Berry Interesting

To the Editor:
Hi, just read the article you wrote on Fairyland.  I have such fond memories of going there as a kid.  What a thrill!  It wasn’t Coney Island, but it was close and cheap. Do you remember also when The Whip truck used to come around in the summer?  For 10 cents, you could take your life in your hands and ride around at a mind-numbing 15 mph in the back of a rickety small truck.  It was as good as when the Bungalow Bar ice cream truck came.  We also had bread delivered, along with milk, eggs and orange juice.  We kept our milk box in the front hall and milk would magically appear in there.  Good days. 

This is just thrilling to me, walking back down memory lane in Middle Village.  I went to St. Margaret’s School, graduated in ’63 and Christ the King HS, graduated in ’67. My childhood was filled with hanging out in Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, St. John’s Cemetery, Juniper Valley Park – and back then there was the “big park,” the “small park” and the “new park,” which was back behind the freight tracks where we used to play chicken in front of the trains. Thank God my parents never knew! There was a chicken, duck, and turkey farm back by the “new park” where we deposited our chickens after my mother got sick of cleaning up chicken poop from our postage-stamp backyard. I grew up at 65-33 79th St., just two blocks down from either the parks or Metropolitan Avenue, depending on which way you walked. When we were teenagers, we’d walk down to Alexanders and hang around on Dry Harbor Road or 63rd Drive.  My first job was for a dentist on 63rd drive when I was 15.  I got the job because I fit into the uniform he had.  (yes, just one). My second job was short-order cook at Woolworths. I still make great eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches. Not much else.  Please let me know how I can keep posted on news from MV.
Please add my name and address to the Juniper Park Civic Association list so I can receive copies of the Juniper Berrys. I miss Middle Village and I especially miss the days before there were bars and pull-down metal doors across the stores, covered in graffiti.  We never saw graffiti, except for the carvings of lovers’ names on the benches at Juniper Valley Park.  What happened?

Thank you,
Denise McDonnell Peters
Alamo, California

Dear Denise:
No question that I hear your nostalgia for Middle Village from your current hometown of Alamo, California. In all the communications that you sent us regarding your recollections of Fairyland your love of Middle Village was apparent. That article really made everyone think of what we had and how much we miss the good old days. You’re on our membership list. I sent to you the current Juniper Berry and the December 2009 Juniper Berry, which had the original article on Fairyland. Enjoy, and welcome aboard the Juniper Berry “global” membership list!
Lorraine Sciulli

Dear JPCA:
We have friends and relatives that saw my copy of the March/April issue (of the Juniper Berry) and were so excited to see the stories and pictures from when they lived in our area.

I support the work that the Association does to try and maintain our community. The house that we live in has been in my husband’s family since it was built in the 1930’s. I guess you can say we like living here.

Sincerely yours,
June Mooney
Middle Village

Good Old Days

Greetings to all at the Juniper Berry,
I will begin by saying once again how much I look forward to receiving and reading my “Juniper Berry” when it arrives. It always reminds me of what a wonderful childhood I experienced in Elmhurst.

While going through old picture albums recently, my husband and I noticed that we had taken a picture of the view from our kitchen window in each of our apartments and houses throughout our years together. Attached is an oil painting done by my husband of the view outside our kitchen window when we were living on 83rd Street in Elmhurst in 1961.

It was a beautiful July day and we took our six month old daughter to Rockaway Beach to introduce her to swimming in the ocean. As happens at the beach, everything came home “sandy”, so after rinsing all our paraphernalia I hung it out on the clothesline to dry. It amazed us to recently hear that people in Queens, N.Y. were protesting when someone added a clothesline to their yard. Apparently, some people believe that clotheslines will bring down the values of real estate in the neighborhood.

Growing up in Elmhurst, (1940 through 1962), I observed every house had a clothesline. We were “GREEN” before it was fashionable. Nothing smells so good as clean clothes brought in the house off the clothesline. Nothing sounds so exciting as hearing the crack of just laundered sheets blowing in the breeze. Trying to bring my father’s frozen long johns through the window in winter was often a challenge. Clothesline, clothespins, pulley and a pole were all that was required. Best of all, by drying your laundry on a clothesline one saved on the electric bill.

