Vlissingen received a charter from Willem Kieft, the Dutch
governor of New Amsterdam and New Netherland. Vlissingen, named after a city
in the Netherlands, was later corrupted by English speakers to "Flushing."
October 19, 1645
Pieter Andriesen de Schoorsteenveger secured a ground brief, which covered much of Ravenswood. He enjoyed this land only a short time, for he was carried off into captivity by Indians during the "Indian Troubles of 1655." He was never to be heard of again.
After swearing allegiance to Connecticut, Long Island makes a bid to
shake off Dutch rule and become part of New England.
Between the hours of 11 PM and midnight, two small earthquakes rattle
October 10, 1789
Sailing up the East River to Flushing, President George
Washington, Vice President John Adams, New York Governor George Clinton, and
other members of Washington's cabinet visited the Prince Nursery. The commercial
nursery, the first in our new nation, contained, to quote the President, "fruit
gardens and shrubberies." Although impressed by the one welcoming cannon
salute he received, Washington wrote: "these gardens did not answer
my expectations. The shrubs were trifling and the flowers were not numerous."
Thomas Todd founds the Long Island Star. Starting as a weekly paper,
then expanding to a daily, Todd successfully runs a newspaper in Queens independent
of political parties. In the 1930s, the paper absorbs Flushing's North Shore
Journal and becomes the Long Island Star-Journal. It lasts until the mid 1960s.
In an effort the lessen the danger to shipping, the nine acre Flood
Rock is blasted out of Hell Gate by the US Army Corps of Engineers. It was the
largest man-made explosion in history prior to the atomic bomb.
October 4, 1895
Highway Commissioners, with their own hands, chopped down the posts of the Hollis toll house at 186th Street and formally threw Jamaica Avenue open to public travel. The road was a plank turnpike, which its operator, the Hempstead Plank Road Company, had allowed to become dilapidated. On October 15, a Queens Grand Jury indicted the president and directors of the company for maintaining a public nuisance. Paving of the road did not begin until the summer of 1897.
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
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.
A 75 mph gale hits Queens. Trees and poles are downed and floods block
highways. The temperature ominously climbs 15 degrees in 2 hours. The storm
dumps over 3 inches of rain. Although only four people are hurt, damaged boats
of every description litter Queen's North Shore. Old timers who lived 50 years
on the water claimed never to have seen such damage.
October 23, 1925
The Flushing Line, now the #7 Train, reached 111th Street
in Corona. It reached Main Street in Flushing in 1928.
October 24, 1929
The Air Service Division was established at Glenn Curtiss
Airport (Later LaGuardia Airport) by the NYPD. The future Aviation Unit, beginning
with four flying boats, 12 pilots, and 24 mechanics, was created primarily to
stop daredevil stunt pilots. Their responsibilities expanded with the growth
of commercial and recreational aviation. The nation's first air unit abandoned
fixed wing aircraft in 1954 for helicopters.
October 4, 1937
Queens College opened on the grounds of a former facility
and school for truant and wayward boys. Now part of the City University of New
York (CUNY) system, its first president, Paul Klapper, opened with a staff of
56 serving 400 students. As of fall 2002, Queens College, at 65-30 Kissena Boulevard,
has an enrollment of 12,000 undergraduate and 4,500 graduate students taught
by over 500 full-time and 500 part time faculty.
October 15, 1939
The New York City Municipal Airport was dedicated. A few weeks later, on November 2, 1939, the name was changed to New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field. A month later, on December 2, 1939, it opened to commercial traffic. On June 1, 1947 the airport was leased to the Port Authority and renamed LaGuardia Airport, after Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia who, incidentally, was also a pilot. A new Central Terminal Building was opened in 1964, enlarged in 1967 and again in 1992. The airport celebrated its 65th anniversary of commercial flight on December 2, 2004.
The Borough of Queens gets a statue courtesy of Newbold Morris, President
of New York City Council. Officially, 'Civic Virtue', but popularly called,
'Fat Boy', the monument depicts a muscle man towering majestically overhead.
MacMonnies, the sculptor, carved it with the hero trampling a woman underfoot.
A marble foot crushes her neck. Banished from City Hall Park, the city places
it in front of Queens Borough Hall with official blessing but without general
public approval. About 120 people, mostly Borough Hall employees, are on hand
for the dedication.
October 26, 1944
Mayor LaGuardia and other dignitaries spoke from the platform of a huge concrete mixing machine in a ceremony to mark the beginning of the paving of the first 10,000 foot-long runway at Idlewild Airport. It was slated to be the largest such facility in the world. LaGuardia also announced that the city had already made plans for a temporary administration building to be followed by a permanent administration building with ticket offices and passenger accommodations. The airport opened to commercial traffic in 1948. Idelwild was renamed Kennedy Airport.
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.
Pope Paul IV visits Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Astoria, then travels
to the World's Fair to view the Pieta at the Vatican Exhibit. During his trip
to New York, he celebrates Mass in Yankee Stadium.
October 16, 1969
Behind a 5-hitter by pitcher Jerry Koosman and home runs
by Donn Clendenon and Al Weis, the New York Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles
in 5 games to win their first World Series championship. Once the laughing stock
of the major leagues, the Mets, in only their eighth season, bested the Chicago
Cubs to win the East Division and then swept the Atlanta Braves in three games
for the National League crown. This 5-3 victory over the heavily favored Orioles
was enjoyed by 57,397 fans at Shea Stadium and by millions in New York and around
the country. During a tumultuous period in American history, the Mets' victory
had proven that the underdog can still win and that, perhaps, miracles do happen.
Douglas Manor, the eastern Queens community, is designated an official
Landmark District joining seventy other historic districts in New York City.
As occurs when an area receives this distinction, designation dramatically increases
a community's property values. Areas surrounding Douglaston are now seeking
designation. People who live in Landmark Districts strongly want them dispelling
the rumor started by developers that landmarking is bad for Queens.
The New York Mets lost the first “Subway Series” between New York baseball teams since 1956 when the Brooklyn Dodgers fell to the hated New York Yankees four games to three. This time, Joe Torre’s Bronx Bombers handily beat the Mets four games to one. Loyal Mets fans vowed, “wait ‘till next year!”