Two 'big' men in city politics
Jan 13, 2016 | 16752 views | 0 0 comments | 672 672 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We ran this undated photo from our archives in the January 7th issue asking if any of our readers could identify the people in the picture, and reliable responder Jeff Gottlieb, president of the Central Queens Historical Society, once again helped us fill in some of the information.

Here is what Mr. Gottlieb wrote about the man on the far left.

“We have the very popular Woodhaven assemblyman Fred Schmidt, who served 24 years in the Albany legislature before moving on to the judiciary from 1993 to 2003, when death ended his public service. He was tall and gracious and appeared at all the civic meetings in his area. An attorney, with his brother Joe Schmidt, and a member of Community Board 9Q, Fred Schmidt was a World War II Marine Corps veteran.”

As far as the man on the far right, that is former councilman Walter Ward, who represented southwest Queens from 1968 to 1993. He was an avid supporter of parks in his district. He passed away in 1994 at the age of 83.

Gottlieb spent a career working in politics, and this to say about both Ward and Schmidt.

“Both men were well over six feet tall,” he wrote. “I should know since I knew them in my active political years and literally looked up to them. I was 6'2" in my prime.”

Gottlieb also took a guess that the woman next to Schmidt is Matilda Raffa Cuomo, the wife of the popular governor Mario Cuomo and mother of the current governor, Andrew Cuomo. His guess makes some sense, as the woman on the right appears to be wearing a hat promoting Cuomo, so perhaps the event was a campaign stop for the former First Lady of New York State.

If you think you can add any more insight into the photo, drop us a line at

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