After World War II there was a massive housing shortage for the thousands of returning veterans who had married and started families — the beginning of the great baby boom. To help accommodate the vets and their families, from 1946 to 1952 the New York City Housing Authority set up Quonset huts as temporary housing in Jackson Heights, Middle Village, Idlewild on Jamaica Bay and Corona, where Lefrak City now stands.
The first family to move into the Idlewild site were the Levinsohns, Leonard, Shirley and their infant son, Ronald. The development was located on the site of the old Idlewild Golf Course, bounded by 147th Avenue to the north, 152nd Avenue to the south, 156th Street to the west and 159th Street to the east.
Later the area became part of the growing airport then known as Idlewild — which was renamed for the late President John F. Kennedy in December 1963.
After the Quonset huts were emptied of residents in 1952, many were moved and converted into car washes in other parts of Queens and on Long Island. It’s getting harder and harder to find anybody who remembers they once housed the Greatest Generation and their children.