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Walter Scherr’s memoir, WALTER’S WAY, tells the story of how a Depression-era boy from Queens, New York overcame a life-threatening illness to live an adventurous life as a globe-trotting executive who witnessed and helped foster the post-World War II economic boom.

 
“Walter truly cares about the caregivers in this world. And that comes through loud and clear in this truly memorable book about a life more than well lived.”--Aidan Quinn, Actor“A fascinating and inspiring account of a remarkable life.”--George J. T
 

Walter Scherr’s memoir, WALTER’S WAY, tells the story of how a Depression-era boy from Queens, New York overcame a life-threatening illness to live an adventurous life as a globe-trotting executive who witnessed and helped foster the post-World War II economic boom.

WALTER’S WAY is a tale full of adventure and excitement as well as disappointment and heartache. Scherr traveled over two million miles and to forty countries over the course of his career as a corporate executive and entrepreneur. A business pioneer, he helped introduce the fax machine worldwide, and was a founding board member of four international corporations, including one that broke new ground in data storage – a precursor to today’s Cloud. The lessons he shares about business, leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and family are priceless.

Scherr, 91, has lived long enough to provide a first-hand account of the emergence of America as a world power after defeating fascism, through the go-go years of the sixties and seventies, right up to the present day.

At age 17, Scherr was ready to enlist after Pearl Harbor, only to be classified 4-F due to tuberculosis, and confined to a sanatorium for more than six years while his buddies went off to war, some of them never to return. He never forgot those who served and perished, ultimately traveling to the American Cemetery in Normandy to pay respects to a soldier from Queens who died shortly after D-Day. It was a soldier he never met but nevertheless felt a strong bond with, and he holds Normandy dear to this day.

Due to his illness, Scherr didn’t begin his career until he was in his late 20s. “Maybe that’s why I was so driven to succeed,” he says. “I always felt like I had a lot of catching up to do with my peers, who were already out of college and ensconced in their businesses by that point.”

“That point” was the late 1940s, and WALTER’S WAY vividly describes what life was like in those distant decades of the 20th century. Scherr was there for it all: He had a bird’s-eye view of the Cold War, having worked for a couple of this country’s major defense contractors when the stand-off with the Russians was at its frostiest.

Scherr’s story is anything but a smooth rise to the top: At one point in his career, he was blindsided and almost left destitute by one of the world’s largest international companies. He even spent a brief time in detention in a Communist country. Yet Scherr rarely met a risk he didn’t want to take.

Part autobiography and part history lesson, WALTER’S WAY will educate, entertain, and inspire everyone, from business executives to veterans to lovers of life, as well as anyone inter

Walter Scherr’s memoir, WALTER’S WAY, tells the story of how a Depression-era boy from Queens, New York overcame a life-threatening illness to live an adventurous life as a globe-trotting executive who witnessed and helped foster the post-World War II economic boom.

 
“Walter truly cares about the caregivers in this world. And that comes through loud and clear in this truly memorable book about a life more than well lived.”--Aidan Quinn, Actor“A fascinating and inspiring account of a remarkable life.”--George J. T
 

Walter Scherr’s memoir, WALTER’S WAY, tells the story of how a Depression-era boy from Queens, New York overcame a life-threatening illness to live an adventurous life as a globe-trotting executive who witnessed and helped foster the post-World War II economic boom.

WALTER’S WAY is a tale full of adventure and excitement as well as disappointment and heartache. Scherr traveled over two million miles and to forty countries over the course of his career as a corporate executive and entrepreneur. A business pioneer, he helped introduce the fax machine worldwide, and was a founding board member of four international corporations, including one that broke new ground in data storage – a precursor to today’s Cloud. The lessons he shares about business, leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and family are priceless.

Scherr, 91, has lived long enough to provide a first-hand account of the emergence of America as a world power after defeating fascism, through the go-go years of the sixties and seventies, right up to the present day.

At age 17, Scherr was ready to enlist after Pearl Harbor, only to be classified 4-F due to tuberculosis, and confined to a sanatorium for more than six years while his buddies went off to war, some of them never to return. He never forgot those who served and perished, ultimately traveling to the American Cemetery in Normandy to pay respects to a soldier from Queens who died shortly after D-Day. It was a soldier he never met but nevertheless felt a strong bond with, and he holds Normandy dear to this day.

