The 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair, held here in Queens’ own backyard, was visited by the rich and famous from all over the world. Next door to the spectacle was the middle- and working-class community of Corona.
Sara Delano Roosevelt, mother of President Roosevelt, left her home in Hyde Park to visit the fair on April 29, 1940, at the start of the fair’s new and improved second season.
At the end of the day Mrs. Roosevelt, already 86 years old, got a bad upset stomach from sampling too many foods from too many countries at the fair. She took a detour and made a surprise visit to Jacob Porte’s Drug Store at 108-07 Corona Ave., at the corner of 52nd Avenue, directly across the street from the famous Corona Ice King.
Porte was a humble man who lived directly abovehis store with his wife, Anna, as many shopkeepers did in those days. The visit by the president’s mother caught everybody by surprise, and made memories for the many area residents who met her that day.
After Porte died, the store was continued for many years by Morris Dolinsky. Still in the same location today, it is now called Meadow Park Drug.
Mrs. Roosevelt passed away the following year, on Sept. 7, 1941, three months to the day before the Pearl Harbor attack thrust the nation into war, with her son as commander in chief.