Tag Archives: Wedding

World War II veteran recalls wedding at historic Woodhaven tavern

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso


Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven is not only an important Queens landmark, but also a meaningful part of one local family’s personal history, as this was the site where William and Peggy Burlingame were married back in 1946.

On Saturday, July 11, William “Bill” Burlingame returned to Neir’s for the first time in nearly 70 years with his daughters Arlene, Lois and Ellen to remember his wife and reminisce over pints of beer.

“We couldn’t wait to get here and have a really cold beer and a nice hamburger,” explained daughter Lois Kirchner.

The Burlingames sat near the fireplace in the tavern dining room and leafed through the 1946 wedding album while sipping pints of Budweiser from Mets glasses. As he turned the album’s pages, Bill spoke about his past and connection to the tavern.

The 91-year-old Army Air Corps veteran was raised in Ozone Park and attended Brooklyn Technical high school. He began patronizing Neir’s Tavern as a young man in 1942, when he met owner Mrs. Neir.

“She was Auntie Julie to us kids,” he recalled.

Burlingame shared many fond memories of Neir’s from this time, including the Currier and Ives racetrack portraits that adorned the walls, and the tavern’s bowling alley where the bowlers had to set their own pins.

When they weren’t skating at the Hillside Roller Rink, Burlingame and his then-bride-to-be would pop into the tavern for a drink and rounds of bowling.

“The bartender Dudley was fabulous,” he recalled. “He didn’t buy a bottle of Tom Collins mix, he made his own. He would also bring you the gin in a separate shot glass so that you knew you were getting what you paid for.”

In 1942, Burlingame volunteered to be drafted into the Armed Forces with the hope of becoming a mechanic with the Air Corps. Two years later, he returned home via ship and proposed to Peggy while on a 30-day furlough.

On April 27, 1946, the Burlingames were married at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, followed by a small reception in the upstairs hall at Neir’s. They celebrated their nuptials with ham and cheese sandwiches from a local bakery, coffee and a barrel of beer from the tavern. Bill’s sister-in-law, Adelaide, played the piano during the reception while the happy couple danced.

The Burlingames moved out to Elmont where they purchased a home and started their family. Over the years, Bill and Peggy enjoyed looking through their wedding album with their three daughters and seven grandchildren.

The Burlingames’ wedding album consists of beautiful candid portraits of the young couple laughing, sharing slices of cake and even sneaking a kiss. With her coiffed barrel curls and long silken gown, Peggy Burlingame epitomized the timeless, classic beauty of the 1940s. In one portrait, she posed against a mantle adorned with fresh lilacs.

In 2013, Bill’s wife of 67 years passed away after a seven-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. “We really lost her like 10 years ago,” he recalled, choking back tears.

Last year, Bill came across a segment profiling Neir’s Tavern on the New York-based television show “$9.99″ and was shocked to discover the tavern still existed. In August 2014, Burlingame wrote a personal letter to Neir’s owner Loycent Gordon sharing his beloved memories of the tavern.

“It was very touching,” Gordon explained. “These are things that don’t happen anymore today. I’m really happy that we have a connection to history with a gentleman like Bill.”

Burlingame’s daughters began the yearlong process of putting the much-anticipated reunion together.

Bill’s framed, handwritten letter to Gordon hangs on a wall near the bar, further cementing the family’s connection to the tavern’s history. When asked what his wife would have thought of the event, Bill’s face lit up.

“She would be amazed,” he beamed. “She would be enjoying it. She was the life of the party.”


Queens Village woman receives dream wedding with help from community

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Minerva Santivanez

Minerva Santivanez met her fiance Edward Horan seven years ago and knew that day that the couple would be together a long time.

Her intuition was right, and on Sunday, August 2, the couple will get married at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach with a little help from the community.

Though they were only engaged on May 23, Santivanez and Horan want to tie the knot before Santivanez starts chemotherapy treatment to fight her stage 4 cancer.

In November 2014, Santivanez, a Queens Village resident, saw bulges in her abdomen and went to Queens Hospital to have them examined. Doctors told her that they were tumors and that she would need surgery to have them removed.

During her recovery in the hospital, Santivanez experienced chest pain and difficulty breathing. Soon after, she became unresponsive and the staff went against hospital policy to give her a double blood transfusion that saved her life.

Though it has been a difficult journey, Santivanez said her fiance and family have been a great support system for her.

“I’m grateful that my fiance has been there the whole way through,” Santivanez said. “I told him, I don’t know how he deals with things, how he’s been so strong. My cousin Mary has been helping me out nonstop, her family as well.”

