That storm brought down trees, flooded homes and destroyed boats in Shellbank Basin and Hawtree Creek. However, the neighborhood at the time was sparsely populated and not nearly as dense as it is today. The community was spared major damage in hurricanes Belle in 1976, Gloria in 1985, Bob in 1991 and Floyd in 1999. In August 2011, Hurricane Irene flooded some homes in Hamilton Beach and along the canals. But it was Sandy that brought the neighborhood to its knees. Nearly every home suffered flood damage, with some, especially in Hamilton Beach, nearly destroyed. Power was out for nearly two weeks. It’s been more than a year and a half since the storm and dozens of residents still have not recovered, some still unable to live in their homes. Sandy has also led Howard Beach to face a new reality — living with the constant risk of floods. New regulations may force homeowners to purchase insurance or raise their homes above flood level. The trials the community has faced is what makes it great, residents say. Gendron noted that after Sandy, a family who had just moved to Hamilton Beach brought out a barbecue grill and helped feed their new neighbors. “That cer tainly helped br ing out

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Queens’ ‘Little Italy’ Just about half of Howard Beach’s residents today are of Italian descent — one of the biggest percentages of any neighborhood in New York City. Many of the Italian residents are third-generation and their families moved to the neighborhood from elsewhere in the city, most notably places like Canarsie and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Manhattan’s Little Italy or other parts of Queens, including Corona, Ridgewood and Ozone Park. Italian-American pride is obvious to anyone who comes to Howard Beach. Italian eateries line Cross Bay Boulevard, as do Italian and Sicilian flags during the annual Columbus Day Parade. Every October, that event draws hundreds, sometimes thousands, to Cross Bay Boulevard and bathes the community in green, white and red. The neighborhood also includes a significant population of Irish- and JewishAmericans. Hispanics have a small but thriving population in Lindenwood, which has seen its population grow faster than elsewhere in Howard Beach in Q recent years.

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Glendale

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by Christopher Barca Not every Queens neighborhood has a nationally known landmark like the West Side Tennis Stadium in Forest Hills or the Unisphere in Flushing. And while Glendale may not be a tourist destination that draws thousands of people to its streets, its approximately 55,000 residents know the neighborhood’s respectable blue-collar work ethic and histor y of immigrant success make the area one of the city’s more historical hidden gems. Originally named Fresh Ponds for its swampy appearance, the area that would eventually become Glendale was established in 1642. Over the next 200 years, scores of German immigrants settled in the region, with many establishing farms. The neighborhood was renamed Glendale in 1860, but the hardworking, bluecollar attitude the area was founded on has remained the same to this day. That German heritage hasn’t escaped Glendale over the course of its history. In fact, it is still celebrated to this day. One of the more famous German destinations in the city is Zum Stammtisch at 69-46 Myrtle Ave. A watering hole for many German soccer fans and hungry residents since it opened in 1972, co-owner Werner Lehner, who operates the restaurant alongside his brother, Hans, said one of the more important aspects of the eatery is honoring both the history of the area and his German family. “It’s really big for us. We just want to stay with a tradition that maybe has gotten lost a little over the years,” Lehner said. “Maybe it’s a bit old-fashioned, but we are too.”

17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014 Page 12

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The bustling intersection of Cooper and Myrtle avenues in the heart of Glendale serves as the area’s busiest commercial location. Despite many aesthetic changes to the neighborhood over the centuries, Glendale’s blue-collar attitude and its history of being a haven for hardworking PHOTO BY STEVE FISHER immigrants is still on display today. Not only is the restaurant “vintage,” Lehner believes the type of people who occupy Glendale hark back to the days of when German was openly spoken in the street and work was just as important as leisure. “It’s an old-school kind of town. Mostly blue-collar, family-oriented people live here,” he said. “There’s a middle ground. It’s not too upscale but it still has that friendly neighborhood feel.” Lehner’s father, John, owned a restaurant in Germany in the 1950s before immigrating to the United States like so many other Ger mans throughout Glendale’s long history. Lehner said the influx of Germans, like his father, have made the Glendale area the

Hundreds of Glendale residents gather at last September’s Myrtle Avenue Street Fair. It is one of the many annual events that draw scores of people in Glendale throughout the year. September FILE PHOTO 14th is the date for this year’s fair.

hardworking, blue-collar neighborhood it is k now n as tod ay because of thei r already-instilled sense of purpose. “Most of them already had skills. That was a big thing over there in Germany,” he said. “You came over with a trade, with something to offer and with something to contribute to society.” The Lehner family even opened up a popular German pork store next to the restaurant, where just looking at the products’ labels, written in German, the antique decor and the building’s overall rustic appearance give off an historic colonialera energy. “A couple times a week, people come in and go ‘Oh my gosh, it looks just like Germany,’” Lehner said. “Visitors who are actually from Germany even come and say they wish they had more places like that back home.” Speaking of visitors, longtime Glendale resident and Community Board 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri still remembers the reactions when people from more urban sections of the city would come to his scenic hometown. “People would come from Ridgewood and say ‘Wow, this is the country!’” Arcuri said. “I grew up on 31st Street and there was a farm on that block until the 1960s. We would play stickball in the field and we would run through the barn while the farm owner would chase us out with his shotgun.” While the area no longer maintains an agricultural presence, there are still opportunities for Arcuri and the influx of “hipsters” moving into Glendale to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. “Over where I am, it’s so nice and green,” he said. “Some of the hipsters, they love it. They love the area. And they love to sit on the rooftops and look over the tree-filled land at the Manhattan skyline.”

While the area may be the next stop on the gentrification pipeline after northwest Brooklyn, Ridgewood and Maspeth, it is still a neighborhood of immigrants. “It’s always been an immigrant community,” he said. “People like to shop locally and shop with their own kind. It’s comfortable here.” Eastern European shops, Italian pizzerias and German restaurants can be found often times just blocks from one another along Cooper and Myrtle avenues. According to Arcuri, it’s the diversity of such small businesses, the hard-working attitudes of their owners and everyone’s love for their community are three of the most important traits that make Glendale what it is. “It’s always been a hardworking community with a lot of small businesses. The butcher, the blacksmith, the mechanic, all the entrepreneurs came here,” he said. “And it’s still a nice, quiet place. Everyone here is concer ned about ever y t h i ng because that’s the way we were raised.” That concern for others is evident in the area’s numerous civic and community organizations. The Glendale Civilian Obser vation Patrol, better known as GCOP, is one of the many civilian arms of the NYPD, but serves with unmatched pride. The volunteer group formed in 1976 to aid the 104th Precinct in patrolling the area and is the oldest such civilian group in the city. Today, representatives can be seen at public monthly meetings of CB 5 and the 104th Precinct Community Council to discuss their work and recruit new members. The Glendale Civic Association and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce are also active members of the community, with the lat ter sponsor ing holiday-themed events for families throughout the year, such as the annual Christmas tree lighting and the popular Meet the Easter Bunny gathering. Arcuri, who has represented Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and Ridgewood on CB 5 for 39 years, including nearly 20 years as chairman, has seen the neighborhood change greatly under his watch. In his time as one of the more recognizable faces in Glendale, he has seen retail development, such as The Shops at Atlas Park, spring up, multiple city councilmembers win and lose elections and area schools grow to be some of the most overcrowded in the city. Despite the Glendale he grew up in being substantially different than the one he lives in now, Arcuri thinks the future of his hometown may be brighter than ever. “I think if there’s no outside pressure or interference, such as the proposed homeless shelter, Glendale will get even better,” Q he said. “I don’t see why not.”


