Flushing, Queens

Flushing, Queens

Flushing, founded in 1645, is a neighborhood in the north central part of the City of New York borough of Queens, ten miles (16 km) east of Manhattan. Northern flushing is two diverse neighborhoods Whitestone and College Point.

Overview

Flushing was one of the first Dutch settlements on Long Island. Today, it is one of the largest and most diverse neighborhoods in New York City and has expanded well beyond its original boundaries. Flushing's diversity is reflected by the numerous ethnic groups that reside here including people of European, Asian, Hispanic and African-American descent. It is part of the Fifth Congressional District, which encompasses the entire northeastern shore of Queens County, and extends into neighboring Nassau County. Flushing is serviced by five railroad stations on the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington Branch and the New York City Subway Number 7 subway line has its terminus at Main Street.

Flushing is part of Queens Community Board 7 [ [http://www.nyc.gov/html/cau/html/cb/cb_queens.shtml Queens Community Boards] , New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007] and is bounded by Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the West, Francis Lewis Boulevard to the East, Jewel Avenue to the South and Willets Point Boulevard to the North.

History

Dutch colonial history

In 1645, Flushing was settled by Europeans on the eastern bank of Flushing Creek under charter of the Dutch West India Company and was part of the New Netherland colony. The village was named after the city of Vlissingen, in the southwestern Netherlands, the main port of the company.

In its early days, the village of Flushing was inhabited by English colonists, among them a farmer named John Bowne. John Bowne defied a prohibition imposed by New Amsterdam Director-General Peter Stuyvesant on harboring Quakers by allowing Quaker meetings in his home. Today, landmarks from the Dutch period in Flushing include the John Bowne House on Bowne Street and the Old Quaker Meeting House on Northern Boulevard.

The Flushing Remonstrance, signed in Flushing on December 27, 1657, protested religious persecution and eventually led to the decision by the Dutch West India Company to allow Quakers and others to worship freely. As such, Flushing is claimed to be a birthplace of religious freedom in the new world. [ [http://www.flushingremonstrance.info/documents/jackson_oped_nyt_071227.html Kenneth T. Jackson, Op-Ed, The New York Times, December 27th, 2007 ] ]

English colonial history

In 1664, the English took control of New Amsterdam ending Dutch control of the colony and renamed it New York. Flushing remained a small Long Island village.

Flushing was the site of the first commercial tree nurseries in North America, the most prominent being the Prince, Bloodgood, and Parsons nurseries. Much of the northern section of Kissena Park, former site of the Parsons nursery, still contains a wide variety of exotic trees. The naming of streets intersecting Kissena Boulevard on its way toward Kissena Park celebrates this fact (Ash Avenue, Beech, Cherry ...Poplar, Quince, Rose). Flushing also supplied trees to the Greensward project, now known as Central Park in Manhattan.

During the American Revolution, Flushing, along with most settlements in present-day Queens County, favored the British and quartered British troops. Following the Battle of Long Island, Nathan Hale, an officer in the Continental Army, was apprehended near Flushing Bay while on what was probably an intelligence gathering mission and was later hanged.

The 1785 Kingsland Homestead, originally the residence of a wealthy Quaker merchant, now serves as the home of the Queens Historical Society. [cite web
url=http://www.queenshistoricalsociety.org/kingsland.html
title=Kingsland Homestead
publisher=Queens Historical Society
accessdate=2007-07-05
]

The 1790 United States census recorded that 5,393 people lived in what is present-day Queens County.

Nineteenth century

During the 1800s, as New York City continued to grow in population and economic strength, Flushing's proximity to Manhattan was critical to its growth and transformation to a fashionable residential area.

In 1813, the village of Flushing was incorporated into the Town of Flushing. By the mid-1860s, Queens County had 30,429 residents. Flushing's expansion continued in 1867 and 1868 when the neighboring villages of College Point and Whitestone were incorporated into the Town of Flushing.

In 1898, although opposed to the proposal, Flushing along with a re-drawn Queens County was consolidated into the City of New York. Local farmland continued to be subdivided and developed transforming Flushing into a densely populated neighborhood of New York City.

Twentieth century and World's Fairs

The continued construction of bridges over the Flushing River and the development of other roads increased the volume of vehicular traffic into Flushing. In 1909, the construction of the Queensborough Bridge over the East River connected Queens County to midtown Manhattan.

