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CB6 considers demo of Trylon, Tower Diner

For years, preservationists have been fighting to save the 1939 World’s Fair-inspired Trylon Theater and Tower Diner and its distinctive clock tower on Queens Boulevard.
Last Wednesday, Community Board 6’s Land Use Committee held a public meeting and hearing, a first step to determine whether to rezone the triangular block for a 15-story condo proposed by developer Trylon LLC/RJ Capital Holdings.
All but one attendee expressed their opposition to rezoning and demolition of the two buildings.
On Wednesday, Community Board 6 will hold a general meeting, when the committee will provide its recommendation to the full board.
A petition opposing the development launched by Rego Park resident Michael Conigliaro has garnered 3,704 signatures.
“I have seen many changes in this neighborhood, some worse than others, but this proposed change is not just disturbing,” said Carol Hagerty, who has lived near the site on 99th Street for over 40 years, “it is devastating.
“It will block all the sunlight and will not blend in with the architecture and feel of this area,” she added. “What’s worse is that no accommodations are in place to preserve whatever is of historic, architectural, and social value on that block.”
The Tower Diner, which is housed in a former bank, has been in business for approximately 30 years.
“It is a neighborhood landmark in much the same way that Ridgewood Savings Bank is in Forest Hills,” she said. “The same can be said about the Trylon Theater.”
Phyllis Zimmerman argued there is value in preserving a neighborhood’s beauty and character.
“Without that, you could live anywhere,” she said. “Is there no value to the look, feel and character of our neighborhoods? Does anyone in this city ever say no to real estate developers?”
Zimmerman also expressed concerns about how a new residential building would affect parking and put more strain on schools and hospitals.
“These are the crucial things that need to be considered,” she said.
Jacob Chimino, who shops at nearly all of the small businesses included in the development site, testified at the hearing.
“We are opposed to these icons coming down,” he said. “This is part of our community.”
Joanne Davis lives near Tower Diner and passes it on her way home.
“I pass one high-rise and boxy store after another with no discernible landmarks,” she said. “Suddenly. a small white tower asserts itself upward into the skyline and I know that I am almost home.”
The Trylon Theater is currently home to the Ohr Natan synagogue, which has over 1,000 congregants, mostly Bukharian Jews in a close-knit community.
The synagogue offers services, English classes, food for 480 families, and activities benefiting the youth and seniors.
“We the undersigned would like to ask CB6 to deny the application to allow a developer to build a high-rise and demolish a functioning synagogue and many businesses around the property,” several families who attend the synagogue wrote in a statement to CB6.

Forest Hills home shares its past

“If only walls could talk” may be a cliché, but for 41-year-old Erica Lyn, who lives in a home at Continental Avenue and Nansen Street that dates back to the 1920s, her walls began to tell a story.
Two days into a renovation project in her bathroom last month, she discovered nearly ten 100-year-old letters, one photo, and a handful of magazines in the walls.
“I turned on the light and noticed a letter on top of the light switch,” she said. “It was a letter from a mother to her dearest son. When I saw the date, I thought ‘Oh my goodness, this letter is almost 100 years old!’
She asked the work crew where they found the letter.
“They said there was a lot more paper that they found,” Lyn said, but they threw it all in the trash. “We searched through 40 bags of debris to find two bags filled with the letters and such.”
Lyn noted there is an unfinished attic above the bathroom.
“I’m thinking that at some point the bag filled with letters fell through the attic, although when you’re in the attic you don’t see anywhere where it could fall through,” she said. “It’s kind of an enigma to me. I don’t think they were intentionally hidden.”
Lyn believes the letters were meant to be found.
“We came so close to not even renovating the bathroom, and it was just the timing of it all,” she said. “Honestly, if it wasn’t for that one letter on top of the light switch, I never would’ve known that any of this existed, since the workers threw everything else in the garbage.”
One of the letters was from Rose to Fred Jacoby, Jr.
“Did you meet any girls on your trip?” it read. “I meant to ask you before you went away, if you were angry because I went with those fellows, there was many other things I wanted to ask you, but I didn’t have chance to see you alone. You see if I thought you would have cared to go out with me, I wouldn’t have gone with those fellows.”
The magazines included issues of “Camera Art Photo Classics” “French Frolics (La Vie Parisienne)” from March 1925.
Lyn learned that Fred was a young man at the time who did some traveling and was also in the air corps.
“I saw one photograph where there is a picture of a man next to a plane,” she said. “I also learned that the family probably immigrated from Germany, since there is a list that is written in German.”
Beside the content, the fine penmanship transported her back in time.
“Truth be told, many of the letters are not the easiest to read only because the cursive is extremely fine, and the way they wrote was a little bit different than how we speak today,” Lyn said. “I’m still trying to decipher many of the letters.”
Lyn may donate the items to a museum or try to find the descendants and pass them along.
“I would definitely like to scan everything, especially the letters, and I wouldn’t be opposed to donating them to a museum of art and design,”she said. “If the family really wanted them, then I would give it to them.”
The power of social media has been integral in the memorabilia’s journey. Lyn has already reached out to one of the descendants, who expressed interest in meeting.
“I’m hoping to have her over once the mess is cleaned up from the renovation work,” she said. “I also found another number of a descendant and will be calling her this week.
“I’ve always loved history, puzzles, and figuring things out,” Lyn added. “So this has been an exciting journey trying to piece together who this family was and trying to get in touch with the family now.”
Lyn believes her house has more discoveries for her.
“I’m going to be pulling up some floorboards in the attic and try to figure out how in the world a whole stash of letters got to where they were found in the bathroom wall,” she said.