C M CELEB page 13 Y K Page 13 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014

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Jamaica

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN Jamaica’s people, culture and businesses ride a rising wave

by Michael Gannon Jamaica is nothing if not adaptable to the times. Immigrants from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries have since been joined by those from the Caribbean, Latin America and Southern Asia. Shopping and commercial corridors once dominated by iconic department stores like Mays and Gertz now feature what is touted as the largest destination shopping zone for urban wear in the city, as well as a virtual United Nations of small restaurants and food vendors. And while many of the country’s jazz and blues legends who lived in places like St. Albans and Addisleigh Park were regularly featured in Jamaica’s nightclubs in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, the neighborhood in more recent times has produced rappers and hiphop stars such as 50 Cent and Nicki Minaj. The region also just may have emerged from decades of economic struggling. And a key was the AirTrain. As nearby John F. Kennedy International Air por t f lourished, the city and Por t Authority of New York and New Jersey linked it by rail to what was already a large Long Island Rail Road complex on Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica. Fast forward and the Jamaica complex now is a massive, modern multilevel transportation hub, a place where subways and buses can connect all of Queens with Manhattan and the world. Nearly a half-dozen major hotel development and other construction projects are underway at some level near the Jamaica station, with developers committing tens of millions of dollars. Proving that transportation is not the only attraction, the Long Island-based Blumenfeld Development Group last spring reached an agreement to build a two-story shopping

17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014 Page 14

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Rufus King Park, home of the King Manor Museum, offers family fun along with concerts, historic presentations and a glimpse of a fledgling United States through the eyes of a man who helped PHOTO BY RICK MAIMAN lay its foundations. complex on 168th Street that includes a 500car parking garage. And, proving that everything old eventually becomes new again, the intention is to attract “a big-box retail store.” The rise and expansion of hip-hop and rap have not changed Jamaica’s cultural landscape as much as they have augmented other cultural outlets and institutions. The Jamaica Center for the Performing Arts and the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning create their own productions in music, theater and dance, and offer formal instruction. Other groups often use their space for training and performances of their own. King Manor Museum offers a host of

Discovery Team Member Ashley Fields, left, and Interactive Exhibit Supervisor Lynn Cole assemble PHOTO BY MICHAEL GANNON a flower that is big and bright, but also scientifically accurate.

concerts, lectures and historic perspectives from the times of Rufus King, the son of a prosperous family who helped frame the U.S. Constitution and was one of the nation’s first vocal leaders in the cause of abolishing slavery. It offers tours, lectures and classical music concerts. Even this Saturday, June 21, the museum is hosting a Summer Solstice Festival from noon to 4 p.m. on its grounds in King Park, Admission is free and children in

attendance will be shown how to make ice cream the old-fashioned way with a handcranked machine. Just don’t tell the kids that they’re learning; a tactic very similar to one being taken this summer with many of the children’s programs being offered at the Queens Central Library on Merrick Boulevard. Housing the administration for the entire Queens Library system, the Central building also serves as a local library with offerings for learning, culture and even life-skill improvement. Sharon Cox, manager of the Children’s Library Discovery Center, said its exhibits, interactive displays and even physical layout are geared toward encouraging children from babies up to 12 years old to learn the so-called STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math. “A n d t h e y’l l h ave f u n d oi n g it , Cox said. The library’s summer reading program, running not only in Jamaica but throughout Queens, is typical. “It’s called ‘Fizz, Vroom, Read,’ and it’s science-geared,” said Sarah Hinkle, assistant coordinator of children’s services. The program has separate reading lists for children up through 5 years old and those 6 to 12. Teenagers and young adults going one more door down on the right at the Central Library will find the Teen Center. Aside from education, the center offers computer access, job-readiness materials and presentations, and even programs like literacy preparedness for those looking to improve their skills for school or the job market, arenas Jamaica’s leaders are always Q trying to improve.

Jamaica’s massive Long Island Rail Road complex connects all of Queens by bus and subway . It also links the borough to Manhattan by train, and to the world with the AirTrain to John F. Kennedy PHOTO BY MICHAEL GANNON International Airport.


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Jackson Heights

IN JACKSON HEIGHTS, ACCEPTANCE

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

The neighborhood that became a melting pot within a melting pot

by Tess McRae It is no secret that Queens is one of the most diverse areas in the country and Jackson Heights is a testament to that. “If you go down there, that’s called Little Bangladesh,” longtime resident and Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said. “Then the next street, that’s little India.” The area is a melting pot, a busy one at that. People from all over the world and of all economic backgrounds live within the many apartment buildings that make up Jackson Heights. The neighborhood has two main veins — Roosevelt Avenue and 37th Avenue. Each is very different from the other. Roosevelt as a whole was considered one of the more dangerous corridors and in Jackson Heights, it was a popular spot for selling cocaine in the 1980s and ’90s. It is now targeted for improvements and has drastically changed for the better over the years Safety on 37th has had its ups and downs but aesthetically, it’s a more open and brighter area — Roosevelt Avenue is shadowed by the No. 7 elevated line. “This used to be the coke capital of Queens,” Dromm, who moved to Jackson Heights in the 1970s after coming out of the closet. “There was a lot of drugs but this was also the first place I came to where being gay wasn’t uncommon. There were a few gay clubs around and a lot of people from the LGBT community hang around here.” The reason for the influx among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Dromm believes, is its proximity to Man hat tan and access to public transportation.

17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

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Jackson Heights is home to many street vendors, such as this one just off Roosevelt Avenue, who PHOTO BY STEVE MALECKI sell everything from fresh produce to cell phone cases. For many neighborhoods, those same factors have resulted in the “hipster takeover” where young, creative professionals move into rougher areas and gentrify them. This has become especially true in the Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant parts of Brooklyn, and the Long Island City part of Queens. But for Jackson Heights, that hasn’t happened, at least not yet. The neighborhood is still quite diverse and has one of the largest LGBT communities in the city. “In Jackson Heights, you have a mixture of rent-regulated and other apartments, which I think has helped keep a lot of the families and people here,” Dromm said. “There have been changes, the number of immigrants who

Jackson Heights children joke around in Travers Park near the new 78th Street plaza. The area hosts weekly Zumba, yoga and tennis instruction in the summer and will soon be integrated to form an even larger park with a new basketball court.

