In conjunction with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, the Queens Chronicle presents noteworthy events in the borough’s history.
On May 12, 1989, New York City Transit succeeded in its five-year goal of establishing graffiti-free bus and subway fleets as the last graffiti-covered train was taken out of service. Transit staff was deployed at terminals to clean each car after its journey down a line. Highest priority was accorded to graffiti, which had to be cleaned off or covered over before the car was put back in service. This program cost about $5 million per year. Yards in Kew Gardens and Flushing Meadows were placed off-limits behind barbed wire and chain link fencing. After whitewashing the cars, they got a coating of Tuscan red paint and were dubbed the “Redbirds.”
In May 1941, Herbert Ricard, librarian at the Long Island Collection of the Queensborough Public Library, along with residents of Elmhurst, discussed creating the Newtown Historical Society to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Newtown in 1942. He said, “places are being torn down and unless something is done to mark these sites, coming generations will be totally unaware of the historical importance of their neighborhoods. Many landmarks and traditions that should not be lost to America are to be found in the Newtown section.”
In May 1854, “Winfield” was born. It was named after General Winfield Scott, Mexican War hero and general of the Army. In 1853, General Scott moved to New York and brought with him the Army’s command center. He instantly became a member of high society and a local New York celebrity. Manhattan developers G.G. Andrews and J.F. Kendall founded this hamlet in northwestern Queens and named it in his honor. The neighborhood eventually became part of Woodside, and its name disappeared, but not before it was a major link on the Long Island Rail Road and home to industry manufacturing Singer sewing machines and metal coffins.
On Monday, June 13th, at 7 p.m., the next installment of the society’s lecture series, “Through the Sepia Glass—Visions of Astoria’s Past” a slide lecture of rare historic images of the community will be held. The event will be at Quinn’s Gallery, 35-20 Broadway, Long Island City.
In the gallery, see the exhibit “Astoria’s Greatest Generation—World War II + 60 Years.” Open to the public Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.
For further information, call the Greater Astoria Historical Society at 718-278-0700 or www.astorialic.org.