Flushing, Queens: Wikis


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Flushing Town Hall, now a cultural center[1]

Flushing, founded in 1645, is a neighborhood in the north central part of the City of New York borough of Queens, ten miles (16 km) east of Manhattan.

Flushing was one of the first Dutch settlements on Long Island. Today, it is one of the largest and most diverse neighborhoods in New York City. Flushing's diversity is reflected by the numerous ethnic groups that reside here including people of Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, European and African American ancestry. It is part of the Fifth Congressional District, which encompasses the entire northeastern shore of Queens County, and extends into neighboring Nassau County. Flushing is served by five railroad stations on the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington Branch, and the New York City Subway Number 7 subway line has its terminus at Main Street. The intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue is the third busiest intersection in New York City behind only Times Square and 34th Herald Square.

Flushing is part of Queens Community Board 7[2] and is bounded by Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the West, Francis Lewis Boulevard to the East, Union Turnpike to the South and Willets Point Boulevard to the North.



Dutch colonial history

In 1645, Flushing was settled by Europeans on the eastern bank of Flushing Creek under charter of the Dutch West India Company and was part of the New Netherland colony. The settlement was named after the city of Vlissingen, in the southwestern Netherlands, the main port of the company.

In its early days, Flushing was inhabited by English colonists, among them a farmer named John Bowne. John Bowne defied a prohibition imposed by New Amsterdam Director-General Peter Stuyvesant on harboring Quakers by allowing Quaker meetings in his home. Landmarks remaining from the Dutch period in Flushing include the John Bowne House on Bowne Street and the Old Quaker Meeting House on Northern Boulevard.

The Flushing Remonstrance, signed in Flushing on December 27, 1657, protested religious persecution and eventually led to the decision by the Dutch West India Company to allow Quakers and others to worship freely. [3] As such, Flushing is claimed to be a birthplace of religious freedom in the new world.[4]

English colonial history

In 1664, the English took control of New Amsterdam, ending Dutch control of the colony, and renamed it New York. When Queens County was established in 1683, the Town of Flushing was one of the original five towns into which the county was subdivided.[5] Many historical references to Flushing are to this town. The town was dissolved in 1898 when Queens became a borough of New York City.

Flushing 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 Avenue, Beech, Cherry ...Poplar, Quince, Rose). Flushing also supplied trees to the Greensward project, now known as Central Park in Manhattan.

During the American Revolution, Flushing, along with most settlements in present-day Queens County, favored the British and quartered British troops. Following the Battle of Long Island, Nathan Hale, an officer in the Continental Army, was apprehended near Flushing Bay while on what was probably an intelligence gathering mission and was later hanged.

The 1785 Kingsland Homestead, originally the residence of a wealthy Quaker merchant, now serves as the home of the Queens Historical Society.[6]The 1790 United States census recorded that 5,393 people lived in what is present-day Queens County.

Nineteenth century

Map of Flushing in 1891

During the 1800s, as New York City continued to grow in population and economic strength, Flushing's proximity to Manhattan was critical to its growth and transformation to a fashionable residential area. In 1813, the Village of Flushing was incorporated within the Town of Flushing. By the mid-1860s, Queens County had 30,429 residents. Flushing's growth continued with two new villages incorporating: College Point in1867, and Whitestone in 1868. In 1898, although opposed to the proposal, the Town of Flushing (along with two other towns of Queens County) was consolidated into the City of New York to form the new Borough of Queens. All towns, villages, and cities within the new borough were dissolved. Local farmland continued to be subdivided and developed transforming Flushing into a densely populated neighborhood of New York City.

20th-21st century

The continued construction of bridges over the Flushing River and the development of other roads increased the volume of vehicular traffic into Flushing. In 1909, the construction of the Queensboro Bridge over the East River connected Queens County to midtown Manhattan.[citation needed]

The introduction of rail road service to Manhattan in 1910 by the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington Branch and in 1928 by the New York City Transit Authority Number 7 subway line hastened the continued transformation of Flushing to a commuter suburb and commercial center. Due to increased traffic, a main roadway through Flushing named Broadway was widened and renamed Northern Boulevard.[citation needed]

Flushing was a forerunner of Hollywood, when the young American film industry was still based on the East Coast and Chicago. 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. The theater now lies vacant and in disrepair due to an unauthorized real estate development project that took place in the early 1990s.[citation needed]

