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Rochdale Village: 50 years in SE Queens

Rochdale Village, known as "The Jewel of Jamaica," is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
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When it was conceived amid the turbulence of the civil rights era, Rochdale Village in southeast Queens was expected to be the paragon of the progressive movement in integrated housing, a vision that ultimately did not take hold with the cooperative’s residents.

But today Rochdale is considered a bastion of the middle class in the black community, and as the cooperative celebrates its 50th anniversary later this month residents plan to look at half a century of Rochdale history and another 50 years to come.

When the developers of Rochdale first came up with the idea for an integrated co-op housing project in the 1950s, southeast Queens was already predominantly black, and while the ideas of the civil rights era were taking hold, its reforms had not yet been codified.

The Civil Rights Act would not be signed until 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which outlawed housing discrimination based on race, would not be enacted until five years after Rochdale opened.

“Rochdale was doing something unusual at the time. It was trying to be an integrated co-op during a time when it was legal to set up barriers to race in terms of housing,” Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum said. “Many cooperative developments in Queens at that time were mono-racial: Deepdale, Glen Oaks. They were all pretty much white. Rochdale was attempting to do something very bold.”

Dubbed “The Jewel of Jamaica,” Rochdale was the brainchild of the United Housing Federation — which had its roots in the Jewish labor movement — and master builder Robert Moses, who was delighted to get his hands on 120 acres of clear land when the Jamaica Race Course site became available in the late ’50s.

The course, situated next to the Locust Manor Long Island Rail Road station, was sold by the Greater New York Association, the progenitor of today’s New York Racing Association, which decided to pump $34.5 million into an expansion of nearby Aqueduct Racetrack.

Rochdale Village, named after the English town where the principles of cooperation were first laid out in the 19th century, was at the time the largest development of its kind in the world and would be surpassed only by the UHF’s Co-op City in the Bronx. The 20 buildings contained 5,860 rooms and, when fully occupied, housed more than 25,000 cooperatives, as the residences are known.

The development used to boast its own co-op markets and — much to the chagrin of Con Edison — its own power plant that has kept the lights on through blackouts, blizzards and superstorms.

The cooperative was built as a Mitchell-Lama project — which provided low-interest mortgages and tax abatements in exchange for regulated prices and carrying charges — and was financed to the tune of $86 million through state agencies.

An ad placed in The New York Times in 1961 boasted an average carrying charge — maintenance costs plus payments to the mortgage — of $21 per room.

Today, Rochdale is proud that it has the lowest monthly carrying charges for any Mitchell-Lama development in the city, with an average monthly carrying charge of about $200 per room.

The first 18 families moved in during December 1963.

Jacqueline Scott, 85, was the first person to lay claim to her apartment. Scott, who is white, moved to Rochdale from Brooklyn with her two young sons from an interracial marriage.

“My best girlfriend was a registered nurse working two jobs. When I asked her why she was working so much, she told me it was because she was saving up to move to Rochdale,” Scott recalled recently as she sat for lunch inside Rochdale’s senior center. “So I said, ‘I’m going to move in, too.’”

“You got a lot for your money. You only pay one bill, unless you have a parking spot.” Scott explained. “You can’t beat the [carrying charges] for the rooms.”

When Rochdale Village opened, its population was about 80 percent white with the majority of those families coming from Jewish backgrounds.

“Being in New York, the Jewish community had a reputation for good schools,” said Manhattan historian emeritus Cal Jones, explaining why he decided to move his family to Rochdale from Harlem in 1965.

By 1965, Rochdale had more than 140 clubs, many of which had integrated chapters. But most of the residents were motivated to move to southeast Queens by Rochdale’s attractive prices as opposed to their progressive ideals, according to historian Peter Eisenstadt, and the co-op did not quite live up to the utopian dream of its developers.

The company that constructed Rochdale had barred black workers and demonstrators protested the site.

Due to rising crime and tension over schools, white families were moving out of Rochdale at a rapid rate, and Eisenstadt blames Rochdale’s ultimate and final segregation on a divisive teachers’ strike in 1968.

“The strike, which directly pitted blacks against Jews in ever-escalating volleys of rhetorical violence, irreparably destroyed the fabric of the integration in Rochdale,” he wrote. “After the damage wrought by the 11-week strike had cleared, there was no longer a constituency, or political future, in supporting integration in Rochdale or the city at large. The strike lingered as an unhealed wound.”

