Donald Manes, then 37 years old, was elected to his first term as Queens Borough President. He was the youngest Borough President in history. Manes turned the position from merely a cermonial role into a more proactive political job. He served in the office until 1986, when he became embroiled in a kickback scheme, which tragically led to his suicide.
The Queens Center Mall, located at the corner of Queens and Woodhaven
Blvds., opens for business. Queens begins to reverse the trend of losing retail
sales to Long Island and Manhattan.
July 6, 1975
At a few minutes to 6 pm two horses went to the post at Belmont
Park in New York. This was an extraordinary race matching Ruffian, the Champion
two year old filly of 1974 and Foolish Pleasure, the Champion two year old colt
of 1974. Both horses had gone through their seasons undefeated. Ruffian was
½ a length in front of the colt when her leg snapped. It took 30 strides
to stop her, but it was too late. A broken leg for a thoroughbred horse is too
often a death sentence. The following day, Ruffian was put to sleep. The race
proved that only death could beat her.
March 25, 1977
The Jamaica based Long Island Press folded. It began publishing the Long Island Farmer in 1821. In the 1920s, it became the Long Island Daily Press. The paper was the last Queens daily and its demise followed in the footsteps of the late Long Island Star, Flushing Journal and Newtown Register, all started in the nineteenth century, and often considered the golden age of newspaper journalism. A number of local and county wide weekly papers (as well as the Long Island based daily Newsday) serve the borough today. Many older residents still fondly remember ‘the Press.’
June 25, 1977
At 3 AM in the morning, the Son of Sam killer (David Berkowitz) stuck outside the Elephas disco in Queens. Judy Placido and Sal Lupo, were both shot in the arm as they were leaving the disco in their car. Both luckily survived. From July 1976 to July 1977, when he was apprehended, Berkowitz shot 13 people (mostly women), 6 of whom died. He is now serving a 365-year sentence at Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York. Berkowitz considered Queens’ women to be the “prettiest” of all his victims.
July 13, 1977
At about 9:30 PM, Queens and the rest of New York City were plunged into darkness in the 1977 Blackout. The blackout was confined to New York City, so power was restored to Queens by
1:45 PM the next day, but not before there was widespread looting in the borough and other parts of the city.
December 9, 1977
The Sunnyside Garden boxing arena on Queens Boulevard at 45th Street was demolished. The building was originally built by Jay Gould as a private club. In 1945, it was sold and converted to a boxing arena. In the 1960’s, it also hosted wrestling matches. As the popularity of both sports waned, the Garden found itself host to teen dances, proms and flea markets. In 1977, it was demolished, replaced by a hamburger restaurant.
May 8, 1978
David Berkowitz, a ka as the “Son-Of-Sam killer”, was convicted of six murders, committed over a two year span. He claimed that his neighbor’s dog , Sam, had told him to commit these murders. His prey were young couples in their cars or unsuspecting women walking late at night. While he found victims in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, he was quoted as saying that his “prettiest” victims were in Queens. He further explained: “I didn't want to hurt them, I only wanted to kill them."
August 8, 1978
The federal government gave New York City $134.5 million in transit grants, most of which was slated for the 63rd Street line and an underground connection between the IND Queens Boulevard line and the new station in Queensbridge (at 21 Street). At the time, it was felt that the line could be open by 1981. In fact, the line to Queensbridge did not open until October 1989. Construction of the connection to the Queens Boulevard line did not begin until 1994 and was completed in 2001, at a cost of $645 million.
"The Paper" debuts on November 2 in Howard Beach, Ozone Park,
and Woodhaven. This weekly community publication becomes the "Queens Chronicle"
on September 28, 1984.
December 11, 1978
Over $6 million in cash and jewels were stolen from Lufthansa
Airlines in a notorious robbery at JFK Airport. The Jimmy "The Gent"
Burke gang scored America's largest criminal take ever. Henry Hill, a gangster
in the Lucchese crime family, was one of the masterminds. He was portrayed in
"Goodfellas", the 1990 film by Queens native Martin Scorsese. Although
in 1980 Hill turned state's evidence against Burke, the latter was never prosecuted
for the Lufthansa heist but was convicted of other crimes. He died in 1996..
Henry Hill is still in hiding from Mafia hit men but doesn't live in fear or
so he says. To this day none of the cash was recovered.