Superintendent of Public Works James J. McCloatand the Village of New Hyde Park

Craig Mongeau

Before James “Jim” McCloat was superintendent of public works of the village of New Hyde Park, the department didn’t even have an official address.

“There really wasn’t much of a department prior to him being here,” said Mark Farina, deputy superintendent.

“He [Jim] actually set up what a superintendent really is supposed to be for a village like ours. DPW records were nonexistent before Jim got here. They were yellow sheets of paper rolled up in the back of a desk,” said Mark. “Now we have offices. The trailer we have wasn’t here, we have phones, we have fax machines and we have computers. This place has evolved ever since he got here.”

“When Jim first came here, it was strange hearing him talk,” said Eddie Kotarski, administrative assistant. “He told us what his goals were and he asked for our suggestions and help. Because he said, ‘Even though I know how to manage, I don’t know this type of job.’ So he says, ‘I’m looking for people to work with me and get me on the right train.’

“Guys were looking at each other, saying, ‘Where is this guy coming from?’ It wasn’t like this before. We had trustees chasing us around in the street. One guy would come in at 7 a.m. and tell us to go do this, then another guy would come in at 10 a.m. and say go do that. There was no order. You were here, there and everywhere.

“Anybody who bought into what Jim was saying wound up having a beautiful job,” Eddie continued.

Both have been with the department for 34 years.

Before being appointed superintendent of public works of the village of New Hyde Park in 1984, Jim, now 65, worked as a business agent for an international trade union. Family concerns dictated a change in careers at that time.

Jim’s eldest son is autistic. “My son, who today is 38, became too much for my wife, Diane, to handle then when he was 15. He developed violent behavior and she couldn’t handle him by herself,” said Jim. “I used to fly a lot; I was never home for anything, any deaths or sicknesses. And things are always worse when you’re away.”

Jim wanted to change that and he contacted then-county executive Tom Gullotta and asked him if there were any job possibilities. New Hyde Park, Jim would learn, needed a new superintendent.

“When I got the job I was able to go home at night, and 20 some years later it still feels good to do that. Did you ever look back on something and ask yourself, ‘How the hell did I do that?’ Well, I ask myself that all the time. The benefit of being around my family is worth everything,” he said.

But Jim didn’t know much about municipal government, and much less about running a department of public works. “I didn’t know the way villages think, I still don’t know,” said Jim, laughing. “I think I was naive enough not to know when I was in trouble.”

Jim and his crew have made a lot of changes since 1984, changes that Jim credits his assistants, Mark and Eddie, with helping him enact. “They taught me the business. I get the credit, but they do everything,” he said.

Take for example the department’s roll-off containers. “When I started they were getting $695 a container. It didn’t matter what was in it, concrete or air, weight had nothing to do with it,” said Jim. “So I thought, Why the hell are we spending that? We should do it ourselves.”

So Jim bought a roll-off truck and some containers. “I damn near got killed by the private carter. They pulled my driver over; they threatened my wife on the phone because nobody was supposed to do this. But I doubt you’re going to find another municipality with a roll-off like we have. We probably save a half a million dollars each year,” he said.

Jim admits he’s controversial; he’s outspoken and bucks the system, which at times makes him pretty unpopular.

“I had no idea about jurisdiction and so forth when I started,” he began. “Generally speaking, villages are run by part-time people. They have visions of grandeur and a lot of the time what they want, we already know won’t work.”

Jim is appointed each year and it is nothing short of a miracle that, despite the great work he and his crew do, he is still superintendent

“I think I have survived here because I deliver the product,” he asserted. “There’s one thing I’m really serious about and that’s loyalty. You need people who know how to do the job, but loyalty is more important to me. A lot of the times we wind up doing pointless things. You’ll have a board decide to make a street one-way, then, after people complain, they’ll turn around and make the street two-way again. And my guys have a tendency to get pissed off because I am making them do things that they feel are dumb. I want them to understand that’s not our call. If they want to change the street 10 times, let ‘em do it. We’ll just roll with it.”

Jim was actually fired a few years ago after a confrontation, but it didn’t last long.

“When they let me go, the people in the village came unglued,” he said. “So they called me back. But it made it harder in some ways because at the time, I don’t think they wanted me around.”

Jim does not argue with or tweak the village board for sport or even because he hates his job. On the contrary, he loves it and cares deeply for the residents of New Hyde Park. Everything he does — controversial or not — is because he’s confident after all his years as superintendent that he knows what’s right to do for the residents and his crew. He becomes frustrated when he’s told to do something that runs counter to his beliefs and is not afraid to speak up.

