In conjunction with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, the Queens Chronicle presents “Queens Timeline,” a regular column of noteworthy events in the borough’s history.
It happened in Queens in the month of January…
in 1990, Citicorp Chairman John Reed snips a red ribbon opening the $250 million Citicorp Tower at Court Square in Long Island City. The 48-story tower, the largest structure between New York and Boston when built, is a harbinger of the future for Queens.
in 1962, an unusual shipment arrives at Idlewild Airport. The body of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, who died in Italy, is en route to St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village. Its arrival creates confusion within the Customs Service over the possibility that the coffin might contain narcotics or diamond contraband. Although officials have a right to do so, they did not open it.
in 1935, a fire sweeps the L. B. Kleinert Co. factory, at 26th Avenue between 127 and 128 Streets in College Point. The wind whips flames fed by acids and chemicals. The fire completely destroys one section of a top floor of the rubber manufacturing plant. More than 125 employees are out of work.
in 1890, on January 2nd, the Steinway Free Circulating Library opens. Later merging into the Long Island City Library, then the Queens Borough Public Library, it is now the largest circulating library in the country. Throughout the changes, for over 100 years, benefactor William Steinway's portrait watches browsers from a position of honor on a wall at the library’s Steinway Branch.
For more information on the Greater Astoria Historical Society, call 278-0700 or visit www.astorialic.org on the Web.