Category Archives: communiqué

“OR ARE THEY!” Early Squabbles from the Civic Association, January 1952

“The Civic Association seems to have become the Uncivil Association. It would seem that the organization was dedicated to dividing the community, to fomenting unrest continually, to a setting of neighbor against neighbor.”

Community organizations are always a challenge. Everyone comes to them with different backgrounds, ideals, hopes, fears, and financial situations. How we come together and find the best for all is where the challenge always remains.

In 1952, the Civic Association was going on its third year. Each January, by the bylaws, new elections are to be held for new officers. This issue discusses the past years success, and the nominations for those for the new term.

There is a heated discussion between Bert Lange, who is nominated for positions in the new election, and Carl Lundquist, who was on the board of the Civic Association and active in The Rancher. Bert’s letter starts on Page 2, and continues on Page 18, followed by Carl’s response.

There is much else that is well worth reading in this issue, especially as rumors of a resurrected Civic Association are being discussed. Roslyn Country Club remains a diverse neighborhood, with many families of different backgrounds, ideals, hopes, fears, and financial situations. How we come together and find the best path forward is where the challenge still remains.

70 years ago…Incorporation? (The Rancher, December 1952)

Read the December 1952 issue of The Rancher in full

The… evening was devoted to a detailed discussion of the question of Incorporation. It was emphasized at the the outset that the Board of Directors of the association has no preference officially in the matter, other than to educate the members of the community regarding all phases of incorporation.

In the absence of Larry Roman, chairman of the committee for the incorporation of Hicksville, Walter Wild, a member of the board of the Civic Association, presented Roman’s report.

Wild said in general, incorporation of a community had such specific advantages as establishment of a community center, invoking of health control measures, zoning of the area for business, and elimination of grade crossing hazards.

He stated that by not being incorporated the community now loses vital state aid which is allotted to incorporated areas on the basis of $6.75 per capita for

cities, $3.00 for villages, and $3.55 for townships. The township of Oyster Bay, he said, received state aid of $196,000 last year in the amount of $3.55 for each resident. It also was noted in the report that under incorporation the estimated tax rate would be $1.28 whereas the current rate for the area is $1.63.

Revenue for the community which could be derived but which now is lost would

include the state aid, and funds from building permit and licenses, traffic fines, and dog li[censes.]

[Potential c]osts of incorporation would be [construction] of a community headquarters, [maintenance] of highways, garbage disposal, [street lighti]ng, traffic control, and collection of village taxes.

There would be no change in the fire and police protection for the community which cannot be changed except by statute, Wild concluded in his report.

Guest speaker Dr. Charles Miller, president of the North Levittown home owners

association, spoke at length against incorporation which he said “has been a real danger to us.”

He said that despite the fact that on the surface it would not appear that incorporation would increase the cost of living, past experience had found it to be the case.

“You will pay more as an incorporated community, even if you do not ask for additional services,” he said. “In the beginning you must have a place of business to carry on the operation of the community. And you must staff it with people capable of carrying on your work, clerks, secretaries, stenographers, in addition to a Mayor and councilmen. The Village clerk, who is the actual business manager of the community, is the most important [person] in an incorporated area and with [their] personal staff, could not be had for less than $20,000 a year. Dr. Miller estimated the overall minimum expenses of administration alone annually at $35,000. He also pointed out that there might be unusual and tremendous expenditures such as lawsuits through injuries for which the community could be held responsible. Other litigation would be almost constant, he said, and past experience had shown it to be so.

Dr.Miller went on to discuss street maintenance which he said would be low for the first few years, but which would increase in cost as the community became older. He said also that there would have to be snow removal equipment purchased at a minimum of $8,000 per unit with additional cost for storage and upkeep. The community also would be responsible for grass cutting along right of ways and would be charged for removal of trees and other obstructions.

Dr. Miller acknowledged that the only strong argument against incorporation was cost but emphasized that “if cost is no object then I should not have appeared before you.”

He said that one of the strong arguments for incorporation was that an incorporated community would have almost complete control of its own area of zone, although in the long run the plan of government is for virtually all of Nassau County to become a city in the manner of other areas of dense population in the state.

Excusing himself for a digression, Dr. Miller said he felt compelled to state that home owners in the Roslyn Country Club paid an “outrageous price for garbage collection” and recommended steps to remedy the high rates.

A similar situation prevailed in his section of Levittown, he said, where the rates 

went up and the service simultaneously became poorer. He said arrangements for community control of garbage could be taken without incorporation and that such steps were taken by his community.

“You can petition the town board for establishment of your own garbage district or for annexation into any garbage district which may be adjacent to your community,” he said. “In Levittown, after such action, our bills went down one-third and eventually they will go down more. He

said the bill there was 90 cents per month per family.” 

He reminded the association, however, that if you go into incorporation, you will have to buy garbage trucks at a cost of about $20,000 apiece.

In summation, Dr. Miller reminded the audience that not since 1932 had a village

become incorporated on Long Island, and that “you should not ask to incorporate unless you have the money.”

Don Ostrower, a member of the association, replied that the studies made by Dr. Miller’s group. would not apply to the Roslyn Country Club.

As a general rule, he said, our community with similar assessed valuations for property, would find families operating on a share and share alike basis, and that there would not be disparities such as are found in other communities.

It was moved that the board of directors of the association act on Dr. Miller’s report on the cost of garbage disposal and take steps to correct it, if possible.