“I just do things I feel are right and report to the board what I have done,” he said. “It’s not necessarily against what they say, but I keep enhancing their product, which are the services to the residents. For example, a contractor was supposed to plant two trees in the yard of a house, which was being torn down so that a new one could be constructed. The contractor took off and didn’t plant the trees. The mentality of government is you’ve got to make the new homeowner pay for the trees. But I told them that I had to plant trees anyway in the spring and I’d put them in then.

“Why would you want to bury a new homeowner that you’re trying to make an impression on? There doesn’t really need to be a debate about everything. Are you really going to make the new homeowner pay for the trees and make them sue the contractor to get their money back? That’s what I have trouble with. It’s not like I’m spending money I wasn’t going to receive. We were going to plant trees anyway.”

Another example that Eddie mentioned involved parking meters. They are working to develop more parking for business owners and their employees. Instead of running out of their stores every hour to feed the meter, they were parking in a residential area with four-hour parking.

“We received complaints from the people living there that these cars are there all day long,” Eddie said. “We’d wanted for years to make merchant-friendly parking. Slowly but surely, we went with digital meters, and with them we can have them programmed certain ways. So on the side streets off of Jericho Turnpike, we’ve put in merchant-friendly meters. And we haven’t received one complaint yet. We were assertive and did this on our own, without adding the problem to the board’s agenda.”

(Jim noted with clear humor that he decided not to tell the board, since they would have debated the issue for six months if he did.)

Jim explained that even though he’s in management, he still believes in labor.

“I think it’s an institution that should be taught in every college in the country,” he said. “I think labor’s important, but I also think it’s dying, and I hate to see it. I’ve spent my whole life in it and my father did, too. My other son has gone on to be a union rep. It’s in our blood. A good union rep isn’t the kind of person you see on TV who wants to strike all the time. A good union rep is a problem solver, not only for his members but also for the company. I always say that you can’t kill the goose that’s laying the golden egg. You can’t kill the company to get what you want because then you get nothing. Same for the village.”

Mark and Eddie noted that they appreciate the organization that Jim has brought to the department, and it has paid off.

“If I get a phone call from someone who says, ‘I don’t get anything from the village,’ I can look in the computer and look through the files and see that that person never called us for anything,” Mark said. “The famous thing used to be that they’d tell you that they called. I can actually tell them when they called, how many times they’ve called, and what specific reasons they’ve called for, because it’s all on file. When we say you’re on the list for something to get done, there’s an actual list.”

“I’m sure they called me ‘anal’ when I first started here, but they found out why this works,” added Jim.

“Basically, I do everything to keep the villagers happy,” he said. “The product is the people or else what do you have a government for? It’s almost redundant to have a village, county or state unless we do special things for people. And I’m not talking about spending extra money; we stay within budget.”

Jim’s philosophy extends to employees as well.

“One of the methods to Jim’s success is that the employees are happy to be here,” said Mark. “So you get the extra mile out of people.”

Jim added that it’s from “doing the little things.” He said, “If a guy’s wife or kid is sick you let him go; you don’t make him clock out, you cover him.”

“And the residents that have come to his rescue are ones whom he’s done favors for over the years,” added Mark. “Doing a good job is your job security.”

Jim also doesn’t make a habit of overlooking the “little guy.” Each employee’s opinion is valuable to him.

“The mentality that you can’t get a good idea from certain employees is stupid because I’ve gotten great ideas from guys who most people would think are just punching the time clock,” Jim said. “I don’t think you get loyalty if you keep your crew in the dark.”

“That’s what makes a great manager,” Mark said.

Jim noted that there are guys who surround themselves with “dummies” because they’re afraid they are going to get passed by.

“And then there are guys who surround themselves with the best people they can, and I like to think I’m the latter,” said Jim.

Department Responsibilities

New Hyde Park currently has an annual operating budget of $4.4 million with a CHIPS allocation of approximately $75,000.

Tree Work

Although the village does not have a bucket truck, the department handles as many trims and removals as it can with the equipment it does have, including ladders, pole saws, chainsaws and payloaders. The department is responsible for all trees between the sidewalk and curb on all its streets, as well as for trees in parking lots, parks, the village hall, and other municipal properties.

