A First Hand account of the creation of the Greenpoint Flag
Ralph Carrano, the co-editor of the Greenpoint Gazette, is surely one of the people who came up with the original idea to create a Greenpoint Flag. As he tells it: He was sitting around the office with a few friends and associates, when they realized that "nothin' is goin' on in the neighborhood". At the time, nothing was really stirring in Greenpoint. After kicking around a few "mischievous" ideas, the idea of creating a Greenpoint Flag was born. Ralph went on to say "...there were Country Flags, and State Flags, even City Flags..... but no Community Flags......"
The "brainstorming" session continued, and plans were made to hold a contest for the design of the Greenpoint Flag. On February 10, 1967, the Greenpoint Weekly Star carried a story titled "Flag Entry Deadline March 30." The newspaper reported that the Greenpoint Civic Council Flag Committee that included members Joseph Savino, Ralph Carrano, Cathy Meyers, Ray Mizgalski, Hyman Shiffer, Mary Driscoll, Frank J. Waskiewicz, and Edwin Duffy ,had set a deadline for a contest they had planned. The community would vote by submitting ballots printed in the Greenpoint Star. Four proposed designs, each of which pictured in editions of the paper, appeared on the ballot.
The top vote getter was submitted by a young woman named Ann Kandratino, the granddaughter of Russian immigrants, and she was heralded in the community as "Greenpoints Betsy Ross."
The days leading up to the June 7, 1967 flag dedication ceremony were filled with telephone calls, and preparations - Efforts paid off when then Mayor John Lindsey agreed to attend the dedication ceremony in McCaren Park. It was further arranged to have the streets of Greenpoint cleaned by a "fleet" of City sweepers" in preparation for the arrival of The Mayor.
On the evening before the McCaren Park ceremony, Ralph Carrano himself spent the night sleeping in his car at the foot of the flagpole. "You see, in those days there were no rope locks for flagpoles that would prevent someone from stealing the only version of this new Greenpoint Fabric that hung proudly high above McCaren Park. The fact is that on the evening of June 6, 1967 Ralph Carranno was truly the great keeper and Sentry of the Greenpoint Flag.
The day was a glorious one on that Wednesday June 7, 1967. The Greenpoint Flag raising was to be a well attended event, that would include many politicians and members of the press. Greenpoint welcomed the exposure and attention. Although the media was dominated by the recent sentencing of Richard Speck, who murdered 8 nurses in Illinois, the local New York City press did attend the event because of the Mayor's presence. However, the coverage didn't quite make it to the nightly news. As fate would have it, on June 6th, Egypt closed the Suez Canal and broke ties with the United States which was followed by the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967 - The day of the Greenpoint Flag dedication.
"We're proud non the less". Greenpoint has had its troubles and disappointments before - some time later one of the original versions of the flag was even partially burnt in a fire in a closet at The Greenpoint Savings bank - but Greenpoints pride and spirit, as well a The Greenpoint Flag, prevailed.