Oct. 3, 2012 By Bill Parry
The Sunnyside Garden Arena was the place where boxers turned up to slug it out in the ring.
The arena, where Wendy’s is located today (44-11 Queens Blvd), drew many people to neighborhood between 1945 and 1977, and helped put Sunnyside on the map.
This Saturday, October 6, at noon, there will be a ceremony commemorating the old arena in front of Wendy’s . Members of Ring 8 Boxing association, a veteran boxers group, will join with former fighters, politicians and other dignitaries to unveil a monument.
John Edebohls, who was raised just a couple of blocks away when the arena was in operation, led Ring 8’s four year mission to secure the monument at the old site. “This place launched many careers: Emile Griffith [middleweight world champ] and Jose Torres [light heavyweight world champ],” he said.
This was the first place Gerry Cooney fought professionally, Edebolhs added. Cooney fought Larry Holmes in 1982 for the heavyweight title and lost. Cooney – as with Griffith–might turn up for Saturday’s event.
The plaque will be dedicated to the fighters who used the 2,000 seat arena as a springboard to their professional careers. A successful debut at the Sunnyside Garden Arena often led to bigger fights and bigger paydays at Madison Square Garden.
Local historian Luke Adams said the arena, however, wasn’t just for boxing. “They had proms there, they made a movie there (Mr. Universe), and in 1960 John F. Kennedy had one of the first rallies of his Presidential campaign there.”
The arena was originally built as a private tennis club by railway magnate Jay Gould in 1926. It was sold and became a boxing arena in 1945 and then razed in 1977.
“It’s a shame we lost it in 1977 when interest began to wane.” Adams said.
George Kowalski, a Sunnyside resident since the late 50’s has many memories of the arena. He remembers the boxing mostly, but “they also had roller derby, big-time wrestling and a pretty good industrial league basketball team playing out of there. It was a classic place, really.”
The plaque will remember the fighters, but not by their names. “It took four years because of all the squabbling between the old fighters: whose name goes first? What about my corner man? On and on this went, but that’s boxing,” said Edebohls.
Just happened to see this post during dead time at the office. The comment from Rich Draghi jogs my memory about Sunnyside during my formative years. He mentions the Moores (Ricky and Jerry, I believe), McManus (Glen, I believe), and Conti. I knew them all. We all played in the park next to PS 199; stickball, softball, football, etc. It was a fun time. We used to get nickel cokes at the candy store (Charms?) across 48th Avenue from the park. I remember Wetter’s Deli and Roger’s candy store. There was Phyllis’ Bakery on Greenpoint Avenue off 40th Street. The library used to be on Greenpoint Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets. There was a candy store called Feldstein’s on the corner of 41st Street and Greenpoint Avenue. A little further up the block was Sol’s fish store. We always chuckled when we saw a sign in the window that advertised fresh smelts. How could they be fresh if they smelt? Then there was the A&P. The Villa Capri was across the street. Many a Sunday we had dinner there, after church at St. Raphael’s. There was Nelson’s Hardware Store on 43rd Street and Greenpoint Avenue. I have great memories of the Bliss Theater. There was Smilen Brothers fruit and vegetable store around 45th Street and Greenpoint Avenue. Bohack’s supermarket was between 44th Street and 45th Street, I believe, on Greenpoint Avenue. I believe there was a Lindy’s men’s store on 45th and Greenpoint. There was a Carvel store on the other side of Greenpoint Avenue from Lindy’s. I recall Eunice dress shop, a favorite of my sister, and the Bliss Sports shop on 46th Street between Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Blvd., I believe. I remember playing CYO basketball for St. Raphael’s at Sunnyside Gardens. I think I even saw a wrestling match there. I went to PS 199 and JHS 125, also known as Woodside Junior High School. I have a whole host of pleasant memories of the Sunnyside area. Alas, those days are gone, never to return it seems.
Anyone remember a luncheonette on QB in maybe 40th St?
Benny and Millie ran it?
Went often to the Gardens for wrestling. It was dank and creepy. Smelled terrible remember?
I grew up at 41-16 51st. It was technically Woodside but I spent a lot of time in Sunnyside. There was a fire house next door Engine 325 and hook and ladder 163. The buikding was owned by bthe Longo family who had a twin building at 41-15 50th Street. I remember the Asia restaurant well. My family had many Sunday dinners there. I remember the Bliss theater and especially Edebohls. I went to PS 11, JHS 125, and Stuyvesant HS. i went to roller derby at Sunnyside garden. My favorite team was the Brooklyn Red Devils. I had a Long Island Star Journal Paper route on 46th Street from Queens Blvd. to 39th Ave. Does anyone remember any of the following: A Sabrett hot dog cart that was always on the corner of Queens Blvd and 48th street, a penny candy store on 43rd Ave, between 49th and 50th street, an outdoor summer dance at the park on 43rd and Skillman, LICity bowling alley, the Chiclets and Sunshine baking factories in LI City, the Manufacturer’s Bank on Queens blve near 48th street. Great memories.
Yup. Remember them all. I remember back when we were pre-schoolers walking down to the Sunshine bakery with my mom, my cousin and his mom where we would buy large bags of broken cookies.
My cousin and I did a pretty good job of lightening the load so that our moms wouldn’t have to carry heavy bags of cookies back home,.
Grew up in Sunnyside, my family owned Sal’s Pizza. Also when we were teenagers we set up the wrestling rings and chairs for WWF
Do you mean Sal’s Pizza on Greenpoint Avenue, near the corner of 44th Street? I grew up in Sunnyside and LOVED that place. I was really sad to see it go. Are there any photos of it accessible on the web?
