2019-03-13 / Star Journal

Presenting Pages From The Long Island Star Journal

Welcome to March 1917!

Loft Candies announces a new factory at Hamilton and Noble Streets (9th Street and 40th Avenue) in Long Island City. Once completed, 200 people will turn 50 barrels of sugar and 50 barrels of cocoa into six tons of candy daily. This is the second plant for the 13-store chain.

The Astoria Taxpayers and Business Association discusses the need for a new bridge over the East River, perhaps linking Fulton Street, Astoria (now Astoria Blvd.), with 86th Street, Manhattan. They note that trucks and autos have an extensive wait for the 92nd Street Ferry, or are forced to make the long detour to the Queensboro Bridge.

Durkee Spices promises that their Elmhurst spice plant will be “inoffensive.” Twenty-four members of the Women’s Civic Club of Elmhurst had recently visited the company’s plant in Manhattan and were highly pleased with the result of the inspection. The deed from the Cord Meyer Company has permanent restrictions against the property’s use as a freight yard. This concession was written in after a bitter fight by the community over a suggestion by the Long Island Rail Road that the location should be a freight yard.

The first passenger train runs over the Hell Gate Bridge and through Astoria. It is the aristocratic Federal Express between Boston and Washington (with a Pittsburgh sleeper). Previously, the trip was made from Port Morris, in the Bronx, to Jersey City on the steamer, Maryland. It was an hour-long 14-mile trip through the crowded East River.

More than 2,000 signatures on a petition ask for extending the “el” from Ditmars Boulevard to Steinway Street. Attorney Peacock of the New York and Queens County Railway tells the Public Service Commission that traffic is half its normal volume on Steinway and Second Avenue (today 31st Street) after the Ditmars el opens. He proposes a trolley loop around Bridge Plaza.

The release of Mrs. Margaret Sanger, birth control proponent, is delayed two hours from the Queens County jail while Warden McCann and two keepers attempt to get her fingerprints. She claims, to the 30 adherents who greet her at the door, that she successfully resists their forcible attempts. “I told them it was time that the law made a distinction between political prisoners who went to jail because of their principles and cutthroats and robbers.” After singing La Marseillaise, they go off in several automobiles for breakfast in Manhattan.

“Faker” declares Schmitz; “Ditto” cries Posthauer: Over 300 persons attend a meeting of the Newtown Board at Borough Hall, Long Island City. The tilt occurs when the board considers a request for a street closure in College Point. It runs through the property of the American Hard Rubber Company and is not used by the public. Civic leader Posthauer objects to William Klein being both secretary of the College Point Taxpayers Association (that favors the resolution) and counsel to the American Hard Rubber Company (which is submitting the resolution for the street closure).

Klein, representing the Taxpayers’ Association, states amiably that the closure of the street is necessary to the general industrial development of College Point. Posthauer retorts, “it was a land grab depriving the community of valuable waterfront which is ideal for a public dock.” Jumping to his feet, Alderman Schmitz shouts “Bosh! His College Point Committee is carried around in the vest pocket of that man and is a means of attaining his own personal ends.” “Compliments” between the two men thicken the air as “how much did you get” enters into the discussion. Not finding the gavel, Commissioner Newcombe vigorously pounds on the table with his pencil. Chief Engineer Charles U. Powell moves to separate the men. The motion is adjourned, “until,” an engineer mutters under his breath, “we have the reserves here.”

Bullets fly in strike at Laurel Hill. Throngs of striking workers see automobiles with loyal copper workers attacked with stones and iron bolts. Over 400 workers are on strike over wages.

Degnon Terminal breaks ground for an additional million square feet of manufacturing space, the first major addition to the two million feet built only three years before. The buildings boast that as a safe, secure location, tenant insurance rates are lower. Their massive size makes for efficient electric distribution, which is passed on as cheaper utility bills to businesses.

The Queensboro Elks, who have recently completed a hall on Nott Avenue (44th Drive) in 1908, are already looking to move to larger quarters more centrally located in the borough. Of the lodge’s 500 members, some 300 are from Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Jamaica.

The Star-Journal complains about the post office: Despite a special delivery stamp, a letter is mailed from Woodhaven on Thursday evening only to arrive in Long Island City Saturday morning. Its markings tell a vagabond story. First it’s delivered to Far Rockaway, then it’s sent to Pennsylvania Station, Manhattan, then back across the river to Brooklyn, finally arriving in Long Island City two days later.

That’s the way it was in March 1917!

For further information, contact the Greater Astoria Historical Society at 718-278-0700 or visit their website at www.astorialic.org.

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