Sunnyside, Queens The Sunnyside community is located in the Borough of Queens, just a few minutes from the Queensboro Bridge and the Queens Midtown Tunnel. It is one of the most trafficked areas in the city. More cars pass through the commercial district of Queens Boulevard (Sunnyside’s restaurant row) each day than most neighborhoods see in a normal week. Located between the long-established communities of the Blissville area of Long Island City and Woodside, it is easily accessible to Manhattan and only 15 minutes by train to Times Square or the Empire State Building. It’s believed Sunnyside got its name back in 1850 Queens Boulevard, circa 1950, Pro.corbis.com when the railroad built a station across from the Sunnyside Roadhouse Hotel. Most of the land was low-lying and therefore “The House of Blue Leaves takes place in Sunnyside, Queens, cheap; from 1902 to 1905 the Pennsylvania Railroad gradually one of the five boroughs of New York City. You have to bought up all the land south of Northern Boulevard between understand Queens. It was never a borough with its own identity 21st and 43rd Streets. The entire area was leveled and the like Brooklyn that people clapped for on quiz shows if you said swamps filled in by 1908 and the yards opened in 1910. The you came from there. Brooklyn had been a city before it became Queensboro Bridge opened in 1909 and from it was built part of New York, so it always had its own identity. And the Queens Boulevard, which ran to the center of the borough Bronx originally had been Jacob Bronck’s farm, which at least through Sunnyside, where streets were built along the gives it something personal, and Staten Island is out there on the boulevard. Sunnyside Gardens (1924-29), a complex of way to the sea, and, of course, Manhattan is what people mean attached houses of two and a half stories, with front and rear when they say New York….And isn’t Manhattan, each day the gardens and a landscaped central court, was one of the nation's skyline growing denser and more crenellated, always looming up first planned communities, hailed for its innovative design by there in the distance? The elevated subway, the Flushing line, such scholars of urban life as Lewis Mumford (a onetime zooms to it, only fourteen minutes from Grand Central Station. resident). During the following years the neighborhood became Everything you could want you’d find right in Queens. But the middle class, and largely Irish. During the 1940s and 1950s its young marrieds become old marrieds, and the children come, but large apartments enticed many artists and writers and their the promotions, the breaks, don’t, and you’re still there in your families to leave their cramped quarters in lower Manhattan, bedroom community, your life over the bridge in Manhattan, and and the area became known as the "maternity ward of the fourteen-minute ride becomes longer every day. Why don’t I Greenwich Village." get the breaks? I’m hip. I’m hep. I’m a New Yorker… I‘m not From the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, something you curb a dog for. “ www.sunysidechamber.org 9/1/06 -John Guare, Introduction to The House of Blue Leaves John Guare Growing up, Guare did random jobs around the country, seeking out work in the theater. As an undergraduate student at Georgetown University, he checked coats at the National Theatre; during graduate school at Yale Drama, he ushered at the Shubert Theatre. He also worked backstage on various summer stock productions. On a show starring Gloria Swanson, his jobs ranged from taking out the garbage to plunging her toilet. In an interview in 1992, he recalled, “I ran the light board for her show, which involved bringing up the stage lights surreptitiously when she came onstage so the audience would subliminally think, gee, isn’t everything brighter when she’s around?” As Guare evolved into a playwright, his interest in the forms and styles of different writers grew. He became intrigued by John Guare was born in New York City in 1938. He grew up Chekov, Strindberg, Feydeau, and most particularly, Phillip in a typical Irish-American home in Queens, going to Catholic Barry. Barry had adopted his form from the 19th century school and dreaming of making it big. “When I was a kid, I comedie larmoyante, or tearful comedy. Guare described his wanted to come from Iowa, from New Mexico, to make the fascination with this genre to Anne Cattaneo, in an interview final break and leave, say, the flatness of Nebraska and get on for the Paris Review: that Greyhound and get off that Greyhound at Port Authority Guare: I always liked plays to be funny and early on stumbled and you wave your cardboard box at the sky: I’ll Lick You Yet. upon the truth that farce is tragedy speeded up. Filling How do you run away to your dreams when you’re already up that hunger. Get to Moscow. Get into an adult there?... Fourteen minutes on the Flushing line in a very long world. The want becomes a need. The need becomes a distance.” John Guare, Introduction, The House of Blue Leaves hunger and because you’re speeding it up so much… Cattaneo: …it becomes ridiculous He went to St. Joan of Arc Grammar School in Jackson Guare: Exactly! The intensity puts it on the edge. The top Heights, Queens from 1944-1952. The Nuns there instilled in keeps spinning faster and faster until it can only their students the dream of going to the Vatican to see the explode, and if you’ve got a stageful of people at that Pope. Guare remembers; “no sisters ever yearned for Moscow psychic, manic state and an audience in tune with them, the way those sisters and their pupils yearned for Rome.” In then something dangerous might happen out of that 1965, as fate would have it, he finally got to the Vatican on the hysteria. very day that Pope Paul VI was driving through Queens on his way to the United Nations. Central Park, to say mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where all the Kennedys sat in the front row. He then met with President Johnson in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria. Johnson accompanied the Pope down to his limo, which whisked him off to the United Nations. In his meeting with the General Assembly, the first ever for the Holy See, he made the plea for: “No more war -- war never again.'' ". . . you [the United Nations] organize brotherly collaboration among peoples. In this way a system of solidarity is set up, so that lofty civilized aims may win the orderly and unanimous support of all the family of peoples for the common good and the good of each individual. This