The introduction of rail road service to Manhattan in 1910 by the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington Branch and in 1928 by the New York City Transit Authority's Number 7 subway line hastened the continued transformation of Flushing to a commuter suburb and commercial center. Due to increased traffic, a main roadway through Flushing named Broadway was widened and renamed Northern Boulevard.

Flushing was a forerunner of Hollywood, when the young American film industry was still based on the East Coast and Chicago. Decades later, the RKO Keith's movie palace would host vaudeville acts and appearances by the likes of Mickey Rooney, The Marx Brothers and Bob Hope. The theater now lies vacant and in disrepair due to an unauthorized real estate development project that took place in the early 1990s.

The 1939-1940 World's Fair was held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. [ [http://nymag.com/listings/attraction/flushing_meadows_corona_park/ Flushing Meadows Corona Park - Parks - New York Magazine ] ] Massive preparations for the Fair began in 1936 and included the elimination of the Corona dumps. Among the innovations presented to the world in 1939 was the television, which broadcast a speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt. After the World's Fair, the New York City pavilion was converted into the temporary headquarters of the United Nations. In 1947, the UN vote in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel took place here.

A second World's Fair, the 1964-1965 World's Fair was also held at the site of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Pope Paul VI attended the Fair on October 4, 1965. On this papal trip, Pope Paul VI became the first pope to visit the United States. An exedra now commemorates the site of the Vatican pavilion. Michelangelo's masterpiece, the Pietà, was exhibited during his trip.

Following the Fair, the Unisphere, the New York State Pavilion and the New York City Pavilion remained in the park. The NYC Pavilion was converted into an ice-skating rink and later, the ice rink became the Queens Museum of Art.

Landmarks, museums and cultural institutions

There are numerous historic structures located in Flushing.

Flushing Town Hall [http://www.flushingtownhall.org/] is located on Northern Boulevard and is the headquarters of the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts. It is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. [ [http://crowley.house.gov/newyork/flushing.htm Representative Crowley: New York: Flushing ] ] The building houses a concert hall and cultural center and is one of the sites designated along the Queens Historical Society's Freedom Mile [http://www.queenshistoricalsociety.org/freedom.html] .

Other registered New York City Landmarks include the Bowne House, Kingsland Homestead, Old Quaker Meeting House (1694), Flushing High School, St. George's Church (1854), the Lewis H. Latimer House, the former RKO Keith's movie theater, the United States Post Office on Main Street and the Unisphere, a 12-story high, stainless steel globe that served as the centerpiece for the 1964 New York World's Fair. The Flushing Armory, on Northern Boulevard, was formerly used by the National Guard. Presently, the Queens North Task Force of the New York City Police Department uses this building. [ [http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2005_TribuneOurStory35th/pages/1996.htm Queens 35th Anniversary Edition ] ] In 2005, the Fitzgerald-Ginsberg Mansion [http://home2.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/fitzginsberg.pdf] on Bayside Avenue and in 2007, the Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden [http://home2.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/Voelker_Orth.pdf] were designated as landmarks.

Several attractions originally developed for the World's Fairs in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park are worth visiting. There is a stone marker for the two 5,000-year Westinghouse Time Capsules made of special alloys buried in the park, chronicling 20th Century life in the United States dedicated both in 1938 and 1965. Also located in the park are the Queens Museum of Art which features a scale model of the City of New York, the largest architectural model ever built; Queens Theatre in the Park [http://queenstheatre.org/] ; the New York Hall of Science and the Queens Zoo.

The Queens Botanical Garden located on Main Street, has been in operation continuously since its opening as an exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair. The Botanical Garden carries on Flushing's nearly three centuries long horticultural tradition, dating back to its once famed tree nurseries and seed farms.

Demographics

The 2000 United States Census Bureau ranked Queens County as the ninth most populous county in the United States with over 2.2 million residents. According to the Census Bureau, Queens County experienced over a 14% increase in population since the 1990 census.

The 2000 Census also reflected the growth of the Asian American population in Queens County with over 391,500 people identifying themselves as Asian Americans. That number was the largest in New York City, more than twice the number of people identifying themselves as Asian-American in Brooklyn. The 2000 Census revealed that the 5th Congressional District had almost 655,000 residents. Approximately 364,200 residents or 55% of the District identified themselves as white. A total of 160,896 residents or 25% of the District identified themselves as Asian Americans and 153,721 or 24% identified themselves as Hispanic.