Also grew up in Sunnyside, went to PS 199 and PS 125. I remember going to Bruno’s Pizza at 40th St & 43rd Ave. for a slice and coke for lunch the bill was 35 cents.
Stew! I’m also a Woodsider (54th & Roosevelt). With a broomstick I could reach out from our 2nd floor fire-escape and touch the Flushing El structure.My trips to Sunnyside (which I and my buddies considered a classier neighborhood) were frequent and fun — the Bliss and Centre Theaters, Woolworth’s, White Tower, and, of course, Sunnyside Garden for the boxing and wrestling. As a member of the Woodside Redskins, we had uniforms made at the Bliss Sport Shop and we made a weekly sojourn to the PAL meeting at the 108 Precinct headquarters on 47 St to find out who and where we were playing the next Saturday. GREAT DAYS!!
I was wondering, if your mother was Pauline who was best friends with my Bernice. I’m Bob her son and remember you from my childhood. Your brother was Mike, and your sister Marilyn was best friends with my sister Marilyn. I have great memories of my childhood there.
My brother Bob just turned me on to this website – a nice walk down memory lane. Just attended my 50th high school reunion of Bryant HS. What I am most intrigued with is connecting with you if you are Stew Margolis. I’m Marilyn Zoller. Please reach out if you get this, I know your post is an old one.
I went to JHS 125 and then Stuyvesant. Graduated Stuy in 65. Lived On 67th and Woodside Ave. I remember lunchtimes when we could get our food locally. Chow me in sandwiches at the 5 & Dime, a hero with hardly any meat, and Carvel for dessert.
I would think that it was 39th Street on the west, 48th Street on the east, Laurel Hill Boulevard (and/or the Bklyn-Queens Expressway on the south and the railroad yard and tracks on the north.
Does anyone remember the aromas from the Van Iderstine Co’s rendering plant that Sunnyside “enjoyed” when the southerly winds graced the neighborhood during the Summer months? PEE-YEW ! ! ! We used to attribute it to a “glue factory.”
What are considered the exact boundaries of Sunnyside? ..My information is contradictory — different zips, etc.
I lived on 40th between 47th and 48th Ave. Went to 199 and 125 (left there in about 1963). If anyone knew me, say hi.
Michael Marion was in one of my classes at 125
I grew up in an apartment house on 49th st and skillman Ave. Went to 150, 125, and Bryant. I remember the Broiler, Asia restaurant, and Pete’s bar across from our house. Went to Queen of Angels and knew Father Denning and Father Burns. Entered the convent in 1956, but left in 1968. I now live in Albany. Sunnyside was the most wonderful place to be in the 40s and 50s.
Grew up on Skillman & 48 St. next to “Docs” Drug Store…across from the Church on corner. Went to 150…125…& Bryant (grad 1955). Dad use to frequent Pete’s. Went to Fr. Burns’ Confraternity dances.
I lived on 49th St and Skillman Ave. I went to the same schools as you did. James Caan the actor, was in my class at 150 I graduated in 57 from Bryant. Went to Queen of Angels and knew Father Burns very well. I also went to the Confraternity dances in the church basement. Pete’s was the bar across from our apartment building. Mary Ann’s candy store was next to it. Everyone went to Doc’s for help.
Father Joe Burns was my cousin. He passed away in 2007.
I remember him – Queen of Angels parish!
I went to 125 and Bryant high school. Graduated 1956. Attended services at Queen of Angels. Also knew Father Burns, pastor Denning and Father Mahoney. Was usher at Bliss theater. Lived at 46 St and Skillman Avenue. Good friends with Nathan Davi, Costa, Jack Prudenti, Deucy. Now retired Long Island teacher living in tampa bay florida. Highlight being at Bryant was being in play Life with Father, directed by Ms. Brignoli. Gym teacher Mr. Starace. Loved Sunnyside and going to Bryant. [email protected]
Looking for information on the old Gildeas pub in Sunnyside. My father worked there shortly after moving from Ireland. Love to find old photos or any info on what happened to it. Please share! Thanks
Looking for information on the old Gildeas Pub in Sunnyside. My father worked that after he movedto NY from Ireland. Looks like it no longer exists. Love to find an old photo and any info on it. Please help!
I grew up on 43rd St, between Greenpoint Ave. & 48th Ave. Lived there until I got married and moved across the Blvd. to 42 ST & 43rd Ave. I remember the 43rd Movie house on Greenpoint Ave, they use to open the doors in the summer and you could sit outside and watch the movie. Great luncheonette on the corner where you could sit in a booth and hang out and watch everyone walk buy. There where great bakeries too, Benkerts, Peter Pan, Horn & Hardart, Cushmans. Went to them all. Use to go to the flea market at the Sunnyside Garden and dances too. So many good memories of the good old days. Very fortunate to still live in Sunnyside, my four children grew up here.
My name’s Elaine. I lived next door to you on 43rd St. Then moved into the apartment you left on 43rd Av. We raised our children in Astoria, then retired to Maine.
Boy, do I remember you Virginia! We lived across 43rd street and I remember your younger brother Paul and your dad, who was always very spiffily dressed on his way to work – I think – in the City. You were the prettiest girl I ever knew, and I have never forgotten the day you asked me to play Chinese handball against Daffy’s wall. Thought my heart would stop! I think I was about 12 years old, you were probably 14-15. Hope you are all well.
How nice of you to remember me and my family. Yes, my Dad was a spiffy dresser. He worked in the city as you thought. My brother Paul now lives out in CA. I’m still in the neighborhood, I live across the blvd. on 42 St & Skillman ave. I have four children, three girls and one son Robert who lives out on the island. Have 8 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren, lucky me. Are you still in the neighborhood? Hope all is well with you.