Push to save Trylon Theater & Tower Diner

Local preservationists and congregants are calling for Trylon LLC/RJ Capital Holdings to halt proposed demolition of the Trylon Theater, Tower Diner, and adjacent small businesses.
On November 3 at 7:30 p.m., Community Board 6 will hold a public hearing via WebEX on the developer’s plan to demolish the buildings to build a 17-story condo. Those wishing to join the meeting should email Qn06@cb.nyc.gov.
A petition launched by City Council candidate Michael Conigliaro garnered over 3,300 signatures in favor of preserving the buildings.
Some small business owners decided to relocate prematurely, including the owners of Tower Diner, who plan to close on November 30. The diner opened in the building in 1993, which used to be home to a bank.
Trylon Liquors moved across the street, while a European collectibles shop decided to relocate to Brooklyn.
Trylon Theater, named after the 1939 World’s Fair’s spire-like monument, was known as “The Theater of Tomorrow” when it opened. Today, it is home to the Ohr Natan congregation.
Rabbi Nahum Kaziev has been trying to negotiate with the developer for years to keep the congregation on site.
“In Judaism, if you raze a synagogue, you will never have a blessing,” he said. “I cannot imagine any reputable business opening in a space where there was a synagogue, a holy place that served thousands.
“We are a second home to many, including concentration camp survivors,” he added.
Ohr Natan serves over 1,000 people, mostly Bukharian Jews. It hosts religious services, festivals, English classes, and provides food for 480 families.
“Since Ohr Natan opened in 2006, it has been the main center for our big local Jewish immigrant community,” said congregant Svetlana Aronoff. “We are all saddened that our lease is not being renewed and the city has not been helping us.”
“I love that the Trylon Theater’s Art Deco architecture is associated with the 1939 World’s Fair, and it’s so heartwarming that a once-beloved theater is now the spiritual home for an immigrant Jewish community,” said Chaya Weinstein.
Nearby resident Dorothy Catherine Kaldi opposes the development and the influx of new residents it will bring.
“It is already torture to navigate the area by car,” she said. “Furthermore, the subways will be even more crowded, effectively turning commuters into sardines crammed into a moving can. Our quality of life in Forest Hills will be severely compromised if this building is built.”

