At the age of 33, lifelong Whitestone resident Jason Antos has already published five books on the history of his native borough, but even more amazing is what piqued his interest in the subject in the first place.
“My love for local history started in elementary school,” he said. As youngsters were wont to do back then, Antos and his childhood friends spent much of their time playing in the street.
Last week baseball commissioner Bud Selig made his final visit to Citi Field before he retires early next year. While many Mets fans and naive media members were hoping that he would say something critical of Mets ownership, he instead praised the way that they have been operated. I wasn’t the least bit surprised.
Bud said that he had no problem that the Mets are in the lowest third of MLB teams in terms of payroll with 2014 salary expense estimated to be $84 million. Why should he be perturbed? As the owners’ chief executive he would be thrilled if all clubs significantly reduced payroll. Having a team situated in the nation’s largest media market acting parsimoniously makes other team owners take notice. Even the once free-spending New York Yankees are trying to keep things in budget (albeit with a dollar figure more than twice what their counterparts in Queens are spending).
Seeking to achieve in court what it could not get in arbitration, the United Federation of Teachers last week filed a lawsuit asking a judge to rule that teachers do not have to show their lesson plans to school administrators.
The suit, filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, grows out of an arbitrator’s ruling in May that while all teachers must create lesson plans, what they contain will be left up to them, according to multiple published reports. The arbitrator refused a union bid to also rule that principals and other supervisors would not even get to review the plans, prompting the suit.
After an uphill battle, the petitioners of the Willets West lawsuit have not prevailed.
Justice Manuel Mendez ruled Monday that, despite claims of land use violations, the city and the Queens Development Group can move forward with their plans to build a shopping mall and entertainment center on parkland.
After months of anticipation and frustration, the Willets West civil suit went to court on July 31 and the plaintiffs have found themselves in a position to possibly win.
The lawsuit, filed several months ago, is challenging the giveaway of 47 acres of parkland near Citi Field, worth an estimated $1 billion, to build a mall and entertainment center. The project is partnered with the Willets Point Development Project.
A lawsuit to stop the giveaway of more than 47 acres to developers of the Willets West mega mall was to be heard Wednesday at state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
The lawsuit was filed by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the City Club of New York, a good government organization, the Queens Civic Congress, Willets Point United and nearby residents and business owners.
We all know of the famous August 1965 concert by the Beatles at Shea Stadium. However, the Fab Four first came to Queens a year earlier, playing at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium.
Girls anxiously waited for the tickets to go on sale at 11 a.m. on May 1, 1964 at Limelight Products, located at 118-30 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, next door to the Kew Tavern Bar. Tickets were priced from $1.95 to $4.95. The 15,983 available quickly sold out. Rather than turn fans away, the promoters added more seats up close on on the tennis green for the premium price of $6.50.
When an NBA team doesn’t make the playoffs, as is the case with the Knicks this year, the lone silver lining is a chance to nab a very good college player in the NBA Draft Lottery. Lamentably for Knicks fans, their team traded their top pick in the upcoming draft to the Denver Nuggets when they obtained Carmelo Anthony in 2011.
Adding to Knicks fans’ concern is that Carmelo will be a free agent come July 1. My guess is that he will re-sign with the Knicks since he and his wife very much like living in New York, and that team owner James Dolan has constantly sought out his advice. But the Knicks’ failures this season must give Anthony pause to making a long-term commitment.
It was 1964, the height of the Cold War and Americans were still reeling from the loss of their young president a year earlier. The perfect antidote was a World’s Fair.
Although not a financial success, the two-year event at Flushing Meadows buoyed spirits in a time when that was much needed.
The Unisphere was the central hub of the 1964-65 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows. Behind it is the U.S. Pavilion and Shea Stadium. To the right rear is the Singer Bowl, now the USTA’s Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Citi Field opened five years ago and the Mets have not had a winning season since. Throw in the last two years they played in Shea Stadium, 2007 and 2008, when they were in first place in September in the National League East only to wind up behind the Philadelphia Phillies, and Mets fans must feel as if they have endured a biblical seven years of famine. Well, fans of our Flushing heroes, get ready for year No. 8.
To say the fan base is dispirited is an understatement. Two years ago it appeared that Mets ownership was going to turn the page on player salaries when it settled with Irving Picard, the trustee seeking compensation for the victims of the Madoff Securities scandal. Picard had determined the Mets owners, Fred Wilpon and his brother-in-law Saul Katz, had been unjustifiably enriched by Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme even though they were not complicit.
A rally to take back the parkland at Flushing Meadows will be held Saturday at noon, rain or shine, starting at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and 114th Street in Corona.
Organized by the nonprofit watchdog group NYC Park Advocates and state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the rally will march to a nearby location on Roosevelt Avenue overlooking the proposed site for a mega-mall in the Citi Field parking lot.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to understand that if it had not been for mega builder Robert Moses along with both the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers leaving the Big Apple in 1957 for California, there may have been no “Shea Stadium nearing completion” (I Have Often Walked by Ron Marzlock, Feb. 13).
The golden era of baseball in New York City was the 1950s, with a three-way rivalry between the American League New York Yankees and the National League Giants and Dodgers. All three teams claimed to have the best center fielder in baseball. On street corners all over town, citizens would argue whether the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle, Giants’ Willie Mays or Dodgers’ Duke Snider was champ.
Ordinary Brooklynites could ride the bus, trolley or subway to Ebbets Field to see their beloved Dodgers. Men and women of all ages, classes and races co-mingled in the stands. Everyone could afford a seat. Refreshments and souvenirs were reasonably priced.
