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Pictures dated 1949 and 2005
Click image to enlarge
Metropolitan Avenue
The first two photographs show Metropolitan Avenue looking east past Park Lane South. The bottom two photographs show Metropolitan Avenue looking west from Lefferts Boulevard.

Needless to say, I am most impressed with the footwork of the 1949 cameraman who was able to overtake the eastbound trolley in the distance of the first picture and photograph it again well before it reached Lefferts Boulevard.

[Color photographs by Michael Jovishoff.]

If you have pictures of yourself showing any Kew Gardens locale in the background, email me high resolution jpegs and I will post them here as space permits.

To download a copy of the Queens Courier's Sept. 2003 article about Old Kew Gardens.com, click on one of the following links. Turn off your browser's auto-resize if the JPEG text appears too small to read.

[JPEG - 240kb]
[PDF - Hi Resolution, 379kb]
[PDF - Low Resolution, 97kb ]
November 2005 Guest Book

November 26, 2005
I would like to see class pictures of PS 90 posted. I only went to 90 in 1956-1957, for 1st grade.If anyone out there has a class picture of that year/grade, I just may be in it and would be appreciative to see it posted.
[To contact Howard, click here]

November 25, 2005
    My name is Michal Weissman (in school, I was Michelle and on the streets of K.G., I was Mickey). I was born in Israel in 1951.
    I lived in Kew Gardens from 1953-1967 at The Crestwood on 84th. Road. My family was one of many immigrants from Israel who came to be together in this wonderful place.
    I have such great memories of growing up in Kew Gardens and of all the wonderful friends I had. One of out favorite hang-outs was Gusie's ( remember Max!?). We spend our allowances there and ruined our teeth on bazooka and cream sodas (mmmm). Sleigh-riding down the hill to the "triangle", stealing our first kisses on Austin Street down near the railroad tracks.( I wonder what ever happened to the first boy I kissed there: Mark Chester??). Playing in Forest Park after dark, not afraid to play on the streets, sitting on the stoop in front of someone's house licking ice-cream cones. I could go on & on...
    I moved back to Israel with my family in 1967 and live in Kfar Saba. Is anyone else from Kew Gardens here, I wonder?
    I am still in contact with some of my childhood friends, but would like to reach others. Donna Saltzman (Grenfell Street), Harold Ashner, Michael Slomack and Mark Chester.
    I travel to the USA every 3-4 years and always come to Kew Gardens. My aunt still lives there and I never miss a chance to have a couple of slices of Dani's Pizza. I was there last year and was shocked to see Andre. He hasn't changed a bit!!
    Please feel free to e-mail me and if anyone out there lives in Israel and remembers me from P.S.99 or Russell Sage, call me!
With warm regards,
Michal Weissman
[To contact Michal (Michelle) Weissman, click here]

November 25, 2005
    Please donít forget about all of the Kew Gardens children who went to PS 90, rather than PS 99. Just because we lived on the south side of Metropolitan area doesnít mean we were any less a part of Kew Gardens than our brethren on the north side of Metropolitan Ave. We all played in Forest Park, shopped on Metropolitan Ave. and Lefferts Blvd. and belonged to the same local organizations such as Cub Scout troops and synagogues.
    Are you planning any kind of a grand opening for the film? It would be a great opportunity for a Kew Gardens reunion. I look forward to your film.
Tom Mariam
[To contact Tom Mariam, click here]

Editor's Note:  P.S. 90 is not forgotten. Not only is there a web page about it [click here], but the next Featured Photograph will be a 1930's shot of the front of P.S. 90. It will be posted Sunday morning, Nov. 27th. As to the film, it is Robert Lieberman's project, not mine, and he must still raise the money necessary to complete the filming and do the post-production work. That means the finished product is probably a year away, at least. I'm not sure what kind of an opening he plans or whether he has even thought about that yet. One more thing - in the interest of full disclosure - although the film is Robert Lieberman's, I am helping out on a voluntary basis. One of my duties is to handle his email, so if you email him [ithacafilmworks@gmail.com], I'll probably be the one sending out the first reply.