Lost dog reunited with her owners

It was a Forest Hills miracle 15 hours in the making.
On Wednesday evening, Sherry, a 14-year-old dog, was rescued after she went missing a night earlier. On Thursday afternoon, she was reunited with her owners, a young couple named Robert Norbeck and Jessica Almonacid.
Michael Conigliaro, Fred Darowitsch, and this columnist were driving through the neighborhood when Conigliaro observed a dog running by his car.
He ran after the dog for five blocks along Jewel Avenue, stopping oncoming traffic. Two passersby helped escort her to the sidewalk on 113th Street.
Meir Malakov brought the dog some turkey breast and water, which was speedily consumed. The group began reaching out via social media, including posting videos made by Michael Vostok, looking for the dog’s owner.
Heddy Schmidt met the group in front of the 112th Precinct, and brought along her friend Josh, who takes care of dogs.
“When I asked if he could hold her overnight if needed, he did not hesitate,” Schmidt said.
The posts in Facebook groups went viral, and her owners were eventually found. Fourteen years ago, Sherry was adopted from North Shore Animal League America in Long Island.
“Sherry has always been very calm, docile, and friendly,” said Norbeck. “Some of our best memories with her occur on holidays like Christmas, Halloween, and birthday parties.”
Norbeck explained how Sherry escaped.
“Last Tuesday, Jessica was taking out the garbage and it was very dark,” he said. “Sherry walked out of the driveway. We walked around Forest Hills, asking people for hours.
“I feel very grateful and happy to see that there are still good people around who care about animals,” he said of her rescuers.
According to the ASPCA, the chances of finding a lost pet after 24 hours drops below 50 percent, and even lower after two days.
“I felt like my favorite football team won the Super Bowl when my wife and her friend found the owner,” said Vostek. “Tough times unfortunately bring us closer, but in those times, we can actually see how beautiful we really are.”
Schmidt has been involved in several rescues of dogs and cats.
“The more people that help spread the word, the more people that offer to help, the better the outcome for the animal in need,” she said.
Schmidt explained how she felt after finding Sherry’s owners.
“It was a beautiful series of coincidences, good hearted people, and social media that helped this sweet girl,” she said. “We all were very lucky in this rescue, but it also brings home the importance of microchipping your animal in the event something like this happens.”

‘Armageddon Time’ films to Forest Hills

Forest Hills was the backdrop for some recent scenes of “Armageddon Time,” a coming-of-age drama about being raised in Queens in the 1980s.
On October 8, some scenes was filmed along Burns Street between Continental Avenue and Tennis Place in Forest Hills Gardens.
Commuters exiting the Long Island Railroad might have noticed 1980s-style vehicles and young cast members.
The autobiographical drama was written and directed by James Gray and produced by Brazilian producer Rodrigo Teixeira. The cast features Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Donald Sutherland, Oscar Isaac, and Cate Blanchett.
Gray is known for his films “Little Odessa,” “The Yards,” “We Own The Night,” “Two Lovers,” “The Immigrant,” “The Lost City of Z,” and “Ad Astra.”
Based on Gray’s childhood memories, it offers a window into loyalty and friendship, as well as racial tension and bigotry, at a time America was poised to elect Ronald Reagan.
Twelve-year-old Paul Graff is raised in a warm and raucous family, where his grandpa encourages his artistic goals. His best friend, John Crocker, is an African-American student.
“I’m anxious to make something that is very much about people, about human emotions, and interactions between people,” Gray told Deadline in 2020. “In some sense, yes, it’s about my childhood, but an illustration of familial love really on every level.
“I got in big trouble when I was around 11, and the story is about my movement from the public education that I got into private school and a world of privilege,” he added. “This film is about what that meant for me and how lucky I was, and how unlucky my friend was.”
After a drug-related incident, Paul’s parents transfer him to The Kew-Forest School, a private prep institution in Forest Hills. At that time, the best friends devise a scheme to escape their lives and flee to Florida.
“It’s symbolic about what the school represented at the time, entrenched in this white protestant ethic,” Gray said. “It’s about that transition, and how it reflects on what the American society was and sadly still is. How we are separated along the lines of class and ethnicity.”
Other shows that have recently filmed in Forest Hills include “Mildred Pierce,” “The Americans” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Rose Chin-Wolner nearly wandered onto the set last week.
“Forest Hills Gardens was modeled after an English village, and is therefore a desirable setting for many movies and TV series,” she said.

