Better in Middle Village

To The Editor:
Approximately 15 years ago a co-worker moved to Middle Village approximately 5 blocks from where I grew up on Cowles Ct. I received the December (2013) issue of the Juniper Berry as a gift from him and to say the least was overjoyed at the content and impressed with the high quality of the stories. Needless to say, I'm enclosing a check for a one-year subscription.

Of particular interest was the story, “Memories of Middle Village” pertaining to the 1952 PS 49 graduation class. I believe I'm the guy in the top row on the extreme right. Some of my classmates were Norma Ortiz, Peter Ripich, Roy Johnson, Phyllis Plutzer, Liz Tirtado (I believe she was Norma's cousin), Katherine Andrews, June Glasser, Warren Lehman (one of my close friends back then), Charles Baker, Rose Rappy, Linda Lande, Eddie Frankenbush, Robert Levy, Loren Ross, Helen Trenkle, Paulette Winthrop, John Baron and Bernie Cohen. I remembered about a half a dozen of my classmates, the rest I had in my “autograph book,” from 1952.

We moved to LI in 1968, We had an opportunity to purchase a house on Penelope Avenue for exactly what we paid for our house in N. Babylon. I experienced three and a half hour daily commutes and taxes that were quadruple those in Middle Village and while many experiences out there were terrific I always felt Middle Village would have been better. At least now here in N. Carolina our taxes are again much more reasonable.

I'm looking forward to receiving your great magazine in 2014

Bob Wieland
Wilmington, NC

Response: No question in our minds that you would have done better staying in Middle Village because we hear your type of complaint very often from those who moved to “Long Island” for the “better life!” Ironically, if you look at the map, Queens is definitely a part of “Long Island!” Somehow as folks were fleeing out East for the now questionable “better life,” they lost their maps showing Queens as a definite piece of Long Island!

Great Memories of Middle Village

Dear Editor:
I so enjoyed Stevanne Auerbach's memories of Middle Village (Juniper Berry Sept. 2013). Since I, too, grew up there, I fondly remember all that she spoke about – Juniper Valley Park, P.S. 49, the Jewish Center of Forest Hills West and Resurrection Ascension Church. I often visit the neighborhood and am so delighted with how it's been kept up. I had a wonderful childhood there.

The neighborhood kids played together all the time — jump rope, roller skating, Red Rooster, bike riding. We could all walk into one another's homes without knocking and certainly weren't afraid to walk by ourselves to the corner stores. I thank Stevanne for taking me down memory lane.

Linda Tucker
Hempstead, NY

To the Editor:
I grew up at 61-70 79 Street and now live in Elkhart which is about ten miles east of South Bend, Indiana where Notre Dame is located. A childhood friend of mine, Florence (Croutier) Clark, has been sending me copies of the Juniper Berry for the past two years and I thought it was about time I subscribed to the magazine, which I enjoy very much.

I loved the article that Eleanor Stockheim
(Stevanne Auerbach) wrote in the Juniper Berry Sept/Oct 2013 edition. It brought back so many fond memories. I remember Eleanor. She lived up the block from me and was a year younger than me. My father, Jim Mugavero, was very active in the Juniper Park Civic Association. He and Artie Klein were close friends. I loved the picture of the park. When I was a teenager in the 50’s I practically lived there playing handball, softball and basketball or just sitting under a shady tree with my friends relaxing. Thank you,

Barbara (Mugavero) Linder
Elkhart, Indiana

Hi Stevanne,
I majored in literature and writing at Queens College. Worked for the city for 33 years and after retiring became interested in playwriting. I've written several one-acts, all of which have been staged. Right now, I'm a playwrite. I live in Manhattan with my wife. My sister lives in Florida. One of my cousins still lives in Middle Village and my sister sent your E-mail to him.
Recently got in touch with someone from my class in P.S. 49. He lives in Texas.

I wouldn't recognize anyone from your class picture as I was 4 years ahead of your class.

In addition to some of the teachers you mentioned, I remember the principal was Mrs. Sondheim.