Madeline Pickett, 80, was a teacher at Eastern District High School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, during the time, and she recalled how the strike affected Rochdale.

“It was very contentious. There were a lot of hard feelings after the strike. You selected your side and you stuck with it,” she said. “Part of it was racial. We were fighting for certain rights and privileges, conditions, salaries.”

By the late ’70s the 80/20 racial split of white to black had been reversed, and today Rochdale is predominantly black, segregated not by policy but by choice.

But those who decided to build their families at Rochdale said it provided them the middle-class life they had dreamed of.

City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) noted the co-op is a naturally occurring retirement community with many of the original residents still there.

“Some people are called ‘lifers’ because they’ve been there since the very beginning,” he said. “Some families are multi-generational.”

Jones and his wife moved back to Harlem in 1975 after they had happily raised their family at Rochdale.

“I think that to me was the most gratifying and really added to the results of our having prospered to the point we have,” said Jones, the Manhattan historian. “Really, Rochdale could not have been any more of a success or a vehicle for success.”

Jones is part of the committee putting together a symposium for a June 29 gala feting Rochdale Village’s 50th anniversary. It will be held inside the Rochdale’s ballroom, which recently reopened following its first renovation since the co-op opened.

“A lot happened in these 20 buildings over the past 50 years,” the invitation reads. “We had dances, we had meetings, we had children, we had protests, we had friendships, we had strikes. We experienced moments of great divisiveness and moments of great unity. We were a diverse community learning to live together. We were a community learning to organize for good. We were a community that learned from each other.”

And despite the fact that integration ultimately did not take hold, it is not a goal totally given up on.

One of Rochdale’s schools, PS 80, is in the application process for a federal grant to develop a debate program through a partnership with CUNY Law School.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Magnet Schools Assistance program supports the voluntary desegregation of schools, and Principal Cassandra Cox said the debate program will aim to draw students from all over the borough — particularly from the white neighborhoods in the northeast — to southeast Queens.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” she said. “Children are exposed to a lot of different experiences.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Posted 2:33 am, June 14, 2013
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Reader feedback

Robert Wallace from Rochdale Past Resident says:
I grew up there from 1964 until I moved away after graduating from law school. I am an African-American male and growing up in such a diverse neighborhood was a great experience. On many given Friday or Saturday nights, there would be 50 t0 100 teenagers just hanging out pf all different races and religions. Was it perfect? No. But it was an experience many of us, both black and white, treasurer.
June 17, 2013, 4:35 pm
Joe Raskin from Brooklyn now, but previously from Rochdale. says:
I moved into Rochdale Village with my family in 1964, and lived there for 23 years. It's a matter of pride to me. It's wonderful to see it grow and thrive.