Once Santivanez and Horan got engaged, her cousin Mary Legaspi began using social media to raise funds for the wedding and hospital bills. Frank Russo, who owns Russo’s on the Bay, heard about the story through his son Frank Russo III and offered to provide Russo’s on the Bay for the service and reception.

“I’m trying not to cry right now because it’s been overwhelming,” Santivanez said. “Who does that nowadays? In this day and age nobody does anything unless you’re going to do something in return. They don’t know me like that and they just offered it.”

Once other people heard her story, the offers started pouring in. Thomas Knoell Designs donated wedding jewelry, Clay Bouquet Shop offered to donate a bouquet, Nidji Photography, Alice Escobar, Nick Kanellopoulos and his wife will be donating their photography services and DJ entertainment and several other organizations and people have offered to provide wedding services for free.

“Just listening to her story, sometimes you get caught up but every time you hear a story, if it can help … it’s a situation that we could participate in and that’s pure and that’s the most important piece, then I don’t mind helping,” Russo Sr. said.

Santivanez  said she cannot wait to meet these people so she can hug and thank them in person. She’s also excited to participate in a longstanding wedding tradition — the first dance.

“I’m excited for everything,” Santivanez said. “I’m hoping to beat chemo in the end and have it all be a bad memory. But the fact that everybody has been there for me, I want to be able to thank everybody. I just want to be able to hug them and thank them in person.”

Anyone who would like to donate to help Santivanez and her family cover medical expenses can visit her GoFundMe page.


How to start your married life free of wedding debt

| ara@queenscourier.com

The average wedding now costs more than $25,000, multiple studies show. Few couples starting their lives together have that kind of cash, and many will fund their weddings – wholly or in part – with credit. While it’s normal to want the wedding of your dreams, your special day shouldn’t lead to years of unmanageable debt.

Money problems, including too much debt, can cause significant disharmony in a marriage and can even lead to divorce. Fortunately, some careful budgeting and smart use of credit can help you prevent wedding-induced money problems from interfering with your marital bliss.

As soon as you set a wedding date, you need to begin thinking about and discussing how you’ll pay for your big day. Your conversation should encompass several key financial talking points, including:

* Credit – Discuss candidly how you’ve both used it in the past, how you’ll use it going forward and what, if any, role credit will play in funding your wedding. If you haven’t already done it, exchange your credit scores, and discuss how you both arrived at your respective credit statuses.

Consider enrolling together in a credit monitoring product. Keeping a close eye on your credit leading up to marriage may help you better understand if and how you should use credit in funding your wedding. Websites like Freecreditscore.com allow you to see your credit score, which is a snapshot of your credit. The site’s Credit Score Center can help you understand how your score works, how it’s calculated, what factors impact it and when is the best time to apply for credit.

* Budgeting – A budget will be key to financial security throughout your married life. Establishing and sticking to a budget for your wedding is not only a good way to avoid overspending, it’s a good team-building exercise for future spouses. You can learn a lot about each other based on how you manage your wedding-planning budget.

For example, every budget includes income. You’ll need to realistically discuss your wedding “income” – funding sources you can rely on to help defray the overall wedding cost. Will your parents contribute? Will you dip into some savings? Will you pay for some things with credit?

* Savings – Saving money is often an exercise in compromise. For example, you may want a new car, but to save money you may buy a slightly used one instead of a current model. Saving money on wedding costs is the same. You’ll need to look for creative ways to save money.

Fortunately, there are many ways to do this. Changing the time of your wedding to off-peak seasons or days of the week, opting to hold it at a different venue like a park, botanical garden or even a zoo, choosing less-costly dinner selections and even making invitations and favors yourself, can all save you money.

Many people find it difficult to reconcile the idea of financial matters and romance. But don’t underestimate the romantic appeal of starting out your life together free of wedding debt. Having good credit, solid credit scores and little or no debt can be a great foundation for creating financial bliss in your marriage.


Councilmember Van Bramer weds longtime partner

| aaltman@queenscourier.com


Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer wed Dan Hendrick, his partner of more than 13 years, in a ceremony at Long Island City’s Studio Square on Saturday, July 28. Surrounded by family and friends, the couple exchanged vows and said their “I do’s” before celebrating at a summery rooftop soiree.

Same-sex marriage generated $259 million in first year

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A first anniversary is always exciting, and this one even more so.