The New York Times says that Flushing's Chinatown now rivals the Manhattan Chinatown for being the center of Chinese-speaking New Yorkers' politics and trade.[7]

Location of the World's Fair

The 1939-1940 World's Fair was held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.[8] Massive preparations for the Fair began in 1936 and included the elimination of the Corona dumps. Among the innovations presented to the world in 1939 was the television, which broadcast a speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt.[citation needed]

After the World's Fair, the New York City pavilion was converted into the temporary headquarters of the United Nations where, in 1947, the UN voted in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel.[9] After the United Nations moved to their permanent headquarters in Manhattan, the New York City pavilion was converted into a roller rink & ice skating center.

A second World's Fair, the 1964-1965 World's Fair was also held at the site of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Pope Paul VI attended the Fair on October 4, 1965. On this papal trip, Pope Paul VI became the first pope to visit the United States. An exedra now commemorates the site of the Vatican pavilion. Michelangelo's masterpiece, the Pietà, was exhibited during his trip.[citation needed]

Following the Fair, the Unisphere, the New York State Pavilion and the New York City Pavilion remained in the park. The NYC Pavilion's roller rink which had been converted back into exhibit space for the 1964-1965 World's Fair became the Queens Museum of Art.[citation needed]

Landmarks, museums and cultural institutions

Fitzgerald-Ginsberg Mansion

Flushing has many landmark buildings. Flushing Town Hall [10] on Northern Boulevard is the headquarters of the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.[11] The building houses a concert hall and cultural center and is one of the sites designated along the Queens Historical Society's Freedom Mile.[12]

Other registered New York City Landmarks include the Bowne House, Kingsland Homestead, Old Quaker Meeting House (1694), Flushing High School, St. George's Church (1854), the Lewis H. Latimer House, the former RKO Keith's movie theater, the United States Post Office on Main Street and the Unisphere, a 12-story high, stainless steel globe that served as the centerpiece for the 1964 New York World's Fair. The Flushing Armory, on Northern Boulevard, was formerly used by the National Guard. Presently, the Queens North Task Force of the New York City Police Department uses this building.[13] In 2005, the Fitzgerald-Ginsberg Mansion[14] on Bayside Avenue and in 2007, the Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden [15] were designated as landmarks.

Several attractions were originally developed for the World's Fairs in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. There is a stone marker for the two 5,000-year Westinghouse Time Capsules made of special alloys buried in the park, chronicling 20th Century life in the United States, dedicated both in 1938 and 1965. Also in the park are the Queens Museum of Art which features a scale model of the City of New York, the largest architectural model ever built; Queens Theatre in the Park [3]; the New York Hall of Science and the Queens Zoo.

The Queens Botanical Garden on Main Street has been in operation continuously since its opening as an exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair. The Botanical Garden carries on Flushing's nearly three centuries long horticultural tradition, dating back to its once famed tree nurseries and seed farms.


Flushing (Queens, New York)
Population (2000)
Demographics White
Median income $39,804
Source: U.S. Census, Record Information Services

Flushing is among the most religiously diverse communities in America. There are "over 200 places of worship in a small urban neighborhood about 2.5 square miles [6.5 square kilometers]."[16] "Flushing has become a model for religious pluralism in America, says R. Scott Hanson, a visiting assistant professor of history at the State University of New York at Binghamton and an affiliate of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University."[17]

In 1657, while Flushing was still a Dutch settlement, a document known as the Flushing Remonstrance was created by Edward Hart, the town clerk, where some thirty ordinary citizens protested a ban imposed by Peter Stuyvesant, the director general of New Amsterdam, forbidding the harboring of Quakers. The Flushing Remonstrance cited the Flushing Town charter of 1645 which promised liberty of conscience.[18]

Today, Flushing abounds in houses of worship, ranging from the Dutch colonial epoch Quaker Meeting House, St. George's Episcopal Church, the Free Synagogue of Flushing, St. Mel Roman Catholic Church, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church - the largest Greek Orthodox Church in the United States, and the Muslim Center of New York.[19]

The intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, the business center for Flushing located at the terminus of the Number 7 subway line on the westernmost edge of the neighborhood has a concentration of Chinese and Korean small businesses, including Asian restaurants. Chinese-owned businesses in particular dominate the area along Main Street and the blocks west of it. Ethnic Chinese constitute an increasingly dominant proportion of the Asian population and as well as the overall population in Flushing. Consequently, Flushing's Chinatown has grown rapidly enough to become the second-largest Chinatown outside of Asia. In fact, the Flushing Chinatown could surpass the original Manhattan Chinatown itself within a few years.[20][21][22]

The northeastern section of Flushing near Bayside continues to maintain large Italian and Greek presences that are reflected in its many Italian and Greek bakeries, grocery stores and restaurants. The northwest is a mix of Jews, Greeks, and Italians. Most of central Flushing is an ethnic mix of European Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans.

