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Visitors to the stretch of Queen’s Broadway nearby my house often inquire about the silvery metal structures which adorn the sidewalks. They started turning up, as part of a response to a particularly heavy rainfall back in August of 2007 that flooded out and shut down the subways.

The MTA was looking for solutions to keep such a thing from happening again, and decided to focus in on the sidewalk level street grates (that ventilate the underground system) as an entry point for floodwater as being something they could address. Rogers Marvel Architects, along with di Domenico & Partners, came up with this undulating (and award winning) design.

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Tommy Ashton was a life-long Woodside resident and a particularly beloved member of the community. In fact, a block in the Big Six apartment complex is named “Thomas J. Asthon Way.” Plus, a playground there honors this 21-year-old, who died on his second day of work as an electrician’s apprentice with IBEW Local 3 at the World Trade Center’s Tower One on 9/11. His legacy also lives on with The Thomas Ashton Foundation, which his family established to provide charitable donations to academic institutions and nonprofit organizations. Then there’s the annual three-on-three basketball tournament with a men’s open, women’s open and men’s 40-and-over divisions. This year, the 12th annual competition will take place on April 25th and April 26th at the usual venue, the St. Sebastian Parish Center on 57th Street off Woodside Avenue, but the registration deadline is April 1 for all teams. The double-elimination format guarantees that every squad plays at least two games, and the entire weekend has the spirit of friendly competition for a worthy cause — and in honor of a great guy. Plus, there’s an after party once the tournament ends (around 7 pm on April 26th) at the CWV Post 870 on 61st Street off Roosevelt Avenue.

Details: 2014 Tommy Ashton 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, St. Sebastian Parish Center, 39-60 57th Street, Woodside, April 25th (men’s over 40 division) and April 26th (men’s open and women’s open divisions), $150 fee per team includes team shirts and refreshments (3-5 players per team), proper photo ID with date of birth is mandatory for participants in all divisions. All proceeds go to the foundation.

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Photo courtesy of Google Books, Queens Borough, New York City, 1910-1920: The Borough of Homes and Industry

This image was found in one of the many ancient books which I’m known to haunt. The historic shot’s vantage point is familiar to regular riders of the LIRR, and would be somewhere very close to Trimble Road’s intersection with 64th Street in Woodside. It was likely captured in the latter half of the decade — after 1917 and before 1920 (around the time of the First World War) — roughly a century ago.

Notice the Woodside Court building at the center left of the shot, it would have been around ten years old. Woodside Court is supposed to be the very first apartment house in all of Woodside, or so I’ve been told. The Long Island Railroad station was established in Woodside in 1895, by the way.

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First things first, what we call 51st Street at the border of Astoria and Woodside was once known as Bowery Bay Road. Secondly, in 1733 this spot was on the outskirts of the colonial village of Newtown, and it was chosen by the wealthy Moore family as their private burial ground. They intermarried with other prominent Newtown families, such as the Hallets, Rapelyes, and Jacksons. Jackson Avenue in LIC is named for the Jackson family, by the way.

The sire of the Moore family, Rev. John Moore, arrived in Newtown in 1652. He died in 1657, but left behind a wife and several children who stayed in the area, where they enjoyed a large inheritance of real estate and cash.

One notable descendant of the Moore family was Clement Clarke Moore, who wrote “The Night Before Christmas” amongst other things.

The stone pictured above commemorates Augustine Moore, who died at age 17 in the year 1769.

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Queens natives have given a lot to the military over the years. For example, Woodside’s zip code — 11377 — was home to more soldiers who died in the Vietnam War than any other zip code in the U.S. This weekend, the borough will honor its war heroes with countless Memorial Day parades, including biggest one in the country (Little Neck/Douglaston, pictured above). Here are the details: May 26 (Sunday), Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade, noon, Metropolitan and Ascan avenues; Maspeth Memorial Day Parade, 1 p.m., Grand Avenue and 72nd Street; and May 27 (Monday), Laurelton Memorial Day Parade, 9 a.m., Francis Lewis and Merrick boulevards; Howard Beach Memorial Day Parade, 11 a.m., Coleman Square; Glendale-Ridgewood Veterans Memorial Day Parade, 11 a.m., Glendale Memorial Triangle, located at Myrtle Avenue and 70th Street; Woodside Memorial Day Parade, 11 a.m., 58th Street and Woodside Avenue; Whitestone Memorial Day Parade, noon, 149th Street and 15th Road; Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, 2 p.m., Northern Boulevard and Jayson Avenue.

Image Source: Commons Wikimedia/Little Neck-Douglaston

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The Long Island City/Astoria Journal reports that Queens native chef, Michael Giannakis is throwing his hat into the management ring. He is the newest partner of the Metro Kitchen Café-Restaurant in Woodside where Giannakis also prepares the meals.

According to the LIC / Astoria Journal:

Giannakis studied finance and marketing in college until he went to the Syosset Culinary Academy in Long Island. “I brought with me all this business knowledge about how to properly market menus, ideas and even market myself,” said Giannakis.

Metro Kitchen is located at 6112 Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside (GMAP). They open their doors at 6 a.m. everyday and close at midnight.

 

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Image Source: City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

Sunnyside native Benjamin Andrew Wheeler was among the victims of the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. To honor this beloved six-year-old and his grieving family – and all who are reeling from this tragedy – the community will gather at Sunnyside Reformed Church today, December 18. Participants will then proceed together to Sunnyside Gardens Park, where Ben and his older brother used to spend countless hours before moving to Connecticut about two years ago. Principal Dawn Hochsprung, who reportedly died valiantly trying to save others from the triggerman, also has family in Queens. Please bring candles and expect songs and speeches. Woodside’s Aubergine Café will provide hot cocoa.

Candlelight Vigil in Memory of Sandy Hook Victims
Sunnyside Reformed Church
48th Street and Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside
Tuesday, December 18
6pm – 7pm | FREE!

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Image Source: Waterfront Restaurants Blogspot

It’s a tale of two neighborhoods united by holiday cheer. The Sunnyside Drum Corps headlines this year’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting at Sabba Park in Woodside. The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce is the main organizer of this genuine celebration of community with students, residents, shopkeepers, elected officials and nonprofit employees who sing carols and have fun regardless of the weather. Borough President Helen M. Marshall will light the tree and Father Brian Dowd from Queen of Angels RC Church will lead a Christmas prayer. Candy canes for the children.

Holiday Tree Lighting in Sunnyside/Woodside
Sabba Park, 50th Street and Queens Boulevard
6pm – 8pm | FREE

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Sarah Peltier of Woodside Bakehouse named her granola bars “El Conejo” to connote rabbits and rabbit food (“conejo” means “rabbit” in Spanish). The bars are vegan and packed with healthy, mostly organic ingredients like coconut oil, sunflower seeds, and brown rice. Chewy and fresh, they taste way better and are more satisfying than your typical packaged snack food.