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Pictures dated 1943, 2002 and 2004
Click images to enlarge
82nd Road
The Maple Grove Cemetery
Administration Building (1880)

These illustrations of the Maple Grove Cemetery's Administration Building on Kew Gardens Road appeared in the December 11, 1880 edition of the American Architect and Building News. The building was designed by architect, James E. Ware.  [Click on images to enlarge.]

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 ]
April 2007 Guest Book

April 28, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view enlargement.
    Picture taken in my parents living room at 107 Mowbray Drive in 1960. Pictured left to right are Tommy Rotavera, Roger Sabo and Bruce Cole.
Roger Sabo
[To contact Roger Sabo, click here]

Mini Reunion Sunday Night
April 28, 2007
All the ex KG people that hung out at the Park and Dani's are meeting at the Austin Ale House on Sunday, April 29, 2007 at 7:30 PM for some drinks and laughs about the old days. Anyone that can come just show up.

Editor's Note:  The Austin Ale House is on the south side of Austin Street just west of Lefferts Boulevard, across the street from the Mowbray.

April 27, 2007
To A. Linsky:
Kenny Baker went was the star of the film, "The Mikado" -- which played at the Austin Movie Theater and which I must have seen at least five times.
Gaby (Heimberg) Libbey
[To contact Gaby (Heimberg) Libbey, click here]

April 27, 2007
Dear Ron:
    I knew your father, Walter Isaac, because I worked at the Der Aufbau for two summers while I was in college (the late 50's). The first summer, the Aufbau had its offices on 103rd and Broadway and the second summer, the offices had relocated to 74th and Broadway. I worked in all departments of the paper while regular employees were on summer vacation, but my main job was working the plug type switchboard (a nightmare job with occasional disconnections caused by me). Manfred George was the editor. I too graduated from PS 90 instead of PS 99, which was, as you noted, a long way from Kew Gardens. My sister, Carol Band, born in NYC in 1945, graduated from PS 99.
    Der Aufbau was the main link for German Jews scattered all over the world and a primary source of information about lost family members, restitution, marriage and death notices, etc.
    While I am ten years older than you are, we have many of the same fond memories of Kew Gardens. When I was a senior in college, I had a part-time job as a NYC Special Census Taker (1959) which took me to many of the apartment building in Kew Gardens and many hilarious recollections of the strange encounters I had with residents I interview along the way.
Gaby (Heimberg) Libbey
a former Kew Gardenite
[To contact Gaby (Heimberg) Libbey, click here]

April 26, 2007
1.) Your name, Bruce Sanders
2.) The dates you lived in Kew Gardens, 1953-1956 - Roger Williams 83-33 Austin Street.
3.) The date you graduated P.S. 99, Attended Kindergarten -PM 1954, AM 1955- First grade 1956
4.) Any attachments (e.g., old photos), I have to dig them out.
5.) How you found this site. My sister came across it.


Saturday May 5th 2007
8AM - 5PM
(Rain date Saturday, May 12th 2007)
82-60 Austin Street
Kew Gardens, NY
(In the LIRR North Parking Lot)

Queens Central
April 22, 2007
Editor's Note:  Welcome to
Queens Central - new blog covering events in Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Rego Park and Briarwood.
Check it out

April 21, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view enlargement.
    Picture taken in my parents living room at 107 Mowbray Drive in 1960. Pictured are: center front - Harry Klein. Left to right - Al Mayo, Dominick Pupura, Charlie Clauda, Bruce Mallory and Roger Sabo.
Roger Sabo
[To contact Roger Sabo, click here]

April 21, 2007
    This email is for Laurie Fessler.
    I want to thank you for the most wonderful descriptions of your growing up in Kew. I have now remembered many things that Ihad forgotten. You have a wonderful way with words and I am sure that anyone who reads your email in this guestbook will be happy that you set your fingers to the keys. Thank you again for the walk down my memories. I lived in Kew Gardens from 1942 till 1970 and now l ive in Florida but my roots are there in the most wonderful place on earth.
Linda Widder Wiesner
[To contact Linda Widder Wiesner, click here]