An area south of Franklin Avenue is a concentration of Indian, Pakistani, Afghan and Bangladeshi markets.[23]


Broadway-Flushing, also known as North Flushing, is a residential area with many large homes. Part of this area has been designated a State and Federal historic district due to the elegant, park-like character of the neighborhood. Recently much of the area was rezoned by the City of New York to preserve the low density, residential quality of the area. The neighborhood awaits designation as an Historic District by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Broadway-Flushing is bounded by 29th Avenue to the north, Northern Boulevard and Crocheron Avenue to the south, 155th to the west and 172nd Streets to the east.[citation needed]

The Waldheim Neighborhood, an estate subdivision in Flushing constructed primarily between 1875 and 1925, is a small district of high quality "in-town" suburban architecture that preservationists have tried to save for at least twenty-five years. Waldheim (German for "home in the woods"), known for its large homes of varying architectural styles, laid out in an unusual street pattern, was the home of some of Flushing's wealthiest residents until the 1960s. Notable residents include the Helmann family of condiment fame, the Steinway family of Steinway pianos, as well as A. Douglas Nash, who managed a nearby Tiffany glass plant. The neighborhood was rezoned by the City of New York in 2008, in order to halt the destruction of its original housing stock, which began in the late 1980s, and to help preserve the low density, residential character of the neighborhood. As with the Broadway neighborhood, preservationists have been unable to secure designation as an Historic District by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to date. Today, Waldheim stretches between Sanford and Franklin Avenues on the north, 45th Avenue on the south, Bowne Street on the west and Parsons Boulevard on the east. The area is immediately southeast of the downtown Flushing commercial core, and adjacent to the Kissena Park and East Flushing neighborhoods.


All the public parks and playgrounds in Flushing are supervised by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. For Queens County, the Department of Parks and Recreation is headquartered at The Overlook in Forest Park located in Kew Gardens.

  • Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, a 1,255-acre (5.08 km2) park, is considered a flagship park in Queens. The site hosted two World's Fairs, the first in 1939-1940 and the second in 1964-1965. As the result, the park infrastructure reflects the construction undertaken for the Fairs. Also located here is Citi Field and the National Tennis Center which is the home of the US Tennis Open. In 2008, a new Aquatic Center was opened in the park[4].
  • Kissena Park is a 234-acre (0.95 km2) park with a lake as a centerpiece.
  • Bowne Park is an 11-acre (45,000 m2) park developed on the former estate of New York City Mayor Walter Bowne.
  • Flushing Fields is a 10-acre (40,000 m2) greenbelt that includes the home athletic field of Flushing High School.


When New York Air existed, its headquarters were located on the grounds of LaGuardia Airport in Flushing.[24]


IS 237

Public schools in Flushing are supervised by the New York City Department of Education through Administrative District 25. There are numerous public Elementary and Junior High Schools in Flushing and students generally attend a school based on the location of their residence.

High schools

The five public high schools in Flushing include John Bowne High School, Robert F. Kennedy Community High School (Forest Hills High School), Townsend Harris High School, The Flushing International High School and Flushing High School, the oldest public high school in the City of New York. Flushing High School is housed in a distinctive Gothic Revival building built between 1912 and 1915 and declared a NYC Landmark in 1991. Private high schools include Holy Cross High School and St Francis Prep. Townsend Harris High School is a selective high school located on the Queens College campus and was once ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best public high schools in the United States.

Higher education

Queens College, founded in 1937, a senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY) is located on Kissena Boulevard near the Long Island Expressway. The City University of New York School of Law was founded in 1983 adjacent to the Queens College campus. The Law School operates Main Street Legal Services Corp., a legal services clinic.

Public institutions

Flushing Library

In 1858, the first library in Queens County was founded in Flushing. Today, there are eight branches of the Queens Borough Public Library with Flushing addresses.[25] The largest of the