Hi, no, I live in CA outside of San Francisco. I have one son and two grandchildren who live in Denver. I have stayed in touch with some of the boys from 43rd St. Ronnie McNamara lives in Florida as a widower. I have stayed in touch with some of the boys from 43rd St. Ronnie McNamara lives in Florida as a widower; his brother Jack has passed away. John Redecha has also passed away several years ago. I am 78 years old and I have many fond memories of 43rd St. but have been gone from New York since 1964. Glad to know you and Paul are doing well. There were many fine families on that street, and I remember you and your family fondly. Thanks for the reply.
So sorry to hear about JackMcNamara, I know he was married to Carolyn Tudisco after she left the convent. I, unfortunately, have not kept in touch with Carolyn although we were very good friends when we were young. Feel bad for John Redecha too. Evelyn Digilo lives in Fl. Betty Jane Hofving lives upstate in NY. we keep in touch on Facebook.
I’m 82 years old now, can’t believe I’ve it this long, I’m in decent health. Thanks for the reply and update, let’s keep in touch. My e-mail is [email protected]
Can anyone recall a building that had a pool with a big happy face painted on the bottom. My grandmother Irene lived there and I remember looking all day at the happy face from the window.
Small world. I grew up right on the corner of 42nd St & 43rd avenue (43-07 42nd St). In, fact my bedroom was on the 2nd floor right above the Whelan drug store. I have a photo of the corner taken in 2003 but don’t see any way to post it. 43-45 was up toward Queens Blvd. A dark brown brick walk-up. Oe’s drug store was on the corner. There were drug stores on three of the block’s 4 corners. Actually, you could probably sustain yourself for a lifetime from the stores ringing the block without ever having to cross a street.
Moved away in 1955. Settled in the Washington, DC area in 1960 after a stint in the Air Force and have lived in Columbia, MD for the last 39 years.
Ate many of Don and Mary’s hamburgers from The Broiler. They were the best. Besides the hamburger, you got serenaded with Don’s Dulcid bartione rendition of some operatic aria.
All these years I’ve thought they were John and Mary. My father would say a few words with him in Greek when we ordered that great food. The was the first place I knew with Greek style rotisserie (gyro). Their son used to call me “Greek kid,” although I had no knowledge of the language. My parents’ apartment was down the street (41st), as was the Caans’ – and James’ mother, Sophie, used to chat with my mother occasionally.
I grew up on 42nd Street just off Queens Blvd., two blocks up from Torsney Stadium as we called it. Went to St.Theresa’s until Queen of Angels opened. Had to deal with the likes of Sister Mary Andre and her pronunciation of onions on spelling tests: on-guns; Sister Mary James slapping all the boys silly; and Sister Mary Tarcisius’ love of the Civil War. Loved The Broiler, and Harry Greengrass, the butcher around the corner where my mother would send me for freshly ground chopped chuck. Also the cinnamon toast and hot chocolate at Edebohl’s. Lived at 43-45 42nd Street. There was a whole host of kids on the block at that time. I moved out around 5/73 to Long Beach for the summer, then Bayside for three years, then upstate. My parents never left the apartment until my mother got lung cancer in 2002. I finally (stupidly) gave up the apartment in 2004. It was, and still is, a great place.
The Broiler: best hamburger and fries I ever ate. Lived in Sunnyside, on 40th St., from 1949-1970
Wonderful memories–thank you all. I lived at 47 56 45thst till 1979.. went to ps 199–then ps 125–then Bryant. the movie houses, the shops, the playground. do they still have the xmas lights strung across the street ??
Remember: the Bliss Sports shop, Eatables, Angelo’s Pizza, Phil’s and Bill’s Candy store, Corrigan’s pub, Horn and Hardot, National Shoes, Miles Shoes, Steven’s, Thom McCan’s, Genovese Drugs, McCory’s, Woolworth’s, Wellworth’s, Sears, Bohacks, A&P, Lou’s Drug Store on the corner of 44th street and Queens Blvd, Tom’s Barber Shop, I could go on……
My grandmother worked in Phil and Bills candy store. Lovie Cobb. Great ladie. Phil Kliman was the one owner who also ushered at Shea Stadium. I would walk down there most days for lunch from elementary school PS11. Hamburger and egg cream every day and grab some candy on the way out. My grandfather Larry Cobb owned the Broadstone Bar next door to Nelsons Hardware on Geenpoint ave. spent most Sunday mornings of my younger childhood over there cleaning the bar after eating white castles for breakfast and then shooting pool following the cleaning. Great memories.
I played softball on a team sponsored by The Broadstone. It was managed by Mike Olenick. Year was about 1969-1970. I was 31/32 at the time. I grew up in Sunnyside/Woodside.
Frank, I was only around 9 or 10 at the time but do recall the guys from the softball team coming in after the games. I believe the games were on sundays when I’d be I used to be there doing the weekly cleaning before opening at noon. I got to know many of the patrons.
Larry, I knew your grandmother Lovie and your mother Patsie. In fact, I used to babysit for you when you lived in the Phipps. Many happy memories with your Mom. She was one fantastic lady. Ellen Murphy Giles
Hi Ellen, it’s been a while since our posts but hopefully you’ll see this. Thank you for the kind words and how nice it is to hear that you had babysat for me. My mom and grandmother were wonderful and miss them dearly. My mom lived in the Phipps for 49 years before moving into my grandparents house on 45th st. I’ve been in California for 38 years now and cherish my memories of the neighborhood. I still keep in touch with all my friends. It was nice hearing from you. Feel free to call. 661-305-5956
I was born while my parents lived on 44th and the blvd., right scross from Louie, who owned Sunnyside Drugs. I was only little but his wife, Mary, used to take me with her on deliveries. She was very pretty with red hair and Louie was dark haired with glasses. I found out when i was older that their son Michael had been murdered while making a delivery for them. He was found near the railroad tracks. I would see them on visits to my nana but once nana passed away i lost touch. They are part of the beautiful memories. There was Vito in the little grocery between louie and Asia restaurant and Mrs. Souschard deli further toward 45th st.; the Kosher deli across 45th st.; The Daisy toward 40th st. Hunka Munka…..Lowery Bakery; Charlie the barber on 48th Ave. Louise’s knitting shop also on 48th between 46th and47th sts. I just thought of The Golden Rule on Greenpoint Ave between 44th and 45th st…..wow jarred alot of memories!
i grew up in the Mets buildings on 49th st.
