The next segment of the Rochdale Village 50th Anniversary timeline examines some of the events that occurred at that time and have continued to shape the cooperative’s reality to this day. Mind you, the seventies was a decade that was frequently marked by heightened racial awareness, national energy shortages, environmental concerns, labor unrest, and a new found penchant for discourse. This segment of the Rochdale timeline is reflective of that period.
December 14, 1973
New York Times publishes story entitled: “Rochdale Village faces critical cut-off of all fuels by Thanksgiving; Rochdale in Critical trouble, as utilities were cut back.” The story, in part, “One of the city’s larger housing developments, Rochdale Village in Queens, will go cold and dark next week unless alternative fuel supplies can be found. The article went on to say “On the morning of the 22d, 5,860 families will be without electricity, heat and hot water.”
Rochdale Village remains racially diversified, with the development comprised of 50 percent white residents and 50 percent black.
October 31, 1978
Rochdale employed private security officers and maintenance workers who, at the time, were among the highest paid private service workers in America. A lengthy strike, ensued among the 175 maintenance workers and 53 security workers. The strike ultimately ends thanks to a collective bargaining agreement with the Rochdale and Public Service Employees Union, Local No. 80, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America.
December 14, 1981
Open board meetings were taking place at various housing cooperatives within the five boroughs such as Concourse Village and Co-op City in the Bronx; Dayton Beach Park in Far Rockaway Queens; Penn South in Manhattan and Lindsay Park, Luna Park and Warbasse in Brooklyn. As such, the United Shareholders political majority (on Rochdale’s Board of Directors) advocates and holds the development’s first open meeting. Cooperators packed Rochdale Village Community Center Rooms 12 and 13 to witness and participate in this historic event. Prior to that time, all Rochdale board meetings were closed to the public and cooperators. Frank McKanic and Horace Mason who both served as Board President and Chairman of the Board respectively, chaired the initial meeting. It was at that time that the first ever co-operators’ public speaking forum was held at the beginning of Rochdale’s monthly 7:30 p.m. meeting.
July 26, 1982
A photograph of Rochdale’s urban garden, along with gardener and one-time board member Sam Baskin, are featured in a Newsweek magazine cover story entitled “The Joy (And also the Tedium, Rage and Sheer Hard Work” of Gardening.” The caption for the photograph, which reads “Community plots in New York: Producing food is only part of the attraction,” appeared on page 52 and was taken by former Rochdale resident and Newsweek photographer Jacques Chenet.
February 11, 1983
A treacherous snowstorm results in the partial collapse of the roofing at Rochdale Village Mall #1 which faces Guy R. Brewer and New York Boulevards.
February 23, 1983
Board hires Shinda Management Corporation to run the day-to-day operations at Rochdale Village.
State Division of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCR) Commissioner Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich visits Rochdale to sign a satellite-television contract for the development, making Rochdale the first community in Queens to get satellite/cable television for its residents. The 15-year agreement which was also signed by then-board president Alice Woodley, was with S.A.T.V. That entity also negotiated to lease small mall retail space which was once occupied by Admiral Paints.
January 23, 1984
Board approves motion to end the policy of Rochdale providing new stoves and refrigerators to all new incoming cooperators. The action is in response to state officials recommending that Rochdale get out of the appliance store business and leave that expense to cooperators.
- Rochdale Village: 50 Years of Renewable Energy and Green Spaces (rochdalevillageturns50.com)
- Rochdale Village Timeline: (1950′s – 1960′s) (rochdalevillageturns50.com)
- Rochdale Village 50th anniversary celebrates library’s history (rochdalevillageturns50.com)