Due to his illness, Scherr didn’t begin his career until he was in his late 20s. “Maybe that’s why I was so driven to succeed,” he says. “I always felt like I had a lot of catching up to do with my peers, who were already out of college and ensconced in their businesses by that point.”

“That point” was the late 1940s, and WALTER’S WAY vividly describes what life was like in those distant decades of the 20th century. Scherr was there for it all: He had a bird’s-eye view of the Cold War, having worked for a couple of this country’s major defense contractors when the stand-off with the Russians was at its frostiest.

Scherr’s story is anything but a smooth rise to the top: At one point in his career, he was blindsided and almost left destitute by one of the world’s largest international companies. He even spent a brief time in detention in a Communist country. Yet Scherr rarely met a risk he didn’t want to take.

Part autobiography and part history lesson, WALTER’S WAY will educate, entertain, and inspire everyone, from business executives to veterans to lovers of life, as well as anyone interested in a first-hand account of America’s emergence as a post-WWII industrial powerhouse. While imparting Scherr’s unique perspectives on business, success, risk, love, and life, WALTER’S WAY will also inspire the power of philanthropy and the value of caring for others, a spirit that shines through the pages of the book. All proceeds from the sale of the book are being donated to The Center for Discovery.

About the Author

Walter J. Scherr founded Visual Sciences Inc./Panafax, the first publicly traded facsimile company. Earlier, he held a variety of financial and operating management positions with Litton Industries and Sperry Gyroscope Co. He also was an executive and board member at Veeco Instruments. In 2005, he was honored by the United States Congress with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for his outstanding and invaluable service to the community. He is currently working with The Center for Discovery in Monticello, NY to develop a “World Cup for Caregivers,” a recognition program to honor professional, volunteers and innovative caregivers around the globe. Scherr received his bachelor’s degree from Pace College and his master’s degree from Hofstra University. Scherr and his wife Sylvia divide their time between Sarasota, FL and Long Island, NY. For more information, please visit waltersway.org.

Walter, and his late wife Vera, and their children established the Vera and Walter Scherr and Family Foundation to provide resources for people with developmental disabilities and their caretakers. In 2004, the foundation partnered with The Center for Discovery, a nationally recognized provider of health, educational, and residential services for children and adults with severe disabilities and medical frailties. The foundation underwrites the tuition for Discovery employees who want to further their knowledge of special education and clinical therapies. Discovery has awarded scholarships to ninety staff members, empowering those employees to earn bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees from thirty-one colleges. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sales of WALTER’S WAY will be donated through the Vera and Walter Scherr and Family Foundation to nonprofit organizations. For more information about The Center for Discovery, please visit thecenterfordiscovery.org.

ested in a first-hand account of America’s emergence as a post-WWII industrial powerhouse. While imparting Scherr’s unique perspectives on business, success, risk, love, and life, WALTER’S WAY will also inspire the power of philanthropy and the value of caring for others, a spirit that shines through the pages of the book. All proceeds from the sale of the book are being donated to The Center for Discovery.

About the Author

Walter J. Scherr founded Visual Sciences Inc./Panafax, the first publicly traded facsimile company. Earlier, he held a variety of financial and operating management positions with Litton Industries and Sperry Gyroscope Co. He also was an executive and board member at Veeco Instruments. In 2005, he was honored by the United States Congress with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for his outstanding and invaluable service to the community. He is currently working with The Center for Discovery in Monticello, NY to develop a “World Cup for Caregivers,” a recognition program to honor professional, volunteers and innovative caregivers around the globe. Scherr received his bachelor’s degree from Pace College and his master’s degree from Hofstra University. Scherr and his wife Sylvia divide their time between Sarasota, FL and Long Island, NY. For more information, please visit waltersway.org.

