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Gertrude McDonald, Full Interview


Gertrude McDonald interviewed by Natalie Milbrodt


Time Period: 1920 - 2011


Looking forward to her 95th birthday in August, 2011, Gertrude McDonald shares some memories from a lifetime of activity in Sunnyside, Queens. She moved as a little girl in 1923 to one of the first large apartment buildings in the area and played with her friends in the empty fields surrounding the building. They had steam heat, unlike the cold water flats prevalent in Manhattan and Brooklyn at the time, so it felt like a real move up to live in the developing neighborhood. Her father was a member of the electrician's union and struggled to find work during the Great Depression. The family moved in for a time with her uncle in Corona, Queens, but quickly moved back to Sunnyside when the economy turned around. Mrs. McDonald met her husband in Sunnyside and they raised their family there. When her children were school-age, Mrs. McDonald began her involvement with community activism. With enthusiasm, she tells of her efforts to improve the safety and quality of her neighborhood and how various public officials have come to know her as reasonable, but relentlessly persistent for her cause. Mrs. McDonald is still an active member of her local Community Board and a leader at the Sunnyside Community Service Center where she spends most of her weekdays.


Locations discussed: Sunnyside, Queens and Manhattan, NY


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