When I first took over the website, I was nervous to step into Justine’s shoes, but I got an encouraging email from Beverly in Florida, who grew up in the neighborhood and still follows the website. She told me about her wonderful mother Irene, who had her own column in The Greenpoint Gazette in the 70s and did a lot for the community. If she were alive today, I imagine Irene would probably a contributor to Greenpointers and involved in a lot of cool events. Her story inspired me and made me see why Greenpoint is such a great place to live in today. People like Irene created the sense of community and support that I found in this great town. I called the Gazette to get a photo of Irene, but the archives were sadly lost in a fire. I’m sure she was a hot mama!
From Beverly about her mother: “Irene’s Items was the “Social Column” of the Greenpoint Gazette when it was still on Nassau Avenue near Peter Rago’s Funeral Home. My Mother was VERY involved in the Greenpoint Community. She was President of the 94 Pct Community Council and held that position for many many years. At the same time she worked for Dr. Wessler at 999 Lorimier Street and each year they would give full health check ups and vaccinations for free to the kids going to the PAL Fresh Air Fund sleep-away Camps in summer. She organized Dinner-Dances that were held at the Kof C across from the Police Station to raise money for the Community Council which took seniors on summer outings, and each year provided for kids at the Meserole Theater a Chrrstmas Party where every underprivelaged kid would go home with a shopping bag full of toys … This was all obtained via donations from the community stores and individuals. For the Christmas Party my Mom would play Mrs. Santa Claus and one of the Officers would be Santa Claus. The very first one I remember was Jack O’Grady and he did that for a number of years with my Mom until he retired. My Mom was even awarded a Plaque and Commendation by then Mayor Linsday for all her work in the community. How she found time to do it all, hold down a full time job and raise my brother and I, I am still amazed. But she did it and even if I have to boast, she did it well. I think if they ever let you go through the Gazette Archives, you will find Irene’s Items under the name of Irene Schubis. It was all about what was going on in the neighborhood, birth, wedding, engagement announcements of the “who’s who” in Greenpoint. Think Page Six on a smaller more refined scale.”