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Communist sympathizers disrupted Newtown HS in 1935

TimesLedger Newspapers

Two Yale students on the final leg of a 29,000-mile world tour land in College Point in early January 1935. They take more than 600 pictures of places and people with an aerial camera and plan to donate the images to the Geographical Society of America. Their last hop, a four-hour trip from Morehead City, N.C., was one of the most brutal. Facing a 45 mph headwind, the ice-covered plane lands in an ice-caked Flushing Bay.

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College Point is again in the news as fire sweeps the L.B. Kleinert Co. Factory, at 26th Avenue between 127th and 128th streets. The building burns as wind whips flames fed by acids and chemicals. Starting in the acid room of the rubber manufacturing plant, the fire destroys one section of a top floor.

More than 125 employees are out of work. The fire is discovered by a watchman at 2:30 a.m. and quickly grows to three alarms. A call for aid goes out and help arrives from along the North Shore. Flushing was out on another call, so the assignment is handled by Battalion Chief Uhl, of Bayside.

A tower from the Bronx is carried across the Sound by ferry boat. One fireman is knocked unconscious when a ladder falls on him. The following day, ice coats the building.

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Communist sympathizers stage demonstrations in high school. Police are called to eject men at the halls of Newtown High School.

They demand a cut in lunch prices and free food for children of the unemployed. The principal denies trouble is serious and pupils are expelled.

Dr. James Dillingham said, “Many people come into the school during the day — some to see children, to make complaints, to bring praise. We always give these things courteous attention. There was no disorderly demonstration. They [the protesters] are not students but college men from the City College of New York.”

Earlier that week, four students on the bridge at 91st Place give out handbills listing demands. One of the students claim they are expelled. A red hammer and sickle is painted on sidewalks in front of every school in Corona.

School officials try to scrub them away, but they are visible. Mailboxes and lobbies were cluttered with Communist throw-a-ways in Newtown. A girl refuses to salute the American flag at school exercises held in a Queens park. This is given as an example of the influence of Communist propaganda.

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The modern generation scoffs at Victorian compositions of cast-iron art. Requests to remove old park monuments comes in from around the city. They are relics of an era when cast iron dogs, hitching posts and carriage blocks were in front of any home with a hint of social ambition. Public sentiment in the modern age lightly muses that they should be replaced by something cubist or, perhaps, futurist.

In this spirit, the King Neptune Fountain, on Northern Boulevard, long regarded as an eyesore to many residents of the North Shore, has come under the scrutiny of city Parks Department engineers. The statue was set up under the Town of Flushing before consolidation into New York. Fewer and fewer voices rose in protest to halt efforts to move it. This year, it is believed there will be no protests.

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On a typical day on the Queensboro Bridge, 103,151 vehicles use the bridge. More than 80,000 vehicles are passenger cars; the balance are trucks. An interesting side note: Ten horse-drawn vehicles head to Queens and nine back to Manhattan.

On that basis, the Star-Journal surmises that the horse population in Queens is slowly growing.

For more information, call 718-278-0700 or visit astorialic.org.

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