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Al Greenblatt, a New Hyde Park attorney who co-founded the Queens Civic Congress and was a longtime member of Community Board 13, died last week. He was 94.
Greenblatt was a past president and founder of the Lost Community Civic Association, which got its name because residents felt the area was overlooked by the city since it is bordered by the 105th and 111th precincts and the Queens-Nassau County border. He was also a decades-long CB 13 member who strongly opposed the construction of North Shore Towers in 1971.
“The neighborhood is better because Al Greenblatt was with us,” said Sue Noreika, a former CB 13 chairwoman who has been active on the board for the past 45 years. “Because of Al Greenblatt, the Lost Community area was able to keep quite stable over the years because he did a lot of work with us.”
Noreika said Greenblatt was part of a committee formed by the borough president’s office in 1965 that helped pick community board members.
She said Greenblatt was opposed to North Shore Towers because he believed the three 30-story co-ops were out of character for the one- and two-family home community.
He successfully fought against replacing a nursing home on 260th Street with a supermarket, Noreika said.
Greenblatt was also involved with the Eastern Queens Community Council, a conglomeration of civics in the area, which was one of three groups that merged to create the Queens Civic Congress, according to former CB 13 Chairman Richard Hellenbrecht.
Greenblatt was one of the three founders of the QCC, Hellenbrecht said.
“He was an active civic leader,” Hellenbrecht said. “He was involved at a grassroots level with the civics.”
Corey Bearak, a past president of the Queens Civic Congress, said Greenblatt “was one of the icons of the civic movement in the borough.”
“Al was one of my mentors in civics,” Bearak said. “He wasn’t confrontational. He tried to mediate conflicts.”
Hellenbrecht said infrastructure was important to Greenblatt and he wanted to ensure that problems with sidewalks, curbs and potholes were addressed.
“Al was interested in the day-to-day issues,” Hellenbrecht said.
Michael Castellano, first vice president of Lost Community, said Greenblatt made sure “that we weren’t forgotten.”
“He was the ultimate civic leader,” Castellano said. “He was really quite a guy. It was a pleasure to have known him.”
Greenblatt also served in World War II, was heavily involved with the Jewish War Veterans and was an active member of the Bellerose Jewish Center.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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