Over our seven 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 of the JPCA 70 years of battle on the frontline of civic war, we were truly the “Davids fighting Goliath.” However, before we take up any 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 neighborhood one 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 when I like to tell people, I was a fetus! 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. They sought out that voice and they discovered the newly emerging “Eliot Avenue Civic Association.” Later, in 1944, the Eliot Avenue Civic merged with the Residents of Juniper Park Homes, Inc., to become the Juniper Park Civic Association.
There were many fights fought and won by our predecessors 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 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, represented by its President, Bob Holden, was totally instrumental in that success story.
Although it’s great to recollect past victories, we truly understand that the big fights are ahead of us. For example, a snapshot of the current JPCA 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. As we print this, however, St. Saviour’s is destined to be re-erected in All Faith’s Cemetery thanks to the generosity of its CEO, Daniel Austin.
It is safe to say that as the JPCA enters its 70th year, some battle lines are clearly drawn and others are hidden in plain sight on the horizon. We always hope that younger generations will come forward to fight the future civic wars. As usual we thank everyone for their support and good wishes. The Officers and Executive Board will continue to work hard for our neighborhood and hopefully we will all benefit from that effort. We also want to 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.