Rochdale Village will always be my home neighborhood.
June 17, 2013, 8:22 pm
Gail Wiletzky from former resident of Rochdale Village says:
I must agree with Robert and Joe, who I know well. Where else can u grow up with hundreds of kids around. And fifty years later we have reconnected and shared our memories. We were a diverse bunch and we are better for it. We never saw color or religion in the faces of our friends unless someone else brought it to our attention. I cherich all my moments there whether they were good or bad.
June 17, 2013, 8:34 pm
PATRICIA KIM ROBINSON from ROCHDALE VILLAGE says:
Moved in Rochdale with my family in 1964 bldg 16 . Have lived in England , traveled to many places but Rochdale will always be my HOME . I have lived in 3 different buildings . 16 , 2 and 7 . 4 different apartments and I am not leaving Rochdale unless I win LOTTO
June 17, 2013, 9:57 pm
Larry Lapka from former resident of Rochdale Village says:
As a member of the one of the original families that moved to Rochdale Village, the then new development offered so much to our family. Growing up there was incredible, seeing buildings sprout up from literally the ground. It was an incredible childhood. My parents often said that Rochdale was going to be their last stop. But we only stayed seven years, and the reasons were many. White, Jewish families and black families within the development got along great, simply because we were all there for the same reasons. But outsiders--many of those living outside the development--made all of our lives a living hell. They didn't want us there to begin with, and this persisted throughout our time there, making the ideals that were crafted within the development to not necessarily fail, but making it unable to carry them out to the degree we would have liked. The assassination of Martin Luther King, as well as the teacher's strikes, took the heart and soul out of the development, and the safety factor also put a stake in our hearts. I loved my childhood there, and will always relish it, but there were so many factors that drove us away that it is very difficult to encapsulate it in one single story--there are many stories to tell, and they are all valid.
June 18, 2013, 7:05 am
Joe Raskin from Brooklyn now, but previously from Rochdale says:
Not everyone had their lives made a living hell; not everyone from outside of Rochdale resented people from inside of Rochdale. Perception is an interesting thing.
June 18, 2013, 10:10 am
Joseph Herring from Pensacola, FL says:
Lived in Rochdale bld 8, when it Was A Co-Op in 1971, before that 1968 in building 16 With my brother.
As A music producer Her-Watt Production work from here. Many well know musican live in Rochdale. Returned to FL 1997
Miss those Days.
June 18, 2013, 12:29 pm
Deborah Akerson from Rochdale says:
I moved in bldg. 5 Jan 1972 a newly divorced mom with 2 sons......I t was still nice then and it was still a co-op. Now it is just like any other rental apt with high rent....not a co-op.....no more carrying charges....monthly statement says RENT! I have been in Rochdale since 1963 when my aunt moved in bldg. 8! I have since moved to NC but my dgtr still lives in same apt in bldg. 5!
June 18, 2013, 1:16 pm
yshaggy from springfield gdns says:
they say rochdale when opened 80 percent white, I saw it with my own eyes it was like 90 percent white jewish, it was quiet with green grass and no security booths, that was until the young brothers found out they could snatch a pocket book from an old jewish lady on her way under the LIRR to get to T.S.S and it's supermarket without any problem, soon it was happening like everyday, old ladies screams police show up was the norm, then I blinked and rochdale was black, and their were security booths and drugs. It's made a comeback but it will never again be was it was at opening.
June 18, 2013, 5:56 pm
Larry Lapka from Former Rochdale Village Resident says:
Yes, Joe, perception is an interesting thing. I agree. As I said, it wasn't all those living on the outside who resented us. But those that did ended up driving the original cooperators away, whether they were black, white or green. They used our resources, but destroyed them to a certain extent. We could have been a gated community; however, we wanted the entire community, both inside and outside the development, to enjoy what we had together with us. That might have been stupid 1960s ideology, but we didn't want anybody to be excluded. Again, I look back on those years with great fondness, I would not trade those years for anything, but certainly the heart and soul of the development took a hike after the school strikes and MLK's untimely death. The schools went into the crapper, there was an incredible amount of anti-white feeling, and the safety factor literally all destroyed the place. Sorry I don't look back on those years with all rose colored glasses like some,but let's face it; the Rochdale we entered with our eyes wide open and the Rochdale that we all left were entirely different places, and not to acknowledge that really isn't seeing the whole picture. Just my opinion, of course.
June 21, 2013, 5:38 am
Larry Lapka from Former Rochdale Resident says:
Yes, perception is an interesting thing, Joe. But to ignore the obvious is a matter of personal discretion, one that I won't be part of. Steeped in 1960s idealism, Rochdale Village proper wanted to include everyone in our vision of modern urban life, but whatever love affair you think there was didn't last very long. There were powers there that resented our very being, and they used the teachers strikes and MLK's death as a rallying crying for anti-white and anti-Semitic hatred, and just about all of us ended up leaving when the ideals weren't applicable anymore, black and white. You have every right to turn your head on this, as I have every right to bring it up. Again, I have said it 1,000 times: I would not trade my childhood there for anything. But not to state why the community we moved into was not the community we left really is being a bit of a pollyanna, but you have your right to that vision as much as I have a right to my vision. And to attack me, well, we have been through that already, haven't we?
June 21, 2013, 5:52 am
Larry Lapka from Former Rochdale Resident says:
Somehow, two comments of mine were posted saying about the same thing in different ways. Sorry about that.
June 21, 2013, 5:58 am
Joe Raskin from from Brooklyn now, but previously from Rochdale says:
Not everyone had the same experience with people from outside of Rochdale. I never felt resented by anyone, nor am I ignoring anything that may have happened to other people. In my case, I never had a problem with going outside of Rochdale. It was, and remains, part of a larger community. There were many people in Rochdale who viewed themselves as cloistered, and tried to avoid all contact with our neighbors. I didn't.