On average, the department farms out 200 tree trims and removals annually, and the DPW does approximately 150. The DPW does not own a stump grinder, so contractors must grind the trees themselves, although the department does chip the grindings and dispose of the debris. Crews also work to fill in the holes with fresh topsoil, grade the area, and put down grass seed.

In addition, the DPW tries to replace as many trees as it removes. The department plants a tree, fertilizes it, and provides the affected homeowner with instructions on proper care and maintenance. The DPW also handles pest control, often sending crews out to eradicate bee and wasp nests from village trees.

Leaf Pickup

During leaf season, leaf pickup is held Monday through Friday. This lasts for approximately six to eight weeks from the end of October into December.

Jim noted that he implemented a system that saves them money, but causes some controversy with other villages. Residents of the village get four newsletters a year, and the packet includes a calendar with a schedule for leaf pickup.

“For example, if you live in an area where pickup is a Monday, then you can push your leaves out to the street — you don’t have to bag them,” Jim said. “Nassau County is always asking me about the fire hazard and so forth, but we don’t leave them out for a long enough time. People have to do it the night before the leaves are to be picked up in their area. I’ve been doing this for 15 years now and people love it.”

The department sweeps streets every day, so that every block in the village gets swept at least once a week. During leaf season or if there was a rough winter, the department sends out two sweepers at a time.

Line Painting

The department has an airless line-painter, which it uses to maintain all the white stop lines, pedestrian crosswalks, fire department zones and railroad crossing warning zones. During the summer months, the DPW paints all of the blue handicapped spots in six parking lots (for Nassau County, the village DPW paints yellow lines on Hillside Avenue.). The machine also is used to paint ball field lines in the village’s parks.

Maintenance

The DPW also maintains restrooms and park house facilities for Nuzzi Field and Memorial Park, the Village Hall, the Library, and Marcus Christ Community Center. Maintenance of these facilities includes, in part, supplying soap, toilet paper, paper towels, painting, furniture moving, carpentry, electrical repairs and graffiti removal.

Road Work

Currently, the village of New Hyde Park’s DPW is responsible for 54 miles of streets. Pothole repair is done through the department’s “Pothole Patrol” vehicle, which is powered by two 100 lb. propane tanks on an as needed basis. The department does not have responsibility for any bridges, water or sewer. That work is handled by Nassau County.

The highway department is on a four-day work schedule from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with either Fridays or Mondays off.

“Mondays and Fridays are short days for me, so all I do is schedule the bigger work for the middle of the week,” Jim said. “At first, I did this because morale was so low when I started here, but it actually worked out because our contractors have to work a longer day because we’re here longer.”

The department also performs permanent road repair work, which involves saw cutting poor section of road, digging it out, filling it back in with binder and a topcoat of hot asphalt, then compacting. Crews later seal the patch with hot tar using a tar kettle. Cold patch also is used for temporary emergency repairs.

“We do all the road repair,” Jim said. “We do all the catch basins, which total 484. We have everything down to a system. And of course we handle all emergencies, like hurricanes and snowstorms, and these kill us because we have no relief crew.”

Cultural Commission

Another duty of the DPW is to provide assistance to the village’s Cultural Commission’s programs, which involves setting up stages, sound and lighting on the ground at Memorial Park for shows.

“That’s not the way it used to be done, though,” Jim explained. “The DPW once had a 35-ft. ‘showmobile,’ which was designed and built 18 years ago by a department member. A special crew was assigned to the prop because it was manually operated, not hydraulic similar to neighboring towns’ showmobiles, which cost upwards of $65,000. The showmobile was equipped with state-of-the-art sound equipment, stages and lighting. The device was used for an average of six shows a year. Sadly, the showmobile died in 2003 and the Village Board elected not to replace it.”

The DPW also assists the community volunteer organizations in other ways, whenever possible. Annually, the department helps the Lions Club clean up after its Christmas tree sale. It also assists the fire department with everything from ensuring the snow is plowed around the firehouses first and assisting them with maintaining their fleet.

The DPW also provides equipment and assistance to organizations holding car wash fundraisers. Each Christmas season, it is responsible for the Chamber of Commerce holiday lights going up and coming down on Jericho Turnpike and Lakeville Road.

Parks and Ballfields

The DPW maintains all of the village’s parks and ball fields. Responsibilities include grass cutting and weed whacking, which also is done on all village property. Crews also line the fields.