April 21, 2007
    Kew Gardens wasn't just about old historic buildings and it certainly wasn't about the “most famous person,” Jerry Springer”. No one knew who Jerry Springer was; actually not too many people would truly care. Kew Gardens was a small German-Jewish enclave (sing Anatevka) where my friends and I grew up in the late fifties through the seventies. It wasn't a famous place; it was our home.
    The neighborhood people were important to us, the rituals of everyday life. “Gussie’s” candy/soda shop was famous. Gussie was the owner, a short, gray haired, intimidating woman who walked with a limp. We didn’t care. It was “the sweet shop on the corner of Talbot and 84th Road. My three childhood friends (Glen, Roger and Claudine) and I would go there for vanilla water drinks for five cents and egg creams for eight cents. Gussie's husband was always somewhere in the back, in a dark corner and we were all scared of him. But, Gussie's was a ritual for the four of us almost important as breath, touch, sounds. Gussie’s was an institution, a childhood ritual, a special place. While we were at Gussie’s candy store our moms sat together on what we called the "moyishen," or “little wall” from the word “Mauer” in German meaning wall. We still talk about the moyishen, how we played handball in the alley or jump roped and some vague game with Kings and Queens and Prince and Princesses. When the weather turned cold or if it was raining we just went to each others' houses to play; Glen in my building, Roger in Claudine’s.
    Every day spring and summer we waited for the happy, clanging bells of Frankie, the Good Humor man in his white truck. That ritual, like others, was thrilling and we would squeal with delight, excited, every day anew. Our moms would hand us over a shiny quarter and we would race around the corner to the steel playground where Frankie would wait. The biggest decisions of our every day lives were the choices: chocolate éclair, toasted almond, strawberry shortcake, or brightly colored popsicles. Life was truly simple and sweet.
    Kew Gardens was about Ben the grocer who had his shop next to Gussie’s and our moms would send us in to buy things like a box of minute rice or a loaf of Wonder bread-- some last minute item that they needed. It was only “Ben, the Grocers” for little things, I remember his dark mustache and dark head of hair. We went in pairs to Ben’s; he never particularly liked when would come in for a single item. There was strength in numbers as we held hands and looked up to him, our eyes slightly averted.
    At PS 99, Mr. Finegold was the Principal but Tommy was the person we really thought was important. He was the janitor that would sit outside on the steps for hours and knew us all by name. There was no “gym” at the school just cement floors, a yard to hang out in. I remember for awhile we were allowed to go home to eat on Fridays. My mom would make tuna sandwiches for me and my best friend, also Laurie, to eat tuna sandwiches and drink chocolate milk (Nestlé’s not Hershey’s.) To this day, that is my comfort food. Later on when we were older, we would go to Dani's House of Pizza and for a dollar we would get two slices of pizza, a small grape juice (my choice) and have left over money to buy a candy bar in the musty smelling, dark, newspaper store a few doors away.
    Kew Gardens was Mimi's imported chocolate shop where I had my first job and learned about Rice Crispie treats for the very first time. When I was in college, Lore, a family friend and owner of the store would send me care packages with those sweet, marshmallow gooey rectangular bars. When those care packages arrived, I was a very popular girl.
    I remember there was tiny a health food store back then, health food not yet well known by any means. It smelled good and had interesting things like the thick, sweet currant syrup that we mixed with water to drink (Himbervasser.) I bought rosehips jelly bars there and felt grown up. Our parents marveled at European items that they rediscovered and bought vitamins. I think they also carried Muesli, a mixed grain cereal, but I could be making that up.
    Across the street was the aforementioned Dani's House of Pizza, with its perfect tomato sauce and air of mystery. To this day, and I am 50 now, we go back to visit Kew Gardens with our children and still eat there. Years before gelato or frozen yogurt we would slurp on Italian ices in the small, white wrinkled paper cup. A scoop of lemon and one scoop of chocolate was (is) a most amazing combination. Many children, including mine, opted for rainbow but not me.
    Kew Gardens was a very hushed community the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated you could feel the silence of the town. The school let us out early, that infamous day in 1963 when I was 7. All I remember was the quiet on the streets and not really understanding anything other than something was not right. We shushed a kid that ran around and sang happily, " no school, yeah, no school" because it felt horribly wrong. We were a community and our community mourned.
    My dad worked for TWA and the draw to Kew Gardens was the proximity to both airports La Guardia and Kennedy (although at the time Kennedy was named Idelwild.) Back then we would fly first class for 8 dollars a person and go to France for vacation or to see our grandparents in Austria or Israel. Because we were flying “subject to space” and the fact that my dad worked for the airline, we had to get dressed up to be on any flight. My sister and I had matching outfits, skirt sets in shades of light blue. The proximity to the airports was great for “stewardesses” now called flight attendants.
    Nothing can be written about Kew Gardens without mentioning the Homestead gourmet shop. Every Sunday we would go there waiting on a long line and talking to the people we obviously knew. There was the IGA a few doors down from where I lived for groceries and a larger store, Bohack, a few blocks down. I always offered to go to Bohack because I had a crush on a boy who worked there. My mother used to stroll down the street (we called it Strasse-German for street) in all her glory and meet many people she knew. She felt like a queen and I, as a teenager, would grimace every time she stopped to talk. Each errand, which normally could be filled in 5 minutes) took hours.
    At Mr. Bee”s we bought school supplies: construction paper, Elmer’s glue, crayons. We also sat on the pony ride years after we had outgrown the saddle. For a short time there was a delicatessen that was right next to Mr. Bee’s, owned by Mel and Linda. We bought huge sour pickles to eat when it was hot; very “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
    Kew Gardens wasn't just a place it was a community. It was “Leave it To Beaver” European style. Moms talked on the phone, kids played together every day after school. It was about walking your friend home, back and forth. We carried stuffed animals or used Glen’s real dog to play Lassie. In the summer, it was Forest Park where the icy metal sprinklers were on and we would scream and run through: this was our country home, our summer oasis. It was the rusty water fountain, handball court, sandbox, seesaws. We felt like we owned it.
    I love Kew Gardens at 50, more than when I lived there. Four childhood friends that are still friends; two of them still live in Kew Gardens. But, “celebrities” are the people we look back and remember and hold in our hearts. The people who made our town special to us. But deep down, in our old Kew Gardens town, way back when, we were the stars. We still are for having lived there.
Laurie Fessler
[To contact Laurie Fessler, click here]