Pope Paul VI - The Pilgrim Pope aspect of the United Nations is the most beautiful; it is its most truly human aspect; it is the ideal of which mankind Pope Paul VI (September 26, 1897 - August 6, 1978) dreams on its pilgrimage through time; it is the world's earned the nickname “the pilgrim pope” by being the most greatest hope...." Afterwards he said mass at Yankee Stadium traveled pope in Vatican history. Of the five continents he in front of a crowd of over 80,000 people, visited a high visited, one of his most significant trips was his visit to India in school in Harlem, and made a speech at the World Fair. He 1964, where he talked about ending world hunger. returned to Rome that same day. “We entrust to you our special message to the world. Would In addition to his humanitarian work, Paul VI was that the nations could cease the armaments race, and devote known for his staunch position on birth control. On July 26, their energies and resources instead to the fraternal assistance 1968, he released his encyclical Humanæ Vitæ (subtitled On of developing countries! Would that every nation thinking the Regulation of Birth). In it he reaffirmed the Church’s “thoughts of peace and not of affliction” and war, would position against the use of birth control. This move came as a contribute even part of its expenditure for arms to a great world surprise as many assumed the church was ready to approve the fund for the relief of the many problems of nutrition, clothing, technological advances that had produced the contraceptive shelter and medical care which afflict so many peoples.” pill, and many Catholic couples were already using contraception despite church teachings. U Thant, Secretary-General of the United Nations, was He died in July of 1978 from a heart attack. inspired by this speech and invited Pope Paul VI to speak at the U.N.. The morning of October 4, 1965, the Pope left Rome at 4:30 a.m., and landed at J.F.K. airport in Queens, New York. He was driven in a 1964 Lincoln limousine customized with a glass bubble through Queens, Harlem and The House of Blue Leaves takes place in 1965, at a time when media dominated mass culture. In the 1960s, Pop Artists like Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist celebrated and satirized the bombardment of advertising and celebrity images, images that dominated the collective imagination of the American public. By this time, most Americans had begun to experience their world primarily through television, film, and magazines. 1964 1965 1965 (cont.) 1968 February Color TV booms as NBC October 4 Manufacturers churn The Beatles appear on Ed leads the way and begins to Pope Paul VI arrives in New York to out 11.4 million new Sullivan. 73 million viewers use the phrase "The Full Color appeal to the UN for an armistice. TV sets, up from the tune in. Network". By year's end, 96% CBS requests Bishop J. Fulton Sheen to 5.7 million receivers of NBC's nighttime schedule cover the Pope’s visit to New York. made in 1960. August 2 is broadcast in color, along President Johnson announces with all major programs, October 28 that three North Vietnamese PT sports events and specials. Pope Paul VI announces that the boats twice attacked the USS Vatican II Council affirms all Jews Maddox in the Tonkin Gulf May 3 today are no more responsible for the Later research, including a The 173rd Airborne Brigade death of Christ than Christians. report released in 2005 by the arrives in Vietnam. NSA, indicates the second November 30 attack did not occur. August 15 After visiting Vietnam, Defense The Beatles perform at Shea Secretary McNamara warns that September 14 Stadium in Queens, New York. American casualty rates of up to 1000 Pope Paul the VI opens the third 55,600 people attended. dead per month could be expected. session of the Vatican II Council. He ends the session on December 8 September 14 The Vatican Council II is ratified and November 21 by formally Vatican Council II reopens for closed. Pope Paul forms a Papal declaring Mary as "Mother of its final session. Commission for the Media of Social the Church," as had always been Communication to assist bishops with taught. the pastoral use of these media. 1969 1970 1971 1975 The Children’s Television The transition from 60- A study by the Council on Workshop introduces Coca-Cola's "I'd Like seconds to 30-seconds as the Children, Media, and Sesame Street. to Teach the World to standard length for Merchandising reveals that Sing" commercial commercials takes hold. The approximately 50% of ads in June 16-18 saturates the radio and change began in the 1960s children's programming from The Holy Shroud of Turin is broadcast airwaves, with the controversial practice 1965 to 1975 were for food, photographed for the first becoming an instant of "piggybacking," or putting primarily sugared cereals, time in color by G.B. Judica hit. Coca-Cola goes on messages for two related cookies, candies, and soft Cordiglia. to sell a million products from one company drinks; 30% were for toys. records featuring a into the same one-minute June 27 non-commercial commercial. The networks April 30 Life magazine displays version of the popular cast aside concerns about At 8:35 a.m., the last portrait photos of all 242 jingle. corporate relationships and Americans, ten Marines from Americans killed in began selling 30-second units. the embassy, depart Saigon; Vietnam during the previous A Bolivian surrealist concluding the United States week. These photos shock painter attempts to January 4 presence in Vietnam. North Americans nationwide. stab Pope Paul VI in President Nixon announces Vietnamese troops pour into an airport in the “The end is in sight.” Saigon and encounter little July 20 Phillipines. resistance. By 11 a.m., the red Americans watch on February 11 and blue Viet Cong flag flies network television as Neil April 15 The House of Blue Leaves, from the presidential palace. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin The nation watches as by John Guare, premieres at President Minh broadcasts a walk on the moon. the stranded Apollo 13 the Truck and Warehouse message of unconditional astronauts make a Theatre, New York City. surrender. The war is over. December 1 return to earth. The first draft lottery since March World War II is held in New Opinion polls indicate Nixon's York City. approval rating among Americans has dropped to 50 percent, while approval of his Vietnam strategy has slipped to just 34 percent. Half of all Americans polled believe the war in Vietnam to be "morally wrong."