“The people who live in the apartments are responsible for maintaining this,” Dromm said, walking through the garden attached to his own building. “People take their own plot of land and garden on it and keep it nice.” While the gardens provide a sense of peace for the residents of the historic district, a majority of Jackson Heights does not have access to them. As a result, Dromm, the Parks Department and advocacy groups came together in recent years to bring plazas to the area. The newest and most well-known is Diversity Plaza, which sits in between 37th and Roosevelt avenues, just off 75th Street. “We wanted a space where people could come together and have events because Jackson Heights has no cultural facilities,” Dromm said. Last year, Community Board 3 held the first outdoor board meeting at Diversity Plaza, and the space has become a popular location for cultural fairs and special events. In addition, the neighborhood was granted another space on 78th Street between 34th Avenue and Northern Boulevard for a plaza. Dromm is looking to make both spaces more green and is looking to integrate the 78th Street plaza into the neighboring Travers Park, so that kids would have a place to play after school and during the summer. Already the area hosts weekend tennis lessons and yoga and Zumba classes. “The more I stay here, the less I find reason to need to leave Jackson Heights,” Dromm said. “There’s small businesses, Q nice apartments and great food.”

live here has gone up and yet there remains this core of people who stay.” The councilman said his favorite trait of Jackson Heights is the acceptance. The community hosts many cultural parades, including the popular Ecuadorian and LGBT Pride parades. Thousands of people line 37th Avenue and wave flags to celebrate diversity. In addition to the scores of cultural events, by walking around the community a visitor can see that the denseness of Jackson Heights forces residents to interact with one another in a way those in more suburban areas of Queens may not have to. For example, in the historic district of Jackson Heights, just off 37th Avenue, where Dromm lives, there are a handful of gardens, surrounded by the br ick-layered buildings. In the 1980s and ’90s, many of the gardens were left to overg row a nd become ridden with weeds. Recently, residents banded together to revitalize the green spaces and now the gardens have become microoases for an area Jackson Heights has a beautiful historic district where old apartments where greenery is surround lush gardens. Many of these apartments hold longtime residents, not easy to come by. including Councilman Danny Dromm. PHOTOS, ABOVE, LEFT, BY TESS MCRAE


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NYC COALITION FOR A SMOKE-FREE CITY DID YOU KNOW? • 90 percent of all adult smokers begin smoking before age 18. • 1 out of 5 high school smokers usually obtain their cigarettes by purchasing them in retail stores. • The more tobacco marketing kids see, the more likely they are to smoke.

WE ARE COMMITTED TO OUR YOUTH. The NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City believes it is unacceptable for our youth to be lured into a life of tobacco addiction. Everyone has the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air where they live, work and play. The Coalition, a program of Public Health Solutions, is a health advocacy group that works in NYC’s five boroughs to increase awareness of tobacco control issues among community members and policy makers. Partnering with the community and health advocates, we support neighborhood-based efforts to reduce youth exposure to tobacco marketing.

WHERE DOES BIG TOBACCO MARKET TO OUR YOUTH? Convenience stores, pharmacies and bodegas are some of the last places where the tobacco industry can target our youth. In New York City, there are approximately 9,500 licensed tobacco retailers and 75 percent of them are located within one thousand feet of a school perimeter. We are committing to reducing youth exposure to tobacco marketing.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO REDUCE TOBACCO MARKETING IN STORES? In 2011, the tobacco industry spent $8.37 billion on tobacco advertising, promotions and price discounts for wholesalers and retailers. This is more than the amount spent to market junk food, soda, and alcohol combined. In New York State alone, the tobacco industry spends approximately $213.5 million dollars a year to market its deadly products. Studies show that even brief exposure to tobacco advertising influences adolescents’ intentions to smoke. With over overttwo-thirds two-thirdsofofteens teensshopping shopping in convenience stores at least once a week, we must take action to reduce exposure to in-store tobacco marketing.

WHY PROHIBIT THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS IN PHARMACIES? Pharmacies function primarily as providers of health care and smoking cessation medications, not retailers of deadly tobacco products. Prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies would serve the pharmacies’ branding, encourage healthy living, and reduce the number of new youth smokers. CVS Caremark recently announced their stores will be tobacco-free as of October 1, 2014. With more than 700 drugstores in New York City selling tobacco products, including many large chain pharmacy retailers, CVS Caremark now stands apart by placing health over tobacco profits. We hope other pharmacies follow their lead and join the fight against the tobacco epidemic.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

Please join our Coalition and support our efforts. For more information, please visit: NYCSmokeFree.org. facebook.com/NYCSmokeFree @NYCSmokeFree

NYC C FOR A


C M CELEB page 19 Y K Page 19 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014

No doctor would ever prescribe tobacco... so why do pharmacies sell it? C A

It’s time to end this practice. Lend your support at NYCSmokeFree.org NYC COALITION FOR A SMOKE-FREE CITY A program of Public Health Solutions

17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

52% of all pharmacies in New York State still sell tobacco products.


Maspeth

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

THEY FLY THEIR FLAGS PROUDLY Its atmosphere, history and patriotism make Maspeth truly American

by Christopher Barca The colorful mural on the side of Maspeth Federal Savings bank at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 69th Street proudly proclaims “Maspeth is America.” Few things are more American than a grandiose painting of a bald eagle soaring alongside Old Glory, just like few neighborhoods in the entire country have more history than Maspeth does. Long before Maspeth became the first English settlement in the future Queens County in 1642, the area was known as Mespet, named after the Mespeatches, a Native American tribe that occupied the area. Armed conf licts with the Mespeatches tribe forced many settlers to flee to what is now Elmhurst in 1643. But the area’s access to prime waterways such as Newtown Creek and the East River proved too attractive for some of the original English settlers, who returned for good nine years later, in 1652. Fast forward 362 years and today’s inhabitants of Maspeth are just as stubborn when it comes to staying put. It’s that feeling of com munity and together ness emblematic to small towns that attracts families to the area, community activist and state Assembly candidate Dmytro Fedkowskyj says. So why would anyone ever want to leave? “You get a sense of knowing your neighbors in Maspeth. That’s important because you live on the same block, your kids play together and they go to the same schools,” Fedkowskyj said. “You feel comfortable leaving your windows open. And having an abundance of twoand three-family homes allows for other families to move in and enjoy it too.” About 35,000 people live in the middle-class, commercial-centric western Queens community, and numerous nationalities are represented.

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The “Maspeth is America” mural overlooks the twin memorials in the square outside the Maspeth Federal Savings bank at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 69th Street.

