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Local VFW Post Struggling to Stay Afloat, Says It’s on the Verge of Closing Its Doors

The John Vincent Daniels Jr. VFW Post 2813 at 47-53 43rd St. (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

Nov. 9, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

It’s only a matter of time until Sunnyside’s local Veterans of Foreign Wars post could be forced to shut down.

The John Vincent Daniels Jr. VFW Post, or Post 2813, has been a neighborhood institution for the past 85 years, but has struggled to keep its doors open in recent times.

The Post has been in its current 47-53 43rd St. location for five years—it’s fourth location since its founding—with each subsequent site smaller than the one before.

Now, the Post estimates that it has a year and a half left, at best, and is calling on the community to help keep it going.

Paul DuBois, who has commanded the local post for the past three years after being a member of it since the late 70s, says the issues at hand are similar to those in other posts.

“Like a lot of organizations, we’re not gaining membership,” he told the Sunnyside Post. “Our younger veterans don’t seem to be interested in joining service organizations.”

Most of the small membership consists of a couple dozen Vietnam veterans, like DuBois, who joked that younger veterans perhaps only picture older folk “drinking beer and telling war stories” at posts.

“That’s not our mission,” he said.

VFW Posts commonly act as social gathering spaces for military veterans, and also help guide them through available programs and services. They also participate in community organizations and ceremonies.

To raise money, posts tend to put on periodic events with small cover charges and rent out their spaces for private use, like weddings or birthdays.

From a 2014 Veterans Day Ceremony, an annual event put on by Post 2813 in Woodside. (via Facebook)

The John V. Daniels Post, for instance, marches in the annual Flag Day Parade, holds events for holidays like Independence Day and Memorial Day, and supports organizations like the Sunnyside Drum and Bugle Corps and the Boy Scouts.

It also puts on monthly events for both members and the public, like karaoke and family feud nights, which also helps the post gain some funds.

But as membership has dropped, so too has its revenue streams and the post’s fingerprint in the community, DuBois said. The majority of the post’s members, additionally, have paid a one-time lifetime membership fee decades ago.

“There’s almost no revenue except for support of the members at the bar,” he said.

The 43rd location has also been bypassed many a time for an event rental, which DuBois says is due to its small size.

The situation stands in stark contrast to the post’s heydays, when booming membership due to the sheer number of veterans in the area ensured its former, large venue spaces would always be occupied and available to rent out.

The post, in an effort to remain open, has considered joining with another local post, and has tried partnering with a similar military-based organization in Fort Totten, to build membership between the two.

“But a lot of the posts in the area, in Queens, aren’t much better off than we are,” DuBois said, adding, “Plus, we don’t bring much to the table in terms of active membership.”

The post also created a GoFundMe last month, and has raised $2,100 of its $100,000 goal as of press time.

“We’re not just standing around waiting for people to help us, “ DuBois said. “But now we’re asking for it.”

Despite its struggles, Post 2813 says it is grateful for its landlord, who has been generous to the organization since it moved into the 43rd street location in 2013. Rent has practically stayed the same over the years, and both parties are also working out a plan to extend the post’s lease, ending soon, to mutual benefit.

With Veterans Day right around the corner, and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I at that, the local post is urging the community to keep a piece of Sunnyside history alive.

“The local community may not feel our presence that much, but they will feel our absence,” DuBois said.

The VFW Post 2813 will hold its annual Veterans Day ceremony at John Vincent Daniels Jr. Square, located on Roosevelt Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets, at 11 a.m. It also invites members of the public to join in festivities at the locale at 1 p.m.

To donate to the post, click here.

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Barbara Shubert

My dad and uncles who were WWII Veterans were members of this post. My dad was Commander at least twice. I miss him very much since his passing in 2003 but glad he is not around to see the down fall of his favorite. In those days the John V Daniel’s post hosted great parties with food, music and dancing. If it is still open I would love to visit it to see if the plaques with my dad and other Commander’s names on it.

Terry Stockdale

“Our younger veterans don’t seem to be interested in joining service organizations.” DuBois said.
Younger veteran are in numerous service organizations but not in self serving organizations. Today’s veterans travel the world to provide disaster relief with an organization called Team Rubicon. Today’s veterans provide service to the community with local reconstruction and community service projects via Team Red White & Blue. Post 9-11 veteran are one of the most active demographics of veteran who provide public service. I am a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. I walk by the VFW on 43Rd and all I see inside is a Bar, Bar stools and pictures of their past and former members. Veteran are joining service organizations but not the ones of old. Don’t say we don’t continue to serve as that is not accurate.


That’s a shame, maybe Trump could join to help out?

Oh wait, he dodged the draft because his feet hurt; I forgot.



The usual Trumpeter reply lmao.

Clinton received educational draft deferments.

Obama was 12 years old by the time the draft ended. Oops! Nice try though.

Ben Barnes was asked to intervene by a Bush family friend, Sid Adger to give the young Bush a place on a pilot-training program, automatically excusing him from the draft.

John berman

Some rich dude should build condos here and give the bottom floor to veterans. Oh, i forgot, that would be decent and humane

Joanna Frank

I think a venue like this is great for underage music shows. Growing up in Chicago there were punk shows for younger kids at VFW posts quite often – perhaps that’s a way to benefit neighborhood kids and keep doors open for our local Vets. A thought!


VFW shows are a thing of the past due to the insane insurance premiums the promoter/venue are forced to have (especially in a space that has underage shows AND a liquor license) now thanks to several lawsuits that basically killed that scene in NY in the 90’s.

I really hope they do get to stay in the neighborhood, and if anyone deserves a lucky break it’s the fine folks that have sacrificed for all of us!

South Side Johnny

This venue is the size of my living room, even for a bar, it’s small. Do its members pay for their drinks? I walk by this place frequently and always wonder why a local resident can’t stop in for a quick drink but it’s “members only,” I think. I wouldn’t even mind buying someone a drink if they told me a little bit about their military experience. Anyway, I’ve seen so many tenants come & go from this building. The landlord probably does not want to lose these guys- they’ve probably been there longer than anyone else.


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