Rapid transit service to the communities east of Flushing, a popular
home sector, is a top transportation need, urges civic organizations. The should
link the Flushing 'L' with the Long Island Rail Road and send rapid transit
lines over the rail tracks. Businessmen in Bayside/Flushing raise funds to engage
engineers and lawyers to advise them on the construction problems involved,
feasibility of dual operation, and legal questions that might arise in the
operation of a city owned service over the facilities of a private company.
Congressman James Delaney of Astoria wants to make the State
of Long Island. As member of the House Rules Committee investigating admitting
Hawaii and Alaska as states, he claims Long Island makes a much better case
for statehood. He continues, 'Alaska, with 90,000, has 1/4 the members of my
district.' The proposed state, with 26 members in Congress and a population
of 9 million, would be about the size of California or Illinois. Jamaica is
suggested as the capital.
The Queensboro Arena, located at 29-49 Northern Blvd. near Queens Plaza, was demolished. The 4,000 seat outdoor venue had been home to many famous boxing matches, but by mid-century, a general decline of interest in boxing led to its demise. Built on the site of Schalenberg’s Park, a picnic ground, the old dance hall became a moving picture theatre, and in 1911, a fight area. Old timers would talk of watching fights on the Ditmars bound el as it slowly made its turn onto Northern Blvd. Kids climbing the elevated structure to watch fights for free were a constant problem. Famous boxers who practiced the ‘sweet science’ there read like a who’s who in boxing: Jack Sharkey, Primo Carnera, Maxie Rosenbloom, and of course, Paul Berlenbach, the ‘Astoria Assassin.’
March 9, 1950
Notorious bank robber Willie Sutton robs the Manufacturer's
Trust Co. Bank at 47-11 Queens Boulevard of $64,000. During his trial at the
Long Island City Courthouse he was asked why he robbed banks. Sutton allegedly
replies, "Because that's where the money is." In his 1976 autobiography,
he confesses never saying it and credits the line to an imaginative reporter.
Queens Post Offices prepares for new schedules under the recent
economy edict from Washington. Postmaster Moses Symington said after June 1
there will be only one delivery of mail per day. Business districts, with three
deliveries per day, remain unchanged.
November 25, 1950
An extreme weather event, the "great Appalachian
wind storm" smashed Queens and the metropolitan area. The severity of the
winds saw a 24-hour wind speed average of 26.6 miles per hour. One sustained
wind hit 70 mph and Idlewild (now JFK International) Airport was socked by a
90-mph gust. LaGuardia Airport in northern Queens was closed due to high tides
caused by the heavy winds. The location of the two Queens airports at water's
edge makes them susceptible to such severe weather.
During “operation marijuana,” Sanitation Department crewmen descended on Maspeth to wipe out the biggest marijuana “farm” found anywhere in the city. It was estimated that enough plants to make 2,000,000 “reefers” were destroyed. About 2,000 pounds of the “dope weed” were yanked out and carted away to an incinerator. Some of the plants were as much as eight feet high. Even without the Maspeth farm, Queens’ marijuana crop was the largest of any borough. It was estimated at 11,000 pounds, enough to make 11,000,000 “reefers”, worth at least $5,500,000 on the drug market.
June 15, 1953
The New York State Legislature created the massive New York
City Transit Authority (now MTA-New York City Transit) as a separate public corporation
to manage and operate all city-owned bus, trolley and subway routes. Fifty
years later, it is remains a part of one of the most extensive and complex
public transportation systems in the world. The agency not only boasts of
operating a 24-hour-a-day bus and subway service throughout the five boroughs,
but has more buses than any public agency in North America, and runs the largest
subway car fleet anywhere. Daily more that six million people use New York
City Transit -- almost 2 billion customers annually.
The first "Walk-Don't Walk" traffic lights were installed
at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Main Street in Flushing. First displayed
in green and red, then about 1980 changed to white and red, these ubiquitous
signals on every corner lasted unchanged until the summer of 2001. With astonishing
speed every traffic light in the borough was updated and pedestrian signals
were replaced with the international symbols of a red hand ("Don't Walk)
and a white outline of a walking man ("Walk"). Authorities felt symbols
were easier to understand and cheaper to operate.
January 12, 1954
Controversial radio and television “shock-jock” host Howard Stern was born in Jackson Heights, Queens. Though a shy, awkward youth, he knew from the age of five that he wanted to be on the radio. He would realize that dream and dramatically change the medium of radio. In June 2004, Clear Channel Communications paid a reported $1.75 million in fines to settle indecency complaints against Stern. The self-anointed "King of All Media" later announced that he had signed a $500 million deal with the Sirius satellite radio where, as of January 1, 2006, he can broadcast without FCC restrictions. Notable quote: “Late night television is ready for someone like me... standards have gone to an all-time low.”
April 5, 1954
The U. S. Public Health Service assured the nation that the new Salk polio vaccine, which was to be tested on 1,000,000 school children nationwide, was “safer than safe.” School children in first through third grades in Corona and Flushing were scheduled to participate in the test. These sections of Queens were selected because they met the test criterions of having a population of more than 50,000 and having a high polio incidence in the last five years.
The Pulaski Bridge links Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Hunters Point, Queens.
The 60th Street tunnel, an eleven million dollar project which links
the IND and BMT Lines in Long Island City is completed. Marie Leonard, 20,
of 30-02 Broadway, that month's Miss Subways, cuts the ribbon opening the
line. She is the daughter of Frank Leonard, a road car inspector at the Queens
Over 12,000 signatures are collected on Zoo-For-Queens petitions.
Newspaper editorials demand that Mayor Wagner gives Queens a zoo. The Parks
Department has been petitioning the city for a such a facility since 1946. Borough
President Lundy, after pointing out that Queens is the only borough without
a zoo, promises to fight for one at the Board of Estimate.
January 16, 1958
Subway service extended to Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, Queens.
Now designated the "A" train, it is the MTA's longest line, stretching 31 miles
from 207th Street in Inwood, northern Manhattan, to Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway
or to Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park, two stops at opposite ends of the
October 28, 1958
On a rain-soaked evening at Queens' Idlewild Airport, the
Pan American "Clipper America" took off, thus inaugurating commercial
jet travel by a U.S. airline. This scheduled jet flight to Paris, reaching the
unheard of speed of 575 mph, greatly reduced travel time from 23 hours to only
seven. A BOAC Comet 4 aircraft, landing at Idlewild, completed the first transatlantic
passenger jet flight 24 days earlier.
September 24, 1959
Governor Rockefeller and Mayor Wagner called on President Eisenhower to submit an application to the Bureau of International Expositions in Paris asking that the body consider Flushing Meadows as the site of the 1964 World’s Fair. Eisenhower was not asked to exclude other cities from the application, as groups in Washington and Los Angeles had been pushing their cities. The bureau was to meet in November to select the fair site.