Fedkowskyj said. “The main space everyone shares is Juniper Valley Park. Kids from Maspeth play with the kids from Middle Village.” However, parents of many Maspeth children often found themselves in a jam over what high school they wanted to send their children to up until just two years ago. Schools such as Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood were the only options until Maspeth High School opened in 2012, one year after a temporary location in Forest Hills was used to educate students until the Maspeth building could be constructed. Maspeth isn’t just a place many have raised their family, its western end is the home to numerous manufacturing companies and other assorted industrial sites. Both Coca-Cola and Canada Dry operate bottling plants in West Maspeth, while United Parcel Service and T&T Industry, a waste management company, maintain facilities there, as well. Hundreds of people, many of them Queens residents, are employed by such companies. And Community Board 5, which represents Maspeth along with Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood, often has fought against any rezoning from manufacturing to residential in the area in order to protect industry. Fedkowskyj, a member of CB 5, believes industry remaining in Maspeth greatly benefits the community. “To keep manufacturing in Maspeth is important Maspeth pays tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack with a plaque and artifacts from the rubble of because it keeps jobs in Maspeth,” he said. “We need to the Twin Towers. The World Trade Center can be seen from the maintain it, but we also need to bring more manufacturing back. How we attract it is the question.” PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER BARCA square. Arcuri concurs with his colleague, citing the area’s Families of German, Eastern European, Italian, Polish industrial history as a reason to encourage manufacturing in Maspeth. and Irish descent, among others, all call Maspeth home. “This whole area was a big part of the war effort,” Regardless of where your family had come from, Fedkowskyj remembers the jovial place Maspeth was for the Arcuri said of the many factories that produced chemicals and vehicle parts during World War II. “We have neighborhood children years ago. “We had restaurants, local pizzarias and even a bowl- skilled people. We just need more industry here.” When it comes to conflicts like World War II, Maspeth ing alley where Stop & Shop on Grand Avenue is now,” he said. “Saturday mornings, we used to get up and go to takes pride in honoring its veterans, both living and the bowling alley with our friends. We’d play in the deceased. The “Maspeth is America” mural arcade and then bowl before going overlooks two memorials in the home.” square outside Maspeth Federal Longtime Community Board 5 Savings bank. The first is a Sept. 11 Chairman Vincent Arcuri knows tribute, featuring a large bronze the area today as somewhere loaded plaque, two firefighter helmets, a with great family-owned shops you small piece of twisted metal from can freely walk to and from. one of the fallen towers and a per“In Maspeth, you have a restaufect view of the World Trade Center. rant depot,” Arcuri said. “There are The second memorial, another various local fish markets too, and plaque surrounded by f lowers and you can walk eveywhere.” shr ubber y, features the name of While the bowling alley may be every Maspeth service member who gone, Maspet h is st ill fa m ilydied during World War II and the friendly, in part because of its close wars in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. proximity and relationship with the Every year, thousands of Massurrounding areas. peth residents turn out on Memorial The sprawling Juniper Valley Day to honor the veterans, somePark, located just over the border in Middle Village, is enjoyed by hun- A decal next to the entrance of Maspeth thing Arcuri views as unique to the dreds of children from all around Federal Savings bank pays homage to the proud a nd d ist i nctly A mer ica n neighborhood. the immediate area, including Mas- area’s rich Native American history. “ Eve r y o t h e r n e ig h b o r h o o d peth, every year. Numerous sports leagues for both children and adults hold practices and around here disappears on Memorial Day. But not here,” games there, with the park’s playgrounds allowing those Arcuri said. “You go to the beach or went away around children too young for athletic competition the ability to Memorial Day, but you don’t do anything on Memorial Day itself except go to the parade. I thought that would enjoy themselves. Q “There’s now more green space in and around Maspeth,” disappear, but they’re still doing that now.”


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Queens Village

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

HISTORY SET IN WOOD & STONE

by Michael Gannon The architecture of a city or a neighborhood can be like the rings of a tree to the trained eye. A close examination can uncover history preserved in wood and stone like an insect trapped in amber. It tells a story. The design, materials and ornamentation on a structure can show that a house, church, theater or set of row stores is not just a building, but a window looking back in time. It can tell about the architects, craftsmen, artisans and laborers who created them, back in the days before form-follows-function became a prominent and popular school of thought. It can bespeak of the people who worked, lived and shopped there. One good example is the Long Island Rail Road station in Queens Village. The station last year was renovated after years of neglect, and restored as much as modern building and fire safety codes would allow to remain faithful to the appearance of the original, which was constructed in 1924. Lettering on the side of the refurbished building designated the station as Queens Village “Little Plains.” The latter name hearkens back to a term that has not been used for the area since 1824, long before the LIRR even set up a station in the neighborhood in 1881. But the former is believed to have been coined by the railroad itself. Several published sources state that in the 1850s, residents of the area elected to change the name from Brushville (after a successful local businessman) to Queens. Trouble was, once the LIRR established a regular stop and built a station, it seems some riders were confused between the neighborhood and the enormous county in which it was situated. Some enterprising person in the LIRR offices came up with the idea of adding “Village” to the signage at the station, and the name eventually stuck. Pop culture fans, movie buffs and journalism students might know of the tie Queens Village has to cinema history, based on the 1927 murder of Albert Snyder by his wife, Ruth, and her lover Judd Gray. The poorly conceived plot led to a sensational, well-publicized murder trial which led to both Snyder and Gray being executed in the electric chair in 1928. The Daily News made news itself with its coverage, publishing on its front page a photograph of a bound, hooded Snyder being electrocuted; a News reporter covering her death had sneaked a small camera with a cable-release shutter into the witness area strapped to his leg. More successful than the murder scheme was a subsequent novel based on the plot titled “Double Indemnity.”

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Queens Vil age architecture a window to neighborhood’s past The resultant movie in 1944, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray as lovers intent on murder, became an instant classic. It was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and a Best Actress nomination for Stanwyck. Starting in the 1840s, New York City began hosting waves of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Italy and eastern Europe. Decades later came two world wars. And there always have been people journeying east from the big city, people wanting to settle down in an affordable house of their own in a quieter, greener, less hectic and less expensive setting, often to raise a family. Houses, blocks and neighborhoods would spring up at every interval to meet the area’s growing population. So would churches, stores and small shops, many with decorative eaves, dormers, turrets and cornices with elaborate and distinctive wood- and brickwork. The black population steadily increased. And with more recent waves, what might have been a German butcher shop or an Italian green grocer or a cobbler with turrets generations ago now is an ethnic restaurant, an electronics store or a grocery shop with far different fare and proprietors who are Hispanic, Filipino, or hailing from the Caribbean or southern Asia. More recently Queens Village has been in the news for the goings-on in and about a massive structure of 1955 vintage — Martin Van Buren High School, a sprawling multistory complex with facades of masonry and glass. Starting in September, the building named for the eighth President of the United States, will house a decidedly modern high school program. Business Technology Early College High School is a charter school with ties to SAP, a mu lt i n at ion a l c or p or at ion b a s e d i n Germany. Students who attend will do so with the intent of pursuing studies in either computer programming or software design. Upon graduation they will head to Queensborough Community College to get their two-year associate’s degree. The school first was controversial, with students, parents, alumni and teachers saying that Van Buren, rallying under a new principal after a decade of neglect f rom t he D e pa r t me nt of E ducat ion , deserved a chance to continue its turnaround; then many said the B-Tech programs would be a great benefit to current Van Buren students. Afterward, many who supported the charter felt aggrieved that the notification and enrollment process appeared to be tilted against local children who were interested in applying. No word from the DOE as to whether either Q school will have courses in architecture.

