Flushing, Queens

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A few landmarks from two New York World's Fairs still stand in Flushing Meadows, including the US Steel Unisphere

Flushing is a neighborhood within the borough of Queens in New York City, New York.

Flushing is a thriving business and residential area, with large Taiwanese, Chinese & Korean communities (see Chinatown & Koreatown). The town is 55% Asian American & contains the largest ethnic Chinese community in the New York metropolitan area, surpassing even Manhattan's Chinatown. Flushing also contains Hispanic American, African American & Southeast Asian (Mostly Filipino American) communities of significant size.


[edit] History

New Netherland series
The Patroon System

Colen Donck (Yonkers, New York)

Directors-General of New Netherland:

Cornelius Jacobsen Mey (1620-1625)
Willem Verhulst (1625-26)
Peter Minuit (1626-33)
Wouter van Twiller (1633-38)
Willem Kieft (1638-47)
Peter Stuyvesant (1647-64)

Influential people

Adriaen van der Donck
Kiliaen van Rensselaer
Brant van Slichtenhorst
Cornelis van Tienhoven

Before European settlement, northeastern Queens was inhabited by the Matinecoc Native Americans, a tribe of Algonquian-speaking people.

The town of Flushing was first settled in 1645 under charter of the Dutch West India Company and was named after the city of Vlissingen, in the southwestern Netherlands. It is said that the name Vlissingen means "salt meadow" and that the name was given as a nod to the tidal waters of Flushing Meadows. Pronunciation was corrupted to "Flushing" by the town's English-speaking inhabitants.

The town was inhabited mostly by British settlers, including John Bowne, who would later become a leader in the movement to stop the harassment of local Quakers, prohibited by Governor Peter Stuyvesant from worshipping openly. Remnants of the Dutch period include the John Bowne House on Bowne Street, and the Flushing Quaker Meeting House on Northern Boulevard. Flushing was occupied by British troops for most of the revolution.

The 1785 Kingsland Homestead, originally the residence of a wealthy Quaker merchant, now serves as the home of the Queens Historical Society.

Flushing has more than its share of "claims to fame."

  • It can claim to be a birthplace of religious freedom in the new world--the Flushing Remonstrance, signed there on December 27, 1657, protested religious persecution and led to the decision of the Dutch West India Company to allow Quakers and others to worship freely.
  • It 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 Street, Beech, Cherry ...Poplar, Quince, Rose). Flushing also supplied trees to the Greensward project, now known as Central Park in Manhattan.
  • Flushing was a forerunner of Hollywood, when the young American film industry was still based on the east coast. 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. In 1921, Anne Francis Robbins was born in Flushing. She would later be known as Nancy Davis and, finally, Nancy Reagan, wife of Ronald Reagan. A list of other famous Flushing residents is included later in this entry.
  • What is now Flushing Meadows Park was the site of New York City's two world's fairs. Among the innovations presented to the world from Flushing were the television in 1939 (the broadcast was a speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt) and the Ford Mustang in 1964.

There has been some street violence in the area recently, including several gang-related stabbings, as well as shootings in the Downtown Flushing area. This violence mostly occurs in the public housing projects (Bland Houses) or in section 8 housing throughout the neighborhood. In 2000, five workers were shot to death after closing in a Wendy's restaurant on Main Street.

The crime rate in Flushing has dropped however, mirroring the city-wide decrease in crime.

[edit] Transportation

Flushing is a major transportation hub with major air, rail, and bus links located within a half-mile (800 m) radius of downtown. The New York City Subway IRT Flushing Line's (7 <7> (1a2a3c)) terminal is at Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, with the Flushing-Main Street of the Long Island Rail Road's Port Washington Branch located one block away. Over a dozen local bus routes serve Flushing with destinations in Nassau County by MTA Long Island Bus, the Bronx by MTA Bus, and Jamaica and other Queens neighborhoods by MTA New York City Transit buses. La Guardia Airport is located 10 minutes away by car or bus. The Van Wyck Expressway, Whitestone Expressway, Grand Central Parkway and Long Island Expressway service Flushing.

Until the IRT Flushing Line made its way to the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue in 1928, downtown Flushing's center was at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Main Street, the site of a number of trolley lines.

[edit] Education

Queens College, a senior college of the City University of New York, is located in Flushing. CUNY School of Law is next door; it contains a public-interest law firm, Main Street Legal Services, that serves Flushing's predominantly immigrant and working-class communities.

There are many public high schools in Flushing, such as John Bowne High School, Robert F. Kennedy High School, Flushing High School, and Townsend Harris High School as well as Holy Cross High School, a private school.

Flushing High School is housed in a distinctive building in the Neo-Gothic style, constructed from 1912 to 1915. It has been designated as a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1991<ref>The Queens Historical Society: Freedom Mile - Site 7, accessed June 26, 2006</ref>.

[edit] Attractions

The intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue has become a center for Korean and Chinese culture and small business. Large department stores, such as Old Navy and Macy's, are located on or near the intersection as well.

