Quantcast

Parks

by

Brownstoner recently took a look at historical and culinary highlights centered on or near Bell Boulevard, the “main street” of Bayside, Queens. But the neighborhood is large and goes far beyond that stretch, with a deep history in film, theater and sports, as well as eclectic architecture.

Here are some of Bayside’s historical and architectural highlights.

by

View of Citifield from the Passerelle Boardwalk over Corona Yard

With the recent completion of the United States Open tennis tournament at Arthur Ashe Stadium and the now-expected ascension of the New York Mets into the National League baseball playoffs for the first time since 2006, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park finds itself at the center of New York City’s professional sports life as summer 2015 draws to a close. Let’s take a look at some of these venues as well as the park itself.

by
1

Nestled in the heart of Middle Village, Juniper Valley Park — which sits between Juniper Boulevards North and South, Lutheran Avenue and 71st Street on the west and Dry Harbor Road on the east — is almost intentionally situated far from the crowds and noise that the subway bring. It’s one of the youngest of Queens’ larger parks, having been created in the 1930s.

Middle Village lies between Maspeth and Forest Hills and was named in the 1830s after its position along Metropolitan Avenue, which was laid out as a toll road between Williamsburg and Jamaica in the 1810s. A roadhouse as well as several small dwellings and farms arrived in the area, which had come to be considered midway between Williamsburg and Jamaica, hence its name. Large cemeteries such as Lutheran/All-Faiths, Mt. Olivet and St. John’s arrived after 1850 or so, and attracted Sunday visitors; restaurants and saloons sprung up in the area to serve the crowds. In time, more streets were laid out and were lined by dwellings.

by
5

A recent visit to the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows found the “modern ruin” in the midst of a makeover.

The Local Union 806 Structural Steel and Bridge Painters  are restoring the Pavilion in an attempt
to return it to its former glory. The repainting is slowly but surely making a difference.

The walls inside the “Tent of Tomorrow” have been restored to splendor.

by
3

The Poppenhusen Institute, built in 1868

There is no college in College Point, and hasn’t been since about 1850, when St. Paul’s College, whose site we will visit later in the tour, was converted into an elementary school and then a summer resort. The college was founded in 1835 as a seminary by the Rev. Augustus Muhlenberg. Communities known as Strattonport and Flammersberg united to form College Point in 1867.

Though the Lawrence family, a name familiar to Queens historians, were the first to settle in what is now the College Point area in the colonial era, it was an entrepreneur named Conrad Poppenhusen who built downtown College Point, to house his factory workers, and it is his legacy that shapes College Point to this day.

College Point today is about as fully realized as small town life gets within the five boroughs. It’s effectively separated from the rest of the city by the East River, Whitestone Expressway and the former Flushing Airport, and the Long Island Rail Road stopped running there in 1932. However, a number of city buses are routed there and College Point is well worth a day trip from “out-of-villagers.”

by
1

Tucked close to Flushing’s bustling downtown and along fast and furious, pedal-to-the-metal Main Street is Queens’ own official Botanical Garden at 43-50 Main Street at Elder Avenue. It may be smaller than the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx or Brooklyn’s Botanic Gardens at Prospect Park (Brooklyn, just to be different, loses the -al) but it is no less beautiful.

QBG evolved from the “Gardens of Paradise” exhibit at the 1939-1940 World’s Fair, continued after World War II as the Queens Botanical Garden Society. It opened in its current location in 1961.

Among the original plantings from the 1939 site are two blue atlas cedars framing a tree gate sculpture at the park’s entrance. Today the park is a 39-acre oasis in one of New York City’s busiest neighborhoods.

by
5

Yesterday, I was invited to come along on the Newtown Historical Society’s walking tour of Ridgewood Reservoir, which actually straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Now, I’m sort of known for my explorations of a very different part of this border — Newtown Creek — so this was terra incognita for me.

Having never visited the spot, nor the New York City park, Highland Park, which surrounds it, attending this event was a no brainer. Lots of photos after the jump.

by

General George E. Lawrence Square (actually a triangle), defined by Parsons Boulevard, Elm Avenue and 147th Street along 45th Avenue, can be found across the street from Flushing Hospital. It honors a St. Francis College graduate (my alma mater) who was a star quarterback at Penn, graduated with a medical degree and began his practice at Flushing Hospital, heading obstetrics and gynecology for many years.

Lawrence served with the “Fighting 69th” Regiment during WWI, receiving two Silver Stars for valor. He rose to Lieutenant Colonel at the end of the war and had risen to Brigadier General by World War II.

The square named in 1951 for Gen. Lawrence (1881-1949) was originally owned by the Flushing Garden Club, which allowed patients from Flushing Hospital to maintain the grounds.

You may guess, though, the reason for my post today is the identifying sign, which probably goes back to the 1951 renaming.

by

Today we continue our exploration of the border between Little Neck and Douglaston. When I left off last week, I had just traversed the new shortcut between Little Neck and Douglaston Hills. It’s a short wooden footbridge over a creek running through Udalls Cove Park, a 30-acre salt marsh that effectively delineates the border between the two neighborhoods north of Northern Boulevard. I had chanced upon the former St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Church on Orient Avenue, formerly known as 243rd Street.