By Ed Wendell | [email protected]
Woodhaven recently honored the history of Dexter Park by hosting a sign dedication ceremony in honor of Max Rosner, the Hungarian immigrant who came to this country in search of the American Dream and ended up owning a baseball team and stadium.
Most importantly, he found a home right here in Woodhaven, where residents loved him so much that they referred to him as “Uncle Max.” And so it was a nice homecoming as over two dozen members of the Rosner family returned to Woodhaven for a ceremony.
“Street namings are very important,” said Councilmemer Joann Ariola, pinch hitting for Councilmember Robert Holden, who was feeling under the weather. “They help us remember our history. Max Rosner was a person who loved Woodhaven and he was a visionary who loved community.”
NY State Senator Joseph Addabbo noted that Rosner “was known affectionately in Woodhaven as Uncle Max because he gave back so much to the community,” noting that his fundraising was responsible for building a part of Jamaica Hospital.
Sherry Algredo, Chair of Community Board 9, said ”As immigrants who came to this country with a dream, it’s great to hear and learn about the history of immigrants that came before us.”
Faiuze Ali, 1st Vice Chair of CB9 said it was an honor to work on this resolution, which actually hit close to home. Pointing to the school across the street from the sign, Ali said “I’m a graduate of Franklin K. Lane High School and I had no idea that I was in a neighborhood that was so historic.”
Jason Antos, Executive Director of the Queens Historical Society, noted that there was a “big increase in street co-namings” going on to say this is a good thing because “Queens County is very underserved” when it comes to street signs and historic markers.
Martin Colberg, President of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association was joined by WRBA VP Janet Forte and said “It’s important for us to remember the individuals that had an impact on our community.”
Loycent Gordon, owner of Neir’s Tavern noted a similarity between himself and Rosner, both immigrants to our country who wanted to give back to the community. “He wanted to do something for the country that gave him so much, and I try to do the same.”
And John Perricone, Executive Director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District noted that “as a Mets fan, it is nice to have a baseball related activity that is positive.”
And with that, the sign was unveiled and Max Rosner Way became official. Many thanks to everyone involved who brought this sign to fruition.
Max Rosner and Dexter Park were such an amazing part of Woodhaven’s history, with a beautiful stadium in our midst for three decades, the advent of night baseball, and the constant flow of great ballplayers from the Major Leagues and the Negro Leagues that entertained and thrilled Woodhaven crowds.
But there is so much more history about Dexter Park that needs to be shared, in particular the early years. For instance, the site of Dexter Park was once owned by Hiram Woodruff, who is arguably the most famous person to ever have lived in Woodhaven. And most of us have never heard of him.
Come out next Monday night (July 17th) to Neir’s Tavern (87-48 78th Street) at 7 p.m. as we will introduce you to the amazing life and career of Mr. Woodruff, whose name is still very well-known in some circles, over 156 years after he passed away in the hotel he owned on Jamaica Avenue.
And in between the eras of Hiram Woodruff and Max Rosner, Dexter Park had a very dark and controversial period of history that left a stain on Woodhaven. If you think you know about Dexter Park, you probably don’t know half of it and will enjoy this free presentation.
If you can’t make it to Neir’s, we will be giving the same presentation via Zoom on Tuesday, August 1st at 8 p.m., email us at [email protected] for a free invite.
Thanks to everyone who came out to support the street sign unveiling and many thanks to the Rosner family who came home to celebrate with us. Mostly, thanks to Uncle Max Rosner for giving us such a splendid sporting history to be forever proud of.