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Pictures dated (unknown) and 2007
Click images to enlarge
117th Street south of 85th Avenue
Photographs from the Lucy Ballenas Collection courtesy of Carl Ballenas.  [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 ]
June 2007 Guest Book

Class Photo Correction
June 28, 2007
I just wanted to make a correction on the 1971 class photo (K-208). I believe the teacher is really Mrs. Berland - not Mrs. Weinberg. Mrs. Weinberg appears in a different photo. I'm almost 100% positive.
Robin Katzman

Editor's Note:  I think Robin is absolutely right and I have made the correction.

PS99 class of Dec 1949 Grade 4-2 myron schwartzman
June 24, 2007
    Hi: I'm Myron Schwartzman. I'm in the 5th row,. right in front of Mildred Berry (who sits next to Kathrin Perutz) and to Florence Offenbacher's right.
    Thank you so much for doing this! This has been a strange day for me. It began when I saw the name Gino Segre in the Times. I don't remember how or when I knew the Gino Segre I can see in my mind's eye, but his website says this (other?) Gino went to Harvard College and is now a Physics Prof at U Penn. The Gino I looked up on his website also won the Nobel Prize (!) and bears the name of his father, quote a famous Gino Segre.
    Anyway I figured maybe he and I went to P.S.99. That led me to your documentary, the oldkewgardens website, the archive, and my class picture. I feel as if you've returned something truly precious to me. Paul Rosenberg, Eddie Davidson, Bob Muroff, Barbara Kellerman, Rene Mayer, Beryl (Fugazy) Clark, Irene Lamb, Barry Rachinsky, Estelle Rosengarten and Susanne Rosner--all those boys and girls were my friends (although you'd never know it reading some of the asinine pages in my graduation album, like
And then a few that weren't as nice as that at all ! Anyway, a group of us "eggheads" were in the "SP" class and spent two years (earning three) at Maspeth Junior High, among some reallu tuff dudes and Irish maidens who'd slap your cheeks and turn you in every way but loose if you tried to kiss one.
    We lived at PARK LANE SOUTH and Metropolitan Ave., right across the street from the "little park" and down the hill from the "big park." My old friends Steven Klaidman and Danny Eisen now live outside Washington D.C. Steve thought so highly of P.S. 99, Mr. Ellenport and all that jazz, that he moved back to Kew Gardens in order to send his son Danny to PS 99 !
    I could go on writing all night and all tomorrow, but I'll end here for now. Of course I give you my express permission to publish my URL (katonah1@gmail.com) in the hope that I can reestablish some great friendships. And I'd love to join the association, come to reunions, everything! I'm 67 now, and there isn't all that much time left.
myron schwartzman

June 23, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view enlargement.
Hi Joe,
I recently heard from Tom Rotavera and he asked about Aggie Purpura. Here she is at "The Wall" in the PS 99 schoolyard November 1959.
Roger Sabo
[To contact Roger Sabo, click here]

Royalty, Red Quarters And The Prince Of Kew Gardens
June 22, 2007
    He had a scar on His forearm from a bullet that passed right through. He was known as a tuff fighter by all that knew him. They say if things had gone right for Him and his family in WW2, He may have become a prince. He had a huge smile for you when you came in the door. He didn't mind too much if you reached behind the juke box and raised the volume. He was a business man, a friend, Mentor to untold numbers of young people from his homeland, and a definite influence on many teens of Kew Gardens. Hi I am Tom Rotavera, and I am speaking of Ramize Dani of Dani's House Of Pizza on Lefferts Blvd. That Pizza place was a social hub of Kew Gardens for the young and old alike. Having said that, Any history of Kew Gardens would be incomplete if we didn't include something about him and his family, in memory of him.
    The atmosphere He created in his store made you feel welcome, and you wanted to come back. He would give us "Red Quarters" to put in the juke box. A Red Quarter was painted with red nail polish. When the cash box for the juke box was emptied, the red quarters were not counted as profits. Often there were more red quarters in the cash box than anything else. I worked for Danny, as we all called him, for about 2 years. I got the opportunity when Al Mayo didn't show up for work one night. Soon I was opening the store and would serve the lunch crowd from PS 99. Well this is not about me, but the answer to the yellow color of the pizza crust?..... eggs!
    Danny who was Albanian, had a business partner. It was his cousin Sam Cuppi. Sam's father was a man named Abbas Cuppi. He was rather tall for an Albanian, His hair dark and thinning and was combed over to one side. Let me just say he had a Regal nose. You might have seen him walking down Lefferts from Kew Gardens Road, His posture was such that He exuded royalty. He would sit and chat in Albanian, French, Italian or English to the customers and workers alike. Then I noticed the man was treated by all that knew him with great respect. When I asked Danny who he was He said, He would have been the next King of Albania. Well My mouth hit the floor. Imagine being in a pizza place sitting next to a King. Danny being this mans nephew would have then been a Prince. When all is said and done Danny was a prince, the prince of Kew Gardens.
Tom Rotavera

