Browse through our archives of past exhibits at the Castle
Bayside In Transition
In November 2018, Bayside Historical Society presented the traveling “Bayside In Transition” exhibit, sponsored by KalamakiGR, at their restaurant located in Flushing, NY. Curated photographs provided a glimpse of Bayside from the early 1920s to 1960s and how certain streets, homes, and business establishments were modified, removed, or stayed the same over time.
Bayside: The Actor's Enclave
The exhibit "Bayside: The Actor's Enclave" showcased the time when Bayside was home to major producers, directors and stars of vaudeville, the theater and the emerging film industry. Photographs, posters, newspaper articles, and memorabilia from the BHS archives helped transport us to Bayside's glamorous side of life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many thanks to The Lambs Theatrical Club for the research assistance they provided.
This exhibit, which was a companion piece to "Bayside: The Actor's Enclave," took a look into an imaginary dressing room of our Bayside silent film actress, Theda Bara. She relaxes between scenes in a place far removed from the cramped quarters of the typical chorus girl. Her room is filled with clothes, jewelry, and some delicious indulgences. A candlestick phone allows her to keep up with the latest news and gossip, while a Victrola plays 78rpm records of her favorite tunes. It is truly the room of a star.
If the Hat Fits
Until the latter half of the 20th Century, hats were an essential piece of fashion for both men and women. They have been used to define social status, occupation, group membership, and have also been worn to, of course, express individuality or conformity to society's standards and expectations. Nineteen hats from BHS's archival collection provided an overview of prevalent styles from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
A Bridge to Bayside
"A Bridge to Bayside, A Corridor through Community: Construction of the Throgs Neck Bridge and Clearview Expressway" examined two Robert Moses inter-related projects that had a profound impact on Bayside and the surrounding communities. The bridge, and more so, the expressway, physically and emotionally redefined how we think about sense of place: our home, our neighborhood, our interactions with others, and how we go from "here" to "there" on a daily basis.
Image: View of ramp piers on the Queens side of bridge approach, 1958. Photograph by Mal Gurian.
A seemingly disparate group of items from the BHS archival collection came together in a small display located in the Board Room of the Castle. The grouping of these objects had several common bonds, the most obvious of which was their small stature — a certain degree of closeness was required in order to inspect them. These inherently precious objects were cherished for the memories they held for some, the nostalgia they evoked in others, and perhaps, the fascination for those unfamiliar with them. All of these objects were donated by community members who understood that something can be learned about the history of Bayside through these common, everyday objects.
Image: United States Postage Stamp - "American Woman," 1960
Created by Baysider Robert Sivard. The artist lived with his parents at 38-22 212th Street, attended PS 41, and Flushing High School (as Bayside High School was not yet bulit), and was an acclaimed international artist who also served as chief of visual information services at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France.
Bayside Life: On the Edge of Modernity
"Bayside Life: On the Edge of Modernity" offered a close-up look at the little village that was becoming a town prior to the U.S.'s entry into the Second World War, as captured in the pages of Bayside Life. Published between 1939 and 1941, this short-lived magazine sought to promote a sense of community, hometown pride, and neighborhood spirit, by focusing on local achievements and happenings at the exclusion of world affairs. Both literally and metaphorically on the edge of change, Bayside was experiencing a population explosion, massive home construction, and travel made easier by the opening of the Cross Island Parkway, Whitestone Bridge, and LaGuardia Airport. The New York World’s Fair contributed to an atmosphere heady with optimism following America's Depression years. Yet, at the same time, war was declared in Europe and Bayside residents pined for a time when neighbors knew each other and life was less complicated.
Perspectives of Queens: Drawings by Joe LoGuirato
This exhibit showcased historically significant structures in Queens through a series of drawings by artist Joe LoGuirato, a native New Yorker who derives inspiration from the city’s streets, skyline and array of building facades and architectural details. These elements are repeatedly reflected in his work.
