• August 20, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

I Have Often Walked

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Bernie Madoff grew upin this Laurelton house

Bernie Madoff’s great-grandfather Berel Middownick immigrated to America in 1908 from Poland with his seven children and wife, with the trade of tailor. He immediately changed his name to Barnett Madoff and settled in Scranton, Pa. One of his sons, David, had a boy named Ralph who married in 1932 and moved to 1033 Belmont Ave. in Brooklyn. Three children were born: Sondra, Bernard and Peter.The 1940 Census records show Ralph’s occupation as “Credit man,” Wholesale Jewelry. He must have done well as he moved out to Queens, purchasing a new home right after the war ended at 139-54 228 St. in the predominately Jewish community of Laurelton.

Those were the days on Cooper Avenue in Rego Park
Posted: August 08, 2019

From 1971 to 1979 this house served in the opening credits of “All in the Family” as the home of Archie and Edith Bunker. In real life it has been owned by one family since it was built over 90 years ago.

While many think the house is in Gendale, it really is located in a sliver of Rego Park.

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Remembering the huge incinerator on Betts Avenue
Posted: August 01, 2019

It was 1946. And with the mass building of apartment houses in Queens, waste was going to be a big problem.

The new Public Works commissioner, Frederick Zurmuhlen, a civil engineer, helped design a new experimental incinerator on 58th Street, which was formerly known as Betts Avenue. On a huge, tax-exempt, 208-by-1,248-foot lot, an attractive and state-of-the-art building was erected. If you took away the smoke stacks it could pass for a modern medical office building.

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Lux apartments an ode to LIC’s manufacturing past
Posted: July 25, 2019

The Pickford Building constructed in 1920 at the corner of Court Square and Thomson Avenue was one of six buildings that Eagle Electrical Manufacturing founders Louis and Philip Ludwig used in their business throughout the city. The company eventually moved to Greensboro, NC and later to Mexico.

Peter F. Mallon, born on April 20, 1897, into a devout Catholic family, worked hard as a salesman in the printing industry. He took over the building in 1947 and formed one of the largest printing factories and lithographers in the city. It had a spur connected to the Long Island Railroad line behind the building that came inside and moved their merchandise cheaply and quickly all over the country.

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A first-generation American and entrepreneur
Updated: July 18, 2019 - 12:40 pm

Nathan Chavkin was born in Russia in 1899. He immigrated to New York in 1909 and became a naturalized citizen. He married Dina Chikin in June 1921 and settled in Woodside. Chavkin opened up a pharmacy at the corner of Woodside Avenue and 69th Street and was a staple in the community.

He had two sons, Wallace and Gilbert. Gilbert became an accountant but Wallace, who was known by all as “Wally,” graduated the College of Pharmacy in New York in 1944 and wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. He married his longtime sweetheart Este Greenberg in 1945. Wallace heard about the new real estate development in the Bellerose-Floral Park area, where young families were moving in.

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Thursday 07/11/2019
He came from Belarus and set up shop in Jamaica
Posted: July 11, 2019

Samuel Leaf was born in Grodno, Belarus, on the border of Poland on Sept. 1, 1882. He arrived in America in 1884 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1904. He married Russian immigrant Rose Lubitz and they had five children: Alice, Sophia, Abraham, Herbert and Harold.

Armed with only an eighth-grade education, Leaf worked in the furniture district on West 32nd Street in Manhattan, learning all about the business. After learning everything about hardwoods like maple and oak, he opted to go another way, opening a store that sold chrome kitchen sets on Hillside Avenue.

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Wednesday 07/03/2019
Long-time car wash still cleaning up in Middle Village
Updated: July 03, 2019 - 4:57 pm

David Brody was born in 1911. He lived with his Russian-born father Nathan, who was a junk dealer, and mother Rebecca at 68-63 76 St. in Middle Village.

David was the successful proprietor of a tire business. In 1948, he purchased an obscure empty 25-by-59-foot lot on Fresh Pond Road in between a candy store and a gas station. The building was constructed of beautiful, pure white bricks and named “Speedy Auto Wash.” There was never an extra charge for white walls.

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Thursday 06/27/2019
The king of fruits and vegetables in South Jamaica
Posted: June 27, 2019

Angelo LaMarca was born on April 27, 1894 in Pietrelcina, Italy. He arrived in the U.S. on Sept. 12, 1913 on the ship Hamburg. His future wife, Assunta “Sue” Forgione, arrived about a year later on the Stampalia. They married and settled in New Castle, Pa.

He spent the next five years as a boiler-maker, but jailtime halted his work. LaMarca was sentenced to Western State Prison in Lawrence, Pa. for 18 months for “larceny by servant,” or stealing from an employer.

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