Walter, and his late wife Vera, and their children established the Vera and Walter Scherr and Family Foundation to provide resources for people with developmental disabilities and their caretakers. In 2004, the foundation partnered with The Center for Discovery, a nationally recognized provider of health, educational, and residential services for children and adults with severe disabilities and medical frailties. The foundation underwrites the tuition for Discovery employees who want to further their knowledge of special education and clinical therapies. Discovery has awarded scholarships to ninety staff members, empowering those employees to earn bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees from thirty-one colleges. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sales of WALTER’S WAY will be donated through the Vera and Walter Scherr and Family Foundation to nonprofit organizations. For more information about The Center for Discovery, please visit thecenterfordiscovery.org.

BABYLON, NY (PRWEB) JUNE 15, 2015  CHRISTINA BARNETT christina@theprfreelancer.com +1 (631) 539-4558
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Dear Walter and Laura:

While I am still recovering from the extended weekend with the 82nd Airborne (!), I wanted to reach out to you to provide you a quick update about this incredible experience and all that was accomplished thanks to your generosity.

It was a tremendously powerful and inspiring experience that I believe achieved all of the goals originally outlined by the Executive Director of the 82nd Airborne, Bill Bauer, in his call with you some time ago to create an experience to support these young men and women returning from significant service tours overseas.  A total of 20 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne (18 men and 2 women with a median age of 22 years old) attended the event.  They came from a variety of states (California, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, etc.), and had just returned from major deployments in Afghanistan and Kosovo where they experienced significant action and loss.  They were among the youngest but most fit group of people you could imagine.  All extremely impressive in terms of their bearing, military training, humor and good nature.  

They arrived Saturday (somewhat late) and we hosted them for a wonderful steak dinner and full Center hospitality at the Big Barn.  They next day included a variety of activities at The Center that included “boot camp” with one of our fitness instructors, a bike tour of all The Center campuses with lots of stops for interacting with our residents, guided meditation, a yoga session and a movie.     That evening included another banquet dinner hosted by Patrick who inspired them with his remarks about who we care for.  Marc Floyd (a former Major with the 82nd Airborne!) was on hand to welcome his fellow brothers and sisters.

On Monday, we departed for the Frost Valley YMCA Camp where the soldiers took place in other outdoor and recreational activities, including an extended fly fishing session with an instructor from West Point Military Academy who heard about this event and volunteered his services along with 3 other guides.  After lunch, we did a very challenging hike up Slide Mountain which is the highest peak in the Catskills.  I am pleased to provide you with the attached photo of the group on the summit of Slide Mountain!  The next day included a challenging climb up their alpine tower followed by a ride on the zip line.

The final night we had a  great camp fire where the soldiers each shared some very powerful testimony about their gratitude for the experience, the hospitality of The Center, the  difficult things that some had experienced but most of all how inspired they were to have met the residents of The Center who impressed them with their own strength and courage.  There were some very powerful and incredible moments of break-through. 

Bill Bauer was a great partner in the planning of the event and he accompanied the soldiers throughout all the activities.  We provided all of the soldiers with a gift bag containing your book and shared with them your life story, your motivation in wanting to pay tribute to their service and your warm words of greeting and regrets that you could not be with them.  We are putting together a brief video and lots of photos that will give you a wonderful sense of all the good that came out during the weekend.  You will be pleased to know that many of them addressed their remarks to you personally to express their thanks for the gift of this experience.  We have also developed a press release and are reaching out to new sources and social media to share news about the event and what you made possible through your donation.

We will also be sending you the special shirt, hat and water bottle that was created for all of the participants in the weekend since you were our Team Leader in spirit.   I have to say that the entire experience was one of the one of most moving and inspiring experiences of my life.  Our country is certainly in good hand if these men and women represent our future.

I am so sorry that you were unable to meet these soldiers and join us for a part of this event.  I pray that you are doing better and that we will get an opportunity to visit soon so that I can share with you more stories about this incredible experience that you made possible. 

In the meantime, please know how grateful we all are at The Center for this new partnership and how deeply grateful these wonderful young men and women of the 82ndAirborne are for this experience.  May all the good that you have done come back to you in healing and strength.  Your friend,

Bill

(PS – Admiral George Evans sends you his salute for what you have done for our service men/women and also sends you his best wishes for your recovery!!)

 

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Flag Day in the United States

People across the United States celebrate Flag Day on June 14 each year to honor the United States flag and to commemorate the flag’s adoption. On the same day, the United States Army celebrates its birthday.

