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Glendale

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The Shops at Atlas Park

Glendale is a well-kept small town in western Queens filled with local restaurants and dining options as well as one of New York City’s largest malls (constructed atop a former industrial park) and the vast Forest Park.

Glendale was formerly one of New York City’s most populous German-American bastions, and home to a number of restaurants specializing in German cuisine, such as Gebhardt’s, Durow’s and Von Westernhagen’s. Zum Stammtisch is the lone survivor, although it was the new kid on the block when it was founded in 1972 by Bavarian immigrant John Lehner at 69-46 Myrtle Avenue, just west of Cooper Avenue.

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The Woodside zip code – 11377 – lost more native sons during the Vietnam War than any other area in the United States. Many other neighborhood residents made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country over the past centuries, and 34 individuals who lived or worked in Woodside died during the Twin Tower terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

On Monday, members of the John V. Daniels VFW Post 2813 will honor veterans by placing a wreath at the flagpole at John Vincent Daniels Square near Roosevelt Avenue and 52nd Street at 11 am. Also, after a 10 am mass, the St. Sebastian War Veterans group will host a parade that kicks off from the St. Sebastian School parking lot at Woodside Avenue and 57th Street.

That’s only part of it. Queens has about 55,000 veteran residents, more than any other borough in New York City. It also hosts the country’s biggest Memorial Day parade (in Little Neck/Douglaston). Here’s a list of local parades scheduled for this weekend.

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Yesterday, I was invited to come along on the Newtown Historical Society’s walking tour of Ridgewood Reservoir, which actually straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Now, I’m sort of known for my explorations of a very different part of this border — Newtown Creek — so this was terra incognita for me.

Having never visited the spot, nor the New York City park, Highland Park, which surrounds it, attending this event was a no brainer. Lots of photos after the jump.

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In Major League Baseball, April 15th is Jackie Robinson Day, honoring the player who broke the barrier against African-American players participating in MLB. His first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers was on April 15, 1947.

In many ways Jackie Robinson was the most compelling player in major league baseball history. He was selected by Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey to break the MLB color barrier in 1947 (no African-American had been employed by a major league team since at least 1901, the beginning of the “modern era” of major league ball) after a sterling athletic record at UCLA, where he had lettered in track, football, baseball and basketball. Rickey needed a can’t-miss prospect, as well as a person who would be able to endure the inevitable racial nonsense that would arise in a sport where many players were from the deep South.

Robinson was a five-tool player who hit for average, and power (averaging 16 home runs per year),  possessed above average speed, and excellently threw and fielded his position (second base for his early years). Advancing age and diabetes slowed him down in 1956 and 1957; the Dodgers traded him to the Giants, who like the Dodgers were moving to California, but Robinson chose to retire. Jackie Robinson passed away in 1972, shortly after addressing a World Series crowd in Cincinnati. He is interred in Cypress Hills Cemetery, through which passes the parkway later named for him. In 1997 his uniform number, 42, was retired by every major league team, except for players already wearing it; the last one, legendary Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera, retired in 2013.

No borough-wide memorial had been named for him until 1997, when upon the 50th anniversary of his ascension to the Dodgers, New York State designated the entire route of the Interboro Parkway in his name. The above photo shows the Jackie Robinson Parkway at Jamaica Avenue.

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On a frigid afternoon last week, I found myself at Machpela Cemetery, visiting the grave of perhaps the greatest celebrity of the early 20th century – Harry Houdini. Houdini was a stage magician, an escape artist, a genius promoter, a star of the stage and screen, claimed to be one of the toughest men alive, and he died on Halloween in 1926.

There’s a tremendous amount of drama that revolves around Houdini’s grave, which the New York Times has reported on in this 2008 piece, and in this 2011 one. There’s little point in repeating the oft told tale, or the conflicts surrounding the upkeep of the monument as I’d just be dancing around other people’s reporting. Instead, I’d ask you to click through to the links above for the whole story (the links will open in new windows), and I’ll be waiting here for you when you’re done.

More after the jump…

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The quiet neighborhood of Glendale contains a number of anachronisms, including the passage of the Long Island Rail Road Montauk spur from west to east. This sleepy line now carries freight only, but it’s only been a year or two since at least one daily passenger train plied the tracks here. And, until March 1998 Glendale had its very own LIRR station, which in its final years consisted of a bare spot in the weeds alongside the tracks, on the right side in the above photo.