In addition, the department also maintains all park equipment, which includes basketball court equipment, soccer field goals, tennis court nets and park benches. Maintenance involves painting, rust-proofing, repairing and replacing parts, eliminating graffiti, trash pickup, and fence repair, which occasionally requires welding. The DPW maintains the sprinkler systems in the parks and at the village hall as well.

The DPW also installed electronic scoreboards at both Memorial Park and Nuzzi Field, which the department also maintains, as well as water fountains.

Mechanical Department

The village of New Hyde Park DPW maintains its own 15-vehicle garage. The department is responsible for clutch repairs, clutch adjustments and body repairs, including an installation of a body and water tank on one of the DPW’s trucks that had been reduced to a cab-chassis; hydraulic repairs, oil and filter changes, and electrical repairs, among other things.

The head technician is responsible for the DPW’s four sanitation trucks, three recycling trucks, two payloaders, two street sweepers, hotbox, tar kettle, two tractors and trailers, two ride-on mowers, a parks department truck, a sanitation roll-off truck, two code enforcement vehicles, a parking meter repair truck, a wood chipper, two leaf vacuums, two gem cars, a sidewalk sweeper, an asphalt roller, a snow bombardier and 11 highway department trucks.

The technician also maintains the department’s arsenal of chainsaws, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, paint machines, street saws, snowplows, road sanders, welders, jackhammers and other sundry equipment.

Restoring, rather than replacing, equipment saves the department a lot of money. For example, in addition to the new body and water tank, the department recently restored a 1981 International truck, which was secured by the village to temporarily replace a stolen basin truck. The technician, with assistance from other department members, restored the International to the point where it was unnecessary to purchase a new replacement truck. Subsequently, surveillance equipment was installed to thwart any further thefts in the yard.

Another big money saver is that 95 percent of the welding is done in-house.

Snowplowing

All DPW employees are involved in snow removal. According to Jim, the village of New Hyde Park’s DPW is among only a few municipalities that plow curb to curb, while simultaneously continuing its normal sanitation schedule, regardless of weather. In fact, sanitation collection has never been interrupted or cancelled because of a snowstorm.

Because of the small staff number, DPW crews must often work back-to-back during and after a snowstorm, causing them to go for 50 to 60 hours at a time without sleep.

“When we have a bad snowstorm, we can go 60 hours without sleep; we don’t have relief,” Jim explained. “We don’t have shifts. We don’t have ways to give people a break. And they all hang in there with me.”

The DPW keeps a “snow list,” which contains the names and addresses of disabled village residents as well as late term pregnancies, residents who receive home oxygen deliveries, those who are blind, those with chronic heart conditions and the very elderly.

“All these residents will have their areas plowed first,” Jim said. “We even know when new babies are coming. Why not do it this way? We have to plow all the streets anyway.”

Parking Meters

The DPW collects the money from the village parking meters. The department also is responsible for maintenance of the meters and installing or removing them, which involves jackhammering holes in concrete for the meter poles, then pouring new concrete bases around inserted poles.

Repairing the meters involves fixing timers and jammed coin slots and calibration. The DPW is currently in the process of powder coating all its parking meter housings and embarking on a project to switch over to all digital meters.

Another parking solution that Jim initiated was voucher parking in the late 1980s. The idea came from one of his men, who saw it while on vacation in Ireland.

“It’s the same principle as a scratch-off lottery ticket,” Jim said. “For the commuters that take the Long Island Railroad, we have several stores in the village selling these parking vouchers. They can buy them by the bookful or one at a time, and they scratch the date that they’re going to use it and hang it in their car window. It’s a no brainer for the village; we don’t do anything but make money on commuter parking.”

The voucher system proved to be a good solution to a problem. When the village used mechanical parking meters for the railroad, vibrations from the trains and from people banging into them caused a lot of problems.

“It was like having a slot machine; you either had a jackpot or you got nothing,” Eddie said. “The vouchers are virtually no maintenance whatsoever.”

Code Enforcement

Code enforcement also falls under the DPW’s jurisdiction. Code enforcement officers issue summonses for parking violations at metered locations, as well as posted violations, overnight parking, handicapped space violations and sanitation route violations. This department also helps out with snow removal. In fact, all DPW members pitch in with snow removal.

Signs

The village of New Hyde Park’s DPW handles all sign installations, removals, repairs and maintenance.

Sanitation

Sanitation crews maintain a five-day collection schedule that translates into four pickups at each business and residence per week. Two days are scheduled for trash collection, while two days are devoted to recyclables, which include newspaper and yard waste pickup. The recyclables are then trucked back to the yard, dumped on the wall, separated, loaded into roll-off containers, and then transported to the dump site via the roll-off truck.

