By Madina Toure
Community Board 8 Chairman Alvin Warshaviak will be stepping down from the position at the end of the month so he can spend more time with his family in Israel.
In a letter dated March 7 to Borough President Melinda Katz, Warshaviak, 70, who grew up in Newark, N.J. and has been living in Hillcrest for the past 45 years, said he would retire from CB 8 April 30.
He and his wife spend half of the year in Hillcrest and the other half in in Israel, where his 40-year-old daughter lives with her two sons, a 5-year-old and a 9-month-old.
“I happen to love it here,” he said. “When my daughter got married eight years ago, we had about 150 people who came from here to Israel and for them to make a trip like that, they stopped becoming friends and became family. So it’s a hard thing to give up on those people.”
He commended his fellow board and staff members at CB 8 and said his legacy was to bring more consensus on the board, describing successes such as the board being able to get accommodations when the United States Tennis Association moved from Forest Hills to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
“I was able to bring all factions together and therefore we’ve had a very homogeneous group. Even though we may disagree on issues, we were able to bring a consensus of people working together with their elected officials and the community board staff,” he said.
Warshaviak said he was re-elected almost unanimously every year.
“You always hope you could do more, but as I look back, I don’t think I would change anything,” he said. “I hope I dealt fairly with everything and I hope I tried to do whatever was possible to do. I hope I didn’t disappoint people although I am sure I did.”
His accomplishments also include founding the annual Queens Purim Parade, which celebrates the Jewish holiday honoring the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia, and serving on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Rabbinical Seminary of America and the Queens Jewish Community Council.
In a statement, City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) said Warshaviak was his friend and mentor for the 16 years that he served on CB 8.
“Board 8 has been an effective voice for neighborhood concerns, due in no small part to Alvin’s leadership, and his patient but firm hand at the helm these last 25 years has helped the board navigate even the most contentious issues with civility and respect,” Lancman said.
Marie Adam-Ovide, CB 8’s district manager, commended Warshaviak for his tact in dealing with people and his ability to keep order, especially during votes on controversial issues.
“He doesn’t give his opinion right off the bat, so that people don’t believe he’s trying to sway them one way or the other,” Adam-Ovide said.
CB 8 member Jim Gallagher, president of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association, has known Warshaviak since the mid-1980s and said his biggest accomplishment was making the community board meetings flow and not getting tied down in arguments.
“He’s a great father figure to everyone and we could confide in him whenever we needed to and when he had a question, he would call us up and so forth,” Gallagher said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour