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Queens Chronicle

Shopping, drinking on Union

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Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:30 am

The Bellerose, Glen Oaks and Floral Park neighborhoods in Queens were among the very last parts of the borough to be developed, starting right after the end of world War II.

The last virgin lots of farmland were sacrificed for the exploding population of men coming home from the service wanting to get married and start a family. In 1948 a shopping center had to be built to accommodate the needs of the new homeowners. On Union Turnpike between 247th and 248th streets, rows of stores were built on both the north and south sides of the roadway.

In these two strips were two pharmacies, two hair salons, two delicatessens, two cleaners and two meat markets — but only one bar and grill. That last, at 248-03 Union Tpke., was originally called The Glen Oaks Tavern and later became Vic’s Anchorage Lounge. It was a popular spot to unwind, featuring Ray Simmons every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at the piano keyboard.

It was also fully air-conditioned, which many bars were not in the 1950s. In 1958, owner Vic Diaz sold it to Harry and Raymond Bernstein of Manhattan and the name was changed to Ray’s Anchorage Lounge. In later years it was just called The Anchorage. It survived over four decades, which is a tough thing to do in the competitive bar business. Directly across the street on the south side was Kap’s Ice Cream & Soda shop at 248-02, which lasted almost as long if you had a sweet tooth.

All the original stores are now long gone but the shopping center still looks as fresh and clean as it did over 60 years ago, as the new storeowners take great pride in their community.

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