Jim’s relationships with contractors help him immensely in his job and in procuring the best possible prices for work.

“We have probably the best garbage deal on the Long Island with Jet Sanitation,” he said. “We pay at least $30 a ton — maybe $40 — less than everybody else. Most of this is done on a handshake. Every administration doesn’t understand that. We have a general contract in writing, but all the goodies are because I know them. They don’t like it. Every single board has gone and checked on me, and when they get there, they can see for themselves it’s a good deal. But they seem to take it as a power play or maybe they think I get money under the table, or whatever they think. Things like this are why I stay here, and previous boards were afraid to let me go. It’s not that I don’t do the job. I guess I am a little controversial.”

Jim will always do what he thinks is best for the village and its residents, even if it means putting a target on his back.

“This village is spilt between North Hempstead and Hempstead, and Jericho Turnpike runs right down the middle,” he said. “The town of Hempstead wanted all the villages to sign on to bring the garbage up there because they have a shredder. Their rates were worse then than even today, so I wouldn’t do it. The mayor of our village then trusted me, and left it up to me. We were the only village that didn’t sign on. If they didn’t get all 32 villages to sign on, then they couldn’t have their little monopoly. I was the one maverick, and I had people throwing crap at me for years about that. But I knew we were right and kept looking until I got the deal with Jet Sanitation. It turned out there were people I knew there in the background and we got a great deal.”

Jim noted that they handle the village with four garbage trucks and three crews, and they never miss a day.

“I have guys that do everything,” he said. “We’re completely cross-utilized because we have fewer employees. The unions work with me on that; guys aren’t locked into one job. We’re proud of what we do, and the people know we do a great job — except of course for the ten-percenters; everybody has ten-percenters. And I know them in alphabetical order.”

Regular refuse is transported directly to the dump site by the DPW’s dump garbage trucks.

An additional component of the sanitation program is the bulk pickup program. For this, the department uses a “bulk truck” with a side loading lift-gate for safety. “We will basically take away anything that any resident asks us to take away, so long as it’s not hazardous material or something that we have no way of getting rid of.”

This program was changed to an appointment-only approach, which requires residents to call for bulk pickup appointments. This allows the DPW to regulate amounts, set its own pickup schedule to the capacity it has available, and pre-separate the types of loads to be picked up.

There are three sanitation trucks with a three-man crew on each (a driver and two luggers), which pick up garbage, tin, glass, plastic, newspapers and yard waste for every residence and most businesses.

The crews are required to pick up each garbage can, carry it to the rear of the truck, lift in into the hopper, dump it, and carry it back to the curb in front of the residence an average of three times a stop. After returning with the garbage to the dump site, crews then go back out to collect bulk pickups (refrigerators, washers/dryers, etc.). On days crews are not picking up garbage, they must go out on their routes twice: once to pick up tin, glass and plastic and again for yard waste and newspapers.

“We designed special mini-garbage truck recycling vehicles for this duty that enables us to dump at the DPW yard each time a truck is full,” said Jim. “Then we immediately return to the routes without losing time going to the dump. At the yard, recyclables, newspapers, and yard waste are loaded by payloader into separate roll-off containers and transported to different destinations via our roll-off truck on whatever time schedule is best for our overall operation. This is unique and makes it possible for us to pick up the entire village in one day, sometimes twice.”

Each year crews pick up an average of 12 million lbs. of garbage, 1.18 million lbs. of newspapers, 630,000 lbs. of tin, glass and plastic, 175,000 lbs. of refrigerators, stoves, etc., 2,250,000 lbs. of yard waste. Crews also dispose of 16.8 million lbs. of solid waste each year.

Recycling

Recycling is one thing that New Hyde Park handles a little differently than other villages. Jim noted that everyone else buys “white elephant” recycling trucks. When the trucks are full, their operations stop while the truck goes to the dump for an hour and a half.

As a result of our innovation, the village’s recycling operation never stops, and the entire village is covered in one day. This is done without additional manpower being added.

Street Fair

The department also is responsible for the annual Street Fair, which it has handled for the last 11 years. The event involves approximately 50,000 people each year at the end of September, and Jericho Turnpike is blocked from New Hyde Park to Covert Avenue. It is known as the premier street fair on Long Island.

“I dare you to find a community of our size that has a Street Fair as big as the one we have,” said Eddie.