Whether new immigrants or people looking for a new opportunity, neighborhoods of single-family, wood-frame houses in Queens Village hold out the same appeal and promise to homeowners as PHOTO BY RICK MAIMAN when they were built generations ago.

Architects, carpenters, stone masons and bricklayers from long past have bequeathed Queens Village a rich and eclectic legacy. But could they ever have envisioned the look of modern PHOTO BY MICHAEL GANNON cellular communication?


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CELEB page 27

‘THE WHOLE UNITED NATIONS IS HERE’

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

Bustling on one street, quiet on the next, Rego Park has it all

by Mark Lord A self-guided tour around his old Rego Park neighborhood draws Bruce Levy first to the place he called home until he was 27 years old. As he approaches the intersection of Saunders Street and 63rd Drive on a recent overcast day, he pauses, points to a fifth floor window — the one that now has a flower box in it — in the corner building, and says, “That was my room,” quickly adding, “I’m not an emotional person. It’s part of history, part of my life.” It’s not like Levy, 60, has exactly moved to the other side of the Earth. In fact, since leaving his childhood home, this travel agent who has seen the world, has lived in nearby Forest Hills, a stone’s throw away. But seeing his old neighborhood again — a whole new world, really — brought back memories aplenty, mostly of places that are no more. Bordered to the north by Elmhurst and Corona, to the east and south by Forest Hills, and to the west by Middle Village, Rego Park was named after the REal GOod Construction Co., which began to develop the area in the mid-1920s. The area previously had been farmland, populated primarily by Dutch and German families. Later many Holocaust survivors settled there, including Levy’s parents. “Up until last year, I knew someone who lived there,” Levy said of his old building. “I used to go there for Passover. She passed away last year.” The building, Marion Court, was erected in 1929. Levy seems pleased that the original rubber mats at the main entrance remain in place. Looking to the right along 63rd, he recalls, “Up there used to be the Rego Park railroad station, which doesn’t exist anymore. My father and I used to go and watch the trains go by.” Walking a block to Queens Boulevard, he points to the Queens Tower, now a physical therapy center, and recalls, “That was a Howard Johnson’s ... an old building with an orange and blue roof. You’d go there for ice cream.” It was across the street from the tower that Bette Wilk, an area resident for 38 years, was waiting for a bus. She said she had moved to

Bruce Levy grew up in Marion Court, a quintessential Rego Park apartment building at the corner of Saunders Street and 63rd Avenue, and saw the community evolve firsthand. PHOTO BY MARK LORD Rego Park because “I couldn’t afford Manhattan anymore. “It’s a vibrant neighborhood,” Wilk said. “It’s changed so dramatically ... so many more buildings and traffic. Some days I feel like I’m in Manhattan. You can’t have a car around here. People don’t come to visit me because they can’t park. Now that they added Rego II, it’s even more crowded.” “Rego II” refers to Rego Center II, a relatively new mall that brought to the area, already a popular shopping destination, such box-store staples as Costco, Century 21, Kohl’s, T.J. Maxx and, yes, Staples. Rego Center I, which includes Sears, Marshalls, Old Navy and Bed, Bath & Beyond, is located at the former site of Alexander’s department store, which, with its fabled bright red exterior, stood as a beacon at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 63rd Road until it closed in 1993. Wilk said she was surprised to have read

somewhere that Rego Park is “considered an underused area. That’s why they’re building apartments above Costco.” Truer to the neighborhood’s earlier feel are the many small shops located on 63rd Drive, one of the area’s main thoroughfares in both the quiet residential and bustling business districts. Few of the original tenants remain. Levy recalls that “there was a pharmacy on the corner, and a jewelry store. And a Woolworth’s. Across the street was a McCrory’s, so the two five-and-tens would compete.” And, Levy remembers, there was Blaco Linens, where his mother worked. Today, the space is occupied by Natural Identity Hair Architects. Pushing her shopping cart on her way to a nearby bank, Anne Wagman said she has lived in the same house in Rego Park for more than 50 years. Asked what has changed during that time, she replied, “Everyone from all over the world” has moved into the neighborhood. And

she misses being able to go into a long-gone appetizing store “where you got lox.” Making his way to the Shalimar Diner, an area mainstay on 63rd Drive at Austin Street, Levy points out where a pet store used to be, as well as what he referred to as a TV repair shop. “That dates it,” he observes. Among the newer stores, one that points to the area’s diversity is Queens Bazaar Food, which opened its doors on 63rd Drive at Booth Street in 1999. A family business, the store caters primarily to a Middle Eastern and European clientele, though its customers include Americans, Russians, Persians, Hispanics and other representatives of the area’s population, according to manager Fred Saz. Originally from Iran, Saz moved to Rego Park as a 12-year-old. That was 25 years ago, and he remembers when 63rd Drive “was not busy at all,” saying, “As far as I remember, there were no buses on this block.” At the diner, waitress Fran Colletti has also noticed the influx of new immigrants in recent years. “The Russians have moved in. This Rego Park area — you have everybody. The whole United Nations is here,” she said. But the diner, she said, has its old-time loyal customers: “They come here with their wheelchairs and their walkers. This is the highlight of the day.” On the wall are framed photos taken during the filming of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the Leonardo DiCaprio film that was made partially in and around the diner. Colletti wasn’t present during the filming, but said, “Leonardo wasn’t friendly, they told me.” The 2007 documentary film “Crazy Love,” about a bizarre case of romance and crime, was also filmed at the diner. Rego Park has, in fact, played a role in pop culture. The 1980s situation comedy, “Dear John,” centered around a fictional Rego Park Community Center, while another sitcom, “The King of Queens,” was set in Rego Park. And while legendary series “All in the Family” was set in Astoria, those are Rego Park homes viewers saw as the theme song played. continued on page 28

Page 27 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rego Park

17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

Scenes from a REal GOod neighborhood: the longstanding Our Saviour New York Lutheran Church on 63rd Drive, a shopper a few blocks away where the street becomes all residential, and children PHOTOS BY MARK LORD EXCEPT CENTER, BY STEVE FISHER lining up for Italian ices outside PS 139, also located on the roadway that is at the center of the community.


QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014 Page 28

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Rego Park

Council Member Karen Koslowitz joins the Queens Chronicle in a Celebration of all the Magnificent Communities that are

“QUEENS”

118-35 Queens Blvd., 17th Floor Forest Hills, NY 11375 718-544-8800 koslowitz@council.nyc.gov Paid for by Re-Elect Koslowitz 2013

KARK-064531

SUMMER CONCERTS AT

POPPENHUSEN INSTITUTE

(

114-04 14th Road • College Point

DOORWAY TO OPPORTUNITY

All concerts start at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, July 6

Phil Costa and the Something Special Band performing Big Band, Swing and Patriotic music

Sunday, July 13 Sunday, July 20

L Musik - performing Latin and American Dance music (They were a big hit at last summer’s series.) The Yianni Papastefanou Orchestra -

continued from page 27 Theater aficionados take pride in Rego Park being mentioned in a lyric in the allbut-forgotten 1964 Broadway musical, “Bajour.” And plenty of bold-face names at one time or another called the area home, including comedian Sid Caesar, burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee and sports journalist Robert Lipsyte. Rego Park is also home to the Queens Chronicle, located along its western edge on Woodhaven Boulevard. Across the street from Queens Bazaar Food is PS 139, which Levy attended as a child. A typical afternoon finds the sidewalks in front of the school filled with parents waiting to pick up their children at dismissal time. Among them on a recent day was Beth, who declined to give her last name. She said she moved to the neighborhood 13 years ago, after marrying a man from Queens. Prior to that, she lived in the Bronx, where she grew up. “The neighborhood is very similar,” Beth said. “The schools are good. Shopping is convenient. The demographics are more diverse.” With her was Tricia, who also did not want her last name published. Tricia has lived in the community for 35 years and still seems to love it. “You’re right in the middle,” Tricia said. “You can walk to the stores, the train. It’s still a nice community neighborhood. Rego Park is the melting pot. It always has been to some extent. Now it really is.” Not surprisingly, the area is home to many houses of worship. One, Our Saviour New York, a Lutheran church on 63rd Drive, dates to 1931, its appearance inside and out largely unaltered since then. Today, its quaint facade, which harkens to the humble origins of the neighborhood, stands out in sharp contrast with its bustling mercantile surroundings. Going back nearly as far is the Rego Park Jewish Center, which was placed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places in 2009 and is now celebrating its 75th anniversary. Before moving into their current location

Fred Saz manages Queens Bazaar Food on 63rd Drive, whose patrons reflect the great ethnic mix of Rego Park. PHOTOS BY MARK LORD on Queens Boulevard, the center’s congregants gathered at various locations in the area, including a small rented room at Lost Battalion Hall, today a popular community center run by the city Parks Department. Ruth Loewenstein, president of the synagogue’s Sisterhood and a Rego Park resident for 60 years, recently recalled, “The whole neighborhood has changed. We had a lot of kosher butchers. You had a beautiful fish restaurant. The population has changed very much.” She pointed out that in recent years Bukharian Jews have moved into the neighborhood in large numbers. This emigration is due in large part to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, an event that forced many of them, from the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan, to relocate. The Bukharians have formed an enclave around 108th Street, which is located two blocks from Rego Park in Forest Hills and is often referred to as “Bukharian Broadway,” filled, as it is, with Bukharian restaurants and gift shops. And now word is that the borough’s first drive-thru Starbucks is being planned for Rego Park, at a location on Queens Boulevard that formerly housed a gentleman’s club. Perhaps Thomas Wolfe was right, after all, when he said, “You can’t go home Q again.”

performing traditional Greek music and dancing

Shannon Breeze - performing Irish music and some 60s & 70s music

At 3:00 pm prior to each concert, original films on the 1939 and 1964/65 World’s Fair will be shown. Before the July 20th concert, Christina Rozeas, who authored the book “Images of America-The Greeks in Queens,” will do a powerpoint presentation and a book signing. During intermission, Tours of this historic facility will be conducted. Guests will also be welcome to visit the new photo exhibit “Le Monde” by Rubaa Zubair. Refreshments and raffles will be sold.

(

(

Location: Garden of Poppenhusen Institute

Proud to represent the people of Maspeth and Sunnyside.

(Inside Grand Hall if it rains. That area is not wheelchair accessible.) Parking available - Easy access by Q65 - Entrance fee $4.00 - Bring a chair or blanket

For more information, contact us at

Assemblywoman

poppenhusen@juno.com or (718) 358-0067

MARGARET MARKEY

Concerts have been funded in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Councilman Paul Vallone and the following corporate donors: Landmark Donors - Con Edison and Canada Dry/Pepsi Cola Bottling Company, and Silver Donors - AABR, Queens County Savings Bank and Jag Specialty Foods.

DISTRICT OFFICE 55-19 69th Street, Maspeth, NY 11378 718-651-3185 markeym@assembly.state.ny.us

©2014 M1P • MARM-064511

©2014 M1P • POPI-064435

17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

Sunday, July 27


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Sunnyside

SUNNYSIDE, AN AREA OF TALENTS

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

From delicious food to historic houses, this hood is a jack of all trades

by Tess McRae Like much of New York City, Sunnyside is hard to define. There are many moving parts to the neighborhood that come together and create an altogether unique place to live. Most notably, Sunnyside is home to some of the best ethnic food in the city. From Japanese to Spanish fusion fast food, there are endless options for foodies to sample. After all, ethnicities of Sunnyside residents include those of Colombian, Ecuadorian, Dominican, Korean, Japanese, Nepali, Tibetan, Irish, Italian, Armenian and other ancestry. Recently, the neighborhood highlighted some eatery favorites at the Taste of Sunnyside, where dozens of businesses offered samples of their cuisine. Though there are plenty of countries represented along the two Sunnyside dining strips — Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Boulevard — the area is most known for quality Thai food. Establishments such as Dee Thai, located at 46-17 Queens Blvd., provide exceptional food for incredibly low prices. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the restaurant serves wine and beer as well as all appetizers half off. So you can munch on some vegetarian dumplings and sip on a glass of Chardonnay for less than $10. If Thai food isn’t pleasing to your palate, Los Verdes, at 46-26 Greenpoint Ave., can provide amazing Hispanic fusion food in a funky yet modern atmosphere. Los Verdes takes fast food to a whole new level by putting a Spanish twist on hot dogs and hamburgers. While these classic American foods taste just fine, it is the maicitoo the restaurant is most known for.

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QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014 Page 30

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Sunnyside groups have taken advantage of the space under the No. 7 train by hosting events such as the Taste of Sunnyside and placing removable furniture to act as a plaza during the PHOTOS BY STEVE MALEKI warmer months. The dish is made mostly with sweet corn kernels that have been cooked with cheeses and spices. Then the corn is topped with chicken, steak, bacon or other meats. Crushed potato chips are sprinkled on top and pink sauce — usually a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise — is drizzled on as the final touch. And if the weather is nice enough, Sunnyside has several public spaces and plazas for visitors to eat lunch and people watch. The newest addition to the neighborhood’s open spaces is a new plaza underneath the elevated No. 7 train. Multicolored metal chairs and tables allow pedestrians to take a break and enjoy their surroundings or take in a public performance.

Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside Gardens shows off the green parts of the neighborhoods. Parts of the Gardens were landmarked by the city in 2007 and were built by Henry Wright and Clarence Stein.