November 23, 2005
Anyone out there that was a member of Boy Scout Troop 39 in the late 40s early 50s? We met at the temple (name escapes me) just off Metropolitan Avenue. Fun years.
Joel Maimon
Port Ludlow WA
[To contact Joel Maimon, click here]

November 23, 2005
I just recently discovered the oldkewgardens.com website and it is fantastic. I only lived in Kew Gardens for 1 year; 1964-1965 when I was in 4th grade at P.S. 99. Most of my childhood was spent in the far out (at the time) suburbs of Long Island in Suffolk county. But for this one magical year our family lived in an apartment in my grandparents' house on Cuthbert Road. I must say, it was by far the best year in my childhood and when the year was up I reluctantly went back to the 'burbs. We did visit my grandparents every now and then but it was never the same as living there.
Lois Bitet Uthman
[To contact Lois Bitet Uthman, click here]

The Kitty Genovese case
November 22, 2005
[Editor's Note:  This message has been moved to the Kitty Genovese Message Board.]

November 19, 2005
In my recent search for my 1966 elementary school classmates, the following site proved very helpful:

    Dex Online
    Zaba Search
    White Pages
    Addresses [.com]
    Public Background Checks
    People Finders
    People Search

Good luck to you in your search for family and friends.
Kathryn Zabrocki Strode
Lived in KG 1955 to 1966
Graduated from Holy child Jesus School in 1966

Quoth the Raven
November 15, 2005
Click on thumbnail to enlarge.
CLICK TO ENLARGE.Editor's Note:  At about 3PM today, hundreds of blackbirds suddenly descended from the darkened, cloud covered sky and swarmed through Maple Grove Cemetery. Nancy Cataldi captured the moment in this black and white photograph taken by the old receiving vault.

From Doris Schaffer O'Brien - Part 4
November 13, 2005
    During WWII there were many victory gardens throughout Kew Gardens. I, and several other kids, planted one on a corner of 83rd and Beverly Rd, opposite the house owned by the Bohack grocery people. I had my first crush on a fellow gardener, who moved away before he finished elementary school. He would have been hard to catch even if I were older, apparently, because I understand that he is now, even at his advanced age, a frequent Florida triathalon participant: biking, swimming and running. I had friends who may have lived in the same building you do They were the Goodman girls, Renee and Barbara. The Grosses, Leah and Bert, a delightful couple originally from Cincinnati, also lived in that area, along with their children Gloria and Ron. The son was tragically killed as a young adult, while driving his motorcycle to work in Minneapolis.
    There are many "small world" encounters relating to those who once lived in Kew Gardens. A few years ago I attended a bridal reception in Portland, Oregon for a niece of one of my college classmates, only to find that the groom's father was originally from Kew, had lived in the Colony apartment building on 83rd St. and Metro and was a good friend of George Ehrenhaft. I also found out at one point that one of my friends from Massachusetts worked with Kew Gardens luminary Lisa Steiner, a noted MIT scientist. Even more bizarre, my brother's career in the State Dept. happened to put him in touch with a foreign diplomat, who had lived briefly in Kew Gardens while his parents were working at the Australian Embassy in New York. He particularly remembered Reverend William Pittman Mallory, the pastor of the church opposite PS 99. Incidentally, at the time I lived there, the area between the school and the cemetery was occupied by modest private homes, in one of which lived my friends Virginia and Patricia Norton. They later moved to Nyack, New York.
Doris Schaffer O'Brien
[To contact Doris Schaffer O'Brien, click here]

