Astoria: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow!

Frances Luhmann McDonald is a life time Astoria resident – more than 80 years! Recently, Fran told us all about her experience growing up and watching Astoria grow with her. 

“I remember growing up in Astoria, watching them build the Tri-boro Bridge in Astoria, going to school in Astoria and when school was out, waiting for my friends on Grandma’s porch while the aroma of chlorine
wafted from  Astoria Pool.

The Hell Gate Bridge over the East River carried the trains headed for “the rest of the world”.  Their power source (over-head wires) made contact with boxy antenna atop the engine car.  On icy nights there would be a fabulous light show surpassing any fourth of July fire works. I can remember one Spring being called to the window to say good-bye to FDR as his flag-draped coffin, visible through a window and lit by a spot light made its journey to Hyde Park.

The family home purchased by Grandpa in 1927 now houses my nephew’s family that includes four children who all attended PS122 (Mamie Fay School) .  Mamie Fay was the Principal when I leaned to read write .

The elevated train that connects Manhattan to Queens, Astoria often marks “Ditmars Station” as the end-of-the-line. For me it was always the “beginning” .  No matter where I travel, if I ask the GPS for “home” it always directs me to Astoria.

Astoria is now home to people from all over the world.  It’s the same basic dish with different seasonings.
But it maintains the home-town feeling along with the new restaurants on Broadway.  Think about it! We’re surrounded by train lines, water-ways, road ways and an Airport.  Why would anybody want to leave? Maybe because of the way you feel when you return ‘home.'”