More than half of Flushing's population is Asian American, and many of the neighborhoods around Flushing also have a large number of Asian American residents. It is also claimed that Flushing has the largest ethnic Chinese community in the New York metropolitan area, ahead of Manhattan's Chinatown and that it is the second-largest Chinatown in United States.cite web
url=http://nymag.com/realestate/features/2016/17152/
title=Flushing in 2016
publisher=New York
first=Alexandra
last=Lange
date=2006-06-05
accessdate=2007-07-05
] The area also is home to large concentrations of Koreans and South Asians. [ [http://fastfacts.census.gov/servlet/CWSFacts?_event=&geo_id=50000US3605&_geoContext=01000US%7C04000US36%7C50000US3605&_street=&_county=&_cd=50000US3605&_cityTown=&_state=04000US36&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=500&_content=&_keyword=&_industry=/ U.S. Census Bureau New York 5th Congressional District Fact Sheet] ] [ [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=&geo_id=05000US36081&_geoContext=01000US%7C04000US36%7C05000US36081&_street=&_county=Queens+County&_cityTown=Queens+County&_state=04000US36&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=geoSelect&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=050&_submenuId=factsheet_1&ds_name=null&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null&reg=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry=/ U.S. Census Bureau Queens County Fact Sheet] ]

Religion

Flushing is the most most religiously diverse community in America. There are "over 200 places of worship in a small urban neighborhood about 2.5 square miles [6.5 square kilometers] ." [http://www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2008/August/20080819162731xjsnommis0.5391199.html] "Flushing has become a model for religious pluralism in America, says R. Scott Hanson, a visiting assistant professor of history at the State University of New York at Binghamton and an affiliate of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University." [http://newsblaze.com/story/20080826083401tsop.nb/topstory.html]

In 1657, while Flushing was still a Dutch settlement, a document known as the Flushing Remonstrance was created by Edward Hart, the town clerk, where some thirty ordinary citizens protested a ban imposed by Peter Stuyvesant, the director general of New Amsterdam, forbidding the harboring of Quakers. The Flushing Remonstrance cited the Flushing Town charter of 1645 which promised liberty of conscience. [Kenneth Jackson, International Herald Tribune, December 27, 2007]

Today, Flushing abounds in houses of worship, ranging from the Dutch colonial epoch Quaker Meeting House, St. George's Episcopal Church, the Free Synagogue of Flushing, St. Andrew Avellino Roman Catholic Church, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church - the largest Greek Orthodox Church in the United States with modern Hindu mandirs, Buddhist pagodas, Sikh temples and Muslim mosques. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/02/arts/02expl.html?pagewanted=1&sq=Flushing%20and%20Religion&st=nyt&scp=1/ The New York Times] ]

Ethnic culture

The intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, the downtown business center for Flushing, has a concentration of Korean, Indian and Chinese small businesses. Today, this area of Flushing is known for its selection of authentic Asian restaurants.

Flushing continues to maintain a large Latin, Italian and Greek presence which is reflected in the many Latin, Italian and Greek bakeries, grocery stores and restaurants.

The area south of Franklin Avenue is home to a large Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi market. [ [http://www.nychinatown.org/flushing/flushing2.html/ A Journey Through Chinatown - Downtown Flushing map] ]

Neighborhoods

Broadway-Flushing, also known as North Flushing, is a residential area with many large homes. Part of this area has been designated a State and Federal historic district due to the elegant, park-like character of the neighborhood. Recently much of the area was rezoned by the City of New York to preserve the low density, residential quality of the area. The neighborhood awaits designation as an Historic District by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Broadway-Flushing is bounded by 29th Avenue to the north, Northern Boulevard and Crocheron Avenue to the south, 155st to the west and 172nd Streets to the east.Fact|date=September 2007

Parks

All the public parks and playgrounds in Flushing are supervised by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. For Queens County, the Department of Parks and Recreation is headquartered at The Overlook in Forest Park located in Kew Gardens.

*Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, a convert|1255|acre|km2|sing=on park, is considered a flagship park in Queens. The site hosted two World's Fairs, the first in 1939-1940 and the second in 1964-1965. As the result, the park infrastructure reflects the construction undertaken for the Fairs. Also located here is Citi Field and the National Tennis Center which is the home of the US Tennis Open. In 2008, a new Aquatic Center was opened in the park [http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_newsroom/daily_plants/daily_plant_main.php?id=20481] .

