Jewish Delis and Synagogues
by Jack Hubert
Our family has lived in Sunnyside from the late 1920's. When we were children we lived at 43-19 41st Street right by PS150; then we moved to 41-21 42nd Street. Upon my father's death in 1956 at age 61, we moved across the street to 41-22 42nd Street. My father was ill for eleven years and fought the disease that finally won. The doctors said it was brought about from the treatment of his wounds in the First World War. My brother and I are still living there. Mom, may she rest in peace, passed in 2001 at age 98.
My father, may he rest in peace, in his words, saw Hitler coming and knew it was time to leave Germany. That was in 1923. Once in Sunnyside my father ran a dry cleaning tailoring establishment located at 42nd Street right off Queens Boulevard until his death in 1956. Deluxe Cleaners was the name. Right next to his store was a shoe repair store run by a Mr. Hauser. There also was a store that did laundering. At the time there were no laundromats. On the corner was Burke's bar, now a doughnut store.
There were two kosher Delicatessens and several kosher butchers. Regarding the kosher delis, there was one located between 41st and 42nd Street on Queens Boulevard. The owners name was Keltz. I may have misspelled the name. I went to school with one of their sons. Joel. He became a CPA and is now retired living in Florida. That store is now a Japanese restaurant. The other delicatessen was larger and located between 45 and 46th street and Queens Boulevard. After its closing, the store became a bar and is now a restaurant. The menu I think is Spanish or Latin American.
Arriving in Sunnyside in 1929, my father was one of the early members of the Sunnyside Jewish Center which is still continuing but has moved into smaller quarters. There were four synagogues in Sunnyside. The Sunnyside Jewish center, Young Israel, another whose name I do not remember but it was headed by a Rabbi Teitz. Its location was on the corner of 44th street and Greenpoint Avenue. The fourth synagogue held Rosh Ha Shonah and Yom Kippur services in the old Sunnyside Gardens Arena. Being involved with the synagogue all my life, I am interested in the religious life of Sunnyside, and the activities of synagogues in Sunnyside. The Sunnyside Jewish Center had an active Hebrew school after regular school hours and had many programs for young people.
I am interested in the Yiddishkeit of Sunnyside as I am trying to write a history for the Sunnyside Jewish Center and would appreciate memories of the SJC, Young Israel, the kosher delicatessens, Jewish life, observance of the High Holidays, keeping kosher, the Sabbath etc. Thank you for any help.
Jack Hubert has lived in Sunnyside his entire life. He is Treasurer for the Sunnyside Jewish Center, and is currently writing a history of neighborhood Jewish life.