After the Saturday event, the department cleans everything up again.

“When people go to church on Sunday, they don’t even know there was a Street Fair the day before,” Jim said.

About the Village of New Hyde Park

Hyde Park, as this area was formerly called, is one of the oldest and most historic settlements in the United States. The first settlers were Dutch and English. The Dutch came to New York, then called New Amsterdam, shortly after 1624. The English crossed Long Island Sound in 1644 to the town of Hempstead of which this area was a part.

The original records kept by these settlers of their town meeting are preserved in the office of the town clerk of the town of North Hempstead. They are among the oldest records of local government in America.

Thomas Dongan, Royal Colonial Governor of New York in 1683, lived on a large estate, Success Pond, now known as Lake Success and Lakeville Road. The towns of Hempstead and Flushing granted the property to him. Dongan is credited with devising the county system of governmental division for New York.

His estate, Dongan Manor, came into the ownership of George Clarke, secretary of the Province. Clarke’s wife, Anne Hyde, had grown up on her family estate in England called “Hyde Hall,” and Clark renamed Dongan Estate “Hyde Park,” perpetuating Mrs. Clarke’s family name.

More than 300 years ago, shortly after the English gained dominion from the Dutch over a vast area including Long Island, Richard Nicolls, governor of the province of New York, chose the open grounds of the Salisbury Plain to establish a racecourse. A “first” in the colonies, the course was called Newmarket and was located just to the south of the present New Hyde Park Rail Road Station. Many of the participants and spectators may well have traveled the road today called Jericho Turnpike.

Instituted originally as an annual event, with a silver cup awarded to the winner, the purpose of racing competition was ostensibly “to improve the breed.” (Later historians reflected that this lofty assertion continued to be used to justify the practice of horse racing.) A porringer, dated 1668, is reputed to have been the prize at one of these first contests at Newmarket, and is the earliest piece of dated silver still in existence that was made in the colonies.

Waves of immigrants arrived in America and many came to labor on the farms of Long Island. They worked, saved and raised families. Most were deeply religious.

The first New Hyde Park settlers were of English and Dutch descent, followed by the Germans, Irish, Polish and Italians. In the 1900s Jewish families came to this area.

With improved farming methods, the plains became excellent farming territory. Jericho Turnpike opened as a plank toll road to New York City for carrying produce to the market. The Long Island Railroad came through New Hyde Park in 1837, but for years there was nothing to justify a station there. In the mid-19th century, Irish and German immigrants began to buy farms in the area. Anton Herkomer, a weaver, operated his looms at the northeast corner of Miller’s Lane and the Long Island Railroad. This was within the limits of the incorporated village of New Hyde Park, as later constituted. At that time, the village had only four houses on the turnpike, plus a scattering of farms in the open fields.

At the end of the Civil War, two young immigrants from Seilsheim, Germany — John C. Christ and Philip J. Miller — arrived in New York to make their fortunes. Miller was a coppersmith and Christ a machinist.

Anton Herkomer had to go to New York to have special parts made for his looms and he discovered that Christ could make them perfectly. Anton Herkomer convinced him to leave the shop where he worked and move to New Hyde Park. Christ & Miller both came out to New Hyde Park, but not just to make parts.

Within a short time, Christ opened a store and hotel, along the turnpike and attracted trade from peddlers, school teachers, cattle buyers, and lawyers having business at the Queens Court House approximately 2 miles east of here, located near Herricks Road.

Miller was responsible for New Hyde Park’s first civic improvement program. He planted maples and other species along Millers Lane, Ingraham Lane and New Hyde Park Road. Many of them still stand. They were followed by thousands of additional trees in the 1920s, transforming barren land into a community of beautiful shade trees.

The Millers and the Christs were jointly responsible for the community’s present name, John C. Christ and Philip J. Miller applied for the establishment of a post office here in 1871, asking that it be called Hyde Park. To show the need for it, both men and a number of their friends wrote letters and cards to themselves. The Post Office Department admitted that the volume was impressive, but it balked at the name Hyde Park. This name had already been assigned to Hyde Park in Dutchess County, later the birthplace of Franklin D. Roosevelt. New Hyde Park was chosen instead, and the office opened at Jericho Turnpike and Millers Lane.

At the turn of the century, the American scene was rapidly changing. Use of electricity and telephones was growing. Great changes came in transportation with the development of the automobile, bus, truck, electric train and trolley. The population

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