Queens gears up to celebrate Memorial Day

By TimesLedger Staff

As the country prepares to honor those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, Queens has no shortage of activities and ceremonies during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

Once again, the Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade earns top billing in the borough.

The Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, reputedly the largest in the nation, steps off Monday, May 25, at 2 p.m.

The 88th-annual procession will begin at Jayson Avenue in Great Neck and work its way through Little Neck and Douglaston heading west down Northern Boulevard to Alameda Avenue.

Closing ceremonies will be held at the parking lot of St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church at the end of the parade route, where organizers will present awards, recognize honorees and acknowledge local veterans. Refreshments and food stands will be available outside the church.

The parade committee joined the American Legion Post 103 to organize the parade this year, coming back with a strong effort after last year’s debacle, when the Manhattan-based United War Veterans Council stepped in to keep northeast Queen’s long-standing holiday tradition from falling apart.

This year’s biggest contributors include Jeff Vonseidman, The Montgomery Family of Home NY Real Estate, Toula Polios Realty Group LLC and Bryce Re Real Estate.

Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs Loree Sutton is this year’s parade grand marshal. National President of the Vietnam Veterans of America John Rowan is this year’s honorary grand marshal.

Carl Mattone and Lidia Bastianich will be honored at this year’s celebration as Man and Woman of the Year. Marine and Korean War veteran Jerry Vilbig is being honored with the community service award.

Parade marshals are Richard Weinberg, Robert McGarry, Sebastian D’Agostino, Pat Gualtieri, Joseph Graham and Vince McGowan.

The committee will recognize the late Pastor Pat Toro with an early morning wreath laying in the St. Anastasia’s war memorial, and annual tradition.

According to Tom Long, commander of the American Legion, the Forest Hills parade will take place Sunday, May 24, at noon.

The grand marshal will be Roland Meier, president of West Side Tennis Association. Borough President Melinda Katz is expected to be in attendance along with other local elected officials such as state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky. The parade will feature various ROTC chapters and American Legion members.

There will also be a marching band and local civic and children’s organizations, such as Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops,

The parade will begin on Metropolitan and Ascan Avenue and will end at Remsen Cemetery

In northern Queens, residents can attend the College Point Memorial Day Parade Sunday, May 24, at 12:30 p.m. The parade beings at MacNeil Park and College Point Boulevard.

Military personnel are scheduled to participate in the parade.

Then Monday, May 25, they can head over to the Whitestone Memorial Day Parade at Whitestone Memorial Park, 149th Street and 15th Drive. The event kicks off at noon.

Down in southeast Queens, holiday festivities will take place in St. Albans and Laurelton.

The Armed Forces Pre-Memorial Day Unity Parade happens this coming Saturday, May 16, beginning at 10 a.m. on Linden Boulevard between Francis Lewis Boulevard and 205th Street. The parade ends at the St. Albans VA Care Center on 179-00 Linden Blvd., Jamaica.

The Laurelton Memorial Day Parade will be held Monday, May 25, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Francis Lewis and Merrick boulevards ending at the Veterans Memorial Triangle corner of 225th Street and North Conduit Avenue.