By Kathianne Boniello
After more than 80 years of luncheons, meetings and parties at its sedate, one-story headquarters, the Woman’s Club of Bayside has sold its 43rd Avenue building to a developer to generate operating funds, the group’s president said this week.
As the nonprofit group’s money dwindled, President Isabel Massaria said, the Woman’s Club survived by lending its space at 214-01 43rd Ave. to different groups in exchange for donations. Massaria said those contributions were used to maintain the property and pay for insurance, utilities and taxes.
State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) based his 2000 re-election campaign in the Bayside building, just one block east of Bell Boulevard, and gave the group a hefty donation, Massaria said.
Padavan was “the one who really saved us,” Massaria said.
But after Padavan’s donation ran out, she said “we were just struggling.”
Massaria did not provide details of the sale, the group’s asking price or the identity of the buyer, except to say it was “a builder.”
“When we put all the expenses on the table, I said, ‘Ladies, we cannot stay here,’” Massaria said of the club’s decision to relocate. “I knew we’d have no trouble selling it — we’re in a prime area.”
The group, which initially formed in 1918, first took over the property in 1920.
Massaria said the 43rd Avenue plot and building was donated by a local congressman whose sister was a member of the Woman’s Club.
TimesLedger Historian Joan Wettingfeld said U.S. Rep. Frederic Storm, a native of France who was elected to posts in both state and federal government, owned a lot of property along 43rd Avenue. Storm also founded the Bayside National Bank and Flushing Hospital.
With the revenue from the building’s sale, Massaria said the 42-member club can re-establish some of its programs and activities and has begun renting space from the nearby All Saints’ Episcopal Church.
Padavan praised the group and said the sale would not deter its activities.
“Regardless of where they are located, the Woman’s Club of Bayside will remain a strong, viable and visible presence in the community,” Padavan said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, the difficult times not-for-profit groups are currently facing have wide-reaching ramifications. The Woman’s Club of Bayside will come through these challenging times, and they’ll continue to receive my support and admiration.”
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.