Flag Day USA
Flag Day honors the United States flag.
©iStockphoto.com/ RiverNorthPhotography

What Do People Do?

Flag Day falls within National Flag Week, a time when Americans reflect on the foundations of the nation’s freedom. The flag of the United States represents freedom and has been an enduring symbol of the country’s ideals since its early days. During both events, Americans also remember their loyalty to the nation, reaffirm their belief in liberty and justice, and observe the nation’s unity.

Many people in the United States honor this day by displaying the American flag at homes and public buildings. Other popular ways of observing this holiday include: flag-raising ceremonies; Flag Day services; school quizzes and essay competitions about the American flag; musical salutes; street parades; and awards for special recognition.

Organizations such as The National Flag Day Foundation are actively involved in coordinating activities centered on the event and keeping the flag’s traditions alive. Following Flag Day is Honor America Days, a 21-day period through to Independence Day (July 4) to honor America. During this period, people hold public gatherings and activities to celebrate and honor the nation.

Public Life

Although Flag Day is a nationwide observance, it is not a public holiday in many parts of the United States. It is a legal holiday in a few areas in the USA, such as Montour County in Pennsylvania.

Background

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress replaced the British symbols of the Grand Union flag with a new design featuring 13 white stars in a circle on a field of blue and 13 red and white stripes – one for each state. Although it is not certain, this flag may have been made by the Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross, who was an official flag maker for the Pennsylvania Navy. The number of stars increased as the new states entered the Union, but the number of stripes stopped at 15 and was later returned to 13.

In June 1886 Bernard Cigrand made his first public proposal for the annual observance of the birth of the flag when he wrote an article titled “The Fourteenth of June” in the old Chicago Argus newspaper. Cigrand’s effort to ensure national observance of Flag Day finally came when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of the event on June 14, 1916. However, Flag Day did not become official until August 1949, when President Harry Truman signed the legislation and proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day. In 1966, Congress also requested that the President issue annually a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as National Flag Week.

The President is requested to issue each year a proclamation to: call on government officials in the USA to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Flag Day; and to urge US residents to observe Flag Day as the anniversary of the adoption on June 14, 1777, by the Continental Congress of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States.

Symbols

The American flag, also nicknamed as “Old Glory” or “star-spangled banner”, has changed designs over the centuries. It consists of 13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars. Each of the 50 stars represents one of the 50 states in the United States and the 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies that became the first states in the Union.

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THE HISTORY OF FLAG DAY

THE HISTORY OF FLAG DAY

The first celebration of the U.S. Flag's birthday was held in 1877 on the 100th anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777. However, it is believed that the first annual recognition of the flag's birthday dates back to 1885 when school teacher, BJ Cigrand, first organized a group of Wisconsin school children to observe June 14 - the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes as the Flag's Birthday. Cigrand, now known as the 'Father of Flag Day,' continued to publically advocate the observance of June 14 as the flag's 'birthday', or 'Flag Day' for years.

Just a few years later the efforts of another school teacher, George Balch, led to the formal observance of 'Flag Day' on June 14 by the New York State Board of Education. Over the following years as many as 36 state and local governments began adopted the annual observance. For over 30 years Flag Day remained a state and local celebration.

 

In 1916, the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 became a nationally observed event by a proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson. However, it was not designated as National Flag Day until August 3rd, 1949, when an Act of Congress designated June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

Today, Flag Day is celebrated with parades, essay contests, ceremonies, and picnics sponsored by veterans' groups, schools, and groups like the National Flag Day foundation whose goal is to preserve the traditions, history, pride, and respect that are due the nation's symbol, Old Glory.

More Info:

The Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. The resolution read: "Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. "

The resolution gave no instruction as to how many points the stars should have, nor how the stars should be arranged on the blue union. Consequently, some flags had stars scattered on the blue field without any specific design, some arranged the stars in rows, and some in a circle. The first Navy Stars and Stripes had the stars arranged in staggered formation in alternate rows of threes and twos on a blue field. Other Stars and Stripes flags had stars arranged in alternate rows of four, five and four. Some stars had six points while others had eight.  

