Elmhurst

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This three-bedroom, two-bath in Elmhurst is part of a four-story building that was built this year. The kitchen has all new appliances with a peninsula for extra counter space. The apartment looks like it gets a lot of sunlight. The building already has Verizon FiOS installed, and there are surveillance cameras. The monthly rent is $2,600.

There are schools and parks nearby in the area. Woodside Avenue has many restaurants, cafes, and bars to choose from. There is a grocery store around the corner, and there are small shops a few blocks away. The E, F/M, R, and 7 trains are less than a 10-minute walk away, and the Woodside LIRR is about a 20-minute walk or a five-minute drive. The Q32, Q33, Q47, Q49, Q53, and Q70 buses are all within walking distance too. Click through for more photos.

73-10 Woodside Avenue, #2 [East Coast Realtors Inc.] GMAP

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This rental in Elmhurst is a very spacious three-bedroom, part of a two-story house built in 1930. The apartment looks newly renovated with wood floors in the bedrooms and living room and tile in the kitchen and bathroom. The monthly rent is $2,100 and heat and hot water are included.

The Q29 and Q58 are on the same block, and the 7 train is about a 15 minute walk away. There are grocery stores, restaurants, and small shops in the area. Click through for more photos.

48-11 92nd Street, #2 [Keller Williams Landmark] GMAP

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Turn a corner in Queens, and you never know what ethic group you’ll run into, especially in the Elmhurst-Jackson Heights-Flushing axis, home to dozens of nationalities, especially from South America and Asia. I had never known that Elmhurst was a gathering place for expatriate Sherpa, whose homeland is in the shadow of the Himalaya Mountains in eastern Nepal.

The Sherpa are best known for their services as mountain guides and the provision of assistance to adventurers climbing Himalayan peaks. Tenzing Norgay, likely the most widely-known Sherpa in history, aided Sir Edmund Hillary, the first European to attain the peak of Everest, the tallest mountain on the globe. The Sherpa language is unique to the region they inhabit, but can be written using the Tibetan language or Dravidian script used widely in the Indian subcontinent.

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Photo via NYC Parks

The site of Elmhurst Park at Grand Avenue and 79th Street was once the location of two KeySpan Newtown gas holders, a highway landmark popularly known as the “Elmhurst gas tanks.” With the support of the community, the site was sold by KeySpan (which is now Brooklyn Grid) to the City of New York for $1 and was cleaned up and returned to the public as open space.

The tanks were built by KeySpan’s predecessor, Brooklyn Union Gas, in 1910 and 1920 to store natural gas used for heating, cooling and manufacturing, and were engineered to expand and contract based on the volume of gas contained within, using a system of telescoping cylinders set in a steel truss frame. The tanks sat on a 17-million gallon underground basin of water that acted as a sealant: until the 1960s, inspections were carried out by a worker who crawled through the gas main to the water basin, where he would use a rowboat to examine the tanks for leaks.

In the mid-20th century the tanks became well-known in radio traffic reports, since they were close to the Queens-Midtown Expressway (the road that becomes the Horace Harding, or Long Island, Expressway east of Queens Boulevard) since the helicopter-based announcers would use them as landmarks while relating to listeners the state of traffic on “the world’s longest parking lot.”

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I had gone past Claremont Terrace thousands of times — literally – without giving it a second thought about what it was. It’s an alley that is hidden along another dead end in the heart of Elmhurst, one of Queens’ busiest, most populated and diverse neighborhoods — it’s buzzing with energy day and evening. I would pass it, though, on the Long Island Rail Road on my way from Flushing to Penn Station, since its last remaining mansion, in a decayed, ravaged condition, was visible along the tracks. Claremont Terrace’s origins lie in American immigration, and a young businessman who made his name in the United States in the pre-Civil War era, beginning an enterprise that exists and flourishes today.

Samuel Lord (1803-1889) was a British foundry worker from Yorkshire who came to the USA with dreams of entrepreneurship, opening a drapery-dry goods shop on Catherine Street in what is now the Lower East Side in 1824, and after struggling for over a decade, he sent for his wife and children to join him in the USA. At about the same time his brother-in-law, George Washington Taylor, joined him as a partner and investor.

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Over on Queens Boulevard, in Elmhurst, you’ll notice the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown at the corner of 54th Avenue. It’s the Gothic structure which is incongruous with its surroundings, which are mainly retail shops, a diner, and a medium sized shopping mall. The First Presbyterian Church of Newtown is one of the oldest congregations in the entire city, and certainly the oldest in Queens. Pictured above is the latest building to serve the organization, erected in 1895, the first iteration having been built in 1652.

In 1652, men dressed like this.

