You are reading

Community Board 2 Elects New Chairperson

Denise Keehan-Smith

Denise Keehan-Smith

June 8, 2016 By Christian Murray

Community Board 2 elected a new chairperson last week after Pat O’Brien announced last month that he was stepping down from the top job.

The new chair is Denise Keehan-Smith, a third generation Woodsider, who has served on the board for four years.  She was elected to the executive board in December 2014, as secretary, and became the chair of the Transportation Committee in April 2015.

Keehan-Smith ran unopposed for the chair position last week. The chairperson is not paid, nor are the board members.

“I joined the board in 2012 because I have an interest in how the community grows and expands,” Smith said in an interview, adding that her grandparents moved to Woodside in 1937. “I also plan to be here another 20-plus years.”

Keehan-Smith took on the role of Transportation Committee chair as the controversy was starting to heat up concerning the addition of bicycle lanes and safety features to Queens Boulevard.

She said she spent a great deal of time researching the matter since it represented a significant change for Queens Boulevard. She recommended the approval of the bicycle lanes since cyclists at that time lacked a safe place to ride.

Keehan-Smith has sat on the City Services & Public Safety Committee while being on the board, a body that oversees liquor licenses.

CB2 Chair Pat O'Brien (left)

CB2 Chair Pat O’Brien (left)

She said that she has faith in other committee heads such as Lisa Deller, of Land Use, to get her up to speed on relevant issues.

Keehan-Smith takes the role from O’Brien who had the position for about 16 months before determining that he did not have the time given his legal practice and family.

O’Brien will remain on the board and is expected to keep his position as chair of the City Services and Public Safety Committee.

“It has been great working with you,” he told the board last week, but “I’m not dead yet, I’m not leaving the board.”

Keehan-Smith, who is a global account manager for an international travel/technology company, anticipates having the position for at least three years if she is reelected by the board.

She said that the biggest problem facing the community right now is the rapid pace of expansion without the required infrastructure to keep up with it. She pointed to issues with the 7 train.

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 

Pat O’Brien steps down???????? But he was never voted in?? His little buddy Joe Connley passed him the torch when things started getting too hot and he jumped ship.
This all got swept under the rug by JVB because these guys put Jimmy in his position they all watch each other’s backs.
No different than Deblasio and his gang.
By the way last year there was an open application to the public to allow new blood to apply for CB2 chairs so what happened with that?

Jimmy Van Pooch

Will Joe continue to lurk in the background as a “public member” of the Board?


She said she spent a great deal of time researching the matter since it represented a significant change for Queens Boulevard. She recommended the approval of the bicycle lanes since cyclists at that time lacked a safe place to ride. These are her exact words from this post — she did absolutely no research on the bike lane nor did JVB —


Lovely how when you are so ignorant about something you can state made-up facts with such confidence. She had the DOT back before her committee 2 or 3 times on that issue before it was presented to the full board. Each time, she and other Committee members had numerous serious questions for the DOT and made them walk through exactly was being proposed and made them provide the data justifying the action. And of the Transportation Committees in Queens, CB2’s stands out as one of the most focused and serious. They meet every month and have a running list of issues that they make the DOT come before them and answer to. But I doubt you go to meetings or do any of your own research. You sit on the sidelines bitching and moaning and doing nothing. Her and the rest of CB2’s actions have saved lives and the bike lanes were long over due and much needed. Crawl back under your rock.


I like the new bike lanes. They’ve had a calming effect on QB and I can now ride over to 61st Street without feeling like I’m on the LIE. Wish there was a bike lane through Sunnyside, too. Traffic is out of control! Bike lanes also keep the delivery guys from wandering all over the place- they’re usually the ones who do not follow the rules of the road. Most of the bike commuters seem to be happy to share the road and ride safely.


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Op-ed: An urgent call for revising NY’s criminal justice reforms to protect public safety

Apr. 11, 2024 By Council Member Robert Holden

In 2019, the State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo embarked on a controversial overhaul of New York’s criminal justice system by enacting several laws, including cashless bail and sweeping changes to discovery laws. Simultaneously, the New York City Council passed laws that compounded these challenges, notably the elimination of punitive segregation in city jails and qualified immunity for police officers. These actions have collectively undermined public safety and constrained law enforcement effectiveness.