WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES FEBRUARY 25, 2021 21
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD: THE WAY IT WAS
The Daily News reported in his
obituary that Schaefer once said he did
not consider himself a hero, and that
he was “scared as hell” during battle.
Before his death, local residents
and veterans sought to have a tribute
to Schaefer created in his honor.
Several elected offi cials representing
the community at the time, including
Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio and
Congressman Joseph Addabbo Sr., sent
letters to then-Mayor Ed Koch in support
of the idea.
Koch eventually approved the plan
in November 1986, and the oval was
dedicated the following May. Schaefer,
however, would not live to see the
dedication; he died at a Staten Island
VA hospital in March of 1987.
Following a Mass of Christian
Burial at Holy Child Jesus Church in
Richmond Hill, Schaefer was interred
at Long Island National Cemetery in
Farmingdale, Long Island.
Nearly 40 years aft er its creation,
the Schaefer Oval memorial is one
of the more serene settings in Forest
Park, a place where people can sit and
refl ect in peaceful freedom — the
kind that Schaefer, and so many other
brave Americans, fought so hard to
PINING FOR HISTORY
The next time you stop by the Richmond
Hill gate, you should check not
only the war memorials there, but also
one of the best patches of pine trees in
the entire city.
It’s called the 1914 Pine Grove, consisting
of 2,500 Eastern pine trees that
were planted that year to help replace
some of the 15,000 chestnut trees in
Forest Park that had died as a result of
the American chestnut blight.
Taking a stroll through the pine
grove, in the middle of our bustling
borough, is something quite unique.
The trees’ fragrance is potent and everywhere,
and the pines themselves
soar into the sky; they must be among
some of the tallest pines in New York
City, if not the state.
The Parks Department says the pine
grove is home to all kinds of wildlife,
from owls to chipmunks and other
critters that enjoy making homes in
The grove was restored in 2017 with
the help of local Councilman Eric
Ulrich. The restoration included new
signage as well as tree planting and
* * *
If you have any remembrances or
old photographs of “Our Neighborhood:
The Way It Was” that you would
like to share with our readers, please
write to the Old Timer, c/o Ridgewood
Times, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY
11361, or send an email to editorial@
ridgewoodtimes.com. Any print photographs
mailed to us will be carefully
returned to you upon request.
The Buddy Memorial at the Richmond Hill gate to Forest Park.
Ridgewood Times fi le photo
Staff Sgt. Joseph E. Schaefer receives the Congressional Medal of Honor
in August 1945. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Signal Corps/National Archives
The soaring trees at the 1914 Pine Grove in Forest Park, as shown in
November 2020. Photo by Robert Pozarycki