*Kissena Park is a convert|234|acre|km2|sing=on park with a lake as a centerpiece.

*Bowne Park is an 11 acre park developed on the former estate of New York City Mayor Walter Bowne.

*Flushing Fields is a 10 acre greenbelt that includes the home athletic field of Flushing High School.

Education

The public schools in Flushing are all supervised by the New York City Department of Education through Administrative District 25.

There are numerous public Elementary and Junior High Schools in Flushing and students generally attend a school based on the location of their residence.

Libraries

In 1858, the first library in Queens County was founded in Flushing. Today, there are eight branches of the Queens Borough Public Library with Flushing addresses. [cite web|url=http://www.queenslibrary.org/index.aspx?section_id=12&page_id=303|title=Library Branch Addresses and Hours|publisher=Queens Library] The largest of the Flushing branches is located at the intersection of Kissena Boulevard and Main Street, [cite web|url=http://www.queenslibrary.org/index.aspx?section_id=12&page_id=44&branch_id=F|title=Flushing|publisher=Queens Library] and is the largest branch library in New York City, and the busiest branch of the highest circulation system [http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-library22-2008jun22,0,5559235.story] in the country .cite web|url=http://www.carnegie.org/sub/news/libibitia.html|title=New York And 22 Big-City Libraries Awarded $15 Million By Carnegie Corp.|publisher=Carnegie Corporation of New York|month=June|day=10|quote= Today, the largest branch library in New York City is the Flushing Library, situated on the site of one of the branch libraries built with Mr. Carnegie's money.] This library has developed into a valuable community resource and houses an auditorium for public events. The current building, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, is the third to be built on the site--the first was a gift of Andrew Carnegie.

High schools

The five public high schools in Flushing include Flushing High School which is the oldest public high school in the City of New York. The school is housed in a distinctive Gothic Revival style building built between 1912 and 1915. The building was declared a NYC Landmark in 1991.

Townsend Harris High School located on the Queens College campus was recently ranked by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the best public high schools in the United States.

John Bowne High School, the Robert F. Kennedy Community High School and the Flushing International High School are also located in Flushing.

Private high schools include Holy Cross High School.

Higher education

Queens College, founded in 1937, a senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY) is located between Kissena Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway. The City University of New York School of Law was founded in 1983 adjacent to the Queens College campus. The Law School operates Main Street Legal Services Corp., a legal services clinic. Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology is located at 86-01 23rd Avenue, near La Guardia Airport.

Public transportation

ubway service

The New York City Transit Authority operates the Flushing Number 7 subway line which provides a direct rail link to Grand Central Station and Times Square in Manhattan. The Flushing-Main Street subway station located at the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue is the eastern terminus of the line. Until the Flushing Number 7 made its way to the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue in 1928, the center of Flushing was considered to be at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Main Street.

Railroad service

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington Branch that has five rail road stations in Flushing. The Flushing-Main Street Station of the Long Island Rail Road is located one block away from the subway station that bears the same name. The Long Island Rail Road also has stations at Shea Stadium, Murray Hill, Broadway and Auburndale. The Long Island Rail Road provides a direct rail link to Pennsylvania Station also in Manhattan.

Bus service

There are numerous bus routes available at the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue with destinations to other Queens neighborhoods by MTA New York City Transit buses, the Bronx and Nassau County by MTA Long Island Bus.

Roadways

Major highways that serve the area include the Van Wyck Expressway, Whitestone Expressway, Grand Central Parkway and Long Island Expressway. Northern Boulevard extends from the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City through Flushing into Nassau County.

Professional sports

The New York Mets Baseball Club uses Shea Stadium as their home field and the United States Tennis Association's National Tennis Center hosts the U.S. Open Tournament in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park every year. This tournament relocated to Flushing from its original home in Forest Hills, Queens.

Shea Stadium has hosted four World Series, in 1969, 1973, 1986 and 2000. In 2009, Shea Stadium will be replaced by Citi Field, which is currently under construction in one of the parking areas of Shea Stadium.
* The New York Mets [http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=nym]
* The USTA National Tennis Center [http://www.usta.com/about_us/ntc/default.sps]

Popular culture

* The rock band "KISS" first played at the Coventry Club on Queens Boulevard in 1973, and is said to have derived its name from "Kissena," one of Flushing's major boulevards. [ [http://www.queenstribune.com/archives/anniversaryarchive/anniversary2000/music.htm Behind The Music] , "Queens Tribune" by Stephen McGuire, accessed February 3, 2007]
* Joel Fleischman, the fictional character from the 1990s comedic drama "Northern Exposure", was said to have relocated from Flushing. Often, references were made to actual locations around Main Street, Flushing.
* Fran Drescher's character "Fran Fine" on the TV show "The Nanny", was said to have been raised in Flushing, where her family still lived. Drescher herself was born in Flushing.
* Flushing was the location of the Stark Industries (later Stark International) munitions plant in Marvel Comics' original "Iron Man" series.

