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Rochdale is a neighborhood in the southeastern corner of the New York City borough of Queens. Located in Community Board 12, Rochdale, along with other neighborhood areas are grouped as part of Greater Jamaica, corresponding to the former Town of Jamaica. It is adjacent to three other Queens neighborhoods: South Jamaica to the west, Locust Manor to the north and Springfield Gardens to the south. Rochdale is west of the Queens/Nassau border and directly north of the John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Rochdale Village was named after the English town of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, 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".
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.
Construction proceeded at a rapid pace on a new community in Queens. When Rochdale Village opened, it was the largest private cooperative housing complex in the world (later surpassed by Co-op City in the Bronx), and was between 10 to 20 percent African American and 80 to 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 white people moved from the community.
Rochdale Village: "The Jewel of Jamaica"
Rochdale Village is located on a 120-acre (0.49 km2) residential park. It consists of 20 buildings in five groups. Each 13 story building has three sections A, B and C. Each section in each building has its own mailing address. Rochdale village has its own branch of the Queens Public Library system.
The power plant is a 21 megawatt cogeneration facility that generates all the electrical power, heating, air-conditioning and domestic hot water services for the entire residential development and two shopping malls. Distinctively, Rochdale Village Power Plant produces its power independently with no interconnection to any outside utility company.
The schools in Rochdale are P.S. 30, P.S. 80, Catherine and Count Basie Junior High School 72, August Martin High School, The Emerson School, I.S. 8 and York College Academy.
In 2011, P.S. 30 began being phased out and replaced after years of poor performance. The phase out was completed in June 2014. In September 2011, a new school, P.S. 354, opened with kindergarten and 1st grade and will add a grade per year as PS 30 phases out completely.
Rochdale Village is protected by the Rochdale Village Department of Public Safety. This department employs a mix of unarmed Security Guards and unarmed Peace Officers. This department works in close proximity with the NYPD 113th Precinct.
Rochdale and the surrounding neighborhoods are serviced by the Belt Parkway, MTA New York City Transit buses and the Long Island Rail Road's Atlantic Branch, which stops right by the complex at the Locust Manor station. Rochdale is also served by the QM21, Q3, Q85, Q111, and Q113 bus routes. A New York City Subway extension to the neighborhood was considered in the 1970s and 1980s, but was cut short at Jamaica Center – Parsons/Archer due to financial issues.