The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 but was not officially recognized by the city Landmarks Preservation Commission until June 26, 2007. Since then, the neighborhood has flourished into an area that caters mainly to families and older couples. Sunnyside has also produced more than great food and architecture over the years. 2013 Oscar-nominated director of the critically acclaimed “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Benh Zeitlen is from Sunnyside and lived there for much of his life until he moved to New Orleans to film the movie. His parents still live in the neighborhood. Sunnyside was also home to Ethel Merman, Perry Como, Nancy Walker and David Horowitz, and the Queens-grown punk group The Ramones played some of their earliest gigs in Sunnyside pubs during the 1970s. Sunnyside is also home to the Thalia Spanish Theatre, the only theater in Queens ded icated solely to live Spa n ish performances. Sunnyside is a special place with lots of history and opportunities for people of all Q ethnicities and tastes.

Even with such a bustling commercial area, Sunnyside is also home to thousands. From the iconically large homes in Sunnyside Gardens to the towering apartment b u i l d i n g s j u s t of f Q u e e n s B ou leva r d , Su n nyside can be a place to hang your hat. M a n y n e i g h b o rhoods i n wester n Queens are less suburban than some people would like but Sunnyside provides a mixture of greener y and the hustle and bustle of areas like Astoria or Long Island City. Thomas Noon Park, also known as Rainbow Park, is a central hangout for kids and adults alike. The space just received funding from the Parks Department and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnysid e) fo r u pg r a d e s including more exercise equipment and fixing t h e r a i nb ow w a t e r sprinkler for which the park is known. With i n the g reen Sunnyside Gardens is the area designated as the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District, wh ich was bu ilt i n 1924 by Henry Wright and Clarence Stein and The Sunnyside Tower is one of the most iconic signs in the neighborincludes 66 buildings hood. It sits on Queens Boulevard where dozens of small businesses, and 12 other sites. including eateries, thrift shops and other stores are located.


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QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 19, 2014 Page 32

C M CELEB page 32 Y K Whitestone Flushing

IT’S CALLED A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE

WELCOME ELCOM EL OME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

A vil age atmosphere and caring neighbors in Whitestone

by Liz Rhoades Poet Walt Whitman may have summed it up best: “I have reason to bless the breeze that wafted me to Whitestone.” Whitman taught school in the community in the winter of 1840 through the next spring, focusing on local history and journalism. A nd although he decr ied the “money-making spirit” in Whitestone, he loved the water views: “We are close on the sound. It is a beautiful thing to see the vessels, sometimes a hundred or more, all in sight at once, and moving so gracefully on the water.” Whitestone — named after a limestone boulder once located on the shore — was at one time known as Cookie Hill and then Clintonville, after Gov. DeWitt Clinton, who built a summer home there. The town was settled by the Dutch in 1645 and became a successful farming community. Years later, movie stars and celebrities found the bucolic area and bought residences there. Mary Pickford was making movies at Astoria Studios when she discovered Whitestone. Her home is still standing at Powells Cove Boulevard and 160th Street. It was built around 1900 and had a large front lawn that was used for celebrity parties. Other celebrities who lived in the area include Harry Houdini, Charlie Chaplin and George Burns and Gracie Allen.

One of the early settlers was Francis Lewis, who retired from business and moved there in 1765, buying most of the land in the community. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and in 1776, British troops raided his property, burned his house and captured his wife. The site is now Francis Lewis Park. Today, Whitestone has a population of 39,150 living in mostly single-family homes. They range from middle-class residences to upper-class estates overlooking the water.The ZIP Code also includes Malba and Beechhurst. The community is bordered by the Whitestone Bridge on the west, constructed in 1939 to handle traffic for the World’s Fair, and the Throgs Neck Bridge on the east, completed in 1961. Schools include PS 79, PS 193, JHS 194, St.te high school. There is no pubic high school in the community. The area boasts a volunteer ambulance corps and three veterans groups, which organize a Memorial Day parade every year. Engine 295 will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in a couple of months. Houses of worship are numerous including the Whitestone Hebrew Centre, St. Luke’s and Holy Trinity Catholic churches, First Presbyterian, Covenant, G r e ek O r t ho dox , I m m a nuel Lutheran and the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas.

A Victorian couple enjoy the view from the rock that the community of Whitestone was named after. The boulder was blown up to make way for a homeowner’s PHOTO COURTESY QUEENS HISTORICAL SOCIETY dock.

Barbara Ellenberger, left, an active member of the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association, and Kim Cody, the GWTCA president, at the sign their organization erected at 149th Street and 14th Avenue in 2011. The site was FILE PHOTO provided by a nearby merchant. Grace Episcopal was first built on Clintonville Street in 1858 on land donated by patriot Lewis. The community has some large businesses including the World Journal, a major Chinese-language newspaper, and the Glaceau Beverage Co., a privately owned subsidiary of Coca Cola. The Whitestone Library is a big d raw in the com mu nit y, helped along by children’s librarian Susan Scatena. Every year since 2006 she has dreamed up a wacky challenge to encourage youngsters to read in the summer. She keeps happily losing. She has been slimed, danced in a chicken costume and sat in a vat of Jell-O. Last year, she read to a live alligator. The community boasts two civic organizations, the longtime Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association, with more than 1,000 members, and the Welcome to Whitestone Commercial and Residential Civic Association, organized in 2010. Kim Cody, president of the GWTCA, said Whitestone is a great place to live because “people look out for each other.” Cody, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1955, says it used to be called a ha m let. “That’s because it’s like the country and it’s a great place for children to grow up,” he added. “Neighbors care about each other. I wouldn’t want to grow up anywhere else.”

Cody remembers as a child the Hitching Post Tavern with an old hitching post out front for horses at 12th Avenue and 149th Street. It’s long gone. He also recalls how the large boulder, which he climbed “carefully” in his youth, got its nickname, “Hell’s Bells.” “People would climb on top of the rock and then lose track of time and when the tide would come in they couldn’t get down. So what they said was ‘Hell’s bells.’” His organization sponsors the Whitestone Senior Center at the Whitestone Armory. The center is open three days a week and serves 300 seniors. There are evening karate classes for youngsters and a teen center on Saturday nights. Devon O’Connor organized the Welcome to Whitesteone civic “to serve as a bridge to support projects that are needed i n the community.” He first tackled replacing the peeling and faded sign that greeted people at the intersection of Francis Lewis Boulevard, the Cross Island Parkway and Locke Ave nu e. T h e new one wa s installed in 2011. His group has raised money for St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, the W hitestone VAC and the W h itestone Memor ial Day Parade, among others. O’Connor next plans on holding the area’s largest yard sale in July. Residents will be able to set

up tables at a yet-to-be-named parking lot. Having lived in Whitestone all his life, he said everyone knows each other. “It has a local, family vibe. It’s a good place to grow up.” O’Connor also likes living between the two bridges. “You can get anywhere from there,” he said. Gene Kelty, chairman of Community Board 7 and an FDNY battalion chief, has also lived in Whitestone all his life. “My grandfather built the house in 1939 and I bought it in 1994,” Kelty said. “Living here was a very pleasant way to grow up and not much has changed.” He likened the community to a kid’s train set with a post office, bank, school and other amenities. “It’s a safe place to live and the crime stats are decent,” Kelty added. Speaking of crime, Carmen Tramunti, who headed the Lucchese mafia family, lived in Whitestone and was arrested in his home in the 1970s as part of the French Connection case. He is quoted as saying, “I may be a mobster and may have done bad things, but I am not a drug dealer.” He died in prison. Actress Drea de Matteo, best known for her role in “The Sopranos,” and former Met Mike Baxter also hail from Whitestone as does new FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, who has lived in the Q community for 40 years.