Karl Lehman's 100th Birthday
June 21, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view enlarged photographs.
Editor's Note:  Thanks to Bill Lehman for these images of the 100th birthday of his father, Karl Lehman, who, for so many years, ran a shop on Lefferts Boulevard.

Letter Campaign To Preserve Oldest Forest Hills Rowhouses (Please help)
June 21, 2007
    I am Michael Perlman, Chairman of the "Rego-Forest Preservation Council," which advocates for the preservation of potential individual landmarks & potential historic districts, throughout Forest Hills & Rego Park, and proudly supports the efforts of other Queens neighborhoods. I would like to inform you of an effort that Jeff Gottlieb (Pres of Central Queens Historical Assoc.) & I are working on. We would appreciate your assistance by composing a letter of support to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).
    We are hoping to spare an extremely significant piece of Forest Hills history; the unique "Manhattan-style" rowhouses that are on the west side of 72nd Ave between Austin St & Queens Blvd (108-11, 15, 17, 19, 21 72nd Ave). They are Forest Hills' oldest buildings & the only remaining rowhouses of its type. They were erected in 1906 by Cord Meyer, on the first street to be cut through, Roman Ave (now 72nd Ave). They are also synonymous with the naming of Forest Hills by Cord Meyer. They were dedicated in 1991 by the Central Queens Historical Association, and re-dedicated in Aug 2006 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the rowhouses and Forest Hills' 100th. A plaque notes their significance.
    Sadly, the rowhouses on the east side of the street have been completely demolished over the last few years. Out of the 5 remaining rowhouses on the west side, 2 are imminently endangered. They're presently for sale, and being pitched as "a perfect site for developers &/or investors."
    Current & vintage photos are as follows:  [Click here to view them.]
    My proposal to the LPC is here: [Click here to view the text of the letter.] Please feel free to reference any facts, and send your version of the letter to the following addresses:
    • Chairman Robert Tierney (rtierney@lpc.nyc.gov & comments@lpc.nyc.gov), and
    • Dir. of Research Mary Beth Betts (mbetts@lpc.nyc.gov)
and carbon copy:
    • Michael Perlman (unlockthevault@hotmail.com) &
    • Jeff Gottlieb (jeffgottlieb@hotmail.com).
Also, please encourage other potential supporters to take out a few moments, and do their share. It is important that we unite in solidarity for noteworthy causes in our neighborhood(s).
Thank you for your support!
Michael Perlman

June 21, 2007
    Ellen posted a picture of me and my girlfriend on Feb. 2006. I would love to know if i remember her and would also like to hear from any old friends who remember me .
    My name is Ralph Wachs I lived in K.G. from 1957 to 1970 and graduated P.S. 99 in 1959.
[To contact Ralph Wachs, click here]

June 20, 2007
Hi Joe,
    This is a great site, thank you for hosting it. My name is Tom Rotavera, I lived in Kew Gardens from Aprox. 1955 thru 1965. I lived in 2 different locations, one was over Duffy's tavern on the corner of Beverly Road & Lefferts Blvd, the other was on Abbingdon Road down the block from the temple. I graduated PS 99 in 1957.... I think. My Addy is trota@optonline.net you can publish the Addy. I have been perusing your site all morning and cant remember how i found it. I get CRS episodes a lot now LOL.
    Wow where do I begin? First of all someone posted they thought I died in Nam. Well I was never there! Enlisted in the Air Force in 1962 got out on a medical 4 months later. Like to say Hi to Roger Sabo.. seen your picture... you got old!!! lol. Hi to Linda W. Ahhhh Linda, Linda, Linda, would love to hear from ya. If you don't remember me, I used to work at Dani's House of Pizza on Lefferts Blvd.
    I remember the "School Yard" behind PS 99, We played stickball, Basketball and Softball. I remember we challenged Forest park to a softball game. The School Yard Vs Forest Park. Forget about a Subway series, this was serious rivalry. I remember a game we used to play called Dare. 2 or 3 man teams took the dare or where called chickens and (other things) lol. Most of the dares were innocent, like knocking on someone's house and asking for a glass of water for the 16 people standing on the lawn. Or going into a bar and ordering a glass of milk. Then We used to bang on the door of the cemetery and make the night watchman chase us thru the cemetery in the snow. Ahhh there are so many stories. I intend to monitor this site, so I'll be back.
    Thanks again Joe.
Tom Rotavera

