The Civic Scene: Ex-Queensites pen book on history of Fresh Mdws.

The Civic Scene: Ex-Queensites pen book on history of Fresh Mdws.
Fred Cantor (clockwise from top l.), Debra Davidson, Jim Gallagher and Bob Harris meet to discuss a photo book about Fresh Meadows. Photo by Edna Harris
By Bob Harris

Two former residents of the Fresh Meadows development are writing a book about it and the surrounding neighborhoods. Fred Cantor and Debra Davidson have arranged with Arcadia Publishing to write a book, as part of Arcadia’s popular “Images of America” series, which chronicles the history of American communities. The publication will be a photo album of the post-war period in Fresh Meadows, which captures the memories of the era and location.

The book will cover the period from the 1940s to the ’70s with approximately 200 vintage black and white photographs of the Fresh Meadows development, Meadowlark and the private houses of the West Cunningham Park community and other surrounding communities. Fred lived in the development in the 1950s and ’60s and Debra’s father had a store on Fresh Meadows Lane. They have been back to Fresh Meadows a few times to visit the Central Queens Branch of the Queens Public Library in Jamaica to obtain photos and my house, where they exchanged stories, picked up a few photographs and met with civic leader Jim Gallagher of Fresh Meadows.

They already have a number of various class photos, but would like photos of the interior or exterior of PS 26, PS 73, Ryan JHS or Francis Lewis High School; dance festivals; school plays; and other events. Photos of neighboring stores, temples, churches or organized local sports teams during this time period are also desired. They will donate any royalties from the book to the Fresh Meadows Library. They want to create a record of the place they grew up in and which they have fond memories of.

People can e-mail photos to [email protected] or send a photocopy to Fred Cantor, 606 Post Road East 11484, Westport, CT 06880. Include your full name, e-mail, address and phone number; the date the picture was taken and where; the names of the people in photo; and any other relevant information. They need the photos by February because the book will be published in 2011.

GOOD NEWS OF THE WEEK: New York City now has a Business Acceleration Team, a pilot program which began last March. It helps small businesses to navigate the maze of bureaucracy needed to open a business. It has been expanded to help restaurants which have 50 or fewer seats that are not carrying out major renovation.

Getting the proper permits for restaurants is especially difficult since so many health and fire regulations must be followed. New restaurants opened 10 to 15 weeks earlier than they would have had there not been a Business Acceleration Team.

The idea is to have more businesses open quicker so more jobs are created and the economy is improved. The city is thinking of streamlining the process even more. Here in Fresh Meadows, I noticed a tutoring storefront and a daycare center storefront which languished for six months waiting for permits. The daycare center went to City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) for help. I believe both are now being opened in the new year.

BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: The bad news this week is the city’s response to the blizzard of 2010. It was not as good as it had been in the past when we had similar storms. It took too long to get to side streets. I am used to waiting while the major boulevards are first paved. This time a truck got stuck at the end of my block and so no plows came down it for two days.

There are many narrow streets in many neighborhoods, so if a car gets stuck, then the street is blocked. It seems that too many cars went out in the storm, got stuck and blocked too many streets. Why did so many buses and ambulances get stuck if the major arteries were fully plowed, as they had been in the past?

There had always been adequate plowing on my block and this time after three days the plows came down again and again. The problem of plows coming down time and again after the third day is that people who dug out their driveways get them plowed in again. There should be a grid and after several runs on a street the plows should go to another area. Perhaps only the salters should come down if needed. What also is needed are narrower plows for some streets.

More from Around New York