From Doris Schaffer O'Brien - Part 3
November 8, 2005
    My mother "discovered" Kew Gardens in the early thirties when my father, who owned a factory in Brooklyn, told her to take a trolley ride along Metropolitan Avenue and get off when she found a nice, attractive family community from which to commute! She was smitten. Her love-affair with the community gave rise to a lot of harmless joshing by myself and my brother. On her 100th birthday, which the family celebrated at the Gramercy Park Tavern in Manhattan, we changed the lyrics of various songs to reflect her feelings for Kew Gardens, such as "It Had to be Kew," "I Can't Live in Any Place But Kew, Baby"; "Don't Blame Me for Falling in Love with Kew"; and the grand finale, "There's No Gardens Like Kew Gardens!" She loved it.
    My brother kept up with several of his PS 99 pals over the years, including Frank Wertheimer (now deceased), who lived in the apartment building on the northeast corner of Metropolitan and Park Lane So. In my childhood days, there were private homes along most of 118th Street. The house south of Eton Hall was an immaculate two-story owned by a couple of brothers who were in the flower business on the island. They were as well turned-out as their residence, always nattily dressed and wearing straw hats in summertime. They kept their polished touring car in the garage behind the house.
    Across the street, behind what is now the soon-to-be-demolished shopping strip, there was also a large house owned at one time by the Van Gutfelds, a family of musicians. To this day, I vividly recall the hurricane of 1939, during which I stood in the kitchen of my apartment and cowered at the ferocious winds that whipped the trees and felled a very large one. Fortunately, it landed just short of the private house, but for a time my friends and I used to climb that tree and play in its fallen branches.
Doris Schaffer O'Brien
[To contact Doris Schaffer O'Brien, click here]

From Doris Schaffer O'Brien - Part 2
November 3, 2005
    You obviously have undertaken a very ambitious project in keeping alive the "Old" Kew Gardens, which was a wonderful place in which to grow up. As I pointed out, I have not lived there since I went off to college, but I returned frequently over the course of the next half century. Since I settled in California, where everything is wide-spread and usually reachable only by car, my sorties back to the "old homestead" were an interesting change for me. I always enjoyed the convenience of stores and services, even if they were not as "mega" as on the west coast. I particularly liked the quaintness of "the village", and I never left Kew without taking with me a slab of fabulous cherry struedle from the Homestead Deli. I also tried to squeeze in some films at the newly-renovated K.G. theater, the only one listed under "Art Houses" in the New Yorker that is not in Manhattan!
    My brother, who had gone to Harvard, became a career diplomat and the US Ambassador to Bangladesh. He is now retired from the Foreign Service, writes political biographies, and teaches at Georgetown U. Though my own star was less luminous, I was a college speech teacher, later a banker, and finally a free-lance writer/humorist, whose doggerel was regularly featured in the Pepper and Salt column of The Wall Street Journal. (The verse section is now defunct.)
    The apartment building where my mother lived for almost 70 years (Eton Hall) is now largely rented to Russian immigrants. There were a number of youngsters who grew up with me in that building, among them Alfonse Loidl ( now living in Tasmania), Stevie Semons, Steve Franken (an actor in numerous Hollywood movies), Alice Blum, Maxine Mueller and her brothers, Johnny Stol -- a retired airlines employee, who still lives in Kew Gardens and runs the Lefferts bicycle shop with his second wife -- and Johnny Keeshan, who I understand became a successful real-estate developer on Montauk Point . He is (or was) the cousin of Bob Keeshan of Captain Kangaroo fame.
Doris Schaffer O'Brien
[To contact Doris Schaffer O'Brien, click here]

Viewer Submissions Now Easier to Find
November 3, 2005
Editor's Note:  The Find It page (see links in left sidebar) now includes an index of commentaries and images submitted by you, the viewers. In the green column of that page are the commentaries organized by the viewers' names. In the white column are the images organized by subject. Please let me know if you find a broken link or see that a viewer submission is not included there.

November 3, 2005
I graduated P.S. 99 in 1939. Is anyone out there from that era? We had a reunion about 10 or 15 years ago. I remember Miss Banta, Miss Mc Devitt, Mrs Goldberg (math). I lived on Onslow Place, and then at the Shellball Apartment house. Is the latter still there?. I danced , when I was 7 or 8 on the stage of the movie house on the bridge, I know that's not there. There was a tap dancing class in the hotel that became a hospital on Kew Gdns road. We wore the costumes of British bobbies, and danced to "Sing Baby Sing". Nice memories. There were tennis courts in back of the theater that was flooded for Ice Skating when it got cold
Margery Sumergrade (now Meyer)
[To contact Margery Sumergrade Meyer, click here]

Music and Poetry
November 1, 2005
There will be a music and poetry evening at the Theater Cafe, at 106-03 Metropolitan Avenue, next door to the Cinemart Theater, on Thursday, November 10th, from 7:30 to 10 P.M. Please come if you can---if you can't, no matter the reason, no need to contact me. There will be more to follow.
[To contact Aaron Adler, click here]