Puzzles sale raises money for Tea Garden

A walk along Greenway Terrace in Forest Hills Gardens will reveal an ornate gate, and if you peek inside you will discover the Tea Garden, a hidden gem that opened in 1912 next to the Forest Hills Inn.
“The Tea Garden of the Forest Hills Inn is a veritable fairyland,” read a 1924 edition of the Forest Hills Bulletin. “When lighted with Japanese lanterns, with the trickling fountain heard in the background, and a new moon shining overhead, there is no more delightful place in Greater New York for one to spend the dinner hour.”
The Tea Garden’s use dwindled when the inn underwent a residential conversion in the late 1960s, causing it to fall into a state of disarray. Today, the Tea Garden is part of Jade Eatery & Lounge at One Station Square.
“I’m dedicating all my efforts to bring the old memories back by setting up the water fountain in the center, and redoing the landscape as well as the patio,” said Jade owner Kumar.
To aid in the restoration effort, Ozone Park resident Ronald Gentile agreed to contribute over 130 puzzles, which this columnist is selling at $20 each. Larger donations are welcome.
“I’m thrilled that these puzzles, which have been left behind by a tenant and would otherwise have ended up in a recycling bin, are being given new homes and playing a role in this community’s improvement,” said Gentile.
Shortly after, Julie Marie decided to donate nearly 10 puzzles.
“If many people contribute a small amount to improve the community, it will have a large impact,” she said. The history and architecture of the Tea Garden and surrounding area is an unexpected yet pleasant surprise. It’s like an oasis in the middle of the busy hustle of Queens.”
The Tea Garden once featured rocking chairs and a “ring for tea” stand, which were later replaced with tables and umbrellas. It was also the site of 4th of July celebrations, plays by The Gardens Players such as “Prunella” in 1922, and wedding receptions into the 1960s.
The restoration would ideally include repairing the central brick fountain, painting the pergola, restoring the cascading wall fountain, repairing stonework and flagstone, adding greenery, and replicating the tea stand complete with a bell.
“I wasn’t nursing a burning desire for puzzles, but when I saw Perlman’s fundraiser, I remembered that I like to do puzzles,” said Jack Quinn, one of the first people to make a purchase. “They all were so high-quality and different than anything I would see in stores, so I selected 13 puzzles.
“I’m going to mail a puzzle to each of my aunts and uncles and people I know that are homebound,” he added. “I’m so glad to help raise money for the Tea Garden and also brighten the lives of people I know.”
The Tea Garden motivated Bill Zen to become a volunteer.
“The puzzle idea is an interesting one to get the ball rolling initially,” he said. “As I pass the Tea Garden I stop often, look through the chained gates, and it’s hard not to go back in time in your mind to when it must have been amazing.”
“As a public-private partnership between the community, the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation, the Forest Hills Inn, and the owner of Jade, it could be phenomenal,” Zen added. “You could see neighbors enjoying the public grounds early in the day, and contributing a small donation to a trust to maintain the grounds like a living museum.”
Forest Hills residents Nelly Lester Manzo and her husband Gaby recently spent the afternoon at Jade Eatery. She purchased five puzzles.
“I could just envision a little Garden of Eden,” she said. “It gave a bit of nourishment to our soul. I didn’t think twice when I heard about the Tea Garden fundraiser.”
It was a first-time visit for Corona resident Hope Stephens recently made her first visit to Jade.
“It was good to see some of the masonry and the original gate with the Forest Hills logo intact,” she said. “The Tea Garden could be a lovely venue for all kinds of small gatherings.”

Return of the Davis Cup in Forest Hills

The past decade has been a rebirth for the historic West Side Tennis Club. There was the return of concerts in 2013, a pro tennis event in 2016, and the annual Heritage Day event.
Most recently, the club hosted a Group II playoff series of the Davis Cup by Rakuten. On September 18 and 19, South Africa defeated Venezuela, 4-0. Victories were achieved in singles and doubles by rising Association of Tennis Professionals star
Lloyd Harris, a 24-year-old South African who recently reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals, was victorious in both singles and doubles play.
“The Davis Cup has always been a part of my schedule,” he told the media. “It is obviously very important to represent your country, and get out there and play.
“This is an incredible venue,” Harris said of WSTC. “I learned so much about this venue and its history over the last few days. I’m obviously very, very honored to be playing in a special place.”
Philip Henning of the South African squad called it “honor” to represent his country in Forest Hills.
“We love our sport, and this place is one of the places with the most history for tennis,” he said. “A lot of big names played on this court.”
“As a player, you always dream to be in the historic venues, and the important sites and most famous stadiums and arenas all over the world, and this is one of them,” said Venezuelan Ricardo Rodriguez after his loss to Henning. “Even though I lost, I still feel lucky to be here.”
The Davis Cup was founded in 1900 by Dwight Davis at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston. It originated as a challenge match between the U.S. and the British Isles. Today, it is the largest international team competition with over 120 nations.
“We would love to host more Davis Cup matches or other big pro events,” said Jason Weir-Smith, WSTC’s director of Racquet Sports. “WSTC has proven to be a suitable and enjoyable site for players and fans, with an unparalleled tennis history in the United States.
“With Queens being one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the world, Forest Hills would be particularly attractive for national team events or tournaments with popular international tennis stars.” he added.
The Davis Cup was last played in Forest Hills Stadium in 1959. Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, and Neale Fraser led Australia to a Davis Cup win over the U.S., which was led by Alex Olmedo, Butch Buchholz, and Barry MacKay.
The Davis Cup was last held in Queens in 1981 at the USTA National Tennis Center. A quarterfinals match between the U.S. and Czechoslovakia featured John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Ivan Lendl.
Weir-Smith said the public is nostalgic for Forest Hills tennis.
“Those who are perhaps too young to see pro tennis here, have certainly seen videos and pictures that display the majesty, beauty, and history of the club,” he said.
Randolph Walker was the U.S. Davis Cup press officer from 1997 to 2005. The first Davis Cup he attended was in 1981 at the USTA National Tennis Center.
“In a summer that saw Major League Baseball played at the ‘Field of Dreams’ in Iowa, it certainly was special for pro tennis to return to its own Field of Dreams,” said Walker. “So many people could feel the ghosts of tennis champions past.
“That made the event so memorable for all, and will make future tennis events played on that court much more special,” he added.

