Rochdale Village: The Timeline (1970’s and 1980’s)

Slide08The 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.”


A bygone era photo of Rochdale friends creating a human pyramid outside. The then-Rochdalers are Scott Gordon, Gayle Atlas, Joey Robbins. Center row, left to right – Ricky Colon, Steve Merriman, Bruce Deitchman. Bottom, Dave Thomas. Submitted by Vicky Perlman


Rochdale Village remains racially diversified, with the development comprised of 50 percent white residents and 50 percent black.


Photo of Local 80 strikers at Rochdale Village

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.


(left) 1st Vice President of the Rochdale Urban Gardeners Club, Melvin Geiger and residents right. Photo courtesy of the Rochdale Village Bulletin Newspaper.

 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.


Pearl and Jacquet Chenet Sr. look at the posted Rochdale-Springfield Volunteer Ambulance Corps sign that says “closed” on the front window of the Mall 2 headquarters in the late 80’s.

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.

August 1983


Photo courtesy of the Rochdale Village Bulletin Newspaper

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.

3 thoughts on “Rochdale Village: The Timeline (1970’s and 1980’s)

  1. Pingback: Six Degrees of Rochdale Village |

  2. Pingback: RV’s 50th Anniversary Symposium: Thanks for the Memories |

  3. Pingback: Rochdale Village 50th Anniversary Symposium: Panel Discussions |

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