There was a teacher named Mrs. Mann who was always fiddling with her bra straps and a Mrs. Swenson who was in the habit of slapping her students. When one of my younger cousins complained to his mother, my Aunt Hester, she became incensed and went to the school to have it out with Mrs. Swenson. As soon as Mrs. Swenson saw her, she said, “Hester” and they fell into each other's arms, much to my cousin's surprise. Turns out they were old girlhood friends from Corona.

In addition to the Drake movie theatre (which I never saw at night, only matinees) there was a theatre on Metropolitan Avenue called the Arion, which I think showed revivals. There was also the Elmwood, near the Woodhaven Boulevard subway station. We also occasionally travelled to Jackson Heights where there were two theatres, the Jackson and the Colony and in Forest Hills there was the Midway and another theatre. There was also the Trylon on Queens Blvd and 67th Avenue.

Since we grew up without air-conditioning in our homes, the movie theatres were the places to go on hot summer days.

During the 1950's Communist witch hunts, there was an army dentist named Irving Peress who was promoted to Major. Joseph McCarthy accused him of being a Communist and repeatedly asked,
“Who promoted Peress?”

This was the start of McCarthy's fight with the army, which eventually brought him down. Peress lived on the block next to ours, maybe even on 79th Street. His children had to be taken out of our school during that time. Well, here's a recent article on Peress from Wikipedia. He's still alive. Good to see he outlived McCarthy.

If you want to see what the old neighborhood looks like today, including the house where you grew up, you can't do better than to log onto this website,

Nostalgically yours,
Charles Gelles

A great place to live

To the Editor:
Kudos to you and the staff of the “Juniper Berry” for always publishing such an informative, entertaining, and heart-warming periodical. Recently, I was in Artis Drugs and was privy to the delightful conversation between Kathy O’Connell (everybody knows & loves Kathy) and a gentleman named, Norman Triglia, who has lived in Middle Village for years. He was explaining to her about how he built this miniature model ship he was showing her. When he took it out of the box I was so surprised to see such intricate workmanship. It wasn’t quite finished yet – he still had to attach the sails, etc. but I was awed by this man’s attention to detail and his dedication and patience to assemble this fine replica of (I think) an 18th century ship. Upon further discussion of how and when he assembled this, Kathy told me that Norman has a village/town to run his trains around that is so big he has it in his garage. It has taken him years working on it, buying new models, with the determination that one day it will be ready for the trains. I thought what a wonderful hobby this gentleman has. I also thought of the JUNIPER BERRY and what a great story this would be for your publication.

Along with this suggestion I have another – the story of SIMPLEX WINDOWS & DOORS. In 2007 the Middle Village Chamber of Commerce recognized SIMPLEX for over 50 years’ of service in the community. Back in November of this year SIMPLEX installed several doors and windows in my home. Well, I have to tell you the team of installers who did my job were efficient, courteous, and hardworking. They worked non-stop from 9 o’clock to 2pm. The end result was excellent. I was so pleased with the quality of the work plus the quality of the windows & doors. Living here in Middle Village all my life I believe we, as residents, should always support the small businesses. If you would like to contact SIMPLEX for a future story the contact person is Tony Calabrese (whose grandfather first started the business). Middle Village is a great place to live and with people here who have touched our lives I thought to share my experiences with you.

Marilyn Sedita
Middle Village

Berry Works

To the Editor:
The Juniper Berry is one of the few publications that exposes what needs to be exposed and then tries to correct it. Middle Village is a melting pot that has forged a strong community, which still works together to overcome the creeping paralysis that is trying to eliminate “truth, justice and the American way.” Keep up the good work.

Joseph T. Klonowski
Middle Village

To: All Members of Juniper Park Civic Assn. and Staff of the “Juniper Berry… ”Thank you for a job well done. Happy New Year.

Eileen O’Brien
Middle Village

Dear Bob Holden
Thank you for sending my mother the 75th Anniversary issue. She really loved reading the section mentioning the construction of Holy Cross Church, which was our parish growing up. My mother told me when her mother came from Poland in 1910 she got married in St. Adalbert's in the same year she arrived. The 75th Anniversary issue really brought back so many good memories for her.