Team owners would raise or reduce a player’s salary based on his performance the past season. Salaries were so low that virtually all Dodger players worked another job off-season. Most were neighbors who lived and worked in various communities in the County of Kings.
Residents of the era sat outside on the stoop and shopped at the local butcher, baker, fruit and vegetable stand. Television was a relatively new technology and the local movie theater was still king for entertainment. Brooklyn still had its very own daily newspaper — the Brooklyn Eagle — which ended publication sometime in the mid-’50s.
During the ’50s, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley tried to find various locations for a new baseball stadium, which he pledged to finance using his own monies. With limited seating at Ebbets Field, he needed a new stadium to remain financially viable.
Master mega-builder Robert Moses refused him access to the current-day Atlantic Yards site. This location was easily accessible from all around the Big Apple via subway.
Thousands of fans who moved to eastern Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County would have had direct access via the LIRR. Imagine how different Brooklyn would have been if elected officials had stood up to Moses and allowed construction of a new Dodgers stadium in downtown Brooklyn. Without the departure of the Dodgers to Los Angeles and Giants to San Francisco, there may have been no National League expansion in 1962. There would have been no Colt 45s (original name of the Houston Astros) or our beloved New York Mets.
Shea Stadium nearing completion for opening day in February 1964.
New Yorkers over the age of 65 still remember how much we were starved for National League baseball when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants moved to California. The only game in town was the American League’s Yankees, and when they went on the road, you had nothing. A horrible thought for a baseball addict.
Attorney William Shea headed up a committee to make arrangements to expand the National League from eight to 10 teams. Abraham Beame, later to be our mayor, was the city’s budget director and comptroller in 1960. He backed a stadium in Corona. All members of the old Board of Estimate voted for it, except the two from the Bronx.
In another attempt to put a wrench in the behemoth development plan for Willets Point, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and others filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming the shopping mall portion proposed for the Citi Field parking lot in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is illegal under state law.
The plan, submitted by the Queens Development Group — a partnership between Sterling Equities and The Related Companies — was given approval by the City Council last October.
A lawsuit claiming that the shopping mall proposed for the Citi Field parking lot in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is illegal under state law was filed today.
The suit charges that the mall, approved by the City Council near the end of former Mayor Mike Bloomberg's last term, cannot be built without the approval of the state Legislature because the location is parkland.
A lawsuit will be filed tomorrow, Feb. 7, in an attempt to prevent the construction of a shopping mall in the Citi Field parking lot, which is technically part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the Queens Chronicle has learned.
The suit will be brought by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Whitestone), City Club, NYC Park Advocates and a number of Corona businesses and residents, according to a source who has seen the papers that will be filed.
There were a lot of naysayers five years ago when the Yankees and their co-sponsor, New Era, announced that they would be starting an annual college football bowl game to be called the Pinstripe Bowl. It would be the first college bowl game in the New York area since the very short-lived Gotham Bowl in 1962.
As is generally the case, Yankees management knew what it was doing. The Pinstripe Bowl has arguably become the premier college bowl game that is played prior to Jan. 1, judging by game attendance. Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost happily reported that Saturday’s game between Notre Dame and Rutgers had an advance sale of 47,000 tickets, a Pinstripe Bowl record. He gleefully added that the Super Bowl Host Committee was very jealous of the 50-degree-plus sunny weather for the game.
Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine stirred things up when he complained that the Yankees did not reach out to their community following September 11, 2001.
In fairness to Valentine, he was probably still steaming about a 2004 HBO Sports documentary, “Nine Innings From Ground Zero,” which spent the lion’s share of the time concentrating on the Yankees playoffs and seven-game nail-biting World Series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fall of 2001 and how that helped cheer up New Yorkers needing a diversion. The Mets barely rated a three-minute mention in it from what I remember even though Valentine and his players spent a lot of time preparing boxes of food and supplies. Shea Stadium was used as an emergency center for first responders because of its sizable parking lot which Yankee Stadium lacked. The MLB network replayed the documentary last week — carryitclearly.com.
Middle Village songwriter Lori Martini dives into the world of film with her real-life inspired short “A Route Less Traveled.”
Martini, who co-produced and directed the movie with a friend, Staten Island actress-filmmaker Maria Rusolo, admits it’s a lot of work, yet fun and rewarding.
It took a little over 49 years but the Midsummer Classic, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game has returned to Queens.
Unlike 1964, when Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison hit a dramatic three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning at Shea Stadium to win the game for the National League, the All-Star Game is literally more than just a game.
Edgardo Alfonzo decided to live in Bayside so he wouldn’t have a long commute to work.
He could leave his quiet neighborhood and in less than 20 minutes be at his locker in Shea Stadium, ready to play for his New York fans as a member of what is considered by many to be “the best infield ever.”
You won’t need to get out your favorite MGM film to see people singing and dancing on the streets this summer.
The annual Make Music New York festival which welcomes in summer with scores of free musical performances scattered throughout the streets and parks, is coming to dozens of locations in Queens.
The NBA Draft Lottery held last week at the Disney Studios in Times Square determined the order of selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, scheduled for June 27 at the Barclays Center. The participants were all from NBA clubs that did not qualify for the playoffs, which meant that for the first time in years, neither the Knicks nor Nets were involved. Nevertheless, there were a number Queens-related stories.
Ernie Grunfeld, the greatest basketball player in Forest Hills High School history, was at the lottery as president of the Washington Wizards. Ernie has the unique perspective of having been a former first-round draft choice himself, as he was chosen by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1977, and now is in the position of selecting a player for that honor. I asked him about his memories of being selected by an NBA team after finishing his four years at the University of Tennessee.