The Interborough Rapid Transit Co. was incorporated by contractor John McDonald and financiers August Belmont and Cornelius Vanderbilt on May 6, 1902 and began running the city’s first subway that lasted on Oct. 27, 1904.The IRT was always innovative. In 1910 it became the first subway company to operate a 10-car train. On May 10, 1920 it was first again, in using a coin-operated turnstile. The first stations to receive the turnstiles, which replaced human ticket choppers, were 51st and 77th streets on the Lexington Avenue line.
It is now well known history that Long Island City has lost a lot of its old manufacturing industries. Another big labor-intensive jobs facility that was lost was the Postal Concentration Center on Northern Boulevard and 43rd Street. It was also called the Long Island Terminal by the Post Office.
Before the days of FedEx, the Postal Service was choked every Christmas season with parcels. They would reach to the ceiling on the platform at the PCC. They were collected by trucks and taken to ships or the airport for final dispatch. It says on the back of this photo that the workers handled 100,000 parcels a day. All the work was done by hand. Today, foreign packages no longer travel by ship or surface transport and must go by air to arrive on time.
On Dec. 21, 1962, Kodak Pavilion field engineer George Kojac scaled the company’s new structure, under construction for the 1964 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows, to plant a Christmas tree atop it.
Physical feats were nothing new to him.
A vision of Christmas past — looking much like one of Christmas present — is seen in this photograph of the shopping district on Greenpoint Avenue at the corner of 47th Street. Greepoint Avenue starts at Queens Boulevard and extends into Brooklyn over Newtown Creek, continuing all the way down to the East River.
In Queens, much of it runs through Sunnyside, so named to honor Richard Bragaw (1748-1818), whose farm was called Sunnyside Hill. Bragaw was a true American patriot who took up arms during the Revolutionary War while some loyalists, called Tories, fled to Canada.
In 1928 Erik S. Dahlgard arrived here from Copenhagen, Denmark. A tough man in a new world, he made a good living as the manager of a credit and collection agency during the Depression. In 1953 he opened up the Dahlgard Buick Automobile dealership at 141-50 Northern Blvd. and a used car lot at 150-01 Northern, complete with a service department on Prince Street.
In 1955, as president of the Flushing Lions Club, Dahlgard was an outspoken opponent of the proposed Clearview Expressway. He argued that World War II vets whose homes were slated for destruction to make way for it would not be approved for new loans, as the GI Bill had expired.
The 1955 Chevrolet was one of the most successful cars in history. General Motors produced over 1,776,000 of them. The car had a snappy small block V-8 engine and a host of power and luxury options. Chevrolet was no longer thought of as an old man’s car and was raised to a new level by young buyers.
Luby Chevrolet, located at 105-02 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, was one of the largest Chevy dealerships in Queens. However, they ended up with hundreds of unsold ’55 models that September, just a few days before the ’56 cars were to be introduced. They were parked on a huge parcel of land that for many years was owned by Cord Meyer and then by The Luby Realty Co. and the Judley Garage Co.
White Tower Hamburgers was founded in 1926 in Milwaukee. Its white fortress structure is considered an imitator of White Castle. The chain was so successful it expanded to 10 major cities. During the Great Depression it was selling hamburgers for 5 cents.
In 1929 White Castle sued White Tower in Minnesota for unfair competition. White Tower countersued in Michigan, as it had arrived there first. White Castle won the Minnesota case in 1930 and also won the Michigan case in 1934.
One of the most striking homes in Douglas Manor is surrounded in mystery about its original owners.
In 1920 famous local architect Aubrey Grantham designed an outstanding home overlooking Little Neck Bay. It was such an architectural achievement it was in the prestigious Architectural Record magazine.