By Alex Davidson
The board's district manager, Mary Ann Carey, said the track at Victory Field, which sits at the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue in Glendale, will now be called the Frederick Schmidt Track. She said the late legislator used to frequent the area to talk with community members.
“When he became a judge, he very much missed the ability to go to civic meetings,” Carey said in a phone interview Tuesday about how judges are restricted from participating in political activities. “This (going to the track) was a way for him to socialize.”
The board had originally renamed the playground adjacent to the Forest Park Greenhouse after Schmidt two months ago, but then members of the late legislator's family requested that honor be transferred to the Victory Field track, Carey said. Since then, Community Board 9 has worked to put Schmidt's name at Victory Field.
Schmidt, a lifelong Queens resident from Woodhaven, was first elected to represent the 38th Assembly District in 1964 after having lost an election for the same seat two years earlier. He served in the state Assembly until 1972, when he left and launched an unsuccessful bid for the state Senate.
He was then re-elected to the Assembly in 1974, where he served as majority whip until he decided to seek a seat on the bench of the Queens Civil Court in 1992. Schmidt served as a judge on the Queens Civil Court until 1996, when he was appointed as an acting Supreme Court judge – a position that became permanent when he was duly elected to the position one year later.
He died July 18 of an apparent heart attack and was buried at St. John's Cemetery in Middle Village. Schmidt is survived by his wife, Julia, and their nine children.
The renaming of Victory Field's track is part of a $1.5 million overhaul project at the site that includes the installation of new turf – made of grass-like blades over a bed of crushed rubber pebbles – which is capable of holding up in severe winter weather.
The field will also receive new dugouts, a backstop, bleachers, fencing and a drainage system. The project is expected to be completed by 2006.
Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at email@example.com or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.