The way it was in Queens Village

By Frederick R. Bedell, Jr.

This Easter my wife and myself spent the holiday with our friends Dave and Marion in Bellerose.

Dave and I have known each other for over 50 years—since we were 13 years old and lived in Queens Village in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Our conversation centered on our memories of the past living in Queens Village.

As for myself I lived on 213th Street and 102nd Avenue. The house I had lived in was bought by my grandfather in 1924 whose name was Frederick Williams. As I was told by my father, Frederick Bedell Sr., a large part of Queens Village at that time was farmland.

I remember my father taking me down to 99th Avenue, where there was a chicken farm. Now on that same avenue there were two junk yards where I would take used newspapers and collect extra money for my trouble.

There was, a few blocks over on 212th Street, a deli known as Yugo’s, which I thought made the best food and sandwiches in Queens Village. And right next store was a stationery store where you could get candy for a penny and pick newspapers up for anywhere between five and 10 cents. I also remember a diner on 212th Street, where my father would take me on Saturdays so my mother could clean the house without interruptions, and which later became a car wash. What a shame because they made the best pancakes.

Let me also point out we had three bowling alleys. One was on 213th Street and you had to walk down a flight of stairs to where it was located. We also had two movie theaters, one of which was called the Century Queens Theater where I served as an usher. The other was called the Community Theater, where you could watch two movies and a cartoon for 35 cents.

We also had a clothing store called Wilson’s, where my friends and myself would buy clothes, and also our Boy Scout uniforms. I had attended with my parents Grace Lutheran Church on 100th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard, which this year will be 100 years old. I also sang in the choir and attended Grace Lutheran Day school for eight years with my good friend Harry Weymer who I reconnected with after 50 years.

Queens Village had a lot to offer the youth of that day with parks where you could play baseball. I even belonged to the YMCA, where we took trips–including one to Alley Pond Park where we learn to respect and love nature.

We had many different stores, one of which was a hardware store, Megans. This was a place with wooden floors, an old-fashioned hardware store where if you needed screws or nails, you didn’t have to buy a box and the clerk would open these and sell you just what you actually needed.

Well, my friend Dave said to me, “You can never go home again.” I said that is so true, but maybe you can in your mind where you can travel back to where the memories can be relived. To all those who had lived in Queens Village in those days, I hope I had brought back some memories.

Frederick R.Bedell Jr.

Glen Oaks Village

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