By Greater Astoria Historical Society
In conjunction with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, TimesLedger Newspapers presents noteworthy events in the borough’s history.
Welcome to June 1964!
The June 24 edition reported on the disappearance of Queens College junior Andrew Goodman. Groups of young people gathered in solemn groups on the Queens College campus. “Any news of Andy?” was the question they kept asking. “No word from Mississippi” was the answer. There was no word on Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old junior, who was missing since Sunday.
He had gone to the South the day before to help in a voter registration drive. The other missing worker, Michael Schwerner, also had ties to the college. He was the husband of Rita Schwerner, a Queens College graduate from the previous February, and the brother of Stephan, a Queens College employee.
The parents of the two missing civil rights workers took hope from a meeting with President Lyndon Johnson, who gave his personal assurance of the government’s concern. They later met with Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
(Goodman, Schwerner and another civil rights worker were murdered near Philadelphia, Miss., by the Ku Klux Klan.)
A forlorn gateway to America, Ellis Island awaits new ideas. For 51 years, the island was the processing point for 20 million people who came to this country penniless but rich in dreams. The glittering towers of Manhattan beckon within sight of the facility that was slowly falling into decay. The National Parks Service proposed developing the island as part of a two-state national historic site centered around a museum.
Each day, 3,000-5,000 bedraggled immigrants would troop past medical examiners on peak days. Women waiting to buy railroad tickets gave birth on slow moving lines. People died in waiting rooms. An old-time employee recalled the daily feeding of the immigrants.
“They only had prunes and prune sandwiches, day after day. This resulted from profiteering. Contractors gave them the cheapest food available.”
He recalled some amusing stories, “15 Italians trying to reach Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan wound up in the village of Amsterdam, in upper New York state.”
An American Airlines Boeing 727 became LaGuardia Airport’s first regularly scheduled commercial jet. The three-engine 727 zoomed out at 8:13 a.m. bound non-stop for Detroit. Aboard were 72 passengers and a crew of six. American and United scheduled 22 daily jet flights from LaGuardia. More than 727 flights were to be handled at the field next month when TWA and Eastern Airlines were scheduled to begin jet service.
A record 57,037 Met fans watched a doubleheader between the Giants and Mets. Although the visiting team swept the series, local fans went home satisfied after watching the longest doubleheader in history at that time. The nine-hour-five-minute marathon went 32 innings, and a number of records fell before the SRO crowd, including most official at-bats and most strikeouts.
The fans were even treated to a triple play that afternoon by the Mets’ Roy McMillan. Casey Stengel and Alvin Dark battled all day until the latter got ejected in the 15th inning of the second game. Both lineups were sprinkled with a number of memorable players, including Jesus Alou, Willie Mays, Ed Kranepool, Jim Davenport, Orlando Cepeda, and Jim Hickman.
For further information, contact the Society at (718) 278-0700 or visit www.astor