The Toy Puzzle That Became A Sensation

The Roalex Company, which specialized in toys and novelties, signed a lease for 65-43 Austin Street in Forest Hills in 1952 when the western end of Austin Street was dominated by industrial facilities.
Alvin M. Borenstein, who passed away in 1978, was founder of the company and mastermind behind the Roalex puzzle, a 15-piece interlocking and sliding that formed various versions of an illustrated theme.
The small animated puzzle would become a source of enrichment and enjoyment for children and adults, and almost immediately rose in popularity nationally. There were at least a few hundred varieties and they were produced until 1971.
Borenstein sold products based on cartoon and television shows that were popular at the time, including Felix the Cat, Bozo The Clown, Mighty Mouse, Magilla Gorilla, The Jetsons, The Alvin Show, Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear.
The 1964-1965 World’s Fair was also celebrated in a puzzle, allowing a player to create the Unisphere.
“I think he had a partner named Robert, so they used RO, and AL for Alvin, and Ex for export, to come up with Roalex,” said his son Edward Borenstien, who lives in Bellmore.
He was raised in Manhattan with his brother, Stanley, who also calls Bellmore home.
“I would go to work with my dad and pasted the puzzles on the cardboard using glue,” recalled Stan. “I would go almost every Saturday with my dad to work and do that or help build shelves or make boxes.”
Besides puzzles, other toys and novelties were manufactured.
“My father was big into making kites with characters on it and they were great,” said Ed. “He also made novelties like the ‘Arrow Through the Head.’ I recall Steve Martin using that in his act when he was a young comedian.”
In 1957, their father was interviewed by Robert Williams of the New York Post.
“Nothing is new, it seems,” he said at the time. “The arrow must be 40 years old, at least. The magicians used to employ the same device to provide the illusion of a knife piercing an assistant. The silent movies used to use the same thing in westerns to show cowboys shot with arrows.”
“The arrow was, of course, just one of a million ideas which are constantly haunting Borenstein’s imagination in as much as he is in the business of creating and producing novelties, not to mention gimmicks and gadgets, which is a business where imagination is the essence of economic survival,” Williams wrote in his feature piece.
Stan recalled the puzzles selling for 69 cents around 1970, but in today’s market, these collectibles sell online anywhere from $25 to $500. He has ten of the original games in his possession.
“I’ve showed my kids, and they still work great,” he said. “I often think about rebooting and maybe marketing with business cards or giveaways at trade shows.”
“Our father would be so excited to know the impact and legacy his puzzles left,” Ed added. “My dad passed away so long ago, that my family really never knew about all that he did. Unfortunately, the business went under and my dad was never the same.
“This was his life and he put everything into it, but when he got into financial difficulty, he was never able to recover,” Ed continued. “We truly believe that led to his passing at 58.”

