With the arrival of 2008 fast approaching, the Juniper Park Civic Association will be celebrating a momentous occasion, our 70th anniversary year!
Over our 7 decades, we have been blessed with many victories. Few would argue with the statement that the JPCA certainly kicked a few tires along the way. Some didn’t like our “take no prisoners” approach but those who benefited, our hundreds of JPCA member families, cheered us on and couldn’t get enough! I can recall the JPCA being accused of “having too much to say.” Our response – “having too much to say is called leadership!”
In all our 70 years of battle on the frontline of civic war, we were truly the “Davids fighting Goliath.” However, before we take up the mantle of a cause we make certain that we are on the right side of the issue. Sometimes people tend to forget, the JPCA Executive Board is made up of all volunteers, giving up their personal time with their families, working pro bono, to keep our neighborhoods two of the best in the city. In fact, Mayor Bloomberg once stated that the JPCA is the most effective civic association in NYC.
My parents bought our Middle Village house right near Pullis Cemetery in 1939. From the very beginning, it was clear to them that an organized voice was needed to have some leverage when dealing with the elected officials and the city agencies. I recall how they sought out that voice, discovered the newly emerging “Eliot Avenue Civic Association,” later to merge in 1944 with Juniper Park Homes, Inc., to become the JPCA, and they never looked back.
There were many fights fought and won before I entered the civic scene in the early 1980’s but the biggest in my time was the zip code change, making all of the area north of Eliot Avenue to the LIE, zip 11379, Middle Village. The other big success was fighting the prospect of yet another Home Depot at the Keyspan gas tank site in Elmhurst. You will all agree with me, a park is a much better addition to our community than yet another Home Depot with the prospect of all its delivery trucks plowing through our streets. The neighborhood came out the big winner of that fight, and the JPCA was totally instrumental in that success story. Currently, the city is in the final stages of constructing a neighborhood park.
Although it’s great to recollect past victories, we totally understand that the big fights are ahead of us.
For example, a snapshot what’s currently on JPCA’s front burner shows the Cross Harbor project re-entering the picture and the prospect of hundreds of additional trucks on our Middle Village and Maspeth streets.
Then there’s the ever present downzoning of our community in an effort to halt the mindless construction that is underway. Also, there’s the St. Saviour’s fight where we want desperately to preserve the church and the entire site as a park for future generations to enjoy as part of our heritage.
It’s safe to say that as the JPCA enters its 70th year, some battle lines are clearly drawn as mentioned in the above paragraph and others are hidden in plain sight on the horizon. We always hope that younger generations will come forward to fight future battles. If they want the neighborhoods of Maspeth and Middle Village to remain the vibrant, desirable place they are today, they will have to step up to the plate.
The JPCA Executive Board is currently in the throes of contemplating an appropriate way to celebrate this momentous 70th Anniversary event and we will keep you posted on what we decide.
As usual we thank our hundreds of families who are members and we look forward to welcoming into the fold hundreds more! We also thank the local businesses that advertise in the Juniper Berry. Over the past 70 years they have been the engines keeping the Juniper Berry in print. Our member families and advertisers have formed the collaborative effort that has resulted in a 70-year success story for the Juniper Park Civic Association.
About Our Logo
Our 70th anniversary logo pays homage to the history of the towns we serve. The Juniper Park Civic Association was originally an organization called “Residents of Juniper Park Homes, Inc.” named after the enclave of row houses built along the streets surrounding Juniper Valley Park. In 1944, Residents of Juniper Park Homes merged with the Eliot Avenue Civic Association, which served the area south of Eliot Avenue, and the joint organization took the new name, Juniper Park Civic Association. At the time, the part of Queens surrounded by 57th Avenue to the north, Woodhaven Boulevard to the east, Eliot Avenue to the south and 74th Street to the west was part of Elmhurst. After the zip code for this area was changed in 2003, it became part of Middle Village. This explains why we have “Juniper Park” and “Elmhurst” as part of our logo. The association also proudly serves the Maspeth area, which has not experienced similar identity changes over the years.