2003-12-26 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Liz Guarino
Broad Channel Bits By Liz Guarino

Christmas is just a memory now. Hope your Christmas was spectacular! All that cooking, baking, shopping and wrapping behind us-till next year brings it our way once again. And several more weeks of winter’s cold (and possibly snowy) weather stretch out in front of us. One winter (over a decade ago), we were dumped on by a snowstorm every weekend of that season! A repeat of that winter’s weather doesn’t seem likely.

Broad Channel Historical Society has its own website. It is definitely worth seeing. It has old photographs-and some from this past Historical Day. It has a timeline to tell what happened and when it took place in the Channel. It even carries an old brochure touting BC as a wonderful vacation spot! It can be found at www. broadchannelhistoricalsociety.org.

The 2004 Historical Calendars are still selling-but not for long, there are
only 100 left! Priced at $5 each, they show high and low tide times (important to have if you live here!) and feature photographs of life around the town.

They are available at various locations throughout the Channel: All American Deli, Broad Channel Grocery, Channel Cutters, Coogan’s Luncheonette, Grassy’s and O’Mac’s Grocery Store. For people out of the area there is an email address to contact to get your calendar: tobytoborg@ aol.com  Or write to the Society c/o B.C. Civic Association; P.O. Box 4; Broad Channel, NY 11693.

Does starting 2004 with a walk on the beach sound appealing? If so, join
members of the American Littoral Society on Thursday, January 1 at 11 a.m. in Building 1, Fort Tilden in Gateway National Recreation Area. Champagne and cookies will be served after the walk.

Chances are on sale for the 20/10 Club sponsored by St. Virgilius P.A.
Drawing begins on February 1, 2004 and runs for 10 weeks. First prize is $200; second prize is $100 and third prize is $50. There is a $250 bonus Easter prize. In the 10th week, two $500 and one $250 prizes will be drawn. Winners can repeat weekly. Chances cost $20 each. Call Karen at 718 945-5823, the rectory or the school office to buy chances.

Did you get a new coat for Christmas? Is your old coat still wearable, but you don’t need it anymore and/or you are tired of wearing it? If you’re looking for an easy way to do a charitable work, have you considered giving your old coat and the kids’ outgrown coats to the New York Cares Coat Drive? The folks at NY Cares ask that the coats be "gently used," clean and still serviceable. They will be given to those who cannot afford to buy them. Sad to say, that includes children too. There is still time to get in on this program. Coats can be brought to the 100th Precinct (or any precinct) during the entire month of December.

The Tree Lighting at the 17 Road Park was, from all reports, terrific. A thank you goes to Ron Lonnborg, Marty Feeney and Dan Mundy who decorated the tree and hung up the new community decorations. The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce gets special thanks for donating the new holiday decorations through the efforts of Dan Mundy. Gratitude also goes
to the BCVFD for providing transportation for Santa Claus to get to the park.

Interesting and unexpected items often come to me via email. I have traded several emails quite recently with a woman who is presently working in Ankara, Turkey. (She has a really different alphabet there-the Turkish keyboard has a capital "Y" instead of a capital "I," but the lower case letters are the same!) Anyway, her name is Kate Lynch and she is tracing her family tree.

One of the branches on her family tree hangs over Broad Channel and she is anxious to learn any information about this branch of her family. She wrote: "My grandmother’s maiden name was Mary Jane O’Keefe. Two of her brothers, James and Thomas O’Keefe, who worked for the Sanitation Department in New York City, lived in Broad Channel starting around the 1930s Ý think. Ý think they died around the 1940s or 50s but James O’Keefe’s widow, Gertrude O’Keefe may have continued to live there with her children.

"James O’Keefe lived at 825 Church Road, I think, and Thomas O’Keefe, a widower, lived at 19 E. Ninth Rd.
One of James O’Keefe’s sons (James Jr.) also had a bungalow there but he died at age 21. I visited Broad
Channel and met a woman on a street corner who thinks she knew the James O’Keefe children.

"My grandfather Edward Lynch married Mary Jane O’Keefe around 1905 and Mary Jane O’Keefe’s youngest brother James O’Keefe married my grandfather Edward Lynch’s youngest sister Mary Lynch around 1912 in Queens. They had 3 daughters but I can only remember one name: Josephine.

"My great-grandfather was Thomas O’Keefe. He was born in Ireland around 1844, during the Potato Famine. The miniscule family lore my father James Lynch passed down to me has it that Thomas was born in County Mayo. My great-grandfather
Thomas O’Keefe apparently immigrated to New York at approximately age 18 in 1862.

"Maybe [this request] might encourage some of your readers to do similar research and maybe it will uncover some long-lost O’Keefe or Lynch relatives who lived or spent time in Broad Channel."

There was a lot of other information too (too much to print), but the above
seems to be the most helpful as far as locating Kate’s relatives. She said she
took a chance in contacting me, but I would be surprised if no one in the
Channel had any information about Kate’s relatives.

Kate will be reading this column online a week later than we see it in the paper. If anyone has any information on the O’Keefe family as described above, please let me hear from you. Even a small bit of information would make Kate very happy!

What is your organization up to these days? Send an email to:
Lizbcbits@aol.com.


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