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.

Crime pays

Dear Editor,
Who says that crime doesn’t pay? Families who illegally entered our nation may get up to $1 million each under a plan the White House is reportedly considering.
Biden’s administration is responding to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 5,500 children who were separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy in 2018 for people illegally crossing the U.S. border from Mexico.
The ACLU calls this policy “a deep moral stain on our country.” What’s really immoral is parents forcing their kids on a perilous journey in the false hope of asylum.
The amount per immigrant family under consideration is more than twice what the U.S. pays to families of military troops killed in combat.
Taxpayers and voters must demand zero tolerance for this payout. If the Biden administration approves it, Democrats will likely lose the 2022 midterm and the 2024 presidential elections.
Richard Reif
Kew Gardens Hills

Mandatory vaccinations

Dear Editor,
Our essential workers are essential to our city, but so are vaccinations to keep us all safe.
I am 72 years old and my wife is 68, and we both have had all three of the Pfizer vaccinations and our flu shots. Why do we do this? Because we don’t want to get sick or die.
Our first responders and essential workers who don’t want to get vaccinated will endanger us all. They are being very selfish.
This mandate by the city is not about personal rights, but about spreading COVID-19. We can stop the spread but only if we all get vaccinated.
Frederick R. Bedell, Jr.

Consensus needed

Dear Editor,
As world leaders convene in Scotland for the climate change summit, what will actually be accomplished?
Climate change continues to affect the globe with catastrophic results, including floods in Europe, China, Italy and India, wild fires burning in the western U. S., Greece, and Turkey, another very active Atlantic hurricane season, and record heat at the Arctic circle.
All of these ominous warning signs cannot continue to be ignored by the world. Hopefully, there will be some type of consensus reached.
This planet belongs to all nations, therefore it is the responsibility of every nation of the world to work on reducing fuel emissions.
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Questions remain

Dear Editor,
Questions still remain after the recent announcement by NJ Transit that they have awarded a $1.559 billion contract for construction of the New Portal Bridge on the Northeast Corridor followed by President Biden attending a ground-breaking ceremony for start of construction earlier this week.
Amtrak’s $305 billion Northeast Corridor High Speed project calls for the introduction of equipment that will operate at a speed of 180 mph. It is my understanding that the new Portal Bridge has been designed, and will be built to accommodate increasing speeds from the current 60 mph to only 90 mph.
This same issues also applies to the MTA’s ongoing construction of the $2.6 billion LIRR Main Line Third Track. This conflicts with Amtrak’s long term plans to reduce travel time by increasing speeds up to 180 mph along the Northeast Corridor.
What future track outages and service changes might impact both Amtrak and NJ Transit customers will be necessary to support construction? How much time will lapse after construction starts and finishes before riders will see the full benefits of this investment?
Commuters, taxpayers, transit advocates, elected officials, transportation reporters and project advocates deserve answers to these questions.
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Brock Weiner, College Point Civic & Taxpayers Association

Brock Weiner has been living in College Point since 1980. With roots as a first responder and a community advocate, he currently serves as the treasurer of the College Point Civic & Taxpayers Association, a group working to improve the neighborhood’s quality of life.
The group handed out over 1,000 bags of candy on Sunday during its inaugural College Point Halloween Parade and Festival.
“It took 17 hours to stuff 1,000 bags of candy, but it was all worth it,” said Weiner. “We have a small-town atmosphere where many people know each other. We have beautiful parks, some of the best in the city.”
Starting from 14th Avenue and College Point Boulevard, the parade took trick-or-treaters to McNeil Park for a clown show, as well as a rock climbing wall provided by NYPD.
With just six weeks to prepare, organizers assembled a live DJ, pony rides, bouncy houses, a show by Cido the Clown and enough candy for a crowd dressed in costumes.
With help from Rafael Rivera, president of College Point Little League, and community advocate Kevin O’Donnell, the College Point Civic & Taxpayers Association put on an event that locals hope continues for years to come.
“It was unbelievable,” said Weiner. “For the first time, it couldn’t have been any better. The community really came out. That crowd makes doing community work worth it.”

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