Spotlighting the borough’s architectural heritage, the 16 drawings depicted structures within Queens that were either NYC-designated landmarks or were worthy of adding to that list. Sites depicted included: the Jamaica Savings Bank (Jamaica Avenue and 161 Street); Republican Club (Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill); Grace Church (Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica); Hell Gate Bridge (connecting Ward’s Island to Astoria); the Poppenhusen Institute (College Point); Sidewalk Clock (Jamaica Avenue and 161 Street); Elk's Club (Queens Boulevard); Union Church (Astoria); Town Hall (Flushing); Ahles House (39 Avenue and 213 Street in Bayside); the Stone House (35 Avenue and Bell Boulevard in Bayside), and Ridgewood Theater (Myrtle Avenue); among others.
Image: Drawing of Hell Gate Bridge by Joe LoGuirato
Rolf Armstrong: Artist in Residence
Often called the "Father of the American Pin-Up Girl," Rolf Armstrong possessed two powerful personae. One was the incredibly successful artist whose extraordinary images helped define glamour through four decades, and the other was the avid sailor frequently seen on the waters of Little Neck Bay. His Bayside home, nicknamed Basque Casa, was a magnificent piece of architecture, which he considered his greatest work.
Image: Rolf Armstrong with model Olga Bogach in his studio c. 1940s.
Trolleys of the North Shore
Clang Clang Clang Went the Trolley!
At the turn of the century every town and village in the United States had a trolley that ran down its main street. While most of us don't remember those brightly colored cars, we can all identify with Judy Garland hoping aboard one in the motion picture Meet Me in St. Louis and singing the "Trolley Song". Trolley cars are as much a part of American nostalgia as apple pie.
Few people know that around 1911, a resident of Whitestone or Flushing could travel all the way to Hicksville by way of the New York & North Shore Traction Company's fleet of trolleys. The main line paralleled old Broadway, now Northern Boulevard, passing through Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck and on to Mineola via Manhasset and Roslyn. There were also branches to Port Washington and Hicksville. The private automobile and New York City's refusal to allow a fare increase doomed the trolley line to abandonment in 1923.
The Women of Bayside
This exhibit paid tribute to women who have made their mark on the Bayside community throughout history. Featuring both contemporary women and those of yesteryear, "The Women of Bayside" showcased those individuals whose achievements, whether through volunteerism, business ventures, professional accomplishments or other initiatives, deserved recognition.
Image: American Legion Post 510 Auxiliary Marching Band, 1938
Never has the adage man's best friend rung more true than in the distinguished role dogs have played in military history. Often trained and employed in wars as scouts to locate trip wires and booby traps, or as sentries to warn against advancing enemies, countless dogs have given their lives to protect their human handlers. This exhibit, which featured photographs, documents, and other memorabilia, paid tribute to these forgotten heroes. A Dog Demonstration was presented by handler Anthony Jerone, who received an appreciation award for his volunteer work and service in military canine training.
The Maritime Gallery exhibit documented the influence of sailing in Bayside and featured the collection of the Bayside Yacht Club. Memorabilia, such as trophies, log books and portraits, were displayed, which recorded the activities of the Yacht Club throughout the 20th Century. Further reinforcement of the importance of the Bay to Bayside and its ties to the sea.
Little Neck Bay
This exhibit showed the historical, social and economic significance of Little Neck Bay in the first half of the 20th century. It spanned from the time glaciers were present in the area, to the Indian settlements that existed, to the development of the area at the turn of the century.
Bayside Was a Wilderness Then
The origin of "Bayside Was a Wilderness Then — Voices from the Black Community" dates back to 1988. Members of the Bayside Historical Society formed a committee and set out to meet and interview longtime residents of Bayside's Black Community. During those talks, shared memories were transcribed and printed in a publication by the same name. A small exhibit at Fort Totten was designed to accompany the project.
Fourteen years later, a newly formed local committee with strong ties to Bayside's Black Community returned to search for and collect yet another group of reminiscences. These new recollections helped to preserve the rich culture of a diminishing population whose many contributions have enriched the community of Bayside.
We are indebted to those who willingly agreed to participate in the new project. Our thanks go to the participants for their lively, descriptive and honest accounts of their experiences living in a Bayside of earlier and simpler times.