20 April 1931
Brooklyn Standard Union

    There is no village where the village smithy stands in Hunters
Point, Queens.  Instead, there are rows of tenements and faded frame
buildings in front of which hundreds of children play street games.

    What trees there were on Fourth street, Hunters Point, have long
made way for pavements and lamp posts.  But the village smithy in
the person of muscular Jim KIELY still beats out sparks on the anvil
near the door of his shop that sports a wooden horse's head over its

            AT IT 42 YEARS

    "Forty-two years, I have been at it," Jim KIELY says, as he
struts back and forth before his shop.  Inside the methodic changing
of a hammer against a white-hot horseshoe punctuates his sentences.
Jim BARBERRY, his assistant for thirty-five years, is beating out a
shoe for a docile-eyed truck horse which stands in the rear of the
    "And it'll be me that will be shoeing horses until I die or they
put them on wheels,"  speaks Jim KIELY, his barrel chest expanding
and his chin jutting out as physical emphasis to his statement.
    "Yes, it was me that used to shoe Mayor Paddy GLEASON's horses
when he was in his full glory and Long Island City was not just a
part of over there,"  KIELY pointed down the street over the tracks
of the railroad and the East River to Manhattan where the Empire
State Building and the Chrysler tower loomed against the sky.

        MEN ARE GONE

    "Men there were then, and horseshoeing was an art, not a matter
of attaching hardware to the hoofs of truck horses.  There was Matt
FAGAN on Jackson avenue.  He did the fire horses.  Ah, it was a
sight in them days to see them galloping down the avenue with the
bells ringing and the smoke pouring out of the engine.

    "Then there was Jack MOONEY.  BREEN, that just died, took over
his place.  And Pat MIMAUGH, on Eighth street, Patty DUROSS, Ambrose
ROSS and Johnny MONOHAN.  They shoed a horse in those days.  They
were men, I tell you!

    Jim KIELY does business yet.  Of course, the nickel-plated
equipage of thirty years ago no longer wheels before his door.
Horsemen of Queens and bridle paths through parks are almost
forgotten memories except to the village blacksmith.

    His shop for forty-two years in Fourth street is the last of the
old line.  The husky blacksmith who plied his trade with a knowledge
of its tradition, is represented by a lone figure in Long Island
City--Jim KIELY, and be bemoans the fact that he is the last
representative in the community.  "But don't forget Jim, me helper.
Now, he's a blacksmith!"


    BARBERRY pounds a reddening horseshoe.  A heavy forearm wields a
blunt-nosed, short-handled sledge with a mechanical certainty.  He
works at the only anvil in the shop.  In the past, up until 1915,
KIELY employed at least three men.  And you can be sure their speech
was slurred with the brogue of Erin.

    Hunters Point was heaven in those days when Paddy (Battle Axe)
GLEASON ruled with a swashbuckling geniality.  Miller's Hotel by the
ferry was the meeting place of the political world of Long Island
City and prancing horses and a shining trap were signs of quality.
"It was then this shop was busy, I tell you," KIELY reminisces.  "I
had men working all day shoeing for the best."
    A heavy truck lumbers by.  Two horses plod slowly.  The driver
in a leather jacket shouts a greeting to KIELY.  "Those horses were
shod in my shop," says KIELY, "But it's truck horses they are and
not the prancing dandies of thirty years ago."

            NO COMPLAINT

    KIELY has no great complaint even now.  Business still comes in.
Truck horses from the factories and the mills of Long Island City
and Greenpoint are brought to his shop for shoes.  But to KIELY they
only contribute to a livelihood and not the pleasure of the '90's
when derbied men in puffed cravats rode proudly to his shop behind
glossy teams.

    KIELY takes pride in shoeing the horses of the mounted police of
Long Island City.  The horses are stabled in the same street across
the street from the Hunter's Point station house.  He handles them
carefully for they are the last of the "prancing dandies" that he
will shoe.

Transcriber: Lois O'Malley