A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 13, 2008
Floating Head (Douglas Manor swimmer)

Douglas Manor is part of Douglaston, Queens. The water in Douglas Manor is so dirty that only the heads of swimmers can be seen. Swimmers have been called the “floating heads.”


Wikipedia: Douglaston, Queens
Douglaston, population 14,168 (2000 Census), is a community in the New York City borough of Queens. Douglaston comprises six distinct neighborhoods: Doug Bay, Douglas Manor, and Douglaston Hill, all located north of Northern Boulevard on the peninsula abutting Little Neck Bay; Douglaston Park, located between Northern Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway; and two areas south of the Expressway, Winchester Estates and an area simply known as Douglaston. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 11 and New York City school district 26.

Douglaston is located on the North Shore of Long Island, bordered to the east by Little Neck, and to the west by Bayside. Douglaston’s two ZIP Codes are 11362 and 11363.

Like Whitestone and Bayside, Douglaston represents one of the least traditionally urban communities in New York City, with many areas (particularly those north of Northern Boulevard) having a distinctly upscale suburban feel, similar to that of wealthy Nassau County towns located nearby (such as Great Neck).

As of 2000, Douglaston is approximately 73.4% White American, 21.6% Asian American (predominantly of Korean origin), and also is home to a small number of Hispanic Americans. Over the past 15 years, the number of Asian Americans in the area has more than doubled, and persons of Korean origin make up the fastest-growing sector of Douglaston’s population.

New York (NY) Times
August 11, 2008, 11:57 am
Douglas Manor Swimmers Ignore Health Warnings
By Corey Kilgannon
Every summer afternoon, the “Floating Heads” show up like clockwork. That is the affectionate nickname for the dozen or so older swimmers of Douglas Manor, an exclusive neighborhood in Douglaston, Queens, overlooking Little Neck Bay.

With the help of canes and walkers, they proceed gingerly out on the pier and lower themselves into water so murky and brown that only their heads can be seen floating around the swimming area; thus, their name.

“This is our fountain of youth — it’s what’s kept us healthy all these years,” said Elizabeth Kellerman, 82, who showed up with her husband, Dr. Leo Kellerman, 90, for their daily swim.

Most of the Floating Heads have been swimming here for well over 50 years, in the shadow of the Throgs Neck and Whitestone Bridges, in waters fed by New York City’s East River. But lately their beloved waters have drawn concern.

This summer, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has identified the beach as having the highest levels of pollution in the city, specifically fecal bacteria counts, which spike after heavy rains cause the city’s sewer system — feces and all — to overflow directly into these waters, posing a serious health risk.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWorkers/People • (0) Comments • Wednesday, August 13, 2008 • Permalink