The Ancient Order of Hibernians marches throughout Long Island
City before joining the St Patrick Parade in Manhattan. Music is provided by
the St. Raphael Fife and Drum Corps. Escorted by mounted police, the precession
starts in Blissville and proceeds through Greenpoint Avenue to Ely and Jackson
Avenues. Borough President Lawrence Gresser and staff review the parade from
the steps of the Borough Hall in Long Island City.
September 8, 1910
The Penn Tunnels under the East River from Hunters Point
to midtown Manhattan opened. The Long Island Rail Road was now able to run its
newly electrified trains from Long Island, through Queens, into Pennsylvania
Station. For obvious health and safety reasons the older, outdated coal locomotives
were deemed unsuitable for tunnels and underground stations.
June 3, 1911
Paulette Goddard was born in Whitestone Landing, Queens. She
began to model for local department stores before she made her debut, at 13,
with the Ziegfeld Follies. She was a top draw for Astoria's Paramount Studios,
and was one of a small group of actresses who successfully moved from Silents
to Talkies. Paulette was married to Charlie Chapin, then Burgess Meredith, and
still later to novelist Erich Maria Remarque. An extremely wealthy woman, toward
the end of her life she gave generous endowments to the New York University
School of the Arts. On April 23, 1990 she died of massive heart failure in Ronco,
Switzerland aged 78.
July 19, 1911
The toll on the Queensboro Bridge was abolished. According to those interested in the automobile business, this would give Long Island City a great boost. “Automobilists,” as manufactures of automobiles were then called, could locate their factories here escaping the high rents in Manhattan but still be in reach of the automobile center around Broadway and Fifty-ninth Street. Six big factories were already located in Long Island City. Three additional firms were looking for space in the neighborhood which was publicized as becoming one of the most important automobile centers in the country
The Queens Chamber of Commerce announces plans for linking Flushing
and Jamaica Bays with a canal. The Degnon Contracting ompany, dredging Dutch
Kills, is building and grading streets in its 125 acre site in preparation for
factories and warehouses. Degnon is also filling in marshes between Corona and
Flushing with ashes under contract with the New York City; 300 acres in Flushing
meadows begin development.
A survey on the three year old Queensboro Bridge shows a 25% gain in
traffic from the previous year with over 5,000 vehicles crossing in one 24 hour
period. The number of horse drawn vehicles are decreasing as nearly two-thirds
of the traffic are trucks and automobiles. The following year's daily volume
is projected skyrocket to 17,000 per day, or 12 vehicles a minute. The bridge
is expected to reach full capacity within a decade.
January 28, 1913
The first trial trips of the electric trolley were run across
the Queensboro Bridge from Manhattan to Woodside. The next day regular service began.
March 13, 1913
William Casey was born in Elmhurst. His grandfather was L.I.C.
firefighter George Casey, organizer the Long Island City Exempt Fireman's
Association and its first president. William, a successful business leader, held a
number of important posts including head of the Export-Import Bank, Security and
Exchange Commission and President Ronald Regan's campaign manager. He was appointed
to Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency by President Reagan in 1981. Controversy
over the alleged illegal sale of arms to Iran to fund Nicaraguan insurgents marred
his tenure. This "Iran-Contra" scandal tarnished Casey's reputation. He died in May
1987 never having a chance to clear his name and testify before Congress.
Borough President Connolly arranged for the location of two big floating public baths. They were to be located at the foot of Tenth street, College Point, and at Keeler’s Dock in Whitestone. They would be open from 5 AM to 9 PM during the June 15th to September 15th season. An application was made to the Board of Aldermen for the necessary funds to operate the baths. During that month, the Health Department released statistics showing the population of the city would be 5,372,983 on July 1. The effect of the enormous immigration was evident in the reported fact that 45.4% of the white population was foreign born, while only 15.8% was native born.
The Rockaway Board of Trade announces that lights are being installed
in the elevated boardwalk at Rockaway Beach and are to remain lit until October
1. That month, fire on LIRR trestle to the Rockaways knocks out service. Over
50,000 are stranded and are forced to spend a night on the beach.
Service for Slocum dead is held in Lutheran Cemetery. The bells of
Middle Village churches toll for memorial services observing the ninth anniversary
of the great tragedy. The burning of excursion boat 'General Slocum' on June 15,
1904, killed over a thousand. The dead were mostly mothers and children. The
procession starts from the headquarters of the General Slocum Survivors Memorial
Association, and is led by Elder's Military band playing a funeral march. A crowd
of thousands walks slowly to the monument in Lutheran Cemetery that marks the
graves of the unidentified dead.