Oh, for the good old days!

Janet Sottile

Dear Editor
In response to the Fairyland Memories, I realize you received a great
response to this article. However, no one mentioned the mini-circus show that would take place on summer nights. I would go to Fairyland with my mother on regular basis, on certain nights they had a mini circus act with dogs doing tricks and bears on leashes. I also believe there were clowns. Yes, Fairyland was a wonderful memory for all of us from the fifties.

I was very glad that someone else remembered Billie Blake. Love your article keep up the great work!

Gloria Hoefferle

Wealth of Information

To the Editor:
I just finished reading the latest issue.  The back cover had a wealth of information on Niederstein’s. I’m 61 and have great memories going there as a kid and I too am sad to see it gone. Do you know that there was another Niederstein’s restaurant on Sunrise Highway near Rockville Centre? I think I once read in the Ridgewood Times archives that the owners were related to the owners of the Middle Village establishment.  I’ve attached a scan of a postcard.

I also enjoyed the article on London Lennie’s. There was a vague reference to the fish store that he bought in 1959.  The name of that place was Cy’s. As a grammar school student at Our Savior sometimes mom would give me money to have lunch. My favorite place was Winther’s. Usually I’d have a burger but Winther’s didn’t have French fries so on my way back to school I’d stop at Cy’s and for 25 cents I’d buy a bag of fries.
Great issue; thanks for the memories.

Chris Kozel

Berry Inspired

Dear Editor:
Due to an arthritic wrist I have difficulty typing. I was inspired by the March-April Berry to write and hope that you will read the following.

Growing up in Rego Park I remember Fairyland. I also remember a miniature golf course and a carnival which came around until displaced by Alexander’s.

I would like to add to Katie Blakely’s excellent trolley article – in the final decades of the nineteenth century Brooklyn horsecar and trolley lines played an important role in the development of Maspeth, Middle Village and other Western Queens communities. Grand, Metropolitan and Myrtle Avenues penetrated Western Queens like spokes on a gigantic BRT trolley wheel, bringing older immigrant groups (who were displaced by newer immigrant groups) into Western Queens.

The large center-door, Peter Witt trolley (flagship of the behemoth BRT trolley fleet) was four feet longer than today’s forty feet long standard transit bus. The Peter Witt trolley was King of the Road in Western Queens until replaced by green and silver Board of Transportation buses.

Though we no longer dodge Brooklyn trolleys, it is fitting that our own Midville Nine be named Dodgers.

John Roberts
Middle Village

History, History

To John Killcommons:
What a nice surprise to open my mailbox and find two issues of “The Juniper Berry.” Thank Betty for mailing them off to me. Couldn’t wait to get back up to my unit and go through them.

Wonderful magazine! Lots of interesting stories. I was going page by page wondering where is John’s column when lo and behold this wonderful smiling Irish face was looking out at me from Killy’s Korner. You look great, John, and I love the white hair.

Do you think it would be “newsy” to put something in one of the upcoming issues about all of The Schneider boys passing away? The boys were the first triplets born in the Borough of Queens back in l939. When they were six months old Dad Schneider purchased the house at 62-37 82nd Street as the park was being built and he knew his four boys would need a place to run and play and thought the location would be ideal. He bought it without showing it to Mom Schneider as he wanted to surprise her. Joe, the oldest, was 5 when the triplets were born.
Mom S. said she was trying for ONE GIRL.

I enjoyed the article about Niederstein’s Restaurant . Too bad it’s gone. My Dad told me the story that his grandfather, Charles Helferich, purchased a plot across the street at Lutheran Cemetery (as it was known back then) when he was leaving for the Civil War! He took his then young bride to Niederstein’s for lunch. I replaced the headstone, which had been vandalized, after my Dad passed away. He had asked me to do that with some of the monies from the sale of the house.

I remember my Dad telling me the story (when was Dad not telling a story?) of The General Slocum’s sinking when we were visiting the family grave site, and then he took me to see the memorial. Quite impressive. To this day, I love wandering through old cemeteries , reading the headstones. All Faith’s has quite a history. My son drove me up there in 2005 the last time and he, too, enjoyed just walking around. What history is there.

Thanks again for sending me the two Juniper Berry issues. Really, really enjoyed them.

