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.