Monday, February 15, 2010

Rant #194: Rochdale Reunion 2010

Periodically, I am going to be giving everyone an update on an event I have been planning for the past month or so. Even though most of you did not have the same growing up experience I had, I think most baby boomers--and some people younger or older--might be interested.

It involves a reunion of the kids--now in their 50s and 60s--who grew up in this weird, strange place that I have spoken about previously, Rochdale Village, in South Jamaica, Queens.

Built over the remains of the famed Jamaica Racetrack, this is a 20-building cooperative housing development that still bustles in that community. But back slightly less than 50 years ago, my family--and hundreds of other families--were the pioneers of this place, an experimental urban living development that both prospered and failed at the same time during the turbulent 1960s.

We were the development's first residents, and we were the ones who were burdened with making the place a success--or going down the tubes with it as a failure. In retrospect, I think we did a little bit of both.

(And yes, the picture with this rant is me, circa 1965 or 1966, when I was in the development's Little League there. I look like Derek Jeter, don't I?)

Without going into the whys and wherefores of the development. my New Years resolution this year was to reconnect with a lot of the people I grew up with. Even though it has been more than 40 years since I saw a lot of these people, we are kind of joined at the hip because of our experiences growing up in the his wonderful--and at the same time frustrating--place.

I lived there from the age of seven to 14--my formative years--and I have so many memories of the place I could probably fill a good book with them.

So, I got on my high horse about a month ago and proclaimed that we would have a reunion--at my house. The "at my house" theme is important, because that is how we used to invite people over to our dwellings back then, even though we all lived in apartments, not homes.

So far, this reunion has touched a nerve with a lot of people. I have opened up a Facebook site to bring everyone together, and I have over 100 members, and more than 25 confirmations. People may be coming in from all over the country for this thing.

If you are interested in seeing what is going on--or perhpas you are a Rochdale Village baby boomer too--just go into Facebook and look up Rochdale Village Reconnecton Reunion-Summer 2010.

Even if you are not a former resident of this development--which at the time I lived there was a largest cooperative living development in the world--you might be interested in visiting.

I will provide periodic updates on this event during the next five months as I prepare for this gathering.

It should be fun.

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