St. John’s Hospital at Jackson Avenue and 12th Street in Hunters Point was formally opened. Bishop Charles E. McDonald delivered the blessing. In the Long Island Star’s words “The formal opening was...one of the most intensely impressive events in the history, not alone of the community in which the noble edifice has been raised, but also of the entire Borough of Queens and the whole of Long Island. The hospital is the culmination of years of arduous labor and earnest, persistent, devotion on the part of the Sisters of St. Joseph, led by the sister superior in charge, Sister Mary David.”
The New York & New Jersey Telephone Company voluntarily cut rates 50%.
Manhattan calls are only 10 cents, the Bronx, 15 cents. Daily phone service drops to 7
cents. Businesses suddenly discover the phone. Newtown Central, in Elmhurst, has over
350 subscribers making it one of the busiest on Long Island. Today, the New York
Telephone Building sits on Broadway, one of the largest structures in the community.
May 17, 1907
The Lelance & Grosjean Factory in Woodhaven is paralyzed
with a strike when 400 employees walk out. Protesting working conditions, they
want more than the going rate of between $4.50 and $6.00 a week (for 10 hour
days). The strike grows. They demand a $1 a week raise. Management counters
with an offer of 50 cents.
The Steinway Trolley Tunnel to Manhattan opens. Later it is taken over
by the Interborough Rapid Transit system for Flushing's #7 Line.
January 16, 1909
Ethel Merman born in Astoria. The Tony Award-winning musical
comedy entertainer who popularized songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and
Irving Berlin, among others. Merman's Broadway performances include Girl Crazy
(1930), Annie Get Your Gun (1946), and Call Me Madam (1950). Biographers describe
her as "a Broadway singing giant with a brassy, larger-than-life star persona
and a uniquely powerful, heart-felt voice." Merman's belt-it-out rendition
of Berlin's "There's No Business Like Show Business" has become the
anthem of the entertainment industry. She died in 1984 and is still fondly remembered
by friends from her old neighborhood.
March 30, 1909
The Queensborough Bridge opened to vehicular traffic. It was
designed by architect Henry Hornbostel and built by engineer Gustav Lindenthal. This
cantilever bridge spanning the East River utilized Blackwell's Island below as the
site of two of the bridge's four towers. The official grand opening celebration was
a few months later in June, and trolley service began in September. Over the years,
the bridge has experienced horse traffic, all types of cars and trucks, trolleys on
the upper and lower decks, elevated railroad trains, a transport elevator from
mid-span to the island below, and bicycle and foot traffic.