It may not keep time anymore and the factory it stood over may be long gone, but Ozone Park’s iconic clock tower got a new addition last Friday — a brand-new American flag — and just in time for Veterans Day.
The flagpole that topped the clock tower on Atlantic Avenue at the Pathmark Shopping Center has had no flag for years, and residents often called area officials to wonder why and ask for one to be put up.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) met with MediSys, the parent company of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, which owns the building and operates a medical facility inside, to place a new flag on the pole. He obtained a flag from Delta Signs and Flags of Glendale and held a dedication ceremony on Friday with MediSys, other elected officials, civic leaders from Woodhaven and veterans from Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in Woodhaven, Howard Beach and Glendale.
The clock tower was built at the Lalance-Grosjean kitchenware factory 150 years ago. The factory closed in the middle of the 20th century and most of the old building was torn down, except for the clock tower and a part of the building along Atlantic Avenue which now houses a buffet, a piano store, and during the holidays, a Christmas store. The Pathmark shopping center opened in the 1980s.
At Friday’s dedication ceremony, Addabbo noted that the factory was key to war efforts.
“Some of the metal made here found its way to the battlefield,” he said.
The clock on the tower hasn’t worked in over a decade and one of the faces is missing completely. The tower has become such an important area icon that the Pathmark shopping center that sits on the former factory site is technically called Clock Tower Shopping Center. And that name was also given to the former bank that occupied the building. The branch, which is now located inside Pathmark, still carries the “Clock Tower” name.
Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, said he hoped to repair the clock — something MediSys said it was willing to do if the funds could be raised for it.
“What I’d really like to see is to have it given landmark status,” he added.