The exterior shots in this post are from a couple of weeks ago, from when the missus and I went couch shopping. A few years ago, I had an opportunity to set up a tripod inside the church, so there are lots of interior shots after the jump.

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It’s part Cascanueces, part Shchelkunchik, and mostly unique. This Saturday, four local performing arts schools will offer two presentations of a decidedly Queens version of The Nutcracker. Expect some ballet, of course, but be prepared for plenty of salsa, Arabian belly dance, Chinese jazz, hula hoops, and hip hop. The companies  — Mestizo Art CenterCali SalsaEC Squared Studio; and Uruzua Queens Center of Performing Arts — are all located in the heavy Hispanic neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst, so there will be a Latin flair with a mix of solo and group acts.

Details: The Nutcracker (Queens Version), Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, December 27th, 4:30 pm and 7 pm, $20 suggested donation.

Photo: Uruzua Queens Center of Performing Arts

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One recent Christmas season, I hiked Queens’ very own Broadway. The route begins in Ravenswood at the East River edge, and plunges southeast into the heart of Elmhurst, indeed the center of the original town of Newtown (Middleburgh) first settled by Dutch colonials in 1652 — after an original settlement 10 years earlier in Maspeth had foundered after Indian attacks. Queens’ Broadway, which attained its present length only in the early 20th century, is an amalgam of a number of roads: Broadway in Ravenswood ran southeast to the now-demapped Ridge Road near Newtown Road; and the southern part between Woodside Avenue and Queens Boulevard is the eastern section of the colonial-era Hellgate Ferry Road, which connected Elmhurst and the East River; twisting Woodside Avenue follows most of its route today.

I must admit that I’m unsure when these two roads were joined to create the present-day Queens Broadway. Maps from the 1910s and 1920s show a completed Broadway, but that may be a figment of mapmakers’ imaginations (they often show maps the way city agencies say the street will eventually appear). Meanwhile, historian Vincent Seyfried (the unsung master chronicler of Queens whose work inspires every borough and city historian) maintains, in Old Queens, NY in Early Photographs, that Broadway was only connected with Long Island City and Elmhurst when the IND subway was opened in 1933. In any event, we can call Queens’ Broadway the youngest of all the boroughs’ Broadways.

During this less than cheerful holiday season, given the recent news (and lack of decorative holiday snow this year: on average, there’s snow in NYC during the Christmas season two years out of every five) I wish everyone the best for the end of 2014 and the greatest 2015.

Kevin Walsh is the webmaster of Forgotten NY and the author of Forgotten New York and, with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, Forgotten Queens.

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Newtown, founded in the mid-1600s after its colonists had fled from Native American attacks further west in Maspeth – and building literally a “new town,” mocks NYC’s preservationists, who seemingly prefer to recognize only buildings and artifacts in Manhattan and prefer to lavish designations and titles on buildings in that borough while ignoring the amazing treasures in what are considered the outer boroughs. In Queens, along with Jamaica and Flushing, Newtown (renamed ‘Elmhurst’ by developer Cord Meyer in the 1890s) retains several edifices and locales that existed in the first decades after its founding.

The brownstone and granite Gothic First Presbyterian Church of Newtown at 54th Avenue and Queens Boulevard was constructed in 1895 by architect Frank Collins with $70,000 donated to the church in the will of one of its elders. When Queens Boulevard was constructed in 1910 and widened in the 1920s, the church had to be moved back several feet. The congregation of the church goes back to Newtown’s earliest era — founded in 1695 with first minister Rev. John Moore, of the famed Moore local family. Several congregants signed the Flushing Remonstrance, a 17th-century demand for religious tolerance by Flushing’s Quakers. There is a time capsule in the cornerstone.

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Most of Whitney Avenue in Elmhurst runs from Broadway northeast to Roosevelt Avenue at 93rd Street, through a street grid that tilts northeast against the prevailing one. This was part of an early 20th century real estate development in which the streets were originally numbered and only later — by 1915 — were they given the names they still carry, Aske, Benham, Case, Denman, Elbertson, Forley, Gleane, Hampton, Ithaca, Judge, Ketcham, Layton, Macnish. By 1915, Roosevelt Avenue had been laid out and the el was under construction.

One of the jewels of Elmhurst, a neighborhood blessed with its fair share of historic houses of worship, is the cobblestone-exterior Elmhurst Baptist Church at Whitney and Judge. The cornerstone was laid in 1902, with the church completed the following year. There are Myanmar (Burmese) Baptist and Indonesian Baptist services offered here. Bayside’s so-called Cobblestone House has sometimes been claimed to be the only such structure in the borough, but this church can also qualify.