Neighborhood Directory

Back when I moved to the neighborhood, each year or so, all dues paying members of the civic association — which was basically the whole neighborhood — received a phone book directory of everyone in the neighborhood. It included names, addresses, phone numbers and possibly how long someone has been living here. This directory dates back to the founding of the neighborhood, where updates were included in The Rancher newspaper, which was distributed monthly. I’m not sure when the last paper directory was made, but it’s been a while. 

Today, the kids probably have never seen a phone book and probably never will. So for the 21st century, I’ve built a free online directory system, that is opt-in only, which will include names, phone numbers, social media accounts, and a brief bio. It’s not 100% ready to go yet, but will be in the very near future. You can pre-register now by going to roslyncountryclub.org/directory and clicking your house, fill in the form, and you will be contacted to verify, if needed. The directory will be open to anyone who is registered and verified in the neighborhood.

This is a demo image.
When active, the orange houses will be the ones with contact information.

The hope is to have this also be a portal where people can chat and organize in a more efficient manner. Nextdoor and community group chats have their place, for sure, and social media pages are good at getting some information out to the neighborhood and facilitating some engagement, but I’m sure many miss important messages in the constant stream of discussions, while the majority are not even aware of the chats or social networks. This portal will possibly help us find those who are missing out and engage with them offline.

This portal may also help facilitate a security camera network — opt in also, with probably a small monthly fee — where those who have a compatible camera installed on their property can use it to join a decentralized RCC security camera network of other cameras in the neighborhood. This is a more complicated project, but compared to the immense costs of other proposals, I think many will find this preferable, with no significant costs to get it started. A demo should be available in the coming months.

We live in strange times, where technology has evolved rapidly, upending our society in countless ways, while providing us with new and unique opportunities…. yet we have yet to fully use its potential.

Children at Play in the Streets for Halloween Party!

On October 30, 2022, a leaderless collective of parents came together to put on an amazing free event for the neighborhood! From getting local business to sponsor food, using past profits from the Summer Block Party on Dogleg to cover some expenses, to working to coordinate, spreading the word, decorating trunks, finding power for the sound system, they were able to bring back a bit of life to the often silence of the Shepherd Lane Park!

Small groups of people can do great things when their cause is clear and all are working towards the same ends. Collectives are an amazing organizing strategy to achieve real results. Congrats to all worked to achieve such a successful event! Inspiring!

Thank you Laura, Shervin, Munesh, and Kanika for the pictures and videos!


If you have more pictures or instagram posts you’d like added, or want to add info on who is in each picture, please post in the comments!

The Ole Halloween “destroying rampage” of 1954, and a good bit of advice…

There is no greater fun-making holiday than Hallowe’en with its colorful costumes, apple ducking parties and witchcraft spoofing. Country Club residents were delighted to see the Hallowe’en spirit so widely manifested in so many homes. Dozens of lighted pumpkins dotted the area at night providing a welcome respite to people returning home from their business problems. For this short season—Hallowe’en, Thanksgiving, Christmas—we all like to escape into a holiday world reminiscent of our own childhood.

But something is taking place now that may doom the holiday dress our community puts on. Groups of older boys, seeking an outlet for their restless energy, went on a destroying rampage. It is hard to believe that they would get a lift from smashing pumpkins . . . or from breaking street lights . . . but they did both, in considerable number. One man found his car defaced by a bottle of ink which had been spilled over it. The lantern post outside of someone else’s house was destroyed.

Is this considered fun? Did it make anyone laugh?

Many of us moved here to give our children the benefit of better living than city life offered. If we want to prevent hoodlums from gaining a foothold here, then there is only one solution—We must keep in closer touch with our children. By and large the youngsters in our community are a nice bunch of kids. There isn’t a bad apple in the lot but like all adolescents there is a tendency to run wild unless they are cautioned a bit and taught to avoid excesses. No one wants to spoil their fun but there is no reason for destroying things or hurting people. We are all kind of proud of this community of ours and we don’t want anything to happen to spoil its good name.

from The Rancher – November 1954

Danny Abby, 5½, and Joanne Dembro, 5, were two of the best dressed ragamuffins at the Halloween party given by Gladys and Milton Lansky for their children, Donnie and Steve. Although 35 children were invited, the Lanskys were lucky—only 32 came.

Should we do it again? A Roslyn Country Club Civilian Surveillance Network?

Security has always been at the heart of Roslyn Country Club. From the earliest days, the community came together to fund safety and health initiatives (1949, Newsday). The neighborhood used to have private security (neighbors and then for-hire) patrolling the neighborhood.

There was also an internet surveillance system with private security cameras, tho there is mixed recollections of how that system was implemented. Webcams in the mid-90s were of a different caliber than they are today.

Today, we could create a similar system far more simply, without the high cost of maintenance, with each of us connecting a camera on our own property to our own centralized system. All who join could have access to all the cameras to monitor our neighborhood. It would be a voluntary system to enter, with probably a low monthly fee, but to enter, one would obviously need to be a resident of the neighborhood, and have a camera on their property facing the street that is part of the network.

The six red stars are all the points of entry for the whole neighborhood.
The 16 orange stars are the points of entry for each section.

WE could do it… again.

The Nearly Extinct Levitt & Sons Ranch House

One of the last remaining Levitt & Sons ranch houses are being knocked down to be replaced by a fancy new house. Few in original condition remain. This one on IU Willets Road even still had the television antenna.

362 IU Willets Road, September 12, 2022

Several scattered throughout the neighborhood still exist. Hopefully some will be preserved…

Comment with the address of any original, or close to original, remaining ranch houses so they can be photographed and added to this list.

Facebook post and discussion on Roslyn Country Club Page

Long Island History Facebook Group discussion