My mom was a waitress in a coffee shop at 47th andQB .Meldas sandwich shop from 1970 to maybe 75. Prior to that she worked the lunch counter at woolworths. I remember seeing wrestling at sunny side gardens. I think Bruno sammartino was there once. I believe a fire took out most of the stores in 75.
I just discovered this SunnysidePost site. What a great find especially reading all the posts dealing with the “good old days” in Sunnyside. Born and lived in the “garden” apartment building (1927-1958) on Queens Blvd. between 39th Place and 40th Street. Attended PS 150 and Jr. HS 125 the Stuyvesant HS. Many famous people lived in Sunnyside during my youth that included Judy Holiday, Teddy Napoleon, Kay Starr, Lilly Damita (Errol Flynn’s wife), the NY Rangers and Adm. John D. Buckley WWII Medal of Honor recipient to mention a few. Many of them lived in the apartment building I grew up in and others in the Ashby buildings on 40th Street between QB abd 47th Ave.Standing on the corner of QB and 40th Street in front of Charlie’s Ice Cream Parlor was a tradition for many teenagers at that time. Then there were the many other landmarks as mentioned in many Sunnyside Posts that included Sunnyside Garden (do you remember the filming of Mr. Universe in Sunnyside gardens starring Robert Alda?), the White Castle, etc. Those were the days me friend, I thought they would never end…….THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.
My parents grew up in Sunnyside. After WWII ended my Dad returned home. He and my Mom were part of the group of young people that hung out at Charlie’s ice cream parlor. That is where they met. My Dad asked my Mom’s help selecting songs at the juke box. The romance began and they married about a year later. They have many great memories and stories about Sunnyside. They were married for 66 years before my Dad passed away in 2015. My Mom still talks about Charlie’s!
I realize that this reply is just a bit tardy but . . . . .
A big thing in the life of many Sunnysiders was to go out to the corner candy store and pick up the first edition of the next day’s Daily News.
The News truck didn’t go to each candy store. Instead, it made just a few centralized stops and it was the responsibility of the store owners to get their first editions from one of the stops. They either hired a local kid with a wagon to haul the papers back from the pick up point or showed up in person. QB and 40th St was one of the stops. It was a big hangout around 8:30 weekday evenings. I occasionally got the papers for a candy store at 40th St & 48th Avenue.
Actually, my parents brought me home from the maternity ward to an apartment at Skillman & 50th St (41-06 to be exact). At the time, my sister was about to turn 5 and would be starting school in Sept. We were in the PS-11 district and PS-11 was an ancient wooden structure. My parents saw it as a fire trap and we moved to an apartment at 42nd and 43rd Ave in the Summer of 1935 so that she would be going to 150. We both went to 150 and 125.
If you lived at 48th & Skillman, you might be interested to know that the German deli across Skillman from the church was owned by TV pundit Eleanor Clift’s parents. Their home was in Jackson Heights and she would have had to go to Newtown HS. But they used the store as her home address so that she could go to Bryant, There was a barber shop on 48th in the 41-00 block, Charlie’s. That’s where I got my first haircut. After that, Charlie told my father not to ever come back with me.
Lived on Roosevelt and 53rd from 1937 (born) till 1941. Grew up on Skillman and 48th from 1941 to 1955. Then U.S.N till 1959. Came back and lived on 46th St. off Greenpoint Ave. till married in ’65. Stayed in the area till “71 then Long Island…now Florida. I had the best of Wood/Sunnyside in the ’40’s-50’s-60’s. P.S. 150 and JHS 125 were my schools. Very special times….Depression, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam. Went by too fast….remember a lot and reminisce often.
I knew a BobDi Maio whose family owned the Venice back in the 40s or early 50s. I also remember the Asia Chinese restauant a few doors down from the Venice and the Broiler at 41st and QB. Was a regular at both places.
I grew up at 43rd Ave and 42nd St. Went to PS-150, JHS-125 and graduated from LIC in 1953. Moved away in ’55. Settled in the Washington. DC area in 1960 and been here ever since.
No question that the old ‘hood has changed in the last 60 years. Probably for the better but memories of the the Sunnyside I knew are the fondest.
I just found this site. Seems like a lot of people who might remember the late ’50s here. My father use to own a bar /restaurant across the street from the garden called “Venice”. Anyone remember it?
My father’s name was Julie kappen. He disappeared/ left my family in 1959 and I understand he changed his name to james Carroll. If you remember or possibly know someone from that era, maybe they would remember. Please contact me. I always wanted to know why he did what he did to my mom and brothers. He had a partner named Jimmie o’neill. They didn’t last long in business there. Appreciate it if you know something about him to contact me. [email protected]
My family lived at 43rd St. between Greenpoint Ave. and 48th Aves. from
1935 to 1997…yes, 62 years! I remember Sunnyside Garden (wrestling and boxing), Edebohls (46th & Q.B.), the Asia (Chinese food) on Q.B.,
White Castle, White Tower, Robert Hall’s, Silver’s (womens’ clothing store on QB), Lindy’s (another store) plus, my favorite womens’ clothing
store called Eunice on 46th St. Between Greenpt and QB.