Flushing is known for its selection of authentic, reasonably priced ethnic restaurants. A popular Asian restaurant district is centered at the intersection of Prince Street and Roosevelt Avenue. Latino cuisine can be found on College Point Boulevard near Sanford Avenue.

The Queens Borough Public Library, located at the intersection of Kissena Boulevard and Main Street, is the largest branch library in New York City. The 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.

Flushing is host to world-class sporting events. Shea Stadium is home to Major League Baseball's New York Mets, and the United States Tennis Association USTA National Tennis Center is home to the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Flushing's historic Town Hall is located at Northern Boulevard near Main Street and is used as a concert hall and cultural center. Other registered New York City Landmarks in Flushing include the Bowne House, Kingsland Homestead, Flushing Friends Meeting House (1694), Flushing High School, St. George's Church (1854), the Latimer House, the RKO Keith's Movie Palace, and the Unisphere, a 12-story high globe that served as the symbol of the 1964 New York World's Fair. A weeping beech tree, planted in 1847 just north of the Bowne House, was a registered New York City Landmark until it died in 1998 (at 151 years old). New trees that have sprouted on the site have been nicknamed "sons of the beech."

Other attractions and remnants from the World's Fairs in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park worth visiting include the Queens Museum of Art (housed in the New York City Building from the 1939 New York World's Fair), featuring a scale model of New York City (the largest architectural model ever built); The New York Hall of Science, and the Queens Zoo. In addition to the Unisphere, the park contains a variety of sculpture and markers from the fairs. There are markers for the two 5,000-year time capsules buried in the park, chronicling 20th Century life (dedicated 1938 and 1965). An exedra commemorates the site of the Vatican pavilion, which was visited by Pope Paul VI on the site where the Pieta was exhibited.

The Queens Botanical Garden is located on Main Street and has been in operation continuously since its opening as an exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair. The Botanical Garden carries on Flushing's long horticultural tradition begun by its once famous tree nurseries and seed farms.

Flushing's tradition as a place of religious tolerance continues as well. It is fitting that Bowne Street, named for John Bowne, is known for its diverse array of houses of worship, including one of the largest Hindu temples in North America.

[edit] Interesting facts

  • The great ash heap/valley of ashes in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby was spruced up for the 1939 World's Fair and is now Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
  • The 1939 New York World's Fair was held in Flushing Meadows Park, the New York City Pavilion from that event now houses the Queens Museum of Art. The building was temporarily the home of the United Nations and is where the State of Israel was voted into existence in 1947.
  • Two New York City Police Department officers were killed examining a bomb they removed from the British Pavilion on July 4, 1940.
  • The 1964 New York World's Fair was held in Flushing Meadows Park, remnants include the Unisphere and Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion.
  • Archie Bunker, the fictional character from the 1970s American television sitcom All in the Family, attended Flushing High School.
  • Betty Suarez of Ugly Betty attended the fictional Mid-County College in Flushing.
  • The name of the rock band KISS is said to have been derived from "Kissena," one of Flushing's major streets.
  • North Flushing, the area nearest to Bayside and Whitestone is an area of single family homes, many of which are quite exquisite, near Bowne Park. This area is located between 29th Avenue and 35th Avenue, and 155st and 164th Streets and has recently been granted landmark status.
  • Flushing's Waldheim area is known for its beautiful, individually crafted homes. Its 110 original houses made up Queens' first estate subdivision<ref>Forgotten NY: Waldheim, accessed August 30, 2006</ref>.
  • The disk-topped towers of Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion from the 1964-65 fair were featured in the movie Men In Black as the "spaceship" in which the alien attempted to escape.
  • Shea Stadium, home to New York Mets baseball, was also home to the New York Yankees (1973-1975) during the renovation of Yankee Stadium and the New York Jets before that football team moved to Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Shea Stadium was designed with rotating seating sections on the lower level that would allow the stadium to be alternated between baseball and football configurations. Shea Stadium is scheduled to be replaced in 2009 by Citi Field, to be built in the current stadium's parking lot. Flushing has hosted four World Series, in 1969, 1973, 1986 and 2000.
  • Although the Chippewa Native Americans were not from the northeast, Samuel Parsons used their word for the phrase "it is cold" (Kissena) to name the large lake on his land. When the park was dedicated in 1908 it took the name as well, as did Kissena Boulevard (which was, until that point, named Jamaica Avenue).
  • A continuous string of parks runs through Flushing. Much of the land remained undeveloped due to its use as railroad right-of-way. A raised nature trail running through Kissena Park was originally the railroad bed of A.T. Stewart's White Line (later the Creedmore branch of the Long Island Rail Road) to Garden City.

[edit] Notable residents

Some noted current and former residents:

Rest in Peace:

Flushing Cemetery is the final resting place for

Also buried in Flushing

Famous Visitors:

[edit] References


[edit] External links

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Neighborhoods in the New York City Borough of Queens

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Flushing, Queens

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