Queens resident shares the joy of reading through community library

“No child should be without a book” believes Kay Menashe, who has been making a difference for people of all ages with a donation-based library service.
The 44-year-old Howard Beach resident and former EMT owns and operates the Free Community Library of Ozone Park.
“During the height of the pandemic when all libraries were shut down, my goal was to make sure every child had a book to read,” said Menashe. “My free library originated when I placed a few of my own books out, and the community began taking them.
“Then we were asked by other community members if they could leave their books as well,” she added. “All of our books come from a different home with a tale to tell.”
The library is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, weather permitting, since the library operates outdoors at locations announced on social media. The books come from community donations.
“We accept all books, as the Queens public libraries no longer take donated books since the pandemic,” Menashe said. “The only supplies we need are books, which we know most of you have at home just sitting around collecting dust.”
Menashe was recently named runner-up of the second annual Sparkling Ice’s “Cheers to Heroes” contest to honor America’s everyday heroes.
The contest received 1,000 nominations from 905 American cities with three finalists. Menashe received $7,500.
“We received such support from the community and from the parties and events we ran,” she said. “We won because the community voted for us and since our library makes a difference.”
Menashe hope to further develop her initiative, hoping the Queens community can help her find a small permanent space in an office or retail establishment.
“The books need to be displayed and stored and stay dry when it rains,” she explained. “We would also like to see a mom-and-pop coffeehouse go into business with us. My vision is to see my community members sitting down with coffee and maybe a slice of pie while reading free books they can take home.”
Menashe believes reading a physical copy is the best way to enjoy a book.
“I feel that e-reading takes away from the magic, including the new book smell,” she said. “As you hold books, it lets you relax. An e-reader is just a computer screen where you feel nothing.”
With titles spanning every genre in the community library, every day becomes a journey filled with surprises. She explained her personal inspiration is not just one person.
“The kids are why I do this mostly,” Menashe said. “Books are expensive for families to buy when you walk into a store, but when you walk into our café, that would never be an issue as your son or daughter would always leave with a free book.”

To donate books or to help the library secure a space, email klocascio2015@yahoo.com To keep up with the library, follow @communityozpl on Instagram.

Heritage Day returns to West Side Tennis Club

The West Side Tennis Club (WSTC) continues to celebrate and honor its legacy. The club was founded in Manhattan in 1892 and moved to its current home in Forest Hills in 1913.
Last year’s events were largely off-limits due to the pandemic, but on August 27 the fourth Heritage Day event took place. The first was held in 2017 to mark the club’s 125th anniversary.
“Each Heritage Day allows us to relive tennis history with the wonderful tennis legends who join us,” said club president Monika Jain. “As we move forward, we are delighted to welcome current tennis superstars to the club.”
Banners honoring Stan Smith, who won the U.S. Open Singles championship in 1971 and U.S. Open Doubles championships in 1968 and 1974, and Bud Collins, a journalist, commentator, and tennis historian joined banners honoring Maureen Connolly, Jack Kramer, Arthur Ashe, Virginia Wade, Rod Laver, Rene Lacoste, and the first U.S. Open.
“Today the club is honoring two men who have not only made tennis history, but have created legendary status in the tennis world,” said Jason Weir-Smith, WSTC’s director of Racquet Sports, who served as emcee for the event.
Collins’ widow, Anita Ruthling Klaussen, donated much of her late husband’s tennis memorabilia to the club, which will be housed in the library, which was renamed “The Bud Collins Tennis Library.”
“One of the incredible surprises is the people wearing some of Bud’s clothes,” said Klaussen, herself a well-respected photographer. “When they all came to gather the books, all 90 boxes, they brought a crew. At the end of the day I asked, ‘Would you all like to look at Bud’s walk-in closet?’ I said to pick whatever you want.
“I believe Bud would be very, very pleased to know that his cherished tennis books are now housed here,” she added. “He loved the West Side Tennis Club.”
Collins was one of the first writers to make the jump to television.
“I just want you to know, I love hearing you talk,” Klaussen recalls an electrician telling her late husband. “I don’t care about tennis one bit, but I never miss your broadcast, since you’re so interesting.”
Collins also loved to play tennis and carried a racket on all of his travels. One of his favorite partners was opera star Luciano Pavarotti.
Ramsey Smith, head coach of the Duke University men’s tennis team, was making his first visit to WSTC and handled the introduction of his father.
“First and foremost, he’s my father, but he’s also my mentor, coach, and role model,” he said. “Someone I always looked up to and admired.”
“Tennis has been a great sport,” the elder Smith told the crowd. “All four of our kids played in college, it has always been an important part of our lives.”
Smith is the namesake of the popular style of Adidas tennis shoes, and even wrote a book titled “Stan smith: Some People Think I’m a Shoe.”
“People always ask about the shoe,” he said. “Back in 1965, the shoe was created as the first leather tennis shoe ever made. Before that, we wore canvas shoes.”
“Seeing him impressed me to see the personal side of the man,” said attendee David Gale of Smith. “Fit, articulate, and appreciative of not only what he accomplished, but also appreciative of the fact that he didn’t do it himself. It is always inspiring to see people who achieved success relatively early in their lives and be very happy and at peace with where they are now.”
“Stan Smith, Anita Ruthling Klaussen, and Bud Collins inspire me through their impact on those around them,” said Michael Perkins. “The ambiance of Heritage Day is characterized by the excitement created by the coming together of loving friends and family to honor their historical and cultural impact.”

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