THE 102nd ANNUAL MEETING OF THE
KEW GARDENS CIVIC ASSOCIATION

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( PHOTOGRAPHS BY DIANA SHAMAN )





by DIANA SHAMAN

If you have ever puffed up a hill in Kew Gardens and wondered why the neighborhood has so many ups and downs, you would have found the answer at the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Kew Gardens Civic Association held on May 5.

Alfred H. Brand, a former president of the Association, and now its Chairman, described the geological evolution of our area, illustrated with old and new topographical and relief maps, in a presentation, “Kew Gardens: From the Glaciers to Today.”

The most recent ice age story began, he explained, about 200,000 years ago, when the ice sheet that covered most of North America began to retreat because of a warming climate, leaving behind the landscape as we know it. That land had been sculpted by glaciers into hills, valleys, plains, and ponds and lakes known as kettle lakes that are deep and round, formed by blocks of ice that broke off from the glaciers. The debris field left behind by the glaciers, known as the terminal moraine, was composed of silt and crushed rock and huge boulders. Evidence of the moraine still abounds in Kew Gardens in undeveloped areas like Forest Park and even Maple Grove Cemetery. A stroll through the cemetery reveals, for example, an extant kettle lake. Another surviving kettle lake can be found behind the Carousel in nearby Forest Park.

This snippet of our geological history was just part of a rewarding evening hosted by the Civic Association that brought with it much welcome news.

Congresswoman Grace Meng announced that a 5-year renewal lease of the U.S. Post Office on Austin Street had just been signed. The fate of the Kew Gardens Post Office, whose site is privately owned, had been a cause for concern in the community.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. spoke about his Community Outreach programs that include job fairs, recycling events, and the free distribution of rain barrels that collect rainwater from downspouts and can be used for lawn and garden watering. The next such give-away is scheduled for June 18.

Mr. Addabbo also said he hopes that a bill currently wending its way through Albany, which would allow the resumption of curb-side city collection of electronics (e-trash) that now must be carried to collection sites, will ultimately be passed. He thanked the Association and, in particular, its Executive Chairman Murray H. Berger, for initiating the campaign and spearheading the effort to have those collections resume.

City Council Member Karen Koslowitz brought the welcome news that Forest Hills and Kew Gardens will not be adversely affected by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recently adopted zoning modifications that would allow higher density construction close to transportation hubs.

Rachel Epstein, who, as Director, heads the Kew Gardens Community Center, which occupies the space where the Annual Meeting was held, was also on hand to speak about the Center (a division of Queens Community House), and its extensive program of classes, lectures, and entertainment events. She thanked the Civic Association for helping to achieve the space many years ago for a program that continues to provide such invaluable benefits to the local community and beyond. .

Prior to the speakers, the Association, following a reception that offered ample refreshments, held its financial audit report and the election of officers. Bill Wisnewski accompanied the reception with music on the piano.


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