Confirmed Seating for Kew Gardens Movie
April 19, 2007
Click here for the Center for Jewish History's confirmed seating list for the first screening of the Kew Gardens Movie on April 30th.

Open Meeting
Editor's Note:  Kevin Walsh - Webmaster of the absolutely first rate Forgotten New York web site and a book by the same name - will give a PowerPoint presentation.
Free Admission.
Location: Leonard Center, 86th Ave. at 112th St., Richmond Hill
Friday, April 20th, 7:30 PM

Walking Tour of Maple Grove Cemetery
Date:  Saturday, April 21, 2007
Rain Date:  Sunday, April 22, 2007
Time:  2:00 PM
Place:  83-15 Kew Gardens Road at Lefferts Blvd.
For More Information:  Call 718-847-7878
    Follow the theme of the newly published book, Images of America - Maple Grove Cemetery by Nancy Cataldi and Carl Ballenas as they guide you through the pages of the book and the cemetery.
    Books will be available for purchase at $19.99 and will be personally signed by the authors.
    Tour lasts two hours, please wear comfortable shoes.

From Sy Razler
April 18, 2007
It was a pleasure viewing the pictures and notes related to Kew Gardens where I and my brother Larry lived from 1941 to the early 1950's. Those of you who go back to those years will remember my Dad's luncheonette on the corner of Lefferts and Metro, and my brother Larry who spent a lot of time playing basketball in the PS 99 schoolyard, and both of us playing softball in the schoolyard during the summer. While I still live in Lindenhurst with my wife Marion and my son David, my brother moved to Florida. His wife Norma passed away this month (April, 2007). We can be contacted at marion@razler.net.
Sy Razler (Richmond Hill HS, 1944)

April 18, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view enlargement.
    It's been awhile since I was on the cite and sent you photos. Now, in going through some of my old photos I came across one taken the week Bohack's opened on Lefferts Blvd. The promotion then was that customers photos were taken and put in the store window. If there was a circle around your picture, you won a cookbook.
    On the assumption that you are still doing I will this, I will email a photo taken March 16th 1944. My mother, Hilda Wanderer, had the circle around her photo and I still have the cookbook.
    Perhaps this is of some interest.
From Miriam Wanderer Douglas
[To contact Miriam Douglas, click here]

April 18, 2007
    The April 11th. Featured Photographs of Grenfell Street are great and typify the architecture of Kew Gardens circa 1920's.
    Of particular interest to me, in the South Side - East to West section, is picture #6 (the home with the Pallandian style columns).
    I believe this was the residence of Kenny Baker - the Irish tenor who appeared regularly on the Jack Benny radio program until he left sometime in the early forties for bigger and better things (unfortunately, he was never heard from again!).
    Mr. Baker was replaced by another Irish tenor by the name of Dennis Day who remained with the show through its years in television.
A. Linsky
[To contact A. Linsky, click here]

April 13, 2007
We were cute! I miss you guys!!!
Rebecca Chakrin
[Lived in Kew Gardens]  1981-1995
[Graduated P.S. 99]  1993

April 9, 2007
For Roger Sabo,
Thanks for the copy of the graduation program from 1960. It was interesting to see the names of others who graduated in September with me and names I have not thought about in 47 years. I hope that there will be a 50 reunion in three years.
Linda Widder Wiesner
[To contact Linda Widder Wiesner, click here]

Forest Hills H.S. Slideshow
April 8, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view Slideshow.
    Editor's Note:  Thanks to Roger Sabo for a scan of the 1960 Forest Hills High School Graduation Program.