Dani's New Web Site
June 20, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view web site.
Editor's Note:  Dani's Pizzeria - a local institution for almost 50 years - now has a web site at www.danishouseofpizza.com. You can learn about its history [click here], read about its upcoming pizza eating competition (1st prize $500) [click here], see stills of a TV show that was taped there but not aired [click here], and more. Like its pizza, I give Dani's web site my highest rating.

81-59 Lefferts Boulevard Today
June 18, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view enlargement.
Editor's Note:  I have taken a present day photograph of 81-59 Lefferts Boulevard to go with the 1958 photograph submitted by Roger Sabo in the next message. Click on the images to go back and forth between the two pictures.

81-59 Lefferts Boulevard in 1958
June 16, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view enlargement.
Hi Joe,
Picture taken in June 1958 is of John Tiger on the left and my dad on the right.They are standing in front of their office The Kew Forest Realty at 81-59 Lefferts Blvd.They met while working for Cooke Realty which was located at the corner of 83rd Ave.and Grenfell St.They opened their office and remained in partnership until 1960 when my dad passed on.My mom then took over for my dad and ran the office with Mr. Tiger for the next 12 years.In 1972 my mom remarried and moved to Long Island. The office changed ownership and moved in with Tiki Travel on Lefferts Blvd.and closed a few years later.
Roger Sabo
[To contact Roger Sabo, click here]

June 16, 2007
Hey all. I just wanted to WISH a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a dear friend Michael Hoffman who lives in Florida. His birthday is Saturday, June 16. Soooo, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mike! Take Care.
Candace (Candy) Henschel
[To contact Candace (Candy) Henschel, click here]

June 16, 2007
"I am very disappointed in many of the citizens of Kew Gardens. I recently revisited Kew Gardens and I could not tell the difference between Kew Gardens and parts of South Jamaica, Queens. It has only been 3 years since I have gone and already the urban decay has augmented more than I had ever thought possible. Many of the goregeous homes once around Forest Park have become rundown and sold to developers. Many "Mom -n- Pop" stores are gone and sold to the same Guyanese developer that seems to own all of Kew Gardens. Walking down some parts of Austin Street and Metropolitan Avenue made me think that I was in Gotham City in the middle of a Batman movie. When I lived there Kew Gardens was filled with community activists that pursued a halt to this overdevelopment. A new wave of immigrants have moved in, many from South America. How dare we show them such a grimey welcome to the United States. Frankly, I think it is deceiving to post photos of all the beautful homes in Kew Gardens when monstrosities of apartment buildings exist. Where are the activists in Kew Gardens? What is going on? I heard that crime has gone up tremendously in Kew Gardens. Feel free to contact me at jro660@yahoo.com if you have anything you'd like to reply to my message of disappointment"
[Name Withheld]

June 15, 2007
Kudos to Martin Hack for his phabulous photographs! Where can I get a KGIA shirt?
Franklin J. Goldberg
[To contact Franklin J. Goldberg, click here]

"New Gifted Program Is Mixed Bag For Kew Kids"
June 9, 2007
Editor's Note:  Thanks to Peter Schiftan for a heads up on this Queens Chronicle story about the City’s plan to install a district-wide gifted and talented program at P.S. 99.

