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Kew Gardens, Queens

Kew Gardens is a neighborhood in central Queens bounded to the north and east by the Jackie Robinson Parkway (formerly Interborough Parkway),Queens Boulevard, also to the east by 127th Street, to the south by Hillside Avenue (added to ZIP code 11415 in the 1950s), and to the west by Babbage Street and Park Lane South. Forest Park and the neighborhood of Forest Hills, and Forest Hills Gardens lies on west side.

Much of the area was acquired in 1868 by Albon P. Man, who developed the neighborhood of Hollis Hill to the south, chiefly along Jamaica Avenue, while leaving undeveloped the hilly land to the north.

History and Development

Maple Grove Cemetery on Kew Gardens Road opened in 1875. A Long Island Rail Road station was built for mourners in October and trains stopped there from mid-November. The station was named Hopedale, after Hopedale Hall, a hotel at what is now Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike. In the 1890s, the executors of Man's estate laid out the Queens Bridge Golf Course on the hilly terrains south of the railroad. This remained in use until it was bisected in 1908 by the main line of the Long Island Rail Road, which had been moved 600 feet (180 meters) to the south to eliminate a curve.

The golf course was then abandoned and a new station was built in 1909 on Lefferts Boulevard. Man’s heirs, Aldrick Man and Albon Man Jr. decided to lay out a new community and called it at first Kew and then Kew Gardens after the well-known botanical gardens in England. The architects of the development favored English and neo-Tudor styles, which still predominate in many sections.

In 1910, the property was sold piecemeal by the estate and during the next few years streets were extended, land graded, and water and sewer pipes installed. The first apartment building was the Kew Bolmer at 80-45 Kew Gardens Road, erected in 1915; a clubhouse followed in 1916 and a private school in 1918. In 1920, the Kew Gardens Inn at the railroad station opened for residential guests, who paid $40 a week for a room and a bath with meals. Elegant one-family houses were built in the 1920s, as were apartment buildings such as Colonial Hall (1921) and Kew Hall (1922) that numbered more than twenty by 1936.

In July 1933, the Grand Central Parkway opened from Kew Gardens to the edge of Nassau County; this road was extended in 1935 as the Interborough Parkway to Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York. Because the parkways used part of the roadbed of Union Turnpike no houses were sacrificed.

The greatest change was wrought by the opening of the Independent subway along Queens Boulevard to Union Turnpike on December 31, 1936; four months later, the subway was extended to Jamaica, Queens. Residents could now reach Manhattan and Brooklyn twenty-four hours a day for five cents: midtown Manhattan is still a mere half hour away. The immediate effect was to stimulate the construction of larger apartment buildings like Kent Manor and high-rise buildings along Queens Boulevard, and the last vacant land disappeared.

Kew Gardens remains a densely populated residential community with its commercial center being Lefferts Boulevard between Austin Street and Metropolitan Avenue. This street is the home to many favorite spots, including Kew Gardens Cinemas with a selection of Independent International Movies (recently showed Tell No One, Cristina Barcelona..), Dani's Pizzeria,Austin's Steak and Ale House, and Comic Den (http://www.comicden.com , The county's civic center, Queens Borough Hall, along with one of the county criminal courts stands at the northern end of the neighborhood, on Queens Boulevard, in a complex extending from Union Turnpike to Hoover Avenue.

Important schools located in Kew Gardens include Yeshiva Tifereth Moshe, Bais Yaakov of Queens and Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah.

Diversity

Kew Gardens is ethnically diverse. A large community of [[Jew]ish refugees from Germany took shape in the area after the Second World War which is reflected until now days by the number of active synagogues in the area. The neighborhood attracted many Chinese immigrants after 1965, about 2,500 Iranian Jews arrived after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and immigrants from China, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, the former Soviet Union, India, Bangladesh and Korea settled in Kew Gardens during the 1980s and 1990s. Currently, Kew Gardens has a growing population, of Bukharian Jews from Uzbekistan, alongside a significant Orthodox Jewish community. Also many immigrants from Central America, and South America call Kew Gardens their home, as well as those from Japan. Kew Gardens is well known from being a residential area, with a mix of one family houses with price ranging from 1M up, complex apartments, co-ops and others converted and on the way or being converted as condominiums. P.S 99 is the local school. A major 5 stars hotel in under development on 82 Avenues, reflecting the modernization of the area.

Surrounded by Forrest Park, residents at Kew Gardens enjoy what many manhattanites lack: greenery and quiet nights. The Park which is very well preserved in one of the largest in Queens, has a private road where residents can jog or walk all year round. There is some horse back riding paths and hiking paths actively used by residents. The convenience of the LIRR Station (Kew Gardens Station) and the E-F train on the corner of Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike make the area an excellent choice to live in. Some of the Queens courts are located at Kew Gardens on the side of Queens Boulevard. This government offices bring a floating, diverse community during the day.

The neighborhood is also teeming with airline personnel because it proximity to the Q10 airport buses and as a matter of fact Delta Airlines as well as other airlines have special shuttle serving pilots and flight attendants staying at Kew Gardens. The increase of the Korean population followed the renovation and rededication of the First Church of Kew Gardens, which offers Korean-language services. Kew Gardens is also economically diverse: from medium class young professionals to upper middle class. Even the local cuisine reflects this diversity in Kew Gardens with Russian, Italian, Indian, Pakistani, Uzbek, dining available to residents and visitors. In recent years, young professionals and Manhattanites looking for greenery, park-like atmosphere and spacious apartments have moved to the area. Kew Gardens continues to change as these families move in.

Kitty Genovese

In 1964, the neighborhood gained news notoriety when Kitty Genovese was murdered near the railroad station. A New York Times article reported that none of the neighbors responded when she cried for help. The story came to represent the apathy and anonymous nature of urban life. The circumstances of the case are disputed to this day: it has been shown that the critical fact reported by the NYT that "none of the neighbors responded" was false. The result of this incident was the creation of the 911 emergency line

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Kew Gardens include:

References

External links

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