From Doris Schaffer O'Brien - Part 1
November 1, 2005
Dear Editor:
    We live in amazing times. There I was -- just for fun -- googling my maiden name, and up popped a picture of my PS 99 graduating class, with some of the graduates identified, myself among them (maiden name: Doris Schaffer). My husband was astounded, though I have one of the originals of the picture. I can also supply many of the pupils' names that were omitted for lack of identification.
    While I have not lived in Kew Gardens since I left for college in 1950, I did return often (from California) to visit my mother, Minnie Schaffer, who lived for some 70 years at the same address -- the same spacious (rent-controlled!) apartment in Eton Hall on the corner of 118th St and Metropolitan Ave. I also owned a copy of the historic book about Kew Gardens architecture, which I enjoyed immensely. My brother, Howard, and I often roamed the streets of Kew Gardens during our joint visits, book in hand, seeing our "native" village through fresh eyes.
    My mother died early last year at the age of 101, still residing in Apt. 3G. She was a remarkable woman, who, I suspect, could have been elected mayor by the many people she knew in Kew. One of the last things I learned was that the row of stores -- inlcuding my occasional podiatrist's office -- opposite where I grew up, was soon to be demolished and replaced by a multi-story apartment building. I have seen many things change in Kew over the years, none for the better, in my opinion.
    Johnny Mountain was in my 1946 PS 99 graduating class. He was a short, rolly-polly guy, always lots of fun. Once Johnny and I, along with other classmates, took a trip to an outlying hospital to visit patient Barbara Bredin (sister of Betty, who like myself went to Wellesley College). The amusing thing was that once we arrived at the hospital, we were all deemed too "young" to visit Barbara -- all except a classmate named Nancy Pasloff, who looked sophisticated enough to make it inside the hospital. Barbara waved at the rest of us from her hospital window. She was always sickly and died some years ago. Nancy left the area after graduating from grade school and moved to Virginia.
    If you would like the names of others in the graduating picture whom I can remember, please let me know. Thanks for this unusual discovery.
Doris Schaffer O'Brien
[To contact Doris Schaffer O'Brien, click here]

Bigger Images
November 1, 2005
    Editor's Note: Since more people now have broadband connections and higher resolution screens, I am beginning to bump up the size and resolution of the images I display here. So, instead of averaging 20 - 35 KB, images will start to average 60 - 80 KB. If enough dial up users find these file sizes make viewing the web pages too slow, let me know and I will reduce the file sizes.

Get a Gmail Account Free
November 1, 2005
    Editor's Note: As of February 1st, Old Kew Gardens [.com] got a new email address with Gmail, which is the Google web based email service. You've probably heard that Gmail offers two gigabytes [2,000 MB] of free storage. It's free, but available by invitation only. Invitations are so sought after that they are being offered for sale on eBay. I have invitations I can distribute to friends. I'm not selling them, I'm giving them away. They are available on a first come first serve basis. Just send me an email telling me you'd like one.
    Update: Unless I know you, your request must come from a bona fide working ISP email address. To prevent abuse, email requests coming from free web based email services like Yahoo or Hotmail will not be honored.
    Update: I will remove this post when I run out of invitations. If you're reading this, then there are still invitations left to give out.

Posting Messages Here
November 1, 2005
[Ed.'s Note: The reason each guest book posting does not appear here immediately is that I review each message individually before posting to eliminate spam or unwanted adult content. Email me if you want to make a correction to a message you have already posted or if you would like a message removed.]

How to contact Guestbook signers

Some Guestbook signers choose not to publish their email addresses. If you wish to contact one of them, send me an email identifying the guestbook signer you wish to contact and giving me the date his or her message was posted. Your email to me must contain your full name, and may also include anything else you wish to tell the signer. I will forward your email to the Guestbook signer you wish to contact, but with no cc or bcc to you. It will be the signer's decision whether or not to make contact with you. Any emails which contain spam, adult content, or appear suspect for any other reason will not be forwarded. ~The Editor.

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