I left Sunnyside in the early 90’s and still return to check out the
“old neighborhood”. Big loss to me was the Bliss Movie Theatre; we
also had the Sunnyside Theatre and the 43rd Street theatre, plus the
long-time Center Theatre…still there.
Glad to see the new stores and that the area is clean and busy with
My aunt Maddy use to roller skate in sunnyside gardens Madeline Donlin, I was very little, does anyone remember the teams for female roller Derbry names?
I grew up on 48th Street between Queens Blvd and 43rd Ave — Sunnyside/ Woodside was a terrific neighborhood –while I moved to Texas in 1990… I was there for 36 years ..my parents lived there for over 50 years until they passed a way a few years back..I still visit each year — If you are interested in hearing more about the old days ..and seeing some great pics –there is a Sunnyside 60’s-70’s page on FB where a lot of us post pics and talk about the old days in Sunnyside…
Hey Cowboy where in Texas are you? I’m also from Queens moved to Houston in 1978.
Gosh, do I remember Sunnyside! I lived on 39th Place off of 50th Avenue and loved going to Clancys’ candy store. The thing that had gotten me started with my memories was looking at my Skates Box, which was obtained from Sunnyside Gardens Skating Rink. I remember a News Reporter taking a picture of me in my cute little skating outfit. I used to have a clip, but lost it and can’t find it. Anyhow! I miss the Ice Cream parlors with the true taste of cream. Anybody remember Gildeas next to White Castle? The Center Theatre, I can’t believe is still there. I loved the Villa Capri Pizzeria on Greenpoint, the best Dam Pizza, I have ever had. I left Queens in 1974 to join the Navy which was during the Vietnam Era. HERE IS A SHOUT OUT TO MY SUNNYSIDERS, I MISS THE OLD TIMES 😉
Cookie Bal?,,, I lived on that block and hung with the Moores’… Mcmanus’…Contes’… Hell yeah remember Gildeas,,, Villa Capri made the best pizza and antipasto….39 place was a great block ,,,,
Hi. I grew up on 39 place in the 50’s. My name is Canning. I knew the Pavlucas and your parents. My dad owned a bar on Greenpoint.
My cousin lived at 47-50 39th Place. We used to hang out together near where he lived. The candy store on 48th Avenue and 40th Street was a hangout for a lot of the guys in the neighborhood. Bob Hayes, the proprietor of the liquor store in that block was fairly young and close to us in age. On warm Summer evenings there would be maybe 6 or 8 of us hanging out outside of the store just shooting the breeze and socializing.
Villa Capri!!! How many weekend nights did we go there for dinner when I was a kid!
Food was great!
Ate many a pizza at the Villa Capri. Mike was the world’s best pizza maker. When I was in high school (L.I.C. Jan ’53 class) I worked at the King George super market across Greenpoint Ave. from the Villa Capri. In recent years, I have been in a Tuesday morning coffee “club” with a guy who grew up in the apartment house on the corner of 41st & Greenpoint across from Felenstein’s candy store.
Been a resident of the Washington, DC area since 1960. Northern VA 1960-66, Bowie, MD 1966-77 and Cloumbia, MD 1977 to present. Over the years, have met half a dozen Sunnyside natives living in the same communities as I have. Always a treat to reminisc about Sunnyside with them.
I love the old stories about Sunnyside, it was a wonderful place to grow up. It was so small town in a big city. Lots of trees and empty lots to play in when you could not go to the park.
Born on 46th & 43rd Ave in 1947 and made the big move to 47th St and 43rd Ave on 1957.
Every store you could possibly need, I remember doing my Christmas shopping on Greenpoint Avenue with the smell of snow in the air with all the decorations and Christmas carols playing.
Ice cream parlors with real fountains with high stools or Bickford’s with entrances on 46th and on Queens Blvd.
Many great memories and many not so great but happy that it is coming back to it’s beauty.
All that has been said is true. During the seventies and eighties, when the city was broke, the neighborhood was in bad shape–as were many in the city. Rabbit Island was for teenagers, parks had broken glass everywhere, public facilities were nearly always broken. But this was true everywhere. I remember playing frisbee on the sheep meadow in Central Park–there was hardly a blade of grass.
My childhood memories are from the 60s. Every few blocks there were very local services, food, cleaning, shoe repair, barber shops, beauty parlors. For household needs beyond that we went either to Greenpoint Avenue or Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside. Special purchases required a trip either to Jackson Heights, Steinway Street or Alexanders and Macy’s in Rego Park. Sunnyside was for local shoppers. Everyone had their own Woolworths, Thom McCanns, coffee shops and movie theaters. No one needed ours. The side streets and avenues belonged to the people that lived there.
Technology has changed all that, both for good and bad. There are more people now. They have cars. They shop in giant stores for long-term supplies. Everything is different. I guess wistfulness for a sweetened past is a function of living long enough to see how much things change.
I remember my mother father going to the Green Castle (?) down toward Laurel Hill Blvd. to play shuffleboard with my Grandpa. His friend, I believe his name was Gene Tunney owned the place. Grandpa would also go to the Horse Shoe Club on 47th Ave. between 45th and 46th Street across from Jake the moving man and the Lyceum Dance School. I was 3 when I wen to the dancing school and I remember I had a friend in dancing school named Sheila Kelleher and a friend named Miriam Schneidmil Genovese was on the corner of Greenpoint Ave. and 46th Street and I thought they named it after my mother, Genevieve. I didn’t realize the spelling, only the sound. I remember Charlie the barber on 47th Ave., Louise Knitting shop, and the Chinese hand laundry all on 47th Ave. between 46th and 47th st. WOW! I have a pretty good memory! I know I loved Sunnyside/Woodside. Still do.
