Preserving the murals of Queens
by Ed Wendell
Mar 21, 2014 | 2846 views | 0 0 comments | 67 67 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jane Weisman
Jane Weisman
The Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society brings presentations to our community on a regular basis, covering a wide spectrum of topics. The WCHS is not only focused on history, but it is also interested in culture and arts.

The WCHS would like to see more outdoor artwork and murals in Woodhaven, like we have on 80th Street just off Jamaica Avenue and on the underpass near the firehouse (FDNY Engine 294/Ladder 143). We will be announcing plans for an outdoor art project in the near future. If you are interested in being involved, contact us at

Next Wednesday, March 26, author Jane Weissman will give a slideshow presentation on outdoor murals in New York City. The presentation will take place at Emanuel United Church of Christ, 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, and starts at 1 p.m.. Admission is free.

Outdoor murals are fleeting works of arts at the mercy of the weather and other factors, and this is what led Weissman to collaborate with colleagues on a book entitled “On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City.”

“We began this project because we began to lose murals,” Weisman says. “The fear was, if we lose the physical mural, okay. But what happens when we lose the memories of those murals? That is not okay.”

And because many murals over time reflect the period they were created in, whether they were created in protest of one thing or celebration of another, they become historically significant and the need to document and preserve their memories more pronounced.

Weissman has thoughtfully tailored her upcoming presentation to our residents and to the history of Queens.

“I’ve been going through my slides and finding images of Queens’ murals going back to the 1970s, so they will be a lot of fun,” she said. “They will be able to see what Queens’ history was like in terms of New York City’s community murals.”

Next month, the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society will be looking at a different form of art with a screening of the 1951 film Fourteen Hours starring Paul Douglas, Richard Basehart, Barbara Bel Geddes and, in her first role, Grace Kelly.

Fourteen Hours is the story of a police officer who at the end of his shift encounters a young man who is threatening to end his life by jumping off the ledge of a building. The officer stays with the young man, trying to talk him off the ledge through a tension-filled fourteen hours until the suspenseful conclusion.

Why are we showing this film? Because it was based on the true story of New York City Policeman and Woodhaven resident Charles Glasco. And as a special treat, we will be joined by Charlie Marchello, Officer Glasco’s grandson, who will tell us the real story behind that fateful day in 1938.

There will be two showings of the film on April 30, a matinee at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m., both at Emanuel United Church of Christ. Admission is free.

And following up last month’s successful evening slideshow at Neir’s Tavern and Steakhouse, the WCHS will be giving a slideshow on “The History of Woodhaven” on the evening of Monday, April 21, starting at 7 p.m.

This slideshow will be a potpourri of historical images we have collected over the past few years of our community. There are stories behind many of the images, and you are sure to learn a few new things about Woodhaven. And, as a bonus, attendees will be encouraged to participate in a pub quiz with the winner walking away with a copy of Vincent Seyfried's The History of Woodhaven & Ozone Park.

Neir's Tavern, 87-48 78th Street, has a full menu that includes the "Goodfellas" burger and the "Tower Heist" sandwich, named after two films that shot scenes in this historic location. There is no entrance fee for this event and participants are encouraged to eat and drink during the presentation.

It will be a casual event, we want everyone to come out, have fun, and learn a little about the history of our community. We hope to see you there.

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