And I'm not attacking anyone. I'm just stating my opinion of what happened. Those who seek out conflict find it. If that makes me a Pollyanna, so be it.
June 21, 2013, 11:49 am
Larry Lapka from Former Rochdale Resident says:
And I wasn't attacking anyone either. To ignore what destroyed the Rochdale that we knew is to ignore the history of the place. That is my opinion and I am sticking with it. I loved the place as much as you did. Things took a very bad turn for the worse there in the late 1960s, and the place stopped being the panacea we all wanted it to be. Say what you want, but the current Rochdale has very little to do with the Rochdale moved into nearly 50 years ago, the community that was designed the way that it was. I will always treasure my time there, but to look away from what happened, what the place became, sorry, I won't do that.
June 21, 2013, 9:58 pm
Joe Raskin from from Brooklyn now, but previously from Rochdale says:
But you implied that I was attacking you, right? I'm not ignoring anything, or turning away from anything. I'm saying this from the perspective of someone who lived there from 23 years and has gone back to witness what it is like today. The faces have changed, but there is a continuity of life in Rochdale. It survived the 1960s; it survived the strike in 1978. It remains a viable middle income community and will continue to be that way
June 22, 2013, 12:40 am
Larry Lapka, Former Resident from Rochdale Village says:
And I am not attacking you either, although to disagree with what some people say implies an attack? No, I am not attacking you, although again, it seems that anything I say appears to be thought to be an attack. I am maybe slightly disagreeing with you. Sure, Rochdale continues to be a viable community today, but it is not the community we started out in in 1963 and 1964. It is not a mixed race community anymore, the schools are dreadful, and once the 113th Precinct went up by P.S. 30 in 1971 or so, that signified the obvious; that crime was a problem there. Although I have no statistics to back me up, I can tell you that many people do not want to revisit Rochdale for those reasons. Again, I am not saying that it isn't a viable middle class community right now, all that I am saying is that it is not the same community it was when we saw it rise from the ground those many years ago. You may have stayed as long as you did, but many, many families moved some short time after the school strikes and MLK's assassination. They had had enough of the bullying, the being picked on because of their skin color/religion, and life there wasn't the same anymore. People can stick their heads in the ground about this, but I will not do that. It was not a safe environment to raise a family at that point. Whether it is or isn't now is not my point; the point is that the continuity of life there is different today than it was back when we lived there. And again, I am not attacking you, I am simply disagreeing with you. We often look back at Rochdale with rose colored glasses; I certainly do too. But the reality of the matter is that we moved for a reason, and the reason was that the community had fallen to the point that it wasn't the same anymore.
June 24, 2013, 12:01 pm
Tracey Irvin from Rochdale Village says:
For those that have posted misinformation, Rochdale Village is still a Co-Op.

It is amazing to me that people make comments on public forums about things that they know nothing about. The place looks much better than it did back in the sixties or seventies.

