NualaNuala O’Doherty, President
Attorney / JH Gardener

Nuala has lived in Jackson Heights for over 15 years. She is a passionate supporter of Jackson Heights’ public schools and gardening.  With children who have attended PS 222, PS 149, IS 145, and IS 230, Nuala is a long time education advocate and is on the District 30 Community Education Council.  She is actively involved in maintaining great local public schools in Jackson Heights.

As a passionate gardener, Nuala leads a large group of volunteer gardeners who help maintain 17 different garden spaces around Jackson Heights.  She has been working for years on improving the “green zone” around the BQE between 37th Avenue and Northern Blvd.  JHBG garden volunteers work every Saturday morning from 10 AM to 1 PM from April to Thanksgiving gardening around Jackson Heights.  She has worked with different groups around the community to install tree gardens around street trees.  She has worked to truly make Jackson Heights a garden community for all by turning all our greens spaces into small gardens.  Nuala believes in building community and there is no better way of setting roots into a community than to garden.


Evie McKenna, First Vice President

Gardening, PR & Fundraising / Visual Artist, Editor & Educator.

Evie McKenna is an artist/educator/environmentalist who wants to see Jackson Heights continue to be a great place to live and work for all in the community. She is a gardener, master composter, fundraiser, planner and all around JHBG board helper. Her particular interests are to garden all of our public spaces that are under the radar and make these pockets of green possible along with raising awareness of the arts in Jackson Heights -, especially JHBG projects.




John McCaffrey, Jr., Second Vice President
Town Hall Meetings / HR Director.

Edwin Westley, Secretary

Edwin Westley is a past president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.  He has been a long-time community leader.  He heads the annual Halloween Parade, Summer Sundays in the Park and is the Jackson Heights Beautification Group’s Secretary.

Edwin O’Keefe Westley began volunteering in the early 1990s. His assignment was cleaning up broken glass and dog poop each Saturday with the Friends of Travers Park. Ed is the longest serving President and while not President he serves as Secretary and co-chairs several committees. He retired from the Northrop Grumman Corporation in February 2006, after 34 years of service; his assignments included Finance and Planning, Quality Assurance, and Internal Audit. He has been a supervisor for Summit Security during the United States Tennis Open at Flushing Meadows Corona Park (1999 – 2005), Ticket Taker for the NY Mets (2005 – present) and an Usher at the United States Tennis Open (2005 – present. His catchphrase is See you in the neighborhood.


joe brunkenJoe Brunken, Accountant

Joseph Brunken runs Garden Heights Property Management, Inc. on 37th Avenue.  Not only does he manage many local properties, but he also keeps the books for the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.  After thirty years in the financial services industry – holding senior positions at such firms as Chase, Institutional Investor, Nikko Capital Management, Mutual of America and Amalgamated Bank – Joe turned to his life-long interest in real estate and launched Garden Heights Property Management (GHPM) to serve the needs of unique small co-op’s.




Rhoda Dunn
Real Estate / Holiday Lighting, Summer Sundays & Good Neighbor Awards

Rhoda Dunn is excited to be a part of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group Board. Her JHBG focus area is the Holiday lighting ceremony,  Travis Park Concert Series, and The Good Neighbor Award Event.  She has proudly lived in Jackson Heights since 2014. Previous places of residence include Forest Hills, Astoria, UES, UWS and Midtown West.  Rhoda is a daughter of avid gardeners that had her digging in the dirt at a very early age. Plants that you can eat and add beauty are her favorite things to plant, including herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil as well as edible flowers. Rhoda is very active in the neighborhood and is also on the board of the New Visions Democratic club. When she is not gardening or protesting she likes to hike, go to concerts and travel. Favorite travel destinations include Havana, Mexico City, Bangkok, London, Rome, and Split. In order to pay for all of her pastimes, Rhoda works as a top real estate agent along with her business partner Barbara Lombardo at the Core Marketing Group where she helps people sell and buy homes in Jackson Heights as well as Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Before joining the real estate world, Rhoda worked for Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Random House where she developed the marketing and publicity campaigns of bestselling books such as Deepak Chopra’s Grow Younger Live Longer and award-winning films including “Get Shorty.” Rhoda graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in political science. She hails from Los Angeles, California and has lived in NYC since 1997.

leslie ellmanLeslie Ellman

Friends of Travers Park / NYC public schools administrator

Leslie Ellman is a Queens native and proud resident of Jackson Heights for over 10 years.  She is proud to be a volunteer and director of the JHBG because she believes in the power of neighbors working together to maintain and improve our quality of life.