My mother's birthday is on March 22, 1922, she will be 92 this year and as I mentioned, for her birthday, I will be sending a $20.00 check for you to add her name as a member of the Juniper Park Civic Association so she can continue receiving the Juniper Berry Magazine.

Since she doesn't have a computer I will add my e-mail address on the form along with her name and address. Thank you again for sending her this issue. It was greatly appreciated. I wish you many successful issues in the years to come.

Roger Knizewski
Luray, VA

Our great home

To the Editor:
I am a former resident of Middle Village, having lived there when I was born in 1940 until I married in 1957 and moved to Ridgewood. I now live in California and my sister, who still resides in the family home, always sends me copies of your magazine. I saw with great interest your section entitled Great Neighborhood Homes and would like to offer a picture of our house for consideration. It was built as a model home on Cowles Court off Dry Harbor Road in Middle Village in 1934 and my parents, Anthony and Lida Fierro moved there in 1935. They raised a family of three girls and lived there until they passed, in 1993 and 1997. The house was left to my eldest sister, Lida, who passed in November of 2013. My middle sister, Nancy,* and I have inherited it.

The picture (above) was taken in 1938 when my sister Lida was two years old. It looks very much the same today. I have placed a copy of the picture for your consideration.

Toni Fierro Beers
Placerville, CA

* My sister, Nancy Fierro, was on the cover of your Sept./Oct. 2013 edition of Juniper Berry along with the graduating class of P.S.49. She is the 4th girl on the left in the bottom row.
(photo, upper right)

Snow Parking

To the Editor:
In response to No Parking in Middle Village, our dear neighbors, who have driveways and no worries about parking, are now shoveling their driveways and sidewalks and placing the snow in empty parking spaces so no one can park there. Oh well, too bad for those who rely on street parking.

Abby Murphy
Middle Village

Landlord forcing me out

To the Editor
Hello, I live in an illegal basement in Middle Village. Now my landlord is forcing me out since the Thanksgiving Holiday in 2014. I stopped paying him rent in October 2013 because he kept bringing people down without notice. I lived down here since March /April 2009. Rent was not reported to the IRS. I really need some advice and with what I can do since there is more to this complaint. Please contact me with a response.

Thank you for your help.
Middle Village Resident

Dear Bob Holden:
There have been so many people hit or killed on Grand Avenue and 69 Place. Drivers coming down 69 Place make an illegal left turn on to Grand Avenue and many have no license. Can you please look into this before another person gets killed?

Annette Cappello
PS: I enjoy your civic meetings and appreciate all you do.

Restore America is here

To the Editor
Contrary to what was written in the 75th anniversary issue of the Juniper Berry, all of Restore America's corporate trucks are registered in New York State and have been since the company relocated to Maspeth.

Founded in 1998 by owner Christopher Tabeek, Restore America is a vital source of lighting professionals, maintenance technicians, skilled laborers and painters, providing the five boroughs, Lower Westchester, Long Island and New Jersey with the best lighting, renovation and building maintenance services available. Restore America’s customers include large commercial companies like BP, Hess, AutoZone and McDonald's and well as such residential clients as The Park Royal, Trump Park Ave, and The Pierre Hotel.

Christopher is a supporter of the Maspeth Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Ridgewood, New York, Knights of Columbus. He is also a member of the Maspeth Kiwanis Club, and is a member of Mecca Temple Shriner Association, which supports Shriner’s hospitals for Children.

Restore America Inc.

Condos coming

Just heard they are closing Joe Abbracciamento's on Woodhaven Boulevard and tearing down the entire block (including the Drake theater) to build condos! Can this be stopped? Someone should try. Is it even zoned for that? If it is, it should be changed and the Drake made a landmark. Spread the word!

Tony Marine

Response: Yes, it’s zoned for that (R8B zoning). Owner has submitted plan for a 7-story building with 120 apartment units and parking for 60 cars. ed.