Eastern Queens Ward Names

After 35 years as a Brooklynite, more specifically a Bay Ridger, a workplace prompted a move to Flushing in 1993, then east to Little Neck in 2007. During those years, Flushing continued to rise in as an Asian-American cultural and culinary center. , while Little Neck declined with the loss of several key businesses like the Scobee Diner and Little Neck Inn. I’m staying because the garden apartment I purchased is more spacious than any other place I’ve lived, and the Long Island Rail Road and Q12 bus are close.


Flushing is one of the oldest of Queens’ old towns, but it retains an uneasy marriage between its colonial and modern eras. The land just east of the Flushing River in central Queens was occupied for many centuries by the Matinecock Indians and later by Dutch and English settlers, and later by waves of immigrants, who have all put their own stamp on the Region.


The Dutch, led by New Netherland Governor William Kieft, took the area from the Indians and waged war with them until the English arrived in 1645, at the invitation of Kieft, who granted the English a vast expanse of 16,000 acres which included what is now Flushing. The name is an English transliteration of the Dutch town of Vlissingen. Flushing, however, for most of its history was Dutch-dominated only because Peter Stuyvesant, Kieft’s successor, was its governor early in its history. The British named the town after Vlissingen because the town was home to English refugees before they sailed to America. Where does the Dutch name “Vlissingen” come from? The derivation of the name Vlissingen is unclear, although many etymologists and scholars associate the name with the Dutch word files, or “bottle” in some way; other accounts call it “valley of the salt meadows”.



Shore Road at Little Neck Bay


Major Thomas Wickes, a native of Huntington, owned the entire Douglaston Peninsula which jutted into Little Neck Bay after the Revolutionary War, then sold it to Wynant Van Zandt in the 1810s. Douglas purchased the peninsula from Van Zandt in 1835. The area was later developed as a suburban resort town and exclusive enclave, and offers pleasant views of Little Neck Bay and Long Island Sound. The streets were laid out in 1906 by the Rickert-Finlay real estate company, which had purchased the property from William Douglas, George’s son, and eclectic and individualistic homes were built in the area, which has always been among the wealthiest of Queens. The streets kept their original names and ignored Queens’ mania for giving each street a number. The name Douglas was added to the area in 1876, after William Douglas donated a Long Island Rail Road stop. Douglaston is easily defined by its peninsula, but its eastern boundary with Little Neck is not so certain. Some say Marathon Parkway, when I would move it a bit west to 248th Street.



winter view, 1925 Chase Bank, Northern Boulevard and Little Neck Parkway


By 1636, Europeans had driven the Matinecock Indians, the region’s first settlers, out of the area along the north coast east of Little Neck Bay called Madnan’s Neck after an Indian word meaning “place of fish “. Madnan’s Neck was subdivided into Little and Great Neck, after their relative sizes, “neck” in its old sense of “short peninsula” (Gravesend Neck Road in Brooklyn is named because it originally led to a land that jutted out into a body of water that was later completed). Little Neck developed as a fishing village after the discovery of “Little Neck” clams in Little Neck Bay in the 1830s. But the bay was overfished and polluted after a few decades, although Little Neck Bay has always a bustling boating scene.


A former subsection of Little Neck was a real estate development called Marathon Park, which included 247th, 248th, and 249th Streets. from the north of the boulevard. north to 40th Avenue. Thebes Avenue also appears to include a Greek naming theme, but the concept was never fully developed.



Poppenhusen Institute14th Road and 114th Street


College Point was originally settled by Native American Matinecocks. The Indians sold much of it to New Netherland Governor William Kieft in 1645. William Lawrence was the first British settler, and in 1838 Augustus Muhlenberg, rector of St. George’s Church on Main Street in Flushing, had founded the St Paul’s College in the Region. The college sank in a decade, but College Point and College Place still remember it.


Maker Conrad Poppenhusen (1818-1883) arrived from Germany in 1854 and turned College Point into a company town. Poppenhusen opened a rubber factory employing hundreds of immigrant workers and native College Pointers; he made rubber goods, combs, dental and medical products and equipment and also built the Flushing and North Side Railroad, now part of the LIRR Port Washington line, and later owned the LIRR between 1876 and 1879. Poppenhusen built water and sewer systems, a library, and the Poppenhusen Institute in the far west of town, which included the first free kindergarten in the United States. He is remembered by the Institute, an avenue and an 1884 bust by Henry Baehrer at Poppenhusen Triangle at College Place and 12e College Point Avenue is easy to define: it lies east of Flushing Bay and is cut off from the rest of Queens by the Whitestone Highway and the old Flushing Airport.



St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, Clintonville Street north of Cross Island Parkway


According to legend, Whitestone got its name from a large rock offshore where the tides of the East River and Long Island Sound met. in other accounts, the name is in honor of the White Stone Chapel, erected by first settler Samuel Leggett in 1837. For a time, Whitestone was known as Clintonville, after the mayor of New York and New York State Governor DeWitt Clinton. Leggett and Clintonville are remembered in street names in the area.


Whitestone’s fame during the colonial era was the patriot Francis Lewis, member of the American Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Lewis lived in an estate at present day 7e Avenue and 151st St.; the house was burnt down by the British the day after America declared independence. In 1854, the same year that Poppenhusen arrived in College Point, tinsmith John Locke built a stamping factory and brought in workers from Brooklyn. Saloons and truck stops (some of which existed until the 1990s), shops and schools were built along what today is 150e St. and 14e Ave., mansions sprang up along the East River, and a railroad arrived in 1869, which was abandoned in 1932.



Legend: Oakland Lake, 46th Avenue and 223rd Street


Oakland Lake is the largest of a number of small “kettle ponds” left behind by the passage of a glacier that stopped its southward advance in the middle of Long Island 15,000 years ago. According to the New York Parks Department, it was once thought to be 600 feet deep, but the bottom of the lake was found to be only 20 feet in 1969. Similar to what was done with the Kissena Lake, Oakland Lake was surrounded by a concrete revetment and “cited” in the 1930s. After lean years in which the condition of the lake deteriorated, a revitalization effort was led by local resident Gertrude Waldeyer, whose Oakland Lake and Ravine Conservation Committee raised $1 million to restore the lake to its natural state and is now home to catfish, sunfish and carp. Oakland Lake took its place, along with other Alley Pond lakes such as Turtle Pond, Potamogeton Pond, Lily Pad Pond, and Muskrat Pond, as little glimpses of the city’s true wetland. of the prominent Lawrence family (whose private cemetery still stands on 42nd Avenue and 216th Street) in the 1840s was called “The Oaks”.


The neighborhood south of the pond, from the 46th to the 73rd Aves. and 210th to 233rd Sts., was named for the lake. The neighborhood includes Benjamin Cardozo High School and Queensboro Community College.


—Kevin Walsh is the webmaster of the award-winning Forgotten NY website and the author of the books Forgotten New York (HarperCollins, 2006) and also, with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, forgotten queens (Arcadia, 2013)

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