Deb, all the places you named were on48th Ave, Horse Shoe Club, Charlie the barber to name a few along with the Green Castle
I don’t know why I thought Green Castle was on Laurel Hill. Thanks for correcting me. I know my dad and my grandfather used to go there to play shuffleboard sometimes. As a matter of fact, my pops was playing cards in the Horseshoe Club and suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 75, which was a long life in the 60s. There was a family named Murphy that lived on 47th between 47th and 48th Ave. Jerry Murphy was a NYPD Detective as was my dad. Jerry was visiting us one night and my dad heard something on the roof. He and Jerry went up and collared a guy who had been burglarizing apartments for awhile in the area. I remember our Doctor was Dr. Gottesman on the corner of 46th St and 47th Ave. Thanks for letting me reminisce!
Susan, the Stadium Bar became the Inwood East and later Hunka-Munka. Downstairs with a direct entrance from the street was Stadium Lanes which may have been 10 lanes of bowling owned by the bar owner as well. There was also a boys club a few doors over and The Broiler where Burger King is now.
Above the bowling alley was an Italian restaurant at one time, American Glory. I was only a little kid but I remember it.
Gallagher’s BEFORE it was topless was a regular bar on QB btwn 39th Place & 40th Street….there was also a bowling alley on QB where Arriba Arriba & Burger King are then it was it became a disco, the 1st if I can remember correctly was Hunka-Monka
Very true Dorothy, looking back is generally done with fondness. I recall Gildeas Bar next to the white castle where there was always a weekend fight that would spill out into the WC parking lot. I remember the under aged drinkers that would come into the Bickfords on 46th street and create major disruptions. The Escape was a bar/disco where the OTB presently is and it had the worst of activities going on. The undeveloped area behind “Torsney” park know as rabbits island was the ideal place for mischief, under age drinking and more. It was not difficult to get into trouble with the various groups of teens who hung out on just about every corner or the park benches at night. I also rememberl hearing my parents saying the similar things to the neighbors that I am saying about the neighborhood and how it has changed since the glories of their youth.
There were also some not-so-nice venues in Sunnyside: The Merry-Go-Round topless bar on Queens Boulevard between 45th and 46th Streets, and Gallagher’s, also on Queens Boulevard in the lower 40s (not sure which block). For about a decade everything was covered with graffiti and roll-down gates covered every business on Queens Boulevard. There was little pedestrian traffic. Things have improved tremendously over the last twenty years and hopefully will continue to do so, thanks both to the old-timers and the newcomers.
The Merry Go Round was not always a topless bar….I think that started in maybe the 70s
My grandparents lived on 44th St. and the Blvd. Used to walk the dog and get the papers at the candy store on 46th St. right next to the Merry Go Round.
JFK was the last real president we had.
Looking at the photograph of JFK at the corner of 46th street and Queens Blvd. brings back memories of the fire that removed the 2nd story of the corner building, never to be replaced. the cigar store still occupies that corner but Angie’s Pizza was one of the few pizzerias in the neighborhood which also had rotisserie chickens. Pizza was 15 cents a slice in the early sixties. Moving further west in the photograph is the Queen of the Sea Restaurant where we only ate on special occaisions but even as I youngster I appreciated those few occaisions as special. The last time my family ate there was following JHS 125 graduation in the Bliss Theater. The South Pole which occupies the site adjacent to Wendy’s, former Sunnyside Gardens, was the Robert Hall clothing store into the early 1970’s. That’s the corner where my friends and I stood as candidate Kennedy drove passed.
The Good Old Days
Help us save our past!
Anyone interested in donating old pictures of the neighborhood please contact us.
The Sunnyside Chamber has an ongoing project of saving pictures of our past! Including and originating and building with love and volunteer labor the sunnysidechamber.org, on which this revised site is based, thanks just a few of the many contributors:
Thank you to Alice Havlina and Warren Boyen, two wonderful local historians who have passed on but who helped us with information regarding some of these photographs. John and Mike Leahy and their family have provided us with not only great pictures and information from 1915 that would have been lost without their family history. The next time you go through your old pictures and documents, remember our office. Don’t let anyone throw out the pictures you so carefully preserved over the years!
We are looking for pictures of John F. Kennedy at the Sunnyside Garden Arena (we have one but look for more), Mayor Jimmy J. Walker opening the Sunnyside Gardens Park on May 18, 1926, Gleason Centennial Hotel, Miller Hotel. We have some of the Sunnyside Pool, Sunnyside Theatre, 43 St. Theatre but looking for more that we know are out there! Still looking for Knickerbocker Laundry Building, Jay Guild Tennis Court at 45th St, and anything else you may have of interest. Sometimes even ordinary photographs of daily life are the most interesting of all! We do have pictures of the Original White Castle building and thanks to John Edebohls we have pictures of Edebohls Ice Cream Parlor.
We recommend Main Branch of our Queens Public Library to anyone seeking more about our history. Their old newspaper records were invaluable. We look forward to your comments, suggestions, and hope you take time to visitthe Sunnyside Chambers pictures from “The Good Old Days!”
My father, Ed King, bought a bar called Gallagher’s in Queens and changed the name to The Boulevard. I think it was in the 50s based on a few photos I have of the doftball team they had. I am looking for photos or info about it! Thanks!
Ich bin ein Sunnysider’s idea of pics is excellent. Do any of you have pics you can scan for us to see of that era? We’d love to see them!
Thanks for the nice memories of the neighborhood. I loved going to watch the roller derby matches at Sunnyside Gardens, especially the girl teams which provided exciting entertainment.