Notable residents

* Daniel Carter Beard founder of the Boy Scouts of America
* James A. Bland singer and composer [ [http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/LitMap/bios/Bland__James.html Bland, James Allen] , Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Accessed September 23, 2007. "James Bland was born on October 22, 1854, in Flushing, Long Island, New York, to Allen M. Bland and Lidia Ann (Cromwell) Bland, one of 12 children."]
* Godfrey Cambridge African American comedian and actor
* Joseph Cornell, artist. [Cotter, Holland. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/13/arts/design/13corn.html "Poetic Theaters, Romantic Fevers"] , "The New York Times", July 13, 2007. Accessed October 8, 2007. "But they meant the world to this intensely shy artist, who lived on sweets, worshiped forgotten divas and made portable shrines to them — his version of spiritual art — in the basement of the small house he shared with his mother and disabled brother in Flushing, Queens."]
*Fran Drescher, actress
*Black Sheep (hip hop group) rap group
*Jon Favreau, actor/producer/director
*Franky G, actor
*Mic Geronimo, rapper
*Charles Dana Gibson, illustrator
*Mary Gordon, writer
*Al Greenwood, former keyboardist of "Foreigner"
*Marvin Hamlisch, composer
*Steve Karsay, Baseball player
*Keith and The Girl, podcasters
*Kevin "Flushing Flash" Kelley, boxer
*Large Professor, hip-hop producer
*Louis Latimer, inventor
*Gene Mayer, tennis player
*Sandy Mayer, tennis player
*Charles Momsen, vice admiral who organized rescue of USS Squalus
*Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer
*Lewis Mumford, architecture critic and historian
*Prong, crossover thrash/thrash metal band
*Richard Outcault, creator of Buster Brown and Hogan's Alley
*Nancy Reagan, actress and First Lady
*Richard Riorden, Los Angeles mayor
*Royal Flush (rapper),rapper
*John Seery, artist
*Kasey Smith, musician
*Paul Stanley, member of the band "KISS"
*Beau Starr, actor
*Mike Starr, actor
*Bill Viola, video artist
*Suzanne Weyn, children's author
*Harvey and Bob Weinstein, founders of Miramax and the Weinstein Company
*John Vinocur, journalist [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/05/02/america/atease.php Experience the glory of Queens - International Herald Tribune ] ]

; Buried in Flushing:
*John Bowne, Quaker advocate
*Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, mob boss
*Alan King, comedian
*Louis Armstrong, jazz musician
*Bernard Baruch, financier
*Eugene Bullard, the first Black military pilot
*Ellis Parker Butler, author noted for the story "Pigs is Pigs"
*Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.
*Jack Gilford, comedian and actor.
*Waxey Gordon, notable American gangster
*Dizzy Gillespie, one of the greatest jazz trumpeters
*Hermann Grab, Bohemian writer
*Thomas Birdsall Jackson, United States Congressman
* Bert Lahr, actor
*Molly Picon, Yiddish stage and film star
*Lemuel E. Quigg, United States Representative from New York
*May Robson, actress
*Boris Thomashevsky, celebrated Yiddish theater star
* Aris San, acclaimed Greek-Israeli singer
*Vincent Sardi, Sr., founder of the famous Sardi's restaurant.
* Henny Youngman, comedian

; Famous visitors:
* George Washington visited the Prince nurseries with Vice President John Adams.
* Francis Lewis, signer of the Declaration of Independence—a merchant and patriot who lost his wife and gave his fortune to the revolutionary cause, served as vestryman at St. George's Church.
* Theodore Roosevelt gave a campaign speech from the steps of Flushing Town Hall; in honor of the visit, what had been "Amity Street" was renamed "Roosevelt Avenue", a name it still bears
* The "Ramones" often played Flushing's clubs
* "The Beatles", "The Who", and other bands played at Shea Stadium

References


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