Strong evidence indicates that Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was responsible for the stars in the U.S. flag. At the time that the flag resolution was adopted, Hopkinson was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board's Middle Department. Hopkinson also helped design other devices for the Government including the Great Seal of the United States. For his services, Hopkinson submitted a letter to the Continental Admiralty Board asking "whether a Quarter Cask of the public Wine will not be a proper & reasonable Reward for these Labours of Fancy and a suitable Encouragement to future Exertions of a like Nature." His request was turned down since the Congress regarded him as a public servant.

VIDEO: HOW TO PROPERLY DISPLAY THE AMERICAN FLAG

Properly Display the American Flag | How To
Learn how to properly display the American flag in this video hosted by Command Sergeant Major T. S. Decker (ret.). Watch now.
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Walter Scherr was a depression era kid who survived tuberculosis and six years in a sanatorium to become a leader in the business community. He was a boardroom millionaire and a key figure in the early days of the high-tech revolution. Walter’s story connects the dots between those lives he touched and those that touched his. He held the positions of Executive Vice President (1993-1995) and Chief Financial Officer (1990-1993) at Veeco Instruments Inc., becoming a director in 2005. He has also served as a consultant for the company since 1995. He served as General Manager of the UPA Technology Division in the 1980s, as well as a variety of other financial and operating management positions with Litton Industries and Sperry Gyroscope Co, including group Vice President. However, Walter was not only an executive, but also a visionary — in the 1980’s, he was the Principal and Founder of Visual Sciences Inc./Panafax (the first publicly traded facsimile company). He was also an Associate Professor at Farmingdale State School and Co-Founder of The Vera and Walter Scherr and Family Foundation.

Listen to the interview Here:

http://schoolforstartupsradio.com/2016/06/walter_scherr

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Walter Scherr Interview

Moe and Walter Scherr talk about how he was a Depression era kid who survived tuberculosis and six years in a sanatorium to become a leader in the business community; a boardroom millionaire; and a key figure in the early days of the high-tech revolution.

Walter’s Way: The Making of a Remarkable Humanitarian

What a treat it was for me today to share part of my day with one of the more remarkable human beings I’ve ever been around, .  At 91 years young, he’s the quintessential entrepreneur who, in the process of making the world a better place, leaves everyone in his presence better off.   His character is one of dignity and trust, his example is one I would want my son to emulate, and his moral strength is what superhero movies are built around.  

Having dedicated his professional career to building businesses in technology and oil & gas, he now directs his energy to perhaps his most important project - The Center for Discovery.  As you’ll pick up in this conversation, there’s no better humanitarian on the planet with as much determination to serve those less fortunate:  

Here’s what he’ll share: 

  • How he evaluates his life - both personally and professionally
    How adversity has shaped his character
  • Building mental resilience & dealing with his lowest moments
  • The time he knew he wanted to run a business
  • Why management by walking around ignites the best in others
  • The greatest lesson he learned from Mother Teresa
    The business philosophy inherent in the 3-in-1 egg theory

Listen to the interview: https://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.33voices.com/presentations/55ad4026346263008a000014/audio-681b8df964f743b5ff924ead05ed4bdf.mp3

 


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A $1.9 Million Gift to Help Educate Mental Health Professionals 

Walter J. Scherr likes to kick the tires of an organization before he becomes a donor.

The 88-year-old Queens native and retired businessman founded Visual Sciences Inc., one of the first publicly traded fax companies. Over his 60 years of buying and selling businesses, Mr. Scherr says that he likes to evaluate a company by examining the balance sheet, profit-and-loss statements and the intellectual property of an organization.

This is an approach Mr. Scherr took about a decade ago when he became a donor to the Center for Discovery, a provider of education and residential services for children and adults with autism and other medical complexities in Harris, N.Y.

Walter J. Scherr

Over the last decade, Mr. Scherr has given some $500,000 to the charity for staff scholarships. His four children have made a $1 million gift to create the Walter & Vera Scherr Learning Lab, so named for their father and late mother. Mr. Scherr has pledged to raise another $900,000 for the lab before his 90th birthday. The $1.9 million will be announced Tuesday night during the Center for Discovery's annual gala in New York.

