Discover Teaneck '83: "THEN AND NOW"

Published for The Teaneck Housing Center by The Teaneck News
May 18, 1983

Reflections of Teaneck

By Councilman Peter Zeleny

Twenty-two years ago I moved to Teaneck because it was 35 minutes from New York City.  I anticipated the peace and tranquility of country living; of having a place for my family where we could relax and enjoy ourselves.  I chose my house because it was halfway between my church and the children's school. 

I had no wish to be involved in anything be my home and job.  My isolation lasted just three years.  After that, I, who had never made a speech, public or otherwise, was involved and have been involved for the past 18 years. Eleven of these I served on the Board of Education and five on the Township Council.  Teaneck does this to you.  It is a vital, alive, forward thinking community which encourages -- no, demands -- that its citizens participate.  Its diverse population provides a wealth of ideas and talent for almost any undertaking.

I think that on of the things which impressed me most during my travels throughout the state was that Teaneck was known.  Often when attending seminars on education or community needs, I discovered that the solutions being considered were either already in place in Teaneck, or had been tried and discarded.  Teaneck had its own open meetings act long before the state passed its law.  It is that kind of community.  We do not do everything correctly.  We do not succeed at everything we try.  We are not perfect.  But as a community we try and try and try, and I believe earn an A+ for effort.  

Time and again I have seen people become involved because of specific issues and watched them grow as they became exposed to all the underlying currents, philosophies, and needs of the community often making hard decisions which were at odds with their own desires but which would be better for the entire community.  As I said, we are not perfect and not all those who have become involved are able to make the hard decisions.  There always seemed to be enough of those who could and did.  There always will be, because the desire to be involved is not restricted to a few, the elite.  It encompasses all age groups -- the young, the old, the middle aged.  No group is immune to the call to participate.  No group is discouraged from belonging. 

Teaneck 'Now and Then' is the theme of this undertaking, as if there were some comparison to be made between the past and present.  But there is no past, only the present.  Teaneck never changes. Its theme is change itself.  The vitality and resiliency evident in all areas of the community reflect the continual renewal of ideas and concepts.  It takes the old and the new and blends them into the present.

Let me warn you.  When you discover Teaneck, it will discover you.  It will get you involved no matter how hard you resist.  And then you will discover the trill of being part of a community, your community.

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