April 5, 2007
One of the recent posts here is a photo album which includes two pictures of the author at P.S. 90 when a small kid in Mrs. Dawkins's class. I was in Mrs. D's class also, very possibly at the same time as the author. It's been around 50 years since I saw the face again of my favorite teacher!!
Ron Isaac
[To contact Ron Isaac, click here]

April 5, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view Images.
In response to Rich Schwartz's message of April 4th, I believe that bar he refers to, located near Lefferts Blvd, owned by the Gallos, could ahve been either Johnny's Steak House on Metropolitan just east of Lefferts, or the Lefferts Cafe, across the street from Johnny's Steak House and also on Metropolitan Avenue.
Nick Garrett
Resided in K.G. June 1952 thru May 1971
attended ps 99, went to RHHS 1952-56

April 4, 2007
    Very enjoyable website to visit. I'm a Rockaway "kid" but had many relatives who resided in bot Kew Gardens & Forest Hills.
    Are you aware that The Gallo Brothers ("Crazy" Joe Gallo) of "mob" fame owned a bar in Kew Gardens back in the late 50's and into the early to mid 60's??
    It was on or near Lefferts Blvd. Don't remember the exact location.
    Don't know more about that bar but I do know that the family operated out of a check cashing store in Manhattan.
    At that time (approx. 1961) I was managing a check cashing store on 12th avenue in NYC and one day at the request of one of my stores owners, I had to go to the Gallo store to bring them some cash (which was quite substantial as I recall). When I got there Joey and one of his brothers was there to receive the cash.
    I do however believe it was a legit deal as they signed a receipt for it. Therefore I do believe that the check cashing store was a legitimate business for them. Probably used to "wash" cash received from some other of their ventures.
    I at one time also worked part-time for extra income at Paul Castellanos wholesale meat plant located in College Point, Queens. I was married with 2 young children and needed additional LEGAL income so I worked every Saturday & Sunday in his plant making chopped meat.
    It was a huge plant with many corridors and large walk in freezers. Every time I had to enter one of the freezers to get a side of beef, I would wonder what may be hanging on the hooks instead of beef!!!
    The job paid well (for those days ..... 1976 -77), like $6.50/hr and I was treated really well by Castellano's men who oversaw and managed us.
    I remember all too well that on several occasions Castellano came to the plant surrounded by his "boys", and that everyone literally bowed down to him with respect and awe.
    I came to find out that Castellano really became a millionaire through this business but on the shady side, he would extend credit to the many mom and pop butcher shops located on L.I. and the city, and then when the owners of these small butcher shops would become over extended credit wise, Castellano would wind up owning the shop outright and put his own butchers in them to operate or he would become a partner of the butcher and also place one of his hand picked butcher men in said store along with the owner.
Rich Schwartz
[To contact Rich Schwartz, click here]

April 2, 2007
    The plan from 1880 for the Maple Grove Cemetery administration building is an amazing find - great work!
    What really caught my eye was the indoor plumbing for two lavatories. This was quite an advancement for its day and only really appeared in what were then considered high rise commercial buildings in Manhattan.
    I believe the original colony of bungalows on 83rd. Avenue between what is now Kew Gardens Road and Queens Boulevard that were built at about the same time as the Maple Grove building had no such indoor facilities.
A. Linsky
[To contact Al Linsky, click here]

More Music and Poetry
April 1, 2007
The next 2 music and poetry shows will be held as follows:
 1. Theater Cafe---106-03 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills, on Thursday, April 12th, beginning at 7:15 P.M.
 2. Linda's Organic. 81-22 Lefferts Blvd., Kew Gardens, on Saturday, April 21st, beginning at 7:30 P.M. celebrating Earth Day).
Aaron Adler
[To contact Aaron Adler, click here]

Richmond Hill H.S. Slideshow
April 1, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view Slideshow.
    Hello to the south of Metro crowd that attended PS 90 and RHHS and to everyone else.
    For the class of '65 I have attached copies of the Commencement brochure and the spring play program for the "Music Man". Enjoy the memories.
    Best regards from Coral Springs, FL
Rod Nalven
(Kew Gardens 1947-1976)
[To contact Rod Nalven, click here]

Posting Messages Here
April 1, 2007
[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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