By Howard Koplowitz
As a 105-pound bronze plaque featuring the likeness of late civic leader Pat Dolan was unveiled at the Kew Gardens Hills Library, elected officials and community leaders remembered her at the institution that is on schedule to expand in two years due in large part to Dolan’s efforts.
Dolan, a Kew Gardens Hills resident who headed the Queens Civic Congress and was a member of Community Board 8 as well as a number of the borough’s civic groups, was killed in September after she was struck by a car on her way to a CB 8 Transportation Committee meeting.
“I think of Pat when I come to work every day,” said Borough President Helen Marshall, who said Dolan comes to her mind when she passes the Willow Lake Sanctuary in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Dolan was president of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy), land use hearings or Access-A-Ride buses.
Marshall and other speakers recounted Dolan’s presence at a meeting at the library three years ago when Dolan insisted the Queens Library expand the Kew Gardens Hills location.
“When I think of Pat, I see libraries expanding,” Marshall said. She also said Dolan “was limitless and she wouldn’t leave me alone until we did it.”
Queens Library head Thomas Galante said the expansion is on track to start two years from now.
“Knowing how Pat operates, we knew we’d have a good shot at it because she’d never let it go,” he said.
City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) said Dolan “was just wonderful to work with,” and noted that he was pushing to get the street outside the library named after Dolan in addition to the 105-pound bronze tribute.
“We will remember Pat through this plaque,” he said. “We will remember Pat through this street renaming.”
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said he dealt with Dolan frequently when he was the chief external affairs officer for the borough’s library system.
“I loved Pat Dolan. I thought she was someone who cared so unbelievably for this library and this community,” he said. “She would go through a wall for this library and this community.”
Van Bramer said he was in disbelief when he was first told Dolan died in the accident.
“I was just so profoundly sad … because she believed in Queens,” he said.
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) recalled how Dolan was responsible for getting the postal service to rename the Kew Gardens post office and fought to get ramps on the Van Wyck Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway.
“There were so many areas that Pat was involved in,” Stavisky said. “What impressed me about Pat was she had no hidden agenda.”
Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) said he remembered Pat giving him advice “and telling me what to do” when he first contemplated running for public office.
“It’s hard to imagine Queens civics and Queens community affairs without Pat Dolan,” he said. “She died as she lived, basically working as a volunteer on Queens transportation issues, Queens civic issues.”
State Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Electchester) said Dolan was always insistent.
“Dealing with Pat was never a bother because you always knew Pat was about the community,” he said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.