Sixty years ago this October, the first Gay Nineties Parade was held in Maspeth. Old timers remember with fond memories how the whole community got involved. Many of the store owners dressed up in period outfits and there were marching bands, clowns, antique cars and trucks, even Miss Rheingold attended on a float. Everyone remembers the “wooden nickel” that was given to all who attended and with it you could see a movie at the Maspeth Theater or buy a beer at a local bar.
The parade was organized by the unofficial “Mayor of Maspeth” Peter Chahales, and his wife Ethel. They were the owners of the popular Spartan Restaurant on Grand Ave. and 73rd Place where people went for fine dining and political fundraisers and weddings. I have fond memories of Peter and Ethel driving around town in their antique car and always taking the time to talk with neighbors and even us kids on their evening walks.
At the time I was only 12 years old but I can remember all the excitement from my friends and family and neighbors.
Photos by Eugene Polgar, my father. He lived in Maspeth his whole life and owned a TV repair store.