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C M CELEB page 34 Y K Woodhaven

SMALL-TOWN FLAIR IN THE BIG CITY

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

Nestled by a park, it’s a suburb with a subway Woodhaven’s “spinal cord”

by Domenick Rafter In 2003, a British newspaper writing about the surprise Academy Award victory for actor Adrien Brody described him as being from “Woodhaven, a New York City suburb about ten kilometers east of Manhattan.” They were wrong of course — Woodhaven is a neighborhood within, not a suburb of, New York City — but anyone who has been to the community could easily forgive their mistake. Nestled at the foot of the glacial moraine that cuts across the length of Long Island, Woodhaven has all the staples of a small community — tree-lined streets populated with one- and two-family houses dotted with the occasional school, church or playground. Jamaica Avenue cuts across the neighborhood like a “Main Street,” while Forest Parkway acts like a “Second Street,” playing host to the neighborhood’s post office, library and banks. The two roads intersect at Forest Parkway Plaza, where neighborhood events reminiscent of those in rural American towns, including the annual Christmas tree and menorah lighting, take place. “It’s a small town in the city,” said Maria Thomson, executive director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District and Greater Woodhaven Development Corp. “We are very strong in our ways, keeping our homes well, taking care of Jamaica Avenue. In that respect, that’s why it has such a small-town feeling.”

A manufacturing center

17TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2014

The first permanent developments date back to 1835, but Woodhaven was on the map earlier than that.

From 100th Street to Dexter Court, Jamaica Avenue is Woodhaven’s “Main Street.”

If Woodhaven is a well-oiled machine, then Jamaica Avenue is where its gears are located. During the latter part of the 20th century though, those gears were getting rusty. In an effort to keep Woodhaven’s “spinal cord,” as Thomson calls it, working, the Woodhaven Business Improvement District was created in 1993. “Without Jamaica Avenue, our neighborhood would fall apart,” she said. “We knew we needed to do something to protect that commercial strip.” Today, the Woodhaven BID is the only one in South Queens and is responsible for the commercial strip from 100th Street to Dexter Court. The BID works to keep Jamaica Avenue clean, helps businesses along the strip and organizes events like the annual street fair and holiday gatherings.

The clock tower of the former Lalance & Grosjean factory on Atlantic Avenue pokes through the trees along 92nd Street. It may technically be in Ozone Park, but the tower is considered a Woodhaven PHOTO BY DOMENICK RAFTER landmark. Near Jamaica Avenue and 98th Street, behind the former St. Matthew’s Church, 18th-century gravestones bear the names of the Wyckoff and Snediker families, who settled in the area in the 1700s. The area was home to Union Course Race Track, which was located around 78th Street and 88th Avenue, near the current location of the historical Neir’s Tavern, which first opened next to the track in 1838. The neighborhood of Woodville was born when John Pitkin — whose name now graces the major avenue in Brooklyn and Ozone Park — brought manufacturing to the area and laid out developments to house his employees. But the new neighborhood, which was later renamed Woodhaven, stalled. Enter French immigrants Florian Grosjean and Charles Lalance. The duo bought an abandoned factory at present-day Atlantic Avenue and 90th Street in 1863. The factory brought with it workers who settled in the area. Within two decades, more than 300 workers were employed at the factory. A fire in 1876 nearly destroyed the factory — and the neighborhood. However, Grosjean and Lalance rebuilt the factory, crowned by the clock tower that still dominates the neighborhood skyline, despite technically being in Ozone Park. The factory lasted until the 1950s and sat vacant for several decades before the current shopping center anchored by Pathmark opened in 1985.

A bedroom community As the neighborhood grew, so did the infrastructure. The Long Island Rail Road opened a station at Atlantic Avenue and 87th Street in 1848. It closed in 1939. Another station opened in the southeastern corner of the neighborhood in the 1890s, linking to the Rockaway Beach line until 1962. In 1917, the Jamaica Avenue elevated line opened, bringing the subway to the neighbor-

It happened in Woodhaven For a sleepy suburb, Woodhaven has had its fair share of historically notable events. On April 7, 1929, more than 21,000 people gathered in Dexter Park, a sports field located near Fran k lin K. La ne High School, to watch the New York Hakoah soccer team complete the sweep with a 3-0 win over a rival team from Missouri. The game, between two Jewish teams, brought out a surprisingly large crowd of Jewish New Yorkers from Brooklyn and Manhattan. It continued on page 35

hood and throughout the 20th century, the community welcomed residents who commuted to Brooklyn and Manhattan for work. During the same decade tiny Trotting Course Lane was dramatically widened into a grand boulevard connecting Elmhurst and the Rockaways. Despite only going through Woodhaven for a small section of its length, the new road was graced with that name north of Ozone Park. Woodhaven, like the surrounding neighborhoods of Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Glendale and Cypress Hills, became home to large Italian, Irish, German and Polish families during the middle of the 20th century. By the end of the century, the ethnicity of Woodhaven’s residents had changed, but the same family-centric commu n it y st ill holds f i r m. Today, new immigrants from Latin America and Asia call Wood haven home. T hei r children play in the same playgrounds and attend the same schools, while their parents ride the same trains and shop in some of the same Jamaica Avenue stores as the Eu ropea n i m m ig ra nts of yesteryear. “Those immigrant commu n it ies have that sa me attitude as past immigrants: that’s why they move here in the first place,” Thomson said. “They see that you can ge t a s m a l l home he r e, that’s affordable, that you Neir’s Tavern on 78th Street and the Forest Park Carousel are can take care of it and shop among Woodhaven’s most notable landmarks. on the avenue.” PHOTO, TOP, BY DOMENICK RAFTER;FILE PHOTO, ABOVE


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Smith wrote “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” while living at 86-20 Forest Parkway, directly across the street from the Woodhaven library. Besides Brody, icon Mae West lived here — a plaque marks her former home on 88th Street, and she is buried just across the border in Brooklyn — Fred Tr ump, father of billionaire Donald Trump was born here and entertainer Danny Kaye, the “real” Walter Mitty, also called Woodhaven home. West herself performed several times at Neir’s Tavern early in her career, and the bar has played host to scenes in several movies, including “Goodfellas” and Q “Tower Heist.”

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continued from page 34 remains one of the largest crowds ever assembled for a soccer game in the United States. The neighborhood was the site of one of Queens’ worst natural disasters — a tornado that tore through on July 13, 1895. One woman and her unborn child were killed and much of Woodhaven was devastated. It was the only fatal twister in Queens for 105 years — until the September 2010 tornado that struck Forest Hills and Flushing. During World War II, author Betty

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