Let's keep it real! There was an exodus out of Rochdale by Caucasians, not because of bullying. Bullying was not an issue in Rochdale Village, Caucasians and Blacks were friends and lived together amicably. The exodus occurred due to a fear of one group of people having to live with another. The exodus occurred because one group of people believed that there were better opportunities and standards of living elsewhere, NOT because one group treated another badly.
July 8, 2013, 10:58 am
Steve Mittleman from Sherman Oaks, CA. says:
I read the above article. I read the comments. Nobody, but nobody is mentioning the hard and cruel fact that Rochdale mainly sank because of drug related crime. It wasn't just crime. It was 'need a fix' crime. That is what brought down a great start to a great place. I went to see it a few years ago and enjoyed walking around. But RV became pretty frightening for a while thanks to drugs, mainly heroin. The sorrow of seeing moving trucks every day over the summer vacations taking friends away was a lot to witness. Tore my heart out - saddened my childhood. I don't remember these strikes affects anything compared to the crime and subsequent moving.
July 8, 2013, 1:12 pm
grace milsone from bldg 13 living in israel now says:
my family had made so many good friends when we moved to RV in 1964 it was the best social environment ever. yes there was a big export of families in the 1970s. we moved in may of 1970 as my husband always wanted his own home. however we were a group of 12 couples and very close. today we are still friends but sadly 5 have left us . i will always have fond memories as do my three dauhgters
July 9, 2013, 6:44 am
Vicki Perlman from Lynbrook, formerly Rochdale says:
I went back for the 50th Reunion and RV is just gorgeous now. The trees, the flowers, the community garden: AMAZING. I never for one second felt 'unsafe'.
That being said, in my time at Rochdale there were unsafe instances; there were many many more wonderful instances, hours, days, weeks, months and years. I went to JHS 8. It was scary at times. It was bad times and certainly not only in RV and the surrounding areas. I spent a lot of time 'outside' of RV, friends with, (and dated at least 2), people living in the surrounding neighborhood. I think that Steve probably is most right-on with his comment. Aside from young kids being ——s, the biggest threat to Rochdale was the drug problem, and it was not limited to 'outsiders' at all. One of my 'insights' was that the kids going to IS 72 painted a scary picture for some of the parents that they moved. Another fact, tho, is that people who lived there for 5, 10 or so years saved money to buy a house, which at that time, was the American Dream.
I loved my time in Rochdale. I had so many friends; many I'm still friends with to this day. No matter where you live, you are who you are and people react to you.....enough said about that.
Lived in 2c-2c from feb 64 till aug 72 when I went to college and my parents moved out.
July 9, 2013, 8:11 am
Vicki Perlman from Lynbrook, formerly Rochdale says:
and I apologize for any typos or spelling or grammar errors...new keyboard....
July 9, 2013, 8:12 am
Al Dobshinsky from Rochdale Village says:
I left Rochdale in late 1971 for one simple reason. My parents bought a house in Oceanside and as a 14 year old, I had no say in the matter. I NEVER had a physical altercation as a kid there nor any interaction with druggies or dealers. I probably went thru the same trials and tribulations any kid has in his early years. I would say that many of the friendships I have today started way back when and I wouldn't change it for anything. Although those kids chasing us down the hallways with chalk in those socks on Halloween sure gave us a scare.
July 9, 2013, 1:55 pm
Dianne from R v says:
I moved to R V. In "64 at 6 yrs old. Perfect , everyone got along until the bussing started, resulting in classes filled to 34 kids, many from Jamaica ghettos. The utopian dream shattered for many black and white residents when their children were shaken down daily for their lunch money.
Yeah, we left! But if risking your family"s safety is a sign of being open minded, I guess many white jewish families weren"t. I remember my black R V friends being scared as well. I am happy to hear Rochdale is once again a beautiful and safe place to live.
Rochdale was successful because of socio economic similarities between the races living side by side in friendship .
It disintegrated due to bussing .
July 19, 2013, 7:52 am
Dianne from R v says:
I moved to R V. In "64 at 6 yrs old. Perfect , everyone got along until the bussing started, resulting in classes filled to 34 kids, many from Jamaica ghettos. The utopian dream shattered for many black and white residents when their children were shaken down daily for their lunch money.
Yeah, we left! But if risking your family"s safety is a sign of being open minded, I guess many white jewish families weren"t. I remember my black R V friends being scared as well. I am happy to hear Rochdale is once again a beautiful and safe place to live.
Rochdale was successful because of socio economic similarities between the races living side by side in friendship .
It disintegrated due to bussing .
July 19, 2013, 7:52 am
Larry Lapka from Former Resident From Rochdale Village says:
All these months later, I stumbled upon this article again, and I noticed that several new messages had been posted, filled with insights at the rise, and fall, and what some feel is the rise again of this great neighborhood. Just so many of you know, the original kids of Rochdale are holding a 50th anniversary neighborhood reunion this weekend, which both celebrates our old community and puts into the proper context. Some of those who have posted will be there, others not. But just the simple holding of such a reunion speaks volumes about the resilience of the place in our hearts and minds to this day. Yes, I have very, very fond memories of the place, and I have bad memories. I agree with Steve that drug crime had really gotten out of hand by the time my family left in 1971. But no, Vicki, the kids of I.S. 72 did not "paint" a negative picture of what was going on in I.S. 72 as much as they actually lived those horrors, which were real. And yes, Alan, muggings and other violence had become the norm there, whether you experienced it or not. But those things aside, it was an incredible place to grow up in, an incredible segment of my life that I am happy to have experienced. And the reunion is just another chapter, maybe the closing chapter, of Rochdale for many of us.
Oct. 2, 2013, 10:40 am
Sissy McQueen from Jamaica says:
Good old Larry. Irritating as always. Have to argue every point. Why not post where the reunion is so you can personally turn all of the people away who may show up and not know that it was a paid event? Hopefully none of us will ever have to see you or hear from you after this whole thing.
Oct. 2, 2013, 6:41 pm
Larry Lapka from Former Resident of Rochdale Village says:
I'm not arguing, Sissy. And who are you anyway? And yes, the Reunion is a paid event. It is now closed. We gave people every opportunity to pay their attendance fee, but somehow, you missed out. And if you don't like what I say, you sure are interested in what I have to say! And it is your choice about not hearing from me again, because you seem to really enjoy what I have to write. And what is your real name--I honestly do not know you at all. Or is this a pseudonym, and you are actually someone I know really well? You knock me, but where are your comments?
Oct. 3, 2013, 11:39 am
Mitch Kanter from Minnesota says:
I lived in Rochdale from grade school through college. I wouldnt have changed my upbringing for anything. I loved my childhood in Rochdale. There were so many kids around, it was always easy to get games started, develop friendships, etc. As a boy I lived to play sports, and I had the opportunity to play all sorts of sports with some great athletes. I wasnt immune to some of the crime that went on, but I viewed that as a somewhat common aspect of growing up in a big city. My children have grown up in safe affluent Midwest communities. The facilities, schools, sports venues, etc. are second to none. But my upbringing in Rochdale was better, richer. I'm very thankful for the time years I spent in Rochdale.
Oct. 3, 2013, 3:55 pm
steven ferris from rochdale village says:
i read all these comments and can only agree with larry it started off great lot of friends and sports and good times but ended with my friends moving out in super time never too see any of them again listen it was a great concept that worked for some years and then became a crime disaster now a business owner i reflect on some of the good early years but still say what happened!
Oct. 4, 2013, 11:14 am
steven ferris from rochdale village says:
hey al dobshinsky i remember you steve f
Oct. 4, 2013, 11:21 am
steven ferris from rochdale village says:
hey al dobshinsky remember you growing up how have you been
Oct. 4, 2013, 11:22 am
steven ferris from rochdale village says:
hey alan dobshinsky rememeber you when i lived in rochadale hope you are well
Oct. 4, 2013, 11:40 am
Larry Lapka from Former Resident of Rochdale Village says:
Hey Steven! How are you doing? Long time no hear. Look for me on Facebook! We just had our reunion, it went really well. Sorry you couldn't have been there. Please contact me on Facebook.
Oct. 10, 2013, 10 am
Susan Rauch from Rochdale. Building 8 says:
My parents moved us to Rochdale in 1964. My older went to Jackson HS which was a hell hole. My experience at JHS 8 basically scarred me for a very long time. Being bussed into a school that was 99 - 98 percent black was a killer. Although I had many black friends who would escort me to my classes I was beaten,robbed of lunch money and thrown into moving traffic after missing the bus home. I learned how to fight back with hat pins. My education suffered as survival was key. I still have the same friends that I met at Rochdale. We joined a Girl Scout troop and went to the dances. My father was robbed twice walking to his car and my brothers car was stolen Not fun. We were brought up not to be pre judge any race. The kids at school obviously were taught at home that white kids were not wanted at their school. Also my math teacher was beaten up in front of the class which is a day I will never forget
Oct. 21, 2013, 10:14 am
Claudette from current RV resident says:
I grew up in south jamaica, moved to Springfield grds, went to 72, had some difficult experiences as well, went on to,Spdfd HS. I lived in different places, recently moved to RV. I am aware of the history, but as someone mentioned, this was the history of most of the city during that time period. Out of all the turmoil , there has been improvement, safety, security screening and procedures. This is or has taken place all over the city. R.V. is the jewel of Jamaica when all things are considered.
Dec. 24, 2013, 2:35 pm
miriam kurland from Rochdale Village says:
There was nothing like growing up in Rochdale! I moved there when I was 8 in 1964,with my single mom into a luxurious 3.5 room apartment with a terrace. It felt like heaven to me, after living in an old, dark, creepy, falling apart apartment prior to that. I was and continue to be so proud of everything that Rochdale stood for and for all the beautiful people who lived there. There was crime, but there were many lessons to be learned from it, although I did find it scary walking alone in the dark. It was an ideal community for the coming of age for all the children who shared their youth there.
