In 1975, the first group home for 6-8 mentally retarded individuals in New York City was sited in Little Neck. It created enormous reactions by the neighbors and the community. People's fears resulted from the fact that guidelines had not yet been established. Despite lawsuits and protests, the group home was eventually established. Over the years, some of the neighbors who once fought the home have become its greatest proponents.
Subsequently, more that 20 group homes have been successfully established throughout the district with CB 1 1 being in the forefront in disseminating information and holding public forums to provide the community with information about proposed homes. At the forums, developers of the homes answered the communitys questions and formed advisory councils. The homes have generally become invisible, blending into the community as good neighbors.
Over the objections of CB 11 in the mid 1970, the Parks Department granted a franchise to two young men to operate a disco, The Enchanted Gardens, at the Douglaston Golf Course facility. Hundreds of patrons came to the club night after night causing havoc in the surrounding residential community. Needless to say, for a time this was a major issue in the community. After much negotiation between the owners and CB 11 (and some pressure by the Parks Department) they decided to close the No. 1 disco in Queens and open a new one Studio 54 in Manhattan which gained worldwide recognition as one of the top discos in New York City. Peace was restored to Douglaston thanks to some monumental negotiations by CB 11.
In 1969, Northern Boulevard between the Cross Island Parkway and Douglaston Parkway on the north and south sides was primarily private property. In the early 1970s CB 11 lobbied the city to acquire property along this strip as it became available. The Patio Shop (now the Environmental Center), DeCombo Junkyard and an amusement park (both north of Northern Boulevard)came first, and then later the lands of the Simon Estate (now the golf driving range) and the Ford property (Oak Lake between the driving range and the Douglaston Parkway Apartment houses) were acquired. These acquisitions added land to the Citys park system and precluded massive apartment house developments which were contemplated for the property north of Northern Boulevard. We were successful but it took enormous effort and application by CB 11 members and the community to accomplish this monumental acquisition all before the time that CB 11 had any staff or funds.
©2003 Community News Group
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