July 24 marked one year since the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York. The thousands of same-sex couples that married in New York City since gay marriage became legal in the state on July 24, 2011, have brought in millions for the city. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office estimated that the nuptials have generated $259 million in economic impact and $16 million in revenue. On average, same-sex couples spent $9,039 for their wedding celebrations.

Marriage license application forms don’t require individuals to identify their sex, so there is no exact count of how many same-sex licenses were issued. However, in the past year, of those who did identify, 58,136 couples were heterosexual and 7,184 were same-sex. Of those, 574 were from Queens.

Out of the same-sex couples, 3,898 were male and 3,286 were female.

When the Marriage Equality Act passed, the city hoped for these positive economic numbers. After the legalization, NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing and tourism organization, launched its “NYC I DO” campaign, promoting the city as a top wedding and honeymoon destination.

On July 28, openly gay Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and his partner will join the thousands of same-sex couples who have celebrated their weddings in the city.

“Love and commitment are worthy of celebration and New York City is once again at the forefront of equality. We are all enriched when people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and yes, marry the one they choose,” said Van Bramer.

His wedding and reception will take place at Studio Square in Long Island City.

Riverview restaurant is another popular place in LIC to hold wedding receptions, with its beautiful views of the water and Manhattan skyline. Before the Marriage Equality Act, same-sex couples celebrated their relationships at the restaurant, but it’s held many wedding receptions for gay couples in the past year, said general manager Kimo Raouf, including 10 to 15 in the last couple of months.

Riccardo’s by the Bridge, a catering facility in Astoria, has also seen an uptick, but only a small one.

“I did feel that it certainly would open up marriage to a new market,” said Anthony Corbisiero, Ricarrdo’s president. “Honestly, I thought we would do more.”

Before the legalization, the venue had about one or two same-sex weddings a year, and in the past year has had about four.


Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/23/2011: Two Queens students being probed in SAT cheating ring; three more LI students arraigned

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Hit-and-run on Bell Boulevard in Bayside

According to people on the scene, two pedestrians were hit by a car that then allegedly fled at 38th Avenue and Bell Boulevard around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22. One of the victims allegedly worked in the area. Read More: Queens Courier


Two Queens students being probed in SAT cheating ring; three more LI students arraigned
Two Queens students were being probed Tuesday by Long Island investigators looking into an SAT/ACT cheating ring that involved more than a dozen students out on the island, sources said. Attorney Matin Emouna, who also represents one of the Nassau County numbskulls, said no money was exchanged between the city students, one of whom took the college board test while posing as the other. Read More: Daily News


No Lavin, no problem for SJU vs. St. Francis

Playing without Steve Lavin, who missed his second game of the season as he continues to recuperate from prostate cancer surgery, the Red Storm nevertheless had little trouble with St. Francis (NY), winning 63-48 to snap a two-game losing skid and improve to 4-2. Read More: ESPN


New York Senator Malcolm A. Smith launches own Occupy NBA movement to get lockout settled

With local businesses losing money and neither side in the NBA lockout willing to negotiate, one city official is planning to follow the philosophy of the downtown protesters and occupy the NBA. As a prelude to what state Sen. Malcolm A. Smith calls a “national movement,” the Queens Democrat will lead a group of restaurant owners, season-ticket holders and disgruntled basketball fans in demanding refunds and gathering signatures on a giant petition Wednesday in front of Madison Square Garden. Read More: Daily News


Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Dan Hendrick To Wed

The Daily News reports that Hendrick, communications director for the New York League of Conservation Voters, recently popped the question over dinner. The nuptials, slated for next summer, are likely to make Van Bramer “the first openly gay elected official in Queens history to be married,” the site said, as well as one of the first in the state to wed since New York State legalized same-sex marriages. Read More: Daily News


Public Bus Service Comes To Arverne By The Sea

The MTA is adding additional bus service to and from Arverne By The Sea in the Rockaways section of Queens, so that the neighborhood’s growing population can have access to the borough’s major shopping areas. Read More: NY1

Sting Shows 34 Queens Stores Allegedly Sold Alcohol To Minors

An undercover investigation joint investigation by the State Liquor Authority and NYPD last week found 34 grocery and liquor stores sold alcohol to underage decoys. For a full list of offending stores in the borough, visit sla.ny.gov. Read More: NY1

Jackson Heights Plaza A Hard Sell For Some Business Owners

A pedestrian plaza that was recently constructed in Jackson Heights has some business owners up in arms, despite it having the support of local elected officials and the community board. Read More: NY1