Hello everyone! Well, the winter hasn't been all that bad and I for one, love the snow. In fact, so much that I had a daughter born during a snowstorm on February 12, 1970 on my Birthday. Thought it was the coolest thing in the world that ever happened until I ran in to Tom McGoldrick. I blurted out the fact that I just had a daughter born on my birthday and he said, Well, so did I and that sure burst my bubble. Thought I was the only one! And so, the forecasted Snowstorm of the Century brought a foot and a half to our area on Friday, Feb. 7th and Saturday, Feb. 8th. Parents and kids enjoyed the beautiful winter wonderland in Juniper Valley Park and the Parks Department was on hand to distribute hot chocolate.
It always amazes me how the Juniper Berry gets around .Just recently a graduation picture of the class of 1951 started a series of phone calls and emails clear across the United States. There were reconnections and all are interested in the old neighborhood. I have run into people who tell me that they read every inch of the Berry and then send it on to relatives who have moved away. Then these people sign up and receive the Berry in the mail. I would like to share with you a letter I recently received that demonstrates this affection for our neighborhood:
First let me say how much my wife and I enjoy your column in the Juniper Berry. I think you might enjoy the RA graduation picture from 1954 (below), my graduation class and if you look close you will find your sister Florence. She and her friends were great classmates. Please give her my regards.
The football team (top) is the North Queens Crusaders. We were all from Rego Park and Middle Village. Our home field was Juniper Park.
A close friend of yours was on the team. We called him Pancho, you know him as Jack Veracoechea happy to say Jack and the rest of us remain very close friends. We came from a neighborhood that was very special. Everyone knew each other. I like to say we all came from the same kitchen. We might not see the like again but thankfully we have our memories. Continued success with the JPCA. It truly expounds the values we all hold so close. Best Wishes.
Congratulations to Tom and Andrea McGoldrick on the birth of their sixth grandchild, Meghan Elizabeth, 8 lbs. 11 oz. born on Jan. 30th. Proud parents are Brenda and Brian McDonaugh. Siblings are Kiera and Thomas.
Congratulations to Kevin Rusty Roth of NYFD Engine 257/Ladder 170 who was promoted to Lieutenant at a Fire Dept Ceremony held at LaGuardia Community College on February 14th. Pictured here with Kevin are his wife, Laura and children, James and Kristen. His proud parents are Larry and Lynn Roth.
Second Lieutenant Christopher Buoncore entered the U.S. Army Ranger Training Program early in February. Chris is the son of Rick & Lorraine Buoncore both of whom grew up in Middle Village. Rick is my wife's brother who now resides in Ohio. Oh yes, Chris is also the grandson of Estelle Szyjka. We are all very proud of Chris and wish him the best in his chosen career.
Maggie's Little Theater will be performing Godspell Saturdays, March 9th and 16th at 8:00 pm, Sundays, March 10th and 17th at 2:30 p.m. and Friday, March 15th at 8:00 pm at St. Margaret's Parish Hall. Call 917 579 5389 or visit www. MaggiesLittleTheater.org
Our Lady of Hope's Drama Club will be presenting The Wizard of Oz on Thursday & Friday evenings, April 25th & 26th.
Mrs. Vicki Koenig, first grade teacher at PS. 128 sent in the following:
On a chilly January day, the first graders at P.S. 128 took a walk to the nearby restaurant, La Bella Cucina. Their trip was not just for pleasure, they had a job to do. They were restaurant critics. Each student had to write a restaurant review which included their opinion about the ambience, service, and of course the food. The classes especially enjoyed when Tom, the manager, sang to them in Italian. P.S. 128 would like to thank Tom and the staff at LaBella Cucina for a wonderful afternoon filled with yummy pizza!
On a recent ride to the Rockaways, I took this picture of the ocean missing the boardwalk. It is very sad to see the place where most of us (at least my age) spent our summers. Total devastation. Let's hope it will come back soon!
On Monday, Feb. 25th, I was very happy to attend the celebration of the opening of Maspeth High School. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley with principal Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir hosted a continental breakfast, brief student performances, and a tour of the new building at 54-40 74th St. The school is really beautiful and the Principal enthusiastically presented programs for success. We all wish this Principal the best and look forward to the school serving our community.
We always like to welcome new businesses to the neighborhood and in that spirit I want to welcome Europa at 79-20 Eliot Ave. It is a specialty children's boutique and if you are looking for that special outfit for the grandchildren, this is the place. Stop in and say hello to Angela and Vita who also live in our neighborhood.
There was a sighting in Barosa's Restaurant recently. Former Governor George Pataki and members of his staff held a meeting and enjoyed dinner. Pictured with Gov. Pataki are Barosa owners Frank Barone (l.) and Joe LaRosa (r.)
Estelle Szyjka (center), who was the Manager at Niedersteins sent this picture in of a reunion of her former bus boys. They were all hired when they were sixteen years old, went on to be waiters until they finished school and now are well into their fifties. A good time was had by all.
Anna Mauro Papa of Maspeth celebrated her 100th birthday on Feb. 3rd with a big birthday bash complete with a caricature (above). She now lives near her daughter, Barbara, in historic Moorestown, NJ and still is very active. Anna grew up on Flushing Avenue and later lived on 58th Avenue near 74th St.
Many happy returns Anna!
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall announced that disabled residents in western Queens should make use of a pilot program that allows them to use a pre-loaded Taxi Smart Card as an alternative to Access-a-Ride.
Under the program, enrollees contribute $12.50 towards the purchase of the card and the city contributes $87.50. Each participant can reload the card four more times at a cost of $12.50 each time for a maximum benefit of $437.50. I urge disabled residents to make use of this pilot program with the hope that it will be expanded to include many more disabled residents, said Marshall, adding that participants can make their $12.50 contributions with a money order. She said that anyone who wants more information about the program, funded through federal transportation dollars, can call DFTA at (212) 442-3026 or MOPD at (212) 788-2830.
Former members of the softball team The Chiefs had a reunion in Bridies Restaurant on Friday, Feb. 22nd. The team spans two generations and had its beginning some forty years ago in the school yard of P.S. 49 on Sunday mornings. Every Sunday, twenty to twenty-five guys showed up and chose up sides to play three to four games of softball. After some time, it was decided to form a team with the best players and enter a league. The team began as the 49ers and changed its name to The Chiefs and went on to play in Juniper Valley Park Sunday morning, weekday night leagues and Hoffmann Park. We also won Tournaments in Riis Park and Randolph's Island. The Chiefs played on until two years ago with second generation players. It was great seeing them again.
Councilman Eric Ulrich and his wife, Yadira had their daughter, Lily Ana's Christening party at Abbracciamento's on Sat., February 23rd.
WIFE VS. HUSBAND
A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, 'Relatives of yours?'
'Yep,' the wife replied,