Just a suggestion: Perhaps those old timers with snapshots of Sunnyside in previous decades can scan some of them and submit them to this site if the the site owner is willing. It would be a fascinating look at the past.
@Old Lady Sunnyside
White tower was between 47th & 48th Streets with entrances on Queens Blvd and Greenpoint Ave. It was a great place to stop for some good food.
Thanks for the memories keep them coming.
Re: the comments regarding Sunnyside in the old days:
Sounds like an episode of Happy Days (before Fonzie jumped the shark that is).
The car hops would bring the order on a tray that hung on the driver’s window, I think it was red. I distinctly remember seeing the hamburgers piled up in their little bags. Sometimes we went to White Tower. Where was that?
@Old Lady Sunnyside White Tower was between 47th & 48th Streets. They had entrances on Queens Blvd and Greenpoint Ave.
Do you remember Horn and Hardarts? Think it was on 46th near QB. The Merru-Go-Round on QB? I wasn’t old enough to go there but passed it when I went for the papers with my Nana. Always wanted to go in but she wouldn’t let me! Lol
between 47th and 48th streets queens Blvd if l remember correctly it went thru to Greenpoint ave
White Tower was on the triangle block on Greenpoint Ave between 47 and 48 street s
I was a regular at the White Castle from the day it opened at the 43rd St location (The building was sort of a prefab that sat vacant up at 51st and Queens Boulevard across from the Sunnyside Pool until they relocated it to 43rd St.). I don’t remember there ever being car hops there. Also, the burgers were packaged in little cardboard boxes shaped to resemble a White Castle building and not individual bags. . In those days, the castles were rather small and simple.
White Castle used to run ads in the Daily News every few months that contained a coupon that would get you 5 of their burgers for the price of 2. My dad drove a truck for the News and he would bring home a stack of the pages containing the coupon when they ran them. I got to be one of the most popular kids at JHS 125 on the days they ran the coupons.
@Old Lady Sunnyaide
Bet we know each other. Grew up on 46th St and 50th Av. from 1938 to 1954 …
Edebohls was on the corner of 47th St and QB, know that as I and my two girlfriends (about 16 to 18)went there for grilled cheese and cokes every Saturday, After we cleaned our rooms and helped with other chores in the house.
Didn’t have to be told either, just knew it had to be done, before you left the house. ..
Oh yeah and there was wrestling at the Sunnyside arena. I remember my Mom and her friend getting all gussied up (that was Dad’s words) and going to see Gorgeous George wrestle. He used to spray perfume in the ring before his match .. And wore big ermine capes …
Who remember the original White Castle when it had car hops serving
the orders. Great time to grow up and Sunnyside/Woodside was the place to be.
Oh and the PAL dances in the 43rd St park. They were the best.
Sure others have good memories of the times. Love to hear of them.
Grew up in Sunnyside. Moved away at age 20 in 1955. The White Castle was one of my many hangouts as a kid. It started out as a very small building that was previously located on a corner up by the Sunnyside Pool. It sat vacant during the war years. They ultimately moved it to 43rd St and the Boulevard after the war.
They used to run coupons in the newspapers every few months that would get you 5 burgers for the price of 2. My dad drove a Daily News delivery truck and he would bring home a stack of the pages with the coupons from leftover papers. I was the most popular kid in the 7th grade at JHS 125.
Maybe it was because it was before my driving days. But I draw a complete blank on the car hops.
Was there a place called the Green Castle near Laurel Hill? My grandpa used to play shuffleboard there. Not sure exactly where it was but it was in that direction
Green Castle was around the corner from our apt on 46St
Walking my dog has intro’d me to a bunch of folks that are Sunnyside lifers. They usually hang out on the benches outside Lodati. I truly enjoy listening to their stories of the ‘old neighborhood’ and my dog loves the attention she gets from them:)
Cheers and keep on posting!
Thank you, Nobody and Rick Duro. I usually get comments telling me to get with the current program, get hip, be cool, and go buy some expensive coffee! I live here because I was born here, and it was a place for fairly new Americans to enter society. I’m happy for anyone who is living out the American dream, making money and enjoying the good things in life, but leave some room for the rest of us, please. We created the place you think is so cool through generations of care-taking, when politicians didn’t have any money to redo things, when stores sold things you needed, not stuff they hope you wanted and when newcomers looked to old timers for hints on how to live best here.
I agree with ‘nobody’, I truly enjoy hearing from the truly olde skool Sunnysiders!! Great stories!
when the roller derby was there on sat-nite for .50 cents you could skate on oval track it was a lot harder then they made it look man it was fun. lotts of burn’s on the elbow and knee’s
the glory days of the neighborhood. too bad they are long gone.
@Old Lady Sunnyside & @Marilyn:
Your history comments are amazing. Keep up the great work. A side of Sunnyside so many of us never saw…
I’ve heard many great stories over the years about that venue. With it’s rich history, it would seem to be overdue.
It’s a pity that a place with such a colorful history couldn’t be saved.
I have lived in Sunnyside my whole life. I remember all the great stuff we used to have I remember the movie theaters too. Bliss Movie that is where the Jehovah Witness Hall is now and another further up, I think it was a Skouris theater. I saw the Dave Clark Five there, and remember seeing HELP at the Bliss. We had some wonderful stores. Ellen’s Hosiery on 46th and Bliss, the Candy store on the corner of 46th and Bliss,where my Mom and I would wait for my Dad to come home from work every night. I remember the Sunnyside Garden flea markets and my Dad took me to Sunnyside Gardens to see my first EVER Westling match!! I was a fan of all those guys. I was out of my mind that day!! There are so many beautiful memories in Sunnyside, I wish there was a way we could put them all in one book, like the #7 train and the World’s Fair, I do remember that little junk shop with the comics! My Mom and I used to go shopping on Greenpoint Ave and we always stopped there. She also got some of the back issues of movie magazines there.Remember Genovese on the corner of 46th and Greenpoint. Woolworth was where Rite Aid now is. What great memories. Another reason why those of us still here should NOT allow our beautiful Sunnyside to be taken over by greedy landlords and big box stores.
