Alfonso Martinez was born in Manhattan on March 6, 1880, the son of an immigrant from Spain who toiled as a machinist. Named Alfonso, perhaps in honor of King Alfonso XII, who was the ruler of Spain at the time.
1900 U.S. Census records show Alfonso and his younger sister, Mary, were living with their grandparents. He was working as a druggist clerk and she was a seamstress operator. Upon graduation from college and receiving his Ph.G., he was now officially a pharmacist.
In 1910, he decided to move to Queens and opened up a drug store on Northern Boulevard, then called National Avenue, in Corona. On April 9, 1911 he married Elsa Bender. At the age of 31, he owned his own pharmacy and was a husband. Sons Edwin and Charles followed in 1912 and 1913.
Next door to his pharmacy was an undertaker. If his drugs couldn’t save you, you didn’t have far to go. Martinez was a fixture on this corner for the next 50 years.
After enjoying retirement, he passed away at his Bayside home in March 1970 at the age of 90. Today his pharmacy on this traffic-heavy corner is a superette.