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HISTORIC LANDMARK CLOCK RETURNS TO JAMAICA AVENUE
Herculean restoration effort by community groups and Electeds brings old-world charm to Downtown Jamaica
Jamaica, Queens (December 13, 2021) – The Jamaica Center Business Improvement District (JBID) and the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) celebrated the completed restoration of the historic, century-old Jamaica Street clock on the corner of Union Hall Street and Jamaica Avenue in downtown Jamaica, Queens.
The Jamaica Avenue street clock was removed from its longstanding spot in early June and transported to Medfield, Massachusetts where the Electric Time Company, a company specializing in the restoration of antique street clocks, repaired the rusty base, post and dented head, restored the double face to a style closer to the original when first erected, and inserted new electronic mechanisms to propel the hands. The clock will be able to reset itself for daylight savings time without regular servicing. Funds for the project were provided by District 27 Council Member I. Daneek Miller and New York City’s Department of Small Business Services. Greater Jamaica Development Corporation and the Jamaica Center BID fundraised for and managed the project, while the nonprofit Save America’s Clocks provided horological expertise and technical assistance.
It was discovered during the restoration that the timepiece on Jamaica Avenue - which was created more than 100 years ago - is the only remaining sidewalk clock in New York City made by the Self-Winding Clock Company, a major manufacturer of electromechanical clocks founded in 1886 that closed its doors in the 1970’s.
“The clock hadn’t worked for many years. The face was grimy and covered in stickers and the door to the mechanical section was held together with duct tape,” said Jennifer Furioli of the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District. “I hadn’t been in my seat as Director of the BID more than a couple of weeks before I started receiving regular inquiries about the clock and whether our organization could do something about it. Ultimately this became 100 percent a community and team effort—without the construction management savvy of GJDC, technical expertise of Save America’s Clocks and both funding and specialized guidance from NYC SBS and our local Council Member I. Daneek Miller’s office, we wouldn’t have been able to bring this to the finish line.”
“While it took a village to restore this piece of Jamaica and American history, we are here today due to the tenacity of the late Thomas Crater who was the most vocal and well-known advocate for our neighborhood," said Justin Rodgers, interim president and CEO of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. “Tom felt this clock was symbolic of the area — if no one cares to fix the clock, no one cares to fix Jamaica. All the people involved with the restoration proves that Jamaica is in the hands of caring stewards and stakeholders.”
“The successful efforts of all involved with the restoration of the landmarked Jamaica Avenue clocks is a perfect example of the mission of Save America's Clocks: A community-based project drawing attention to our neglected history and landscape,” said Tom Bernardin, founder and president of Save America’s Clocks. “We are proud to have been helpful in your endeavor. We salute all involved. May the clock stand proud for many years.”
About the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District
Founded at the Jamaica Center Improvement Association, Inc in 1979, the Jamaica Center BID is central to one of New York City’s fastest growing communities. Jamaica Center BID is the proud home to national and regional retailers, several major cultural and educational institutions as well as City, State and Federal Offices and more than 400 businesses. The Jamaica Center BID seeks to maintain Jamaica Center as a thriving business hub and premier destination to shop, work, live and play. To learn more and stay up-to-date on all happenings on Jamaica Avenue make sure to visit www.jamaica.nyc or follow JBID on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @jamcenterbid.
About Greater Jamaica Development Corporation
Formed in 1967, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation is a community-building organization that plans, promotes, coordinates and advances responsible development to revitalize Jamaica, Queens, and strengthen the region. Marshalling the resources of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, GJDC’s mission is to foster affordable residential density, attract investment in amenities that enliven downtown, and accelerate entrepreneurship and creation of quality jobs.
About Save America’s Clocks
Save America’s clocks is a national preservation organization and a certified 501(c) (3) not-for-profit dedicated to locating, inventorying and assisting in the preservation and maintenance of all of America's public clocks, including street (post), tower and church and digital clocks. Other New York City clocks designated as Save America’s Clocks projects include the Yorkville Clock and the Clock at 346 Broadway (Manhattan), the clock at 495 Flatbush (Brooklyn) and the Steinway Clock in Queens. Visit www.clocks.org for more information.
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