Letters to the Editor 3-2020 - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the March 2020 Juniper Berry Magazine

Letters to the Editor 3-2020

Photo courtesy of Office of the Governor

Boating safety course

Hello Everyone,

Please see the attached Public Service Announcement from the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Brianna's Law was passed last year after many years in the making. The law was named after a child tragically killed in a boating accident involving inexperienced boaters. Hopefully through training tragic boating accidents will be reduced. The measure expands an earlier law signed by Governor Cuomo that requires boaters born after May 1, 1996 to complete a safety course before operating a motorized watercraft. Under the phase-in, all motor boat operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 must complete a safety course to operate a motor boat beginning in 2020. Those born after Jan. 1, 1988 must complete a safety course beginning in 2022. Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1983 must complete a safety course beginning in 2023. Those born on or after Jan. 1, 1978 must complete a safety course beginning in 2024. The requirement would extend to all motor boat operators beginning in 2025, regardless of age. Failure to comply could result in a fine of between $100 and $250 under the new law that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020. The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which administers the law, estimates that there are nearly one million boaters who will have to take the safety courses before the end of the phase-in on Jan. 1, 2025. Governor Cuomo also directed State Parks to launch a boating safety promotional campaign to ensure that boaters are aware of the new requirement to take a course online or in person and to promote safety on our waterways, including radio and social media advertisements; distribution of informational materials to law enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, marinas, boating education instructors and boating safety partners; and State Parks website updates. Please call me if you have questions. Many thanks.

Charles Stravalle, Flotilla Commander

The approved eight-hour course which is required to be taken to operate a pleasure boat or jet ski is being given at the Old Mill Yacht Club 163-15 Cross Bay Blvd. Howard Beach, NY 11414 on the following dates from 9 am to 5 pm:

Saturday, 03/21/20 • Sunday, 04/19/20

Saturday, 05/09/20 • Sunday, 06/07/20

Contact Flotilla Commander Charles Stravalle, 917-589-3128, stravallec@gmail.com to register.

Cost is $75 and includes books, completion certificate, breakfast and lunch. Proceeds benefit the US Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer programs and activities. The course is taught by certified US Coast Guard Auxiliary Volunteer Instructors.

Update on Old Newtown Cemetery Article

Just after the last issue of Juniper Berry went to press, the Elmhurst History and Cemeteries Preservation Society (EHCPS) learned, in a letter forwarded to them from the Parks Dept., that four bones fragments (not one) and an artifact were recovered during the most recent excavation of the site, undertaken during for the redesign of Newtown Playground. Initially, members of the EHCPS were taken aback for not being notified and consulted right away on this matter. However, after contemplating this issue, they felt it best to compromise, and work on an upcoming proper respectful ceremony in which these bone fragments and artifact will be re-interred within an inscribed sealed box. The hope is that some elected officials, local spiritual leaders, as well as descendants of some of the early settler families can be present. This would ensure the first step in the process of creating a long overdue memorial at the cemetery's location dedicated to the early founder families of Newtown, some of whose remains still dwell beneath the surface of the playground. It would also spur fresher interest by spotlighting this almost forgotten history, and prod the Parks Dept. into adding more than the originally offered 144 characters on a plaque, adding a more expansive and detailed marker to honor those souls, as well as to educate those visiting the playground now, and into the future.

James McMenamin, Elmhurst

Were YOU at the Valencia Theater that day in 1945?

(A previously unpublished 1997 account from the Juniper Civic archives)

My memory goes back to a specific day in August 1945 at the Valencia Theater in Jamaica. Were you there? My friend Anysia and I met after work to go to the movies. It was during World War II and we both had relatives, friends and a boyfriend in the service. I lived in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn and Anysia had just moved from my block to Hollis.

We were both enjoying ourselves when they turned up the lights and stopped the picture. The good news was announced over the mic, "The War Is Over!" I can't explain what happened next because it could only happen emotionally once – but here goes: The whistles, the screams, the crying, the tears, the laughter, the hugs and the practically collapsing in our seats with thanks and relief.

WOW! We were all ecstatic.

Anysia and I went next door to the restaurant to celebrate and along the way it was strangely quiet. We kept turning around watching people – but nothing. We looked at one another and said, "Don't they know the war is over? Shall we tell them?" By this time, we were losing the feeling. We settled for coffee and cake and then went our separate ways home.

On the bus I waited for a sign of joy, but there was nothing. It was weird, it was strange, it was unexplainable. I went to meet my parents at my aunt and uncle's house.

I walked in and with hardly any feeling at all, I said, "The War Is Over." "Where were you?" they asked. I told them what happened, and they turned on the radio. Nothing.

About a month later, "THE WAR IS OVER" was officially announced.

Through the years I never forgot the incident, especially when the war was mentioned. In fact, I never forgot those war years. As a young girl I felt a strong part of it. The fellows I grew up with were now in service, my brothers and relatives. The stars in the windows represented them.

I did war work. Milling airplane parts then assembling, wiring and soldering parts of radios for airplanes. I also worked on the big chassis and became lead hand on my assembly line. I wrote many war poems during the war and had them published from time to time in The Leader Observer from 1985 thru 1995. I wrote about Veterans Day, Fourth of July, Bicentennial, etc. I remember growing up in Brooklyn (Bushwick Section). I moved to Queens in 1960 and my children were 10 and 12 years old then. My parents also moved to Queens with me in the same house. I love to hear and read about both. I never met anyone who was in the Valencia Theater that night or anyone who ever heard of any such incident. This year I called station WWI21 of Queens to ask if they ever heard of any such incident at the Valencia Theater in 1945. The answer was no.

It got the best of me and I kept wishing I had kept in touch with Anysia so I could at least reminisce with someone. We both married so our maiden names were gone. I was insistent. I looked for Anysia's brothers' names and I found two of them. "Yes, Anysia is my aunt," Jr. said, "but I will give you my dad's number." I called dad and he gave me his sister Anysia's number in Florida.

The $64,000 question was finally going to be answered after 52 years. "Of course I remember," Anysia said, and just like it was yesterday we reminisced about the years of long ago. It was another time; it was another world.

Is there anyone out there to share this memory with Anysia (better known in later years as Lee) and I? The Valencia Theater was full of people that night. I told Lee I would write to my local papers and ask, "Were you there?"

Rose M. (Rubino) Kavanaugh, Woodhaven

March 2020 Juniper Berry Magazine

March 2020 Table of Contents