Amazing Stories from Middle Village & Maspeth - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the March 2010 Juniper Berry Magazine

Amazing Stories from Middle Village & Maspeth

Joseph Sarcona, 12 years old, and his brother Frank, 9, drowned near Caldwell Avenue

Boys, 9 and 12, Break Through Ice in Old Excavation on Rothstein Estate

Rescuer's Effort Futile

District Attorney and Health Officer Open Inquiries ‒ Pool Drainage Urged.

2 Brothers Drown in Maspeth Pond

Joseph Sarcona, 12 years old, and his brother Frank, 9, were drowned yesterday afternoon despite frantic efforts of playmates to save them when thin ice on a pool in the old Rothstein estate in Maspeth Queens, broke as the boys attempted to slide on it.

The brothers had left their home at 65-19 Seventy-ninth Place, Maspeth, to play with Charles Kavriz, 13, and John Quinlivan, 8, who live down the street. They went to the Rothstein tract, which was the property of the late Arnold Rothstein. It is known locally as the Phantom Village because the owners planned to build a small village there, but the construction did not progress beyond the foundation state. Deep pools had formed in many of these foundations.

The boys were sliding on the ice of a pool about thirty feet wide and 100 feet long. When the Sarcona brothers, trying to cross the pool, reached the middle, the ice gave way. Neither could swim.

John Drucker, who lives at 84-34 Dana Court, Rego Park, Queens, heard the screams of the children and tried to find wooden planks or branches of trees to serve as a lifeline.

The other boys, frightened at Drucker's unavailing efforts, ran to the police station a few blocks away. Police of the Eighteenth Emergency Squad hurried to the pond, but by that time Joseph and Frank had disappeared beneath the ice.

The bodies were recovered quickly and were taken to the Queens Borough Morgue, Jamaica.

Anthony and Lena Saccona, parents of the dead boys, collapsed when the police told them of the accident.

District Attorney Colden of Queens and Dr. John H. Barry, in charge of the borough office of the Board of Health opened investigations to learn why the owners of the land had not drained or filled up the pools. The pool at which the drowning occurred is near Seventy-Fourth Street and Caldwell Avenue, Maspeth.

Several small children were drowned last Summer while playing in or near pools of the same character.