40-10 44 Street
by Sandy Naishtat
In May of 2017, back east from Eugene, Oregon for a cousin’s daughter’s wedding, my brother, Elliott, who has lived in Texas since the mid-1960’s, my wife, Nancy and I took a chance at getting to see the old homestead. We drove up, double-parked in front of the house, rang the doorbell, and after explaining who we were (Elliott had previously met the new owner when he went up to NY for the closing, so she knew we were legit), she let us in and gave us a tour of the spectacular job she did renovating the entire house and turning it into a beautiful new one-family residence. It was so gratifying to see that after all the years of neglect that 40-10 had endured, it was now a model of taste and class on the inside, while still maintaining the original, scores-old façade of the rest of the neighborhood. I will forever be grateful for having been fortunate enough to grow up at 40-10 in Sunnyside Gardens.
Here is a brief history of 40-10 44th Street, from the time I arrived to the last time I was there:
1949: A two-family house at the time, the Mehrer family upstairs, and the Naishtats down: Sidney, Doris, Elliott (4 years old), Sandy (1 year). I think Sidney paid $18,000 in 1949.
1952: Converted to one-family, with the addition of younger brother Robert to the family; the Mehrers moving to Flushing, Queens (sorry, Johanna Mehrer Kapner!)
1970: Reconverted back to two-family house, Sidney upstairs, Robert down.
1982: Robert moves to LA, Sidney moves back downstairs, new tenant Sheena moves up.
1982 – 2003: Sidney is downstairs, Sheena up, until Sidney relocates to Eugene, Oregon to live with me and my wife, Nancy, for a year, then spends the rest of his 97 years in Texas with Robert, his wife Diane, and their two boys, Ken and Sam.
2003 – 2011: Various new tenants arrive, including my daughter, Hillary, and several of her college friends.
2011: The house is sold for a ridiculous amount of money at the time. Even while the market was still quite low, my brothers and I couldn’t quite wrap our heads around our good fortune in 2011.
I am a semi-retired Arts Administrator and occasional composer and opera singer, living in Eugene Oregon with my wife, Nancy.