I loved that place Edebohls.
They had jars of candy in the window and soda fountains where you could see the soda inside and it was pumped up so it washed down the sides. I thought I was in sweet, sweet heaven! After a shopping trip to Greenpoint Avenue my mom would stop there for a cup of coffee. My brother and I got sodas. The guy behind the counter–wearing a white paper hat–would fill a cone-shaped paper cup with crushed ice he dug up from below the counter. He’d put the cup in a metal stand, then pull the lever on that magical fountain and fill it with soda. Last thing, he’d stick a paper straw in it. We’d sit on the stools and spin around while he was doing that then carry the sodas to the booth my mother picked. There we would drive her crazy banging our feet against the wooden bottom of the booth. It was a joy. Thank you Mr. Edebohl!
Best chocolate malts in the world!
Does anyone remember the little thrift/junk shop that was I think by the A&P my sister and i would go by comics there–big stacks of used comics 2 or 3 for a nickel. That was such a fun treat. Like buying White Castles and bringing them into the Center movie, My mom would send us to get sandwiches in deli on QB–best turkey, corned beef and for some reason the guys there always called me Natalie because they said i looked like Natalie Wood. I wish 🙂 A girlfriend named Joan would take Noreen and me to the Jewish Center dances. I remember JHS with all my friends Monica, Dolores, etc. We went to the World’s Fair, St Pat.s parade–so many places. The Sunnyside theater had a vampire movie once and my sister was really spooked–insisted we run like crazy all the way home to 45th and 47thave Fun fun times
BTW, another small piece of Sunnyside history was the soda fountain-ice cream place called “Edebohls” on the triangular block around 49th and Queens Blvd. where QB runs into Roosevelt Avenue. A teenager hangout in the 1950s and early 60s!
When I was a baby, we lived on 46th St. (47-45?) next to the school yard (PS125). Parents moved the LI but grandparents still lived in Sunnyside 44th St. and the Blvd. One Grandpa and my aunt and uncle and cousins lived on 46th St., right next door. I spent many weekends there. I ran across the blvd. from 44th St. across to Robert Hall, next to Sunnyside Gardens, to hail a cab to get to 61st St., LIRR. A cab stopped for a man and he had started to get in, but saw me and got back out, He said, ‘I’m not going to let you stand here in the street”. I said I would wait but he insisted I take the cab. After I thanked him I got in the cab and the driver asked me if I knew who the man was. I didn’t. It was Bruno Sammartino! As soon as I could, I found a picture and it was him! I remember my mother bought a lot of my clothes at Bernets on the Blvd. between 45th and 46th Streets. I remember The Golden Rule, Asia Chinese Food Shoppe (just the way it was spelled) American Glory Italian Restaurant with a bowling alley downstairs(?) Bohacks on Greenpoint Ave. St. Teresas, Queen of Angels, Principe Liquor Store on 46th St. Gildeas on the Blvd. between 43rd and 44th St. When I stayed at my Nana’s on 44th St. and the Blvd. there were regular DooWop concerts under the El. I wanted to go downstairs so badly but I was probably not even 10 yet. Boy they were good. Loved Sunnyside/Woodside. My Nana and my aunt were known by their 3 poodles and a collie that they walked along the Blvd. Name was Fitzpatrick. Remember Sunnyside Drugs on 44th? The Kosher Deli, Trunz? Hunka Monka? The Daisy?
I grew up on 45th st and 48th ave–lived there for 33yrs. still miss it. can anyone make a vid as it is today?? would love to see it shopped all the time in key food, a&p, bohack (loved their cream cheese cake). I remember the woolworths 5&10 and their special xmas sale. have a lot of old memorabilia–but would love to see the area today
Did you know the Espositos? They lived on 45th and 48th on the south side of the street. ( the furthest side from Greenpoint and on the right hand side walking down 45th)
Yes–I remember all those great places–lived on 45thst and 47th ave till i was married in 77. That area was the greatest– all the movies, great food and nice people Betty
My grandfather was waked at Buddy Bergen’s, I believe. That name sticks in my head…..it was on 48th Ave between 45th and 46th Streets. I went to the Lyceum Dance School on 48th between 45th and 46th St. Across from the funeral parlor. Started school at St. Theresas when I was only 4 and had a nun that was wicked. She was sent to a hospital. We moved the LI after that
Do you remember the Sunnyside pool??–do you know anyone that does?
Yes I do….use to go there.
Yeyh. I do. In fact, I cn remember when the original White Castle was situated across 50th or 51st Street from the pool. I grew up at 43-07 42nd St. Family moved away in 1955 when I was 20.
My sister dated the manager there Wally Spencer and I was about 5 at the time. Have pics of the place
does anyone remember the old sunnyside pool run by wally spencer?????
“The arena was originally built as a private tennis club by railway magnet…”
I had no idea magnets were that clever.
You’re not terribly clever, since there’s no misspell of “magnate” in the above piece.
I apologize for all my racist comments. I’m just trying to troll people because I have no life. I will be a good boy from now on
Some of the darkest days in sunnyside history should not be remembered.
I hear the Celtic Park co-op board is very upset about this.
Ian McGowan has started a trend.
Why do you say that? I lived in the Celtic Park Gardens in the ’70s, when they were strictly rentals, so I’m curious.