Click here to read the story

June 9, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view enlargement.
Good morning Joe
Picture taken at a party at 105 Mowbray Drive in 1955. Pictured from left to right are Barry Frank, Gary Schultz, Roger Sabo and Danny Lehrman.
Roger Sabo
[To contact Roger Sabo, click here]

Click on thumbnail to view enlargement.
June 9, 2007
Great pictures of 83rd. Avenue, and especially my old homestead!
    Here's the 'raw data' on the house;
    Custom built for my parents (and baby me!) in 37/38, this gracious center hall colonial boasts 'structural steel' framing, poured and reinforced concrete foundation walls, a class 'A' #2 slate roof and cooper sheathing at the foundation as termite proofing (this house should last as long as Kew Gardens does!).
    I could give you much more on the custom interior but I believe that it would violate the privacy rights of the present owner.
A. Linsky
[To contact Al Linsky, click here]

June 4, 2007
To Joe and ALL my friends on Old Kew Gardens:
    This young woman and I have been in touch recently. They live on LI and her husband is adopted and is trying to locate his Birth Parents.
    If anyone recognizes any of this info please contact Alexis at the below email address at the bottom of this message. I will not know of any response to Alexis so your confidentiallity will remain. This is not a joke and I would appreciate only constructive comments and suggestions. They are registered everywhere possible. I will also post this on ALL NY related message boards.
Thanks my friends.
Bonni FHHS 1965

Alexis's message:

    Hello all, and thank you for taking the time to read this:
    OK, first of all, my name is Alexis and we are searching for my husband's birth mother and or birth family. It is OK to contact me with all information, as I am the one organizing this and doing the search for him with his permission of course.
    Here are the facts as we know them:
  • So far we have received the Non- ID information from Albany and from Louise Wise. (Louise Wise was an adoption agency in NY during the 50's thru 80's)

  • dob: 1/27/67

  • sex: male

  • adoption agency: Louise Wise

  • born in : Staten Island Hospital (which is Richmond County)

  • Birth Mother was probably housed in Lakeview Home (a Maternity Home), which is located in Staten Island.

  • Birth index name: Name of baby at birth was Josef Weinstein (index number matches current bc index#)

  • Per the non-id info. from Louise Wise Adoption Agency:

  • Both parents were Jewish, mother was 17 at time of birth and father was 19, they were unmarried. They met at a Jewish summer camp, which prepared teenagers for a move to Israel.

  • BM was born in Spring of 1949, she was the eldest of 2 siblings.

  • BM's mother worked as a substitute teacher, BM's father was an engineering consultant.

  • Record noted that she was of average height 5'5'' and weight, with dark blonde hair.

  • She was a H.S graduate with plans on going to College and or to Israel.

  • The BM's family was middle class and was aware of her decision and supported her.

  • She spent the last trimester of the regnancy in the home, which was probably Lakeview. We would assume that end of October 1966 to end of January 1967.

  • As was customary, the babies were sent to a home to be observed for usually 3 months or so. The baby went home with his adoptive parents on 4/28/67.

  • The adoption was finalized thru Nassau County Surrogates Court on 5/14/68. It looks like Alexander Berman was the judge who signed the papers, the clerk was Michael F.Rich.

  • The birth certificate was re-issued in the adoptive name a few days later.

  • The birth index number matches, which is how we found the birth name.

    So, this is the information that we have, and I havent been able to come up with anything else. Unfortunately, we cannot afford a P.I to do this search for us.
    Larry is a very tall, big man who is very handsome and very intelligent, he loves history and works as a teacher. He has a great family and had a very good middle class upbringing.
    His search is partly to know (of course) and also for medical reasons.
    We appreciate any help at all.
    I can be contacted at AlexisLMP@aol.com

Richmond Hill High School Class of '57 Reunion
June 3, 2007
    My name is Herb Gettelson. I graduated from RHHS in 1957. There is a 50 year reunion planned for September 15, for the class of 1957, and I would hope that there would be a terrific turnout for this once in a lifetime event.
    The reunion is being planned by a professional organization, Reunions Unlimited. They're the same organization that planned the 30 year reunion.
    If you attended RHHS anytime from 1954-1957, and either graduated in 1957, or would have graduated then, please visit their web site, www.reunions-unlimited.com and look for the New York High School link. Or, email me at hgettelson@aol.com, and I'll be sure to get you the information you need.
    If you know anyone that graduated in 1957, please tell them about this, and ask them to Email me.
Herb Gettelson

Editor's Note:  Here is a direct link to the Class of '57 reunion page on the reunions-unlimited web site.
Click here to view the reunion page

June 3, 2007
I am considering moving to Kew Gardens.
Stephen J Fernbach
[To contact Stephen J. Fernbach, click here]

June 2, 2007
Click on thumbnail to view enlargement.
Good morning Joe
Picture taken in my parents dining room at 105 Mowbray Drive in 1955. Pictured from left to right are: Danny Lehrman, Roger Sabo and Gary Schultz.
Roger Sabo
[To contact Roger Sabo, click here]

Posting Messages Here
June 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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