The continuing autobiography of Capt. Dan
In 1934, we moved to 43rd Street and Queens Blvd in Sunnyside into a nice apartment. My father was getting back on his feet. I had a few dates with the superintendent’s daughter, Pearl. Grace Wainwright and Regina Lyons had gone off to college. I should mention a Roslyn Golding and a Marylyn Volk. . They both were in Earl Carol’s Vanities as hoofers. My friend Vinnie Guido went with Marilyn while I dated Roslyn. My friend, Vinnie Sims, also liked Marilyn. Their mothers escorted them to the shows and home. We had to meet them at their homes to go out on a date. Marilyn later on in life married Toots Shore who had a famous nightclub. I think Vinnie still carries a torch for her based on a get-together we had in 1988. I had a job the summer of ’34 taking care of the swimming pool at the Lakeville Country Club. I kept it cleaned, acted as lifeguard and gave a few lessons at $5 each. Still managed to swim at YMCA but was now on men’s team. Brooklyn Central Y was our main competitor. See my scrapbook for swimming meets, etc. About once a week, we got Boston brown bread and baked beans to go, at a Horn & Hardhartson 47th & Queens. I worked for a while in Calvary Cemetery on my own. I would paint letters on tombstones for a few dollars. Eventually, we kids were not allowed to do it any longer. I believe union workers complained to church officials.
When I lived on Ithaca Street in Elmhurst, we kids use to ride the Junction Avenue Trolley over to where La Guardia Airport is now located. There use to be a creek that came in from Flushing Bay with a wooden bridge over which the trolley ran. We use to dive and swim off the bridge. Over on the bay side were the remains of what had once been a big amusement park. La Guardia Airport is there now. We also use to go ice skating on a pond over about 94th Street near Astoria Blvd. while playing ice hockey you had to watch out for tree branches etc. sticking up through ice. After a few bad spills you developed an extra set of eyes.
In the fall of ‘34, I got a temporary job with a movie operator who went around showing I6mm movies at CCC Camps in New York and Pennsylvania. The fall colors were terrific up in the Poconos. He usually had frost on his old Buick sedan windshield in the mornings. We slept overnight in each camp. He charged 10 cents admission. I got about $2.50 per day plus chow and bunk at camps. I also worked in the Post Office sorting mail during Christmas that year.
In early 1935, we moved into a second floor apartment over a store on the corner of 93rd Street and Roosevelt Ave. My bedroom window was about 10′ from the “El” tracks. Got use to it after while. Only woke up if trains stopped running. I got a temporary clerk’s job in a Sheffield Farm store close by. Served customers, stocked shelves and made house deliveries. I continued swimming at the Flushing “Y”. (See my sports scrapbook for those days.) Aunt Mary lived on the other side of Roosevelt Ave near 94th street. Uncle Danny was also living with the Cuggys. Eddie Regan, who married my sister that year, and George Treutlein played football for a Corona team. Some of the games were at Woodside and Baxter Avenues where the Queens Hospital is now. We were still in the economic doldrums. I know my father was getting money for different political jobs for the Costello outfit, as he listed his occupation as a promoter. I played with a team in Flushing. Half of us had little football equipment and many bruises with the Fort Totten team.
Through Madge Cuggy I got a job with the CCC as a -recreation director, and was assigned to Co. 1247 at Bear Mountain State Park. The company relocated to Seneca Falls the latter part of October. It built a State Park near the camp on Lake Cayuga, and did the grading of the banks along State Route 89 on the west side of the lake. I arranged various sports; we had a championship baseball team, winning the State title for the CCC. We also ran games, etc. in camp recreation hall. The Modell Sporting Goods Co. sent a lot of stuff up to me, as my father knew the owner, Stanley. We had an Army Captain for C.O., an Army major for camp doctor, a 1st It for Exec, a construction superintendent, who wore a US Forestry uniform and had two assistants. They over-looked all the work the CCC did. The Army ran the camp. The officers, construction supers, educational counselor and the arts and crafts counselor all lived in one barrack where we each had a room to ourselves. There was a pot-bellied stove at each end of the building. The “VIP’s ate in a separate section of the mess hall. I got room and board plus $96 a month. I sent half home to my mother. I have a scrapbook with some pictures of the camp and personnel.
I bought a 1924 Chevy 2-DR sedan for $10, and made two trips to NYC and back with it, once in a blizzard. I plowed along, thanks to thin solid disk steel wheels and narrow tires. I almost froze my feet coming back from NYC when temperatures dropped to 25 below. Our CCC trucks went out a few times to rescue school kids whose bus bogged down in drifts. Cayuga Lake froze to depth of 6′. NY Central RR would come out on the frozen lake, cut up the ice, truck it to their icehouses, for use in their passenger trains, and produce cars.
In 1936, I bought a 1929 Chrysler 6 cylinder 4dr sedan from Jimmy Holmes father, who was an auto mechanic. It was in great shape with 75,000 miles on it, and took it up to CCC Camp. On my return to NYC almost ruined engine when the oil line broke and pumped out the oil. I heard a ticking noise, stopped and saw the problem. It was a Sunday morning, very early. I was able to coast down a long hill for a mile into the out-skirts of Syracuse, parked, asked around and finally found a mechanic who installed a new oil line. Fortunately, it only had one bearing with minor damage. The cold weather helped in preventing further damage.
to be continued…