Eileen Cook

Eyesore This

Dear Editor:
I’m outraged by Anonymous who responded about private property in disarray and how it’s no one’s business. Anonymous must either live on a block with none of these eyesores or he/she is one.

The eyesore column does not help much as the same properties are listed time and again which is a Shame!

Although it’s never made the eyesore column, we have such a house on our block, they never sweep, which does not cost a penny. Do you have a broom?

They throw garbage in their backyard and on the side of the house, which does not get cleaned up causing rodents coming to feast.

Summer brings BIG parties, with rowdy young adults most in their twenties some much younger, drinking, smoking pot and acting like animals with the numbers nearing sixty people and it will go on all night. Calling the police does not help for some reason nothing stops these wonderful neighbors. The party goes on and there is sure to be another within two weeks. I’d like to add that the party attendees park their cars wherever they feel like, double parking and blocking other people’s driveways, try to ask them to move and when they get around to it you are probably in for an argument. How dare you want to get in or out of your own driveway! 

Let’s talk about snow, THEY DO NOT SHOVEL! They have a large family with four grown children living there.

The windows have never been cleaned and the gutters are falling off the house. They park on the sidewalk blocking it so everyone that passes has no choice but to walk in the street when passing their house. Including the many senior citizens we have on the block and young children cannot ride their bikes past this house. Let me mention they own about five cars and their company also parks there, so most likely a car is always on the sidewalk. At one time they had three cars in the backyard all without plates, they were there about two years.

I could go on and on. Anonymous suggested try to help. WHY? They DO NOT care. They are lazy pigs. They also believe it’s no ones business.

I SHOULD FEEL SORRY FOR THESE PEOPLE? I THINK NOT!!!!! I feel sorry for the surrounding neighbors; this house has to affect their property values, would you like to live near this house?

These neighbors are a disgrace as most of the people in the Maspeth/Middle Village area take pride in their homes.

Sign me Anonymous also, only to protect myself.

Dirty Rats

To the Editor:
This is to alert my neighbors around the Juniper Park area re: a RAT problem. My wife and myself live on 71 Street south side of the park, crossed by Penelope Avenue. Given all the demolition and construction going on in the area I’m wondering if anyone has seen dead rats around the park area, or on their block, because my block seems to have this problem. My block has two family homes, (no basements on my side)  across the street there are garages, we have a boiler room where there is roughly a 3 ft square  hole where the main trap & waste pipe sits. The rodents burrowed in from under the foundation, and were coming up through the cutout hole on the cover where the water and electric pipes run along the wall. My contractor used steel wire mesh, double row to fit in from the end of the foundation to the dirt surface floor, then applying 3- to -6 inches of concrete, in effect building a cement box to seal off access. I spoke with

Mr. Holden regarding this and he was very helpful, he did advise me to contact 311, which I did, and also called Elizabeth Crowley’s office to file a rodent complaint issue. In addition I have seen dead rats by the day care place on Lutheran Avenue, and on the north side of the park near 80th street.

The assault on Middle Village continues, Folks, the new Chase Bank across from OLH…the three schools, 80th Street, 70th Street, and the next one by Stop and Shop! All this does is create more traffic jams at release time, more pollution, more garbage, more of everything. We need  SUPERMARKETS, not more banks, ever go to Trader Joe’s on a Saturday?  Thirty-nine years ago I moved here with my family and have seen many changes, one thing remains constant,  the elected officials only take action when it’s election time. For any family especially ones with children, this is a serious problem with health issues written all over it. These rodents carry disease. I told Mr. Holden I took care of my problem but where I live is now the larger problem for everyone if this situation is not taken care of.
A neighbor two doors up from me now has them getting into her apartment, I wonder how many others have this problem. I thank Mr. Holden and the Juniper Park Civic Association for whatever help they can provide.

John Citrangolo
Middle Village


To the Editor:
I have enclosed a copy of a poem I constructed. I received acknowledgement of this creation, awarded to a privilege of being a member of the International Society of Poets – in support of society’s principles of peace, education, accomplishments, charity, equality. I pledged myself to these principles. I am 82 years old. Whatever time has been allotted to me I will make every effort to follow them. Blessings are a gift – sharing is of the most importance and every one is an important of our existence. May your Guardian Angel enable you to seek a more fruitful existence. BLESS YOU: Poem as follows:

Faith is the light of life
Faith guides through turmoil
Faith allows the promise of happiness
Faith endures when every one of life’s encounter appears impossible to overcome.

