By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
NEW MILLENNIUM: Its celebration time! Where will you be? This
New Years Eve has been so over-hyped that even the best partygoers are sure to be
disappointed. Those looking to make it super-special to usher in a new millennium need not
worry. Theyll get another chance in a year.
Actually, if you havent been told already, next Friday night at
midnight will not be the end of the second or beginning of the third millennium.
If youve been paying close attention, you knew that. Or, did you
choose not to hear the math of the millennium. Its really quite simple.
Our calendar began in year 1. The first millennium went for 1,000 years
from January 1, year 1 until December 31, year 1000. The second millennium: from January
1, 1001, for 1,000 years until December 31, 2000. The third millenium therefore begins
January 1, 2001.
Its math; its simple.
Happy New Year!
20th CENTURY NEWS: With all of that said, here are my obligatory
end-of-the-millennium top ten lists some quick insights on the news of the 20th
century in Queens through the eyes of a kid who has witnessed the latter half.
Stories before my time, but I would have liked to have covered:
1) Queensboro Bridge Opens: March 30, 1909 establishing the borough as
a transportation hub. You can get anywhere from here. While major manufacturing was
attracted to Queens, the doorway to the City opened for the people of Queens and will
never close. The impact on business, art, culture and humanity will last until the car
becomes a vehicle of the past.
2) First "Garden Apartments" in the US built at 82nd St.
& Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights: 1914, changed the face of Queens and established a
suburban lifestyle the "bedroom borough" of Queens.
3) IRT Subway connects Queens to Manhattan: June 22, 1915; 2nd Ave El
extended across Queensboro Bridge through Astoria and Flushing: May 12, 1916. Mass
transportation opened the City to its mass daily commute.
4) Rockaway, site of first transatlantic flight to Europe: May, 1919,
The adventure started here, in Queens, before Lindy.
5) Famous Players, Lasky Corp. opens motion picture studios (now
Kaufman Astoria Studio): September, 1920, to have been the chronicler of 80 years from
Jolson to Cosby.
6) Ruth Snyder from Queens is the second woman in US history executed:
Jan 12, 1928. I couldnt have watched. I could have written.
7) The Star merges with the Flushing Journal to become
the "Star Journal": March 1938, the birth of community journalism in
8) LaGuardia Airport opens; Idelwild Airport (now JFK Airport) expanded
in 1939 and "Little Flower" (Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia) power witnessed the world
at our doorstep.
9) 1939 Worlds Fair: television, FDR and the world of tomorrow in
10) The United Nations starts in Queens, which would end the millennium
as the most diverse place on earth.
Stories I have experienced which helped shape my perceptions of
1) LIE, Van Wyck, Throgs Neck Bridge: 1963 1965. We are finally
connected the borough comes of age.
2) 1964 Worlds Fair: nations gathered in peace at Flushing
Meadows to marvel at its accomplishments and Belgium waffles.
3) Kitty Genovese: murdered March 13, 1964 in Kew Gardens while dozens
looked on a national symbol of civic indifference.
4) Howard Beach: December 20, 1986, our moment of national disgrace.
5) Son of Sam: one summer in history when evil ruled the streets of
6) All in the Family: The way Glenn Miller played . . . Little Joey was
in the Tribune Beautiful Baby Contest and Queens native Carroll OConnor
entertained the world from his Queens home on Hauser St.
7) 69 Mets "The Miracle at Shea," out-doing some great
sports stories including: 86 Mets, Arthur Ashe, John McEnroe, USTA, Jets at Shea.,
and Bob Beamon.
8) Garbage barge: Our trash made the world headlines.
9) Donald Manes and the city scandal: for this writer, the saddest
moment in Queens news.
10) John Gotti the gentleman gangster in our backyard: barbecues,
fireworks and murder.
And finally, 10 people whom I shall remember as Queens and Kings of
1) Louis Armstrong a legend with a horn in our backyard.
2) Gerry Ferraro 1st Woman Veep candidate and Queens first
3) Mario Cuomo from conciliator in Forest Hills to three terms
in Hamlet on the Hudson.
4&5) Mother & daughter make the headlines Ellen Baker
took the Tribune into outer space on her first of three flights and her mother
Claire Shulman guided Queens into the new millennium.
6) Paul Simon my college fraternity brother and musical poet who
spoke for my generation of Queens and the world.
7) Gary Ackerman My friend who was foolish enough to leave
publishing for public service giving me the opportunity to grow, learn, prosper and write
8) Floyd Flake reverend, former congressman and future city
leader, who has led the Allen AME Church since 1976, and has had the greatest impact on
African Americans in New York since the 1965 murder of another Queens man of color,
9) Donald Manes a tragic loss of a bright light for this borough
10) Dad Max Schenkler Queens educator who set an example
of family values and love.
EMAIL TO NOT4PUBLICATION.COM:Love the column. If you can lock in the web site
name for $35, how come we werent smart enough to reserve Pokemon.com? HK
TWO RULES FOR LIFE:
1.Dont tell people everything you know.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Liz Goff contributed to this column.