This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of September 1

2023-09-01 TWIR Image-Pageant

August 30, 1873 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

    Mrs. Elizabeth Dudley, the graceful writer, is sojourning at the old Hasbrouck house, South Nyack.
    Rev. J. A. Beitz will preach in the Universalist Church, Nyack, next Sunday, morning and evening.
    The last number of the Nautical Gazette contained a magnificent supplement of the new steamship Virginia.
    A dead horse is ashore off Riverside Park, and the perfume is sufficient to give the whole neighborhood the cholera.
    Rev. Dr. Barchard Las been spending a portion of his vacation in Nyack. The Doctor is an enthusiastic fisherman.
    Rev. Dr. Sunderland, of Washington, will preach in the Nyack Reformed church next Sunday morning and evening.
    Will our Health board try and prevent parties from throwing offal and garbage into the river from off the People’s dock?

August 28, 1923 100 YEARS AGO
Pearl River News

       Walter Watson, of Orangeburg Road, has entered the world of business and in a rather extraordinary way. He, with his friend Ray Conway, have purchased a huge “Lunch Wagon,” from a manufacturer in New Rochelle, of the up-to-the-minute kind, and have located it at Park street next to Main street, in Nyack. They have hosts of friends and their success is certain.

August 31, 1973 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

[Image: There She Is … Little Miss Kennedy Drive—Friends, judges and contestants surround the miss with the crown. Gina Loiacono. In the foreground are contestants Ann, Mary Beth, and Christine. During talent competition Gina (left) and Ann (right) danced and, below, Chris (left) and Mary sang.]
       “Oh, you beautiful doll, you great big beautiful doll …”
       To the bopping beat of that 1930s hit, six-year-old Gina Maria Loiacono tap danced her way to victory Thursday afternoon in the Little Miss Kennedy Drive Beauty Pageant in West Haverstraw.
       After she won she told a reporter she might go on to try for Miss Rockland, Miss New York State, Miss America, or even higher. But then again, she might not. She didn’t know.
       Gina, a first grader at the Railroad Avenue Elementary School, was one of five girls, all between five and eight years old and all residents of Kennedy Drive in the Samsondale development, who entered the Little Miss Kennedy pageant.
       The pageant probably has no standing, yet, in the ranks of the better-known beauty contests of the state, nation, and world. But judging by audience and participant enthusiasm—even in Thursday’s intense heat—it already has a place in the hearts of Kennedy Drive residents and their neighbors.
       Organized and run by four young teenagers on the street (none of whose little sisters were in the contest), the pageant was held on a steaming macadam walkway in front of 56 Kennedy Drive. One by one, the contestants walked up a green plastic runner to where the two judges sat on folding chairs. The judges, who doubled as babysitters for neighbors’ infants, were both 16 and came from nearby Farley Drive.
       “They don’t know any of the kids in the contest,” said Mary Duffy, the 13-year-old pageant master of ceremonies and one of its organizers.
       “Number three, Christine Raia, five years old. Her hair is dirty blonde, and she stands 36,” Mary Duffy read the measurements from the application Christine had filled out as the little girl pranced out of the house next door, around the fence, then up the green plastic, proudly sporting a number 3 on a card pinned to the left side of her dress.
       Number two, Marybeth Wingender, marched up dressed in a floor-length crinoline with a yellow bow in her hair. Number four, Susan Langman—at eight, the oldest contestant—sidled up in a flowered bikini. She got second place, after Gina.
       After the initial presentation, the girls retired to get ready for the talent portion.
       Seven-year-old Ann Killian sallied forth with a deftly danced jig and a hardy rendition of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.” Susan imitated bird whistles she hears in her back yard. And Gina did her prize-winning tap dance. She said later that she had taken tap dancing lessons in the Bronx, where she used to live.
       The girls retired as the judges huddled for their decision. Sitting on a yellow sofa cushion on a card table in the midday heat, the silver, foil Miss Kennedy crown, and the scepter garnished with plastic flowers, awaited their recipient. Then—
       “Bring all the girls out,” Mary Duffy shouted. They filed up the green plastic as Mary fumbled with the envelopes.
       Starting with the “fifth runner up,” Mary announced the winners, awarding each a pack of gum and a lollipop.
       And finally: “The winner is Gina.”
       “How does it feel to be Little Miss Kennedy?” a visitor asked the young beauty queen.
       Gina edged close to her father. “A little embarrassing,” she whispered. Lest anyone think the Little Miss Kennedy pageant is a pernicious attempt to implant male chauvinism in young maids, Mary Duffy said, after it was all over, “We’re thinking next year having a Little Mister Kennedy pageant.”

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. © 2023 by The Historical Society of Rockland County. #FBF Flashback Friday may be reprinted only with written permission from the HSRC. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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