Salvatore Rigoli
Middle Village NY
Not a Dog Drinking Fountain

To the Editor:
I just wanted to say that I live in Queens and love Juniper Valley Park. I was outraged today when I saw a young woman carry her dog and have him drink water from one of the park’s many water fountains that are meant for HUMANS to drink from.  It was absolutely disgusting and should not be permitted.  I don’t know if you can put signs up reminding people as ignorant as this woman that the water fountains are for humans, not animals.  Many children drink from the fountains and they would not know that a dog’s tongue had been all over the water spout.

Mary Jones

More Unleashed Dog Attacks

Dear Editor:
On April 5th I was walking my dog in Juniper Valley Park by the new play ground. An unleashed dog ran over & bit my dog 3 times. The owner stayed about 20 ft away and never asked how my dog was, she was hurt and crying. The owner just keep calling his dog.

Today I was in the park around 7:30am near the flag pole. Two (unleashed) German Shepherds ran over, the owner was about 7 or 8 ft. way. The larger German Sheperd bit my dog twice. With this I told the dogs’ owner to put her dogs on their leashes. She told me to f_ _ _ off and go to another park. I told her I live across the street. I feel that I should have the right to walk my dog anytime I feel like it. I am truly feel afraid that something bad will happen to my dog or me. I have seen the good dogs attack smaller dog and the owners just stand there calling come here.

Mrs. Carol Flesch
Middle Village

The Juniper Generation

Dear Ms. Sciulli:
In 1928 my grandparents moved from Ridgewood to their new home on 77th Place in Middle Village off Juniper Valley Road and Grandma remained there until her death in 1970. In 1940 my parents, Helen and Bill Christman, purchased their brand new house on 70th Street off Eliot Avenue (enclosed is a copy of a brochure about those houses). Mom lived there until she passed in 1978. My two brothers and I rode the Eliot Avenue bus to Resurrection -Ascension School and summers and weekends played in “the alley” behind our house and “the lots” and football field!) along Eliot Avenue and 72 Street. Understandably Maspeth and Middle Village are very dear to our hearts.

For several years my friend, Rae Baumeister, has been sending me a copy of the Juniper Berry, which then gets passed along to an R.A. classmate who happens to live here in Ramsey, then to my brother in Wantagh, my cousin in Port Washington, another brother in Texas and back to more friends on Long Island. It gets not only a lot of mileage, but generates a tremendous amount of discussion and memories (John Killcommons was our “paperboy” who delivered the L.I. Press). We relished the story about the building of Eliot Avenue (we thought it was always there), and eagerly look forward to the next edition of the Juniper Berry.

Your March/April issue’s focus on Maspeth brought to mind my father’s involvement with a group called the Elm Civic Association, and a rummage through family archives produced a couple of news photos of Dad being sworn in as president in 1945, and drafting a resolution to install a traffic light at the corner of Eliot Avenue and 71st Street in 1947. Copies of those photos are enclosed. I remember a friend who lived in Middle Village talking about the Juniper Berry back in the 50’s and I think I once saw what appeared to be a mimeographed copy. Was the Civic incorporated into the JPCA?

My brothers, cousins and I thoroughly enjoy the Juniper Berry. Keep up the good work you do both in the publication and in the community!

Helen Christman Markey


To the Editor:
Thank you for publishing your great magazine. the format of news and views is superb. Regarding your article on reporting violations to 311, may I add that livery cabs (TLC plates) and yellow cabs are subject to the same laws as commercial vehicles. this problem is growing bigger and bigger, as it appears the NYPD ignore it. Thanks again for the great work you all do for our community. 

Steve Cawley

Dear Steve,
Thanks for your kind words about the Juniper Berry magazine. According to Police Officer Thomas Bell, Community Affairs, 104th Pct., (718) 386-2431) livery and yellow cabs are not commercial vehicles and NYPD cannot ticket them for parking overnight on residential streets. Robert Holden