Dec. 28, 2013, 8:30 pm
philip strn from bldg 4 and 1 says:
we had abeautifl pat and loved it but moved out whenmy son was delivering the long island express parer and two guys wanedt to push him off the Perlman I was good friend with your faterh Harold and mother jusy phil
March 15, 2014, 8:04 am
NEW TENANT IN ROCHDALE VILLAGE 2014 from ROCHDALE VILLAGE says:
As a new tenant in Rochdale Village I am blessed to have been accepted in Rochdale Village's ,co-op and more blessed to have passed the tedious application process. I have read some of the comments above and want to say this.That everything in life has a process and rochdale has been through a process like everyplace else in society. Also from my perception they are going in the right direction towards restoration , and it is very impressive to see the internal and external reconstruction taking place. I speak excellence into existence, peace, safety and the best of everything for rochdale village, their management, security and tenants...all is well, all is going to be well, with my new co-op....god is able to perform miracles, and I am claiming one for rochdale village and looking forward to a splendid occupancy. The past is the past rochdale shall be prosperous with all of it's current and future achievements. everyone be blessed, and to all current tenants...let us be on one accord to claiming victory over rochdale's successes, not their failures.
April 8, 2014, 8:33 pm
Gillian Ruane from Rochdale, England says:
wow, I have only just come across this article and it is fascinating to read how Rochdale's Co-operative principles have spread across the world, since it was set up by 28 business men in 1844. I live in Rochdale, in England and I am proud to be a Rochdalian :)
May 23, 2014, 10:23 pm
andrea from roshdale says:
This place is soo nice i love the park so peaceful neighbors r so friendl
June 8, 2014, 6:41 pm
Shaun from Passaic NJ says:
I have a question for current Rochdale residents - how does management feel about cats? The application says pets aren't allowed, and I know dogs have long been an issue. Are cats views differently and largely tolerated or is the rule firm and I should consider elsewhere? Thank you very much. Shaun
Aug. 13, 2014, 8:12 am
Brian Beard from Astoria says:
WOW MY family moved into Rochdale Village early 1964 when building 13 opened stayed until mid 70s had great friends esp alan carter and jonathan goldberg than my family moved to glen oaks.i went to PS 80 AND IS 72
Oct. 1, 2014, 7:18 pm
Lawrence Forde from Long Beach, California says:
My mom and I moved into Rochdale Village in 1969 when Rochdale was still a very beautiful cooperative housing development. We were African-Americans and most of our neighbors were either Jewish or Italian and they were very welcoming. Shortly thereafter, the complexion of the co-op began to change, my mom having been a "pioneer" as initial cooperators were called, became increasingly dissatisfied with the "dream" we had previously enjoyed. The neighborhood overnight became predominantly African-American and the prestige of living in Rochdale evaporated. Now Rochdale Village is sometimes referred to as a public housing project! What was a noble sociological experiment of the 1960's quickly became a nightmare. Rochdale Village for people of my mom's generation (the WWII generation) was thought of as a "stop" before home ownership, as were most co-ops of the day. I had a close friend (a Jewish fellow) that I grew up with who lived with his mom in the Electchester Houses in Flushing, though not a co-op, the same thing happened there. I guess its just a sign of the times.
Oct. 22, 2014, 1:33 am
Larry Levine from Still a Queens boy. says:
White Liberals unfortunately ran away from Rochdale like babies once black children from the outer neighborhoods were bused into our schools.All my white friends started to disappear one by one as their families moved to either the suburbs of long island, or to co-op city in the Bronx.
I was one of the last white boys remaining in Rochdale by the mid 1970s, and my family actually remained in Rochdale until 1990.I had alot of resentment for those who didnt stay.
At least I still had many good black friends still living there until the 80s.Thats when Rochdale really got bad.
Bldg 19 section 5 ..Resident from 1963-1990
Larry Levine
sister Wendy..She sadly passed away in 2013.
Jan. 16, 2015, 2:45 am
craig newman from long island says:
I was born in rochdale village in 1965.At first it was a great mix of white and black families living together.In the early 70s crime did take over the neighborhood,My father got mugged coming home from the Lirr station as well as my grandmother.By the early 70s i was being picked on by black kids saying i couldnt hang out with other black kids because i was white.I had to learn to defend myself at a very young age.We finally moved to Howard beach in 1974
Jan. 27, 2015, 6:33 pm
Rob Baumel from Bldg #13 says:
First family to occupy our apt in 1965 and made some great friends. Funny to see Susan Rauches comments. Remember hanging with her and her friend on many a weekend.
Hope this finds you well.......
March 15, 2015, 12:25 am
Pam from Flushing says:
I am currently on the waiting list for Rochdale and I can't wait to be called back. I feel Rochdale did go through hard times but I feel they are in the process of getting it back to how it used to be. It is def for the mid class working people. I'm a single mom of a toddler and preschool boys. This will be perfect for me until they get a lil older until I'm able to purchase a house.
Jan. 2, 2017, 9:06 pm

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