The learning lab will allow staff members to continue their advanced education and share their expertise with others who care for people with severe and complex disabilities, medical frailties and individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Mr. Scherr, who now lives in Sarasota, Fla., was introduced to the charity by chance during a casual conversation with his surgeon, George J. Todd, an expert in carotid artery surgery and chairman of the department of surgery at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center.

Dr. Todd asked Mr. Scherr what interested him philanthropically and Mr. Scherr shared his interest in helping co-workers who, as a result of a birth accident, had suffered from cerebral palsy. Over the years, he'd seen the challenges his co-workers had faced and, as a result, set up a fund for them upon his retirement.

It was a moment of kismet for the two men as Dr. Todd shared with Mr. Scherr his involvement in the Center for Discovery. Dr. Todd asked Mr. Scherr to visit, as a personal favor, to evaluate the center on a business level. During Mr. Scherr's visit, he asked to see the organization's books, examine the place on his own and write an evaluation of what he saw. Mr. Scherr was impressed and made his first gift in 2004.

"There's nothing like seeing the operation itself," says Mr. Scherr. "I tell other people, 'I can't guarantee anything after you go up and see the Center for Discovery, but I can tell you for the next week you won't sweat the small stuff.'"

It was more than just the financials and the dedicated staff that persuaded Mr. Scherr in his giving to the Center for Discovery. He considers himself extremely lucky in life. He survived the Depression and tuberculosis, which was discovered during a routine Army medical evaluation to serve in World War II.

"The gospel says take care of my children and I'll take care of you," cites Mr. Scherr, who believes that the Center for Discovery staff members all have a place "upstairs." Then, Mr. Scherr says with a laugh, "I'm hoping I can come in on their coattails."

Write to Melanie Grayce West at melanie.west@wsj.com

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Ozone Park

BY DOMENICK RAFTER

The platform at the Rockaway Boulevard subway station – Ozone Park’s busiest transit hub – in 1982. 

Though it is 10 miles from the nearest ocean, the sea breeze is what brought people to Ozone Park – and it’s what the neighborhood is named for.

The history of Ozone Park dates back to 1882, when the neighborhood was founded in what was then a rural part of Queens County located on a plain sloping toward Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

The neighborhood was settled near the small hamlet of Centreville, near the current location of Centreville Street and Albert Road. Ozone Park got its name by the 19th Century term for ocean breezes – ozone – meant to attract urban dwellers from Manhattan and Brooklyn to the suburban-like atmosphere with sea breezes coming off the Atlantic.

The Long Island Rail Road came through two years after the neighborhood’s founding, with two stations, the Ozone Park station at 101st Avenue and 100th Street, and Aqueduct at the current Aqueduct-North Conduit Avenue subway station.
That triggered a population boom in the neighborhood and over the next century, In 1915, the subway came to the neighborhood when the elevated line over Liberty Avenue, which now carries the ‘A’ train, was constructed between Brooklyn and Lefferts Boulevard, allowing for quicker commutes to Manhattan.

By the mid-20th Century, the community became a destination for first- and second-generation Italian and Irish immigrants and grew to be one of the most prominent Italian-American communities in the country. Ozone Park became well known for being a working class community where faith and family reigned supreme.

 

With the Italian-Americans came what some argue is the best pizza in the United States, and some of the best Italian food this side of the Mediterranean Sea.

In the mid- to late-20th Century, Ozone Park became a hub of Mafia activities. It was here where large trucks stolen from JFK Airport during the Lufthansa heist were hidden on residential streets, and it was on 101st Avenue where Mafia don John Gotti set up shop at the Bergen Hunt and Fish Club. In 1984, Gotti’s reality show-star daughter Victoria was married at St. Mary Gate of Heaven Church, the gothic-style green spire-topped house of worship that dominates the neighborhood’s skyline and proudly states the neighborhood’s Roman Catholic heritage.

Indeed SMGH is one of several Catholic churches in the community, which include Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Elizabeth and St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr churches.

Since the late 1980s, the demographic of the neighborhood has changed dramatically. Though there is still a noticeable Italian-American presence, a growing population of Indo-Caribbeans – especially Guyanese and Trinidadian – and South Asians have made Ozone Park their home. Today, Ashrams, gurdwaras and mosques join the imposing Catholic churches, as Ozone Park becomes a center of faith and family for another generation of immigrants.

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