REPRINTED FROM THE 1940 CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
WITH FOOTNOTES ADDED BY JAMES A. TRENT FOR THE EDIFICATION OF TODAY’S READERS
SOME NOTES ABOUT THE CLUB TODAY BY JAMES A. TRENT, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The above historical vignette ends at 1940. The Club continued to enjoy strength and a large membership into the 1950s. In the 1960s there were other Republican Clubs in the Assembly District (then the 9th) attesting to the fact that Republican sentiment was so strong that there were enough Republicans to share with other clubs. These included the Hillside Republican Club founded in 1928 operating largely from a membership in Cambria Heights; the Midland Republican Club founded by Frederick M. Reuss, Jr. in 1965 in Hollis but which had members throughout Hollis, Queens Village, and Bellerose. There was also the Young Republican Club of Queens Village which met at the Hempstead Avenue Clubhouse. Membership in this Club was restricted to those under 40 years of age.
The Club continued to elect members to high office such as: Assemblymen Fred W. Preller, Joseph J. Kunzeman (later a State Supreme Court Judge), John A. Esposito; Judge William Groat, and State Senator Frank Padavan. Mayor John V. Lindsay appointed Robert J. Malito, a Club member, as his Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Events. Malito went on to form a partnership with Sid Davidoff. This lobby firm of Davidoff and Malito is still to this day one of the most powerful firms of its kind influencing City Hall and politics.
The Club is still being visited by important people and candidates. Alfonse D’Amato, in his quest for U.S. Senate, visited the Club when he was still Hempstead Town Supervisor. Mayoral candidate Rudolph Giuliani visited the Club at a special meeting in 1993, and mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg at a special meeting in 2001. Each of these men went to get elected and become highly recognized and accomplished.
However, demographic changes began to occur in the southern part of the district in the 1960s that eroded our membership. A new black middle class began moving into Cambria Heights, Laurelton, St. Albans, and Hollis that was almost solidly Democratic in enrollment. Eventually, even Queens Village was affected by these ethnic changes. Soon, the Club was unable to maintain a sufficient membership to carry the costs of our headquarters. In 1982, the Clubhouse on Hempstead Avenue was sold and the proceeds of the sale put into savings. The Board of Trustees, originally charged with the responsibility for maintaining the Club’s real property, now was responsible for properly investing the proceeds of the Clubhouse’s sale. Interest from these investments act as an endowment to subsidize the Club’s operating budget. Meetings were moved to St. Ann Post-Catholic War Veterans at 237-20 92nd Road, off Braddock Avenue.
Still, hard times continued to pound away. As a result of the 1980 census redistricting, the Club’s catchment area was cut into three Assembly Districts, thus making it difficult to draw a cohesive membership. By the late 1980s, the Club stopped even holding meetings, because attendance reportedly had gone down to about four. However, times were changing again. Active Republicans in the area did not want to see the demise of America’s oldest Republican Club, and efforts were brought to bear to restart the meetings. With redistricting as a result of the 1990 census, the greater Queens Village community had been reunited within the 33rd Assembly District. Finally, in the early 1990s, the meetings were again called by the President, Dolores Grant of Queens Village. Soon after, a committee was formed to revise the Constitution and call for new elections. Douglas J. Brigandi of Bayside was elected; followed by Richard Cannon of Bellerose Manor, who also became a candidate for Assembly in the 33rd A.D.; followed again by Harvey Moder, and Kathleen Jones, both of Queens Village, and currently by Philip T. Sica of Bellerose Manor, who also ran for City Council and State Assembly
To further strengthen the revived Club, it was agreed that the Nelson A. Rockefeller Republican Club, presided over by Morris Lee of Cambria Heights and meeting at the Incarnation School on Francis Lewis Boulevard; and the Midland Republican Club, presided over by James A. Trent of Bellerose Manor and meeting at his home, should merge into the Queens Village Club, combining their memberships and treasuries. That brought the membership up to 70. Meetings were retained at Incarnation. In November, 1995, the Club moved its headquarters again to the St. Anne Post-Catholic War Veterans at 237-20 92nd Road. In 2008 the Club moved again to the Trattoria Lucia Restaurant at 247-63 Jericho Turnpike in Bellerose Manor (Queens.) Due to the Club’s growth in 2014, and with a regular meeting attendance of over 65, it outgrew the limited space at the restaurant. In June of that year the Club moved to a larger meeting hall which seats over 100 at the Knights of Columbus, St. Annes Council at 263-15 Union Tpke., Glen Oaks, NY.
Since the Club’s reactivation, two major mail campaigns were undertaken to increase membership. In February, 2000, an agreement was reached for the John Foster Dulles Republican Club, founded in 1944 and meeting in Fresh Meadows with David Pinzon of Floral Park presiding, to merge into the Queens Village Republican Club. These actions brought our membership up to 250. And due to wise investment decisions, the Club is one of the most financially sound GOP clubs in the City. In 2000, at the Club’s 125th anniversary Dinner at Antun’s, candidate Rick Lazio, running for U.S. Senate against former First Lady Hillary Clinton, was our principal speaker. Mr. Lazio wowed the audience of 115 which included many notable political leaders from throughout the region, not just Queens. Clearly, the Queens Village Club was back in its stride. Our audience was wowed again in 2004 with former Congressman John LeBoutillier, and in 2005 with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In 2008 we were graced at our Lincoln’s Day Dinner with the presence of George Marlin, once the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a prolific author and candidate for NYC mayor as keynote speaker and in 2009, Lt. Col. Allen West was our keynoter as he kicked off his successful race for Congress in South Florida.
Today, we are seeing the first break in the monolithic allegiance that minorities and immigrants have shown to the Democrat Party. Our Club has been successful in attracting more and more of these people particularly, Haitians and (sub-continent) Indians.
For a Club that was close to demise, we are excited that it was brought back from extinction and now enjoys power and prestige to a level that had not been seen in decades. We have revived the tradition of the Queens Village Club Lincoln Day Dinners that were once one of the most important yearly GOP functions in all of Queens County. Our mission is to continue to advance the basic Republican principles of maximum personal freedom and limited government. Doing that from the environment of a Club that traces its ancestry to almost the beginning of the national Republican Party itself gives us not only great pride but also an awesome sense of connectedness to the great leaders of the past raised up from our beloved Queens Village community who similarly fought to preserve the same ideals that we cherish today.