Dec. 15, 2013 By Christian Murray
Sunnyside and Woodside’s veterans are about to move base camp.
The VFW Post 2813, which has been a social vehicle for Sunnyside and Woodside veterans since 1933, will be vacating its 51-27 Queens Blvd headquarters in January and moving into a former restaurant space, located on 43rd Street (between 47th and 48th Avenues).
The post, according to Commander Michael J Smith Jr., will be paying about $2,000 per month for the new space, down from about $6,000 a month in rent the club is paying now.
Keeping costs low is what the veterans are all about these days.
“Membership has been dwindling as many veterans continue to pass away,” said Jerry Sisco, a former commander of the post who fought in Korea. “There are not as many younger veterans replacing them.”
However, Sisco is hopeful that the 43rd Street location – which is easier to get to—will help the post recruit younger veterans.
The post is largely comprised of veterans who served in either Vietnam or Korea. There are two WWII veterans that are part of the organization and a handful of younger members who fought in Iraq.
However, it’s been a long time since the post’s heydays—when membership was booming as the neighborhood was flush with WWI and WWII veterans.
The post, which formed in 1933 and is co-named the John V. Daniels Post, has a rich history.
During its expansion years of the 1950s and 1960s it owned some significant pieces of Sunnyside and Woodside property– as it catered to a large membership.
The organization’s beginnings were, however, humble, when it operated out of stores and basements throughout the neighborhood.
The post’s first significant step occurred in 1951, when it purchased its first building, at 45-08 Skillman Avenue (which today is Holy Mountain Pre School).
In 1965, as membership continued to swell, the post sold the Skillman building and bought a property at 41-20 Queens Blvd. It erected a new building and created one of the largest Post Rooms in New York. It sold the building in 1992.
Today, that property is the lot comprised of Dunkin Donuts, Salt & Fat, a threading store and the vacant space where the Korean church Nak Won Reformed Church was located.
The post, with its sales proceeds, then moved to 43-16 Queens Blvd (now a Nepalese restaurant) after the sale, and rented the property for about $10,000 per month. It was there for about a decade before relocating to its present spot, where the rent was lower.
Despite the decline in membership as the older men pass away, it should not be forgotten that Sunnyside/Woodside neighborhood has a rich military history, the younger veterans say. Many men from the neighborhood have given their lives for the country.
The Woodside zip code suffered more casualties during the Vietnam War than any other zip code in the nation.