The Montauk spur, which was apparently named because it once served trains bound for Montauk, splits from the main branch in Jamaica west of the large Jamaica station complex and runs west to Long Island City on elevated, at-grade, and open cut portions. It once contained station stops in Richmond Hill, Glendale, Fresh Pond, Haberman (in western Maspeth, named for a local firm), Penny Bridge (named for the span the Kosciuszko Bridge replaced) and LIC. By the mid-1990s, patronage on the line had dropped to less than a dozen daily riders and, since new double-decked cars were being phased in that required high level platforms, the decision was made to close the stations rather than rebuild them.

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With about 130,000 residents, Queens is home to more war veterans than any other borough in New York City. This weekend various neighborhoods honor their war heroes with Memorial Day parades, including biggest one in the country (Little Neck/Douglaston).

The Maspeth Memorial Day Parade (Sunday, May 25th, at 1 pm) is always an emotional display of patriotism and gratitude. This year, it honors local veterans and women. Retired Capt. Laura Zimmermann is the speaker, and other honorees are Leo J. Wasil, who flew 35 combat missions as a radio operator, mechanic and gunner in World War II; Anthony Simone, who fought in the treacherous Mung Dung Valley during the Korean War; and Jane Crowley, who joined the United States Marine Corp Women’s Service in 1943. The parade begins at 1 pm at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park, 72nd Street and Grand Avenue, and proceeds down Grand to the Frank Kowalinski American Legion Post 4 and Knights of Columbus on 69th Lane, where there’s a memorial service at 2 pm.

Information on the other parades follows:

  • Broad Channel, Sunday, May 25th, 1 pm, Cross Bay Boulevard.
  • Forest Hills, Sunday, May 25th, noon, starts at Ascan and Metropolitan avenues, proceeds to Trotting Course Lane, ending at St. John Cemetery. Grand marshals are Monsignor John McGuirl, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Church; Community Board 6 Chair Joseph Hennessey; and Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Terrance Holliday.
  • College Point, Sunday, May 25th, 2 pm, starts at 28rd Avenue and College Point Boulevard and heads to 5th Avenue and 119th Street. State Senator Tony Avella is the grand marshal. Poppy Queen is Isabella Joan Hollaway.
  • Howard Beach, Monday, May 26th, 9:30 am, begins with Memorial Day Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church at 101st Street and 159th Avenue. The parade kicks off at 11 am in Coleman Square and takes its time-honored route through Old Howard Beach, visiting the Vietnam War memorial at 99th Street and 157th Avenue, the World War II memorial at Assembly of God Church at 158-31 99th Street and then St. Barnabas Church at 159-19 98 Street.
  • Laurelton, Monday, May 26th, 9 am, Francis Lewis and Merrick boulevards to the Veterans Memorial Triangle, 225th Street and North Conduit Avenue.
  • Little Neck-Douglaston, Monday, May 26th, 2 pm, Northern Boulevard between Jayson Avenue and 245th Street, 2 pm. The closing ceremony is held in the parking lot of Saint Anastasia School, Northern Boulevard and Alameda Avenue, where awards are given, honorees are acknowledged, and refreshments are served. World War II heroes are the grand marshals, including Rocco Moretto and John McHugh Sr., who stormed the beaches of Normandy during D-Day; Thomas Dent; John W. Peterkin; and Lucy Salpeper, who joined the Navy Waves and cared for injured soldiers.
  • Ridgewood-Glendale, Monday, May 26th, 11 am, starting at the Ridgewood Memorial Triangle at Myrtle and Cypress avenues and ending at the Glendale War Monument at Myrtle and Cooper avenues. Charles Dunn, a member of Glendale’s VFW Sergeant Edward R. Miller Post 7336, is the grand marshal.
  • The Rockaways, May 26th, noon, steps off at Beach 121st Street.
  • Whitestone, Monday, May 26th, noon, starts at Whitestone Memorial Park, 149th Street and 15th Drive and proceeds on 12th Avenue. Dr. David Copell, a Korean War vet, is the grand marshal.

Photo: The Whitestone Memorial Day Parade

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This Saturday, Finaback Brewery will open its tasting room in Glendale for the very first time. They’ll serve special priced pours and BBQ from 2 to 8 pm — all the event details live here. Finback debuted three different beers — the Finback IPA, the Double Sess Wit and the Puffin Smoked Porter — at different NYC bars earlier this year. Here is a look at their 13,000-square-foot brewery and tasting room while it was still under construction.

All Finback Brewery coverage [Q’Stoner] GMAP

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Get ready, Glendale: yesterday Finback Brewery announced on Twitter it will open on May 15th. More details are to come. The location in question is 78-01 77th Avenue, off Cooper Avenue. The 13,000-square-foot space will feature a large tasting room, a bar, backyard, and possibly an events room — check out photos of the in-progress brewery over here. Finback started serving its beers around NYC bars earlier this year.

All Finback Brewery coverage [Q’Stoner]