October 25, 1913
Joseph Witzel, known throughout the entire city as the proprietor of Point View Island, College Point, died at the age of 79 in the café he opened at the corner of Second Avenue and Tenth Street in College Point in 1872. In 1891, after twenty years of success, he opened the Point View Island Resort on the East River between College Point and Whitestone. The place was ideally located as a summer grove for outings, and it soon became famous. Some of the largest organizations in the city held outings there. The grounds were large enough to accommodate as many as four organizations simultaneously holding outings
The Queens Chamber of Commerce released some statistics for 1912 from the Industrial Directory of New York. The volume devoted considerable space to Queens, saying: “Queens is of importance from three standpoints: As an industrial community, as a residential section, and as a truck farming section…” The report stated that there were 720 farms, comprising 14,588 acres (out of a total 82,883 acres for the entire borough). Over half of their produce for 1912 was fruits and vegetables. The report also showed that there were 851 factories, employing 31,687 workers. Over 110 different lines of manufacturing were carried on in the borough.
In Ridgewood at the intersection of Myrtle and Wykoff Avenues, the Barnum & Bailey circus was staked out under the Big Top. It featured 1,200 people, 3,500 costumes, a ballet of 300, 350 instrumentalists, 500 arena stars, and a ‘monster’ zoo. Advertising gave instructions on how to reach the circus by trolleys. During that month, Dr. Booker T. Washington, as guest of a local A.M.E.Z. Church in Corona, preached at the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown in Elmhurst. The paper commented that his presence in a 'suburban' setting was considered most unusual.
May 3, 1914
Dr. Booker T. Washington delivered a talk at the Presbyterian
Church of Newtown, in Elmhurst, Queens. Born into slavery in 1856, he spent his
youth working in West Virginia salt mines. By 1881, he was President of the
Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and the 1890s, he was the most prominent
African-American in the country and was advisor to Presidents as well as
captains of industry. Other African-American leaders, as W.E.B. DuBois resented
Washington's message of political accommodation in favor of economic progress.
When Washington died a year later, even DuBois acclaimed him as "the greatest
Negro leader since Frederick Douglass, and the most distinguished man, white or
black who has come out of the South since the Civil War."
The Loose-Wiles bakery in Long Island City became a tourist attraction. The company had advertised an open invitation to visit the building. Thousands came, including auto parties from neighboring states. Visitors could inspect the giant ovens, which were bigger than most homes and watch wonderful machines pack and seal 352 kinds of biscuits, among other treats. Ladies could enjoy tea and a biscuit fresh from the ovens. At full capacity, the bakery consumed ten carloads (or 2,000 barrels) of flour a day and employed 3,500. The electric sign on the roof was the largest in the world, being 586 feet long, 40 feet high and containing more than 5,000 electric lamps. The heating and lighting within the building consumed electricity equivalent to a city of 60,000.
June 22, 1915
Subway service to Queens opened with service between Grand Central Terminal and Long Island City at the Vernon-Jackson Avenues station. The trains used the newly completed Steinway tubes under the East River. Today this subway line is the 7 train to Flushing.
October 1, 1915
In a moment frozen in time by photographs and postcards
of the era, the massive arches of the Hell Gate Bridge were joined high above
the East River. An engineering marvel at the time the bridge's two halves were
only separated by 5/16 of an inch before being connected. Begun in July 1912
and completed in 1917, the Hell Gate Bridge, more properly the New York Connecting
Railroad Bridge, was the longest bridge of its type. The bridge approach extends
from ground level in Sunnyside and climbs the rail viaduct through Astoria,
over the river, spans Wards and Randalls Islands, and finally crosses over the
Bronx Kill into the Bronx to points north. Train travel from Pennsylvania Station
in New York City to New England was finally and successfully realized.
February 15, 1916
At one minute past midnight, the guard on the train at
Jackson Avenue slammed the door and announced loudly: "Hunterpoint Avenue next!"
The Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) train ran from Jackson Avenue in
Long Island City to Lexington Avenue and 42nd St in Manhattan. (These tracks,
today known as the #7 Line, was then called the 'Queensboro Subway'.)
February 1, 1917
The Astoria "el" rapid transit line from Queensboro Plaza
to Ditmars Boulevard opened. The three track elevated line runs from the former
Bridge Plaza along Northern Blvd. for only a quarter mile to 31st Street, where
the train runs along the top of the ridge to beyond the Grand Central Parkway.
April 2, 1917
Scott Joplin, 49, is buried in an unmarked pauper's grave in St.
Michael's cemetery, East Elmhurst. Considered one of the giants in American music,
he authored dozens of music compositions. Failing to copyright much of his
material, Joplin is still credited with publishing some 41 are piano "rags". He
suffered a nervous breakdown and spent the end of his life in a mental hospital.
His reputation had to wait to a revival in 1972. He posthumorously won a Pulitzer
Prize in 1976.
January 17, 1918
Freight train service begins on the Hell Gate Bridge. The bridge,
dedicated in March of 1917, began passenger train service in April of that year. A
rail link between New York City and New England was finally realized. It is the
largest four lane rail bridge in the world when constructed, able to carry the weight
of dozens of locomotives. Built from each side of the Hell Gate, when the two halves
met in the middle they were off less than half an inch!
February 4, 1918
The United States was in the thick of Word War I. It was a
year and a day after the U.S. broke off diplomatic ties with Germany. The
American government began the process of taking photographs and fingerprints of
resident aliens. They could register at the Elmhurst Post Office.