Monthly Archives: March 2011

LIIVIA WESTERVELT

“I think they chose it by accident. It must have sounded like a lovely name.”


Social worker Liivia has lived in Sunnyside for 61 years


Liivia (bottom left) and her parents on the ship to America in 1949


Liivia practicing ballet behind her home in Sunnyside Gardens


Liivia and “the boys” in front of the former candy store on Skillman Avenue and 46th St.

After Liivia married, she and her husband found a house coincidentally also on 45th Street. Liivia had two children in Sunnyside. This was also where she had her first Chinese food, her first Pizza and her first kiss. In Sunnyside she organized neighborhood protests against the Vietnam War and fought for women’s and civil rights and for the landmarking of Sunnyside Gardens. Not surprisingly, it was a neighbor who suggested she pursue a master’s degree in social work, steering her toward what she calls “the passion in my life.” Continue reading

DOROTHY CAVALLO

“The newer children who are coming here unfortunately do not have this available to them, and their parents don’t know all the history.”
Dorothy Cavallo has lived in Phipps Garden for 46 years.


Dorothy appreciates her home and her garden.

The original apartment rental brochure (courtesy Rev. Michael J. Moran and MillerMicro.com)

Forty years ago, when her little son ran through one of the hedges of the Phipps Garden Apartments, Dorothy Cavallo immediately received a phone call from the management office reprimanding her. Phipps’s on-site nursery school and playground offered sand boxes, slides, swings and a swimming pool to romp around in, but the Gardens were just to be seen.

“Our site here has diminished somewhat in its outside appeal,” Dorothy laments in her Phipps Garden apartment of 46 years. “It’s sad to see and sad to say.”

An anniversary brochure from 1980 likened Phipps Garden to the great Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and in Brooklyn. “To step into the gardens through the archway,” it reads, “is to move into a world whose existence in the midst of New York City is as astonishing as the land into which Lewis Carrol’s Alice tumbled.” Continue reading