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The Pomonok buildings were erected on the grounds that used to be the Pomonok Country Golf Club, lying between Flushing and Jamaica. These buildings were part of the City’s tax free apartment development . The first 22 tenants were veterans who lived in barrack-like temporary veterans houses in Juniper Valley, Rego Park and Northern Boulevard, Queens. They moved into the two three-story walk-up apartments at 69-21 and 69-29 Kissena Boulevard with their families between September 17 and 18 1951. Later on, 13 more three-story walk-ups and 22 seven-story elevator apartment houses were added to the community.
Built for middle income families, the eligibility requirement to live in the community included a screening-checking for male head of family and no criminal history. The original tenants of the Pomonok Housing were 88% white and 12% of various heritages. Soon after the community was built other developments such as Electchester Houses and Campus Hall, Public Schools 200 and 201 and the Electhester Shopping Center were erected.
After moving in the new tenants formed the Pomonok Tenants Council to represent them. The Council helped to set up the first summer day camp for the children. They also organized the community center which ran diverse programs for all ages. Among the programs were Children’s Play Center, Friday night dances for teenagers, make-up posture grooming classes were held for young girls and adults had classes in ceramics, leather craft and jewelry making.
The name Pomonok derives from the American Indian name meaning “ The Land of Tribute. The Queens Borough Public Library opened its Pomonok Branch on June 17, 1952. The library was located at 67-09 Kissena Boulevard, directly across from Queens College. The Branch opened with about 9000 items including 3800 juvenile books and some popular magazines. By June 1953 the collection had increased to 13,000. The hours of service were: Mondays and Thursdays 2pm to 9 pm; Tuesdays and Fridays from 2pm to 5.30pm; Wednesdays from 10am to 5.30pm and Saturdays from 9am to 12pm.
On December 14 1964, the Pomonok branch was moved to the main floor of a new six-story building on 158-21 Jewel Avenue. This space which was 31/2 times larger than the old site was rented by the city on a long-term lease. This time the Branch had about 42,000 items in its collection. The fully air-conditioned library had a “a floating mezzanine”, a glass enclosed children’s room and a separate multipurpose room for programs. An electric book lift was added to the facility to connect the ground floor to the mezzanine. The new service hours were 12pm to 9pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 10am to 5.30pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Approximately 3000 people from the community attended the opening of the new branch.
The Pomonok Community Library is still at 158-21 Jewel avenue, and boasts of over 100,000 items including videos, dvds, music cds and several foreign language materials. The Pomonok Community Library is constantly diversifying to meet the needs of the community.
In 1980 it was announced that the city would turn over the project to the federal housing program. This sparked off a series of rallies and protest from the residents to keep the lower income families out. The fear at the time was that the neighborhood would change for the worst (crimes, drugs pregnancy out of wedlock were among the concerns cited). The opposition was supported by the Community Board 8 who believed that the Housing Authority and not the federal government should continue to manage the development.
Today the Community of Pomonok is heavily diversified with people from all walks of life.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately one of two American men and one of three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during their lifetime. Queens Library HealthLink seeks to increase access to cancer screening and cancer treatment among medically underserved communities in Queens. Queens Library HealthLink is a partnership between Queens Library, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Queens Cancer Center of Queens Hospital and the American Cancer Society.
Metered parking is available on Jewel Avenue directly in front of the library. Electchester Shopping Center located opposite the library also offers 2 hour free parking with purchase from any of the stores.