Rochdale, Queens, New York City
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Rochdale (also called Rochdale Village) is a residential cooperative built by architect Herman Jessor, consisting of five circles of four buildings (creating a sum of 20 buildings) located in South Jamaica, in the New York City borough of Queens. Rochdale Village was supposed to set a precedent for establishment of future cooperative housing. Rochdale Village was named after the English Town of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England, where the Rochdale Pioneers developed the Rochdale Principles of cooperation.
The architect's concept of Rochdale Village was an attractive community covering 122 blocks that would provide the residents with a park-like setting and facilities of suburbia, within the limits of the Urban Jamaica Area. Rochdale was designed to be a "city within a city." In addition to the 20 buildings that would house 5860 families, this unique concept in urban planning included a power plant (providing electricity, heat and air- conditioning all included in the carrying charges), two shopping malls, two supermarkets, two drug stores, and an assortment of others anemities. Also included were a community center, post office, public schools, a public library branch, and a New York Police Department precinct.
The property is the former site of Jamaica Racetrack, which was operated by the Metropolitan Jockey Club and its successor, the Greater New York Association (now the New York Racing Association.) When the NYRA decided to renovate Greater Jamaica's other track, Aqueduct Racetrack (in South Ozone Park), it also decided to close Jamaica Racetrack when the Aqueduct Racetrack's improvements were finished. Jamaica Racetrack was shut down in 1959 and demolished.
The problems began before Rochdale Village was completed: the construction company responsible for building Rochdale Village would not hire African Americans. Construction proceeded at a rapid pace on a new community in Queens. When Rochdale Village opened in 1963, it was the largest private cooperative housing complex in the world (later surpassed by Co-op City in the Bronx). When it did open, it was between 10 to 20 percent African American and between 80 and 90 percent white. As years passed, more and more African Americans moved to Rochdale. It was between the late 1960s and mid-1970s that most whites moved from the community.
Some of the major highways/transportation methods are the Belt Parkway, MTA New York City Transit buses and the Long Island Rail Road, which stops right by the complex.
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