KGCA 100th Anniversary
Members in attendance

KGCA 100th Anniversary
At the bar, Tom Stewart, Kris Monaco, Brooks Borden, Dick Eden

KGCA 100th Anniversary
Dominick Pistone, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Murray Berger

KGCA 100th Anniversary
Murray Berger, Michael Simanowitz, Sylvia Hack, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz

KGCA 100th Anniversary
Al Brand, Dominick Pistone, Murray Berger, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

KGCA 100th Anniversary
State Senator, Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., Murray Berger, Dominick Pistone

KGCA 100th Anniversary
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, Dominick Pistone, Murray Berger

KGCA 100th Anniversary
Carl Ballenas, Barry Lewis


This was no ordinary annual meeting of the Kew Gardens Civic Association.

Several prominent dignitaries, including Borough President Melinda Katz, Congresswoman Grace Meng, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz were among those present at our May 1 Annual Meeting to help the Association celebrate its 100th Anniversary.

The occasion attracted a sizable turnout of well over 100 people. Fittingly, on hand were also the architectural historian and PBS documentarian Barry Lewis, whose book, KEW GARDENS: Urban Village in the Big City was published in 1999; and Carl Ballenas, whose Images of America: Kew Gardens, written and illustrated with the assistance of members of the Aquinas Honor Society at the Immaculate Conception School in Jamaica Estates, where he teaches, was published earlier this year.

Another significant contribution to our history was this year’s Civic Association Newsletter which included a chronicle of the Association’s achievements over its first 100 years, compiled by its Executive Chairman, Murray H. Berger.

Among just a few examples of those accomplishments is a 1915 agreement negotiated by the Association requiring wires for street lighting to be laid underground, eliminating many of the unsightly overhead wires that would otherwise disfigure the community. Rezoning efforts initiated by the Association have held the spread of out-of scale developments in single family neighborhoods at bay time and again. The PS 99 Annex and its Leah Weinberg Early Childhood Center, dating to 1994, grew out of negotiations between the Board of Education, the builder and the Association, along with the Kew Gardens Improvement Association, to turn a former parking garage at Kew Gardens Road and Lefferts Boulevard into a learning center for children grades K through 2.

Mr. Berger, Dominick Pistone, the Association’s President, and Alfred H. Brand, its Chairman, accepted several proclamations on behalf of the Association, which elected officials presented to honor its 100 years of service. Senator Addabbo’s summed up others, noting the group "has served the state and the Kew Gardens community with loyalty and dedication" and "such service is truly the lifeblood of our community, and the state, and so often goes unrecognized and unrewarded." Borough President Melinda Katz credited the Association with having "played an instrumental role in not only maintaining but enhancing the Kew Gardens area so that it continues to be a wonderful place to live and raise a family."

The Annual Meeting offered its usual sumptuous refreshments and choice of wines and soft drinks. Officers were elected and the membership was invited to voice comments, most of which were about quality-of-life issues. They were referred to the appropriate city agencies for relief.

Still In the planning stage is a Centennial party to be held in the fall that will go a step beyond the Annual Meeting. Tentative plans call for a series of community-wide events.

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