Captain Richard Betts obtained the governor's license to purchase
Newtown Township from the Indians for the amount of 26 pounds, nine shillings.
Chiefs Pomwaukon, and Rowerestco signed the deed. They were members of the Canarsee
tribe, a powerful clan that controlled Brooklyn, western Queens and the Hell Gate.
Soon, most Native-Americans left, although some lingered at Maspeth Kills for a few
June 7, 1672
George Fox, founder of the Quakers, preached before several hundred from beneath oak trees across the road from Bowne House in Flushing. The Fox Oaks survived until mid-19th century, when they measured almost 13 feet in circumference near the ground. A stone marker erected in 1907 now marks the site.
June 23, 1680
William Hallett is appointed overseer by Newtown Township.
The present Hallett's Cove, at Hell Gate, in Old Astoria Village marks the location
of his 1652 settlement, one of the first European homesteads in western Queens.
Later, while sheriff in neighboring Flushing, he got caught up in the religious
struggles of the time and was arrested for harboring Baptists. He died about
1706, aged 90. The Hallett family retains a presence in Queens to this day through
the Hallett Funeral Home in Flushing.
June 18, 1773
A minor earthquake struck the New York City area. Several faults cross the city. One of the most well-known is the Manhatanville fault which runs diagonally along 125th Street in Manhattan to Crescent Street and 35th Avenue in Long Island City. Inability to find bedrock due to the Harlem River fault caused the builders of the Hell Gate Bridge to have to construct a small “bridge” over the defect in order to anchor the Wards Island pier of the bridge. It goes on to define the course of the Harlem River.
The ninth post office in Queens opened in Newtown. Bernardus Bloom, a tavern keeper, was appointed postmaster. Before this date, letters for persons living in Newtown had been deposited in the Brooklyn post office and had to be picked up in person. Before the introduction of postage stamps, the letter’s recipient paid the postage.
June 22, 1847
The Jamaica Farmer and Advertiser warned that nearly a dozen
sailors jumped ship from the USS Ohio anchored in the East River. It traced their
progress from Williamsburg, through Queens to Flushing. They were perhaps seeking
employment along the busy ports on Long Island's North Shore. A posse of Kings and
Queens County officials finally arrested several of the men in Roslyn and Great Neck.
Maritime life must have been brutal at that time, for, of the first 100 men granted
shore leave, more than 30 deserted.
June 9, 1850
Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg, his wife and five sons immigrated from Germany. He soon Anglicized his name to ‘Henry E. Steinway.’ In 1853, he founded the piano manufacturing firm of Steinway & Sons in Manhattan. In 1870-1872, the firm was moved to Astoria, Queens, where Steinway still produces the finest pianos in the world.
June 24, 1854
Fashion Race Course opens in West Flushing capitalizing on
a sport that was popular in Queens since the early eighteenth century. Although
this trotting track closed in only a few years, it reopened as National Race
Course, leaving its name on Corona's National Avenue.
Jacob and Joseph Burroughs sell some 30 acres to the Trustees of
St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. This, property, along with several later
purchases made from additional Burroughs siblings, becomes the nucleus for the New
Calvary Cemetery. Within its boarders, is a cemetery within a cemetery. Nestled at
the southwest corner of 58th Street and Queens Boulevard is the colonial Cumberson
June 19, 1886
North Beach Park opens. Part owned by William Steinway, this
venture represented the ultimate expression of the German beer garden. On the location
of today's LaGuardia Airport, entertainment of every description from bathing to
bowling, from picnics to political rallies were offered daily during the summer season.
In its heyday, thousands thronged to its resorts. Although ended by Prohibition and
anti-German sentiment, the formula of a cold beer, good friends, and a hot summer night
was never forgotten. The old concept of beer gardens is now the latest word in
entertainment. Turn of the century survivors as Astoria's Bohemian Hall and Park are
again packed every evening.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In spite of efforts by the police to keep it secret, it became known that the home, in Forest Hills, of Helen Keller, the blind girl, was entered and ransacked. Many priceless articles, and goods to the value of $5,000 were stolen. The perpetrators entered the house on a weekend, when Ms. Keller and the other occupants were out of town. The police reported that the robbers were master crooks in that they only stole articles of value. This was the fourth time the house had been robbed since Ms. Keller had occupied it. The crime was even more despicable as Miss Keller, who courageously overcame the twin handicaps of losing her sight and hearing, remained a popular celebrity throughout her life. The acclaimed film ‘The Miracle Worker” was based on her biorgrpahy.
June 24, 1925
The first surveying for the construction of a massive bridge connecting Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens was done at 125th Street in Harlem. The event was cause for a celebration called ‘Tri-borough Bridge Day.’ A luncheon was held at the Hotel Theresa at Seventh Avenue and 125th Street, followed by a parade from the hotel to a speakers’ platform at First Avenue and 125th Street. Among the speakers was Mayor John Hylan, who promised to find a way to finance the project, which was estimated to cost $30,000,000. (The Triborough Bridge opened 11 years later in 1936.)
June 19, 1945
Queens roared its greeting to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, who arrived at LaGuardia airport on his second stop of a whirlwind victory tour of the nation. The city was Eisenhower’s for the asking, the third person ever to receive its keys. The others being Admiral Dewey, upon his return from Manila Bay and General John J. Pershing, the victorious commander of World War I. There was a brisk 15-minute pageant of greeting at the airport, then the official party left on a 28-mile parade that wound up at City Hall-with ticker tape canyon on the last lap. Thousands upon thousands lined the route. After the City Hall ceremony, with 550 wounded soldiers, sitting in a special box, among the spectators, the General went to Gracie Mansion for lunch with the Mayor. The Mayor described the lunch as “potluck,” since it was meatless Tuesday. Next on the program was a ball game, the Giants against the Braves, and then dinner at the Waldorf at $18 a plate for some 1,500 guests.
June 14, 1946
Donald Trump is born. He grew up on Midland Parkway in Jamaica
Estates. Son of major Queens real estate developer Fred Trump, Donald made a
name of himself with a billion-dollar empire which included more than 24,000
rental and co-op apartments, a football team, an airline, and casinos in Atlantic
City. The jet-setter once quipped, "Money was never a big motivation for
me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game."
June 5, 1948
The Queens Botanical Garden opened. It was born as an exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair. The Garden moved to its present location at 43-50 Main Street in Flushing in 1963 to free space for the 1964-65 World’s Fair.
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.
An era ends as the 6:09 PM to Ozone Park leaves Penn Station. The
'forgotten spur' was destined to become part of the IND service to the Rockaways,
but was overlooked when the Transit Authority instead reroutes the service through
Brooklyn. As the train grinds to a stop, a long battle to save the service ends for
all time. The city cannot see spending the $3.9 million to upgrade the line for 184
June 14, 1963
The City Council began hearings on a Con Edison proposal to build the world’s largest atomic power plant on the East River in Ravenswood, Queens. The Ravenswood plant was to generate one million kilowatts (1,000 megawatts) of electricity and come online in 1970. The reason for the hearings was a bill to block the building of reactors in the city. Outside City Hall a crowd of over 100 protesters marched with signs saying: “No A-plant in New York” and “Don’t Make an Ash Out of Us.” Con Ed withdrew its application to build the plant on January 6, 1964 as a result of ongoing public protests. Instead, in 1965, Ravenswood Unit 3, a 1,000 megawatt conventional plant with a generator known as “Big Allis” began operation.
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.
Ellen Baker, Bayside native and daughter of former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, made her second flight on the space shuttle Atlantis as part of a mission in which Russians and Americans exchanged places between Atlantis and the Mir space station for the first time. In October 1989, she also flew on Atlantis as Queens’ first astronaut.
June 15, 1997
With the opening of its new presses at College Point, Queens,
The New York Times prints its last daily paper in the 84-year-old building west
of Times Square. After cleaning up a swampy, trash-strewn section of Queens,
the paper built the most highly automated newspaper facility in North America.
June 19, 1998
The Queens Borough Public Library opens its latest branch in
Flushing. According to the American Library Association, it is the largest system
in the country with about 9 million books, nearly 20 million in circulation at more
than 60 branches. A local newspaper reports that Gary E. Strong, Library Director,
host of the event, states "This is a sanctuary of the mind."