Professionally, she is a public school administrator and is passionate about creating learning environments in which all students can succeed.



pat  Patricia Glunt  

Conductor of the Jackson Heights Orchestra

A retired music educator is hoping to hit the right note with a community orchestra in Queens. Long-time Jackson Heights resident and violinist Patricia Glunt, 58, is launching the Jackson Heights Orchestra, comprised of more than two-dozen local musicians.



jackson heights condos coops houses



Daniel Karatzas
Historic Jackson Heights / Financial Planner.

Dan Karatzas is a long time member and former president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and famous for his book Jackson Heights – A Garden in the City, which chronicles the history of Jackson Heights and its unique contribution to urban planning history. He is the acknowledged expert on the community,

Dan organizes the JHBG’s popular “Historic Jackson Heights Weekend,” held in each June.




Barbara Kunkel
Retired/systems analyst, software engineer



 Len Maniace, President
 Tree LC, Green Agenda for Jackson Heights and Communications Committee 

Journalist / editor / writer

Len and his wife Barbara Monteiro moved to in Jackson Heights in 1988 and have two sons, Daniel and Nicholas. He started volunteering with Friends of Travers Park committee when the park was in terrible shape and eventually came to lead it. Len brought the Greenmarket to Jackson Heights in 2000 and started the Summer Sundays in the Park performance series in 2004.
He initiated JHBG’s Green Agenda for Jackson Heights, a community environmental planning effort that held a series of visioning sessions in English, Spanish and Bengali, attracting more than 400 people. The project highlighted the need for more park space and demonstrated community support for pedestrian plazas and green transportation and composting. Along with his presidential duties, Len leads our street care and assist with our communication efforts. He wants JHBG to make Jackson Heights the city’s greenest and friendliest neighborhood for all members of our diverse community.



Louise Mulvihill

Gardening / Orchestra Assistant

Louise Mulvihill is a long time volunteer and new board member of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.  As a music lover, she has always helped organize the receptions after the concerts and has been out and about every Saturday gardening around Jackson Heights.

Louise moved to Jackson Heights in 1997 and have felt at home from the very beginning.  She loves the great diversity found in our community: cultures, architecture, food, experiences, etc.  Her son has attended our great local public schools, and from a young age joined me in helping clean, plant, prune, and maintain gardens, tree pits and park spaces in our neighborhood.  She has always believed that when one should participate and contribute to one’s community.  She has worked with Friends of Travers Park, The Views, Jackson Heights Orchestra, and how has joined JHBG board as a member in order to more actively be involved.  She is looking forward to being an even more integral part of our Jackson Heights.


Jessica Ramos

Jessica Ramos is Director of Latino Media for the City of New York, where she works with community and ethnic media to inform New Yorkers about Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration’s initiatives and endeavors.

Jessica is a respected communications professional, known for a near decade of work in the labor movement and community organizing. She was communications director of Build Up NYC, an advocacy organization for construction, maintenance, and hotel workers, and worked for many years at 32BJ SEIU and the Social Service Employees Union Local 371, District Council 37 AFSCME.

Her first job was at a Jackson Heights law firm, where she learned to navigate the immigration system. It’s also where she learned about labor law and met construction workers hurt on the job, inspiring her commitment to workers’ rights and racial and economic justice.

As a community organizer and activist, Jessica has been a member of Community Board 3, like her father, and sits on the boards of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and Farmspot, Jackson Heights’ community-supported agriculture program. She served as Democratic District Leader in the 39th Assembly District from 2010 to 2014.

She learned her activism from her parents, Colombian immigrants who fought for and won double citizenship for Colombian-Americans and founded Siempre Colombia, a not-for-profit organization, to send aid to Colombians affected by the terrible earthquake of 1999.

She lives in Laburnum Court with her husband, Brendan Sexton, their two sons and pet turtle, Torta.


Jim Riccio

Graffiti Busters
Social researcher.




Martha Sanchez
Education Advocate

Martha Sanchez is a dynamic public education advocate.  Martha has been a member of Community Education Council 30 and is on the School Leadership Tem for IS 145.  She is the PTA President at IS 145 and was the PTA President of PS 92.  Martha, working with Make the Road New York, has persuaded the city to build new public schools in our neighborhood.  Martha will work on educating and empowering parents to improve our local public schools. Her goal is to educate local parents about public school issues and to inspire them to become more active in their local public school.

Martha is originally from Mexico and hopes to inspire other recent immigrants to volunteer and become more involved in their adopted communities.


Victora Steinberg

Editor, The Views

Freelance writer/editor





Doris Derwik Wurgler



Melissa Zavala

Professor / Composter

Melissa grew up in Jackson Heights and has been a volunteer gardener and composter for over a decade.  She is one of the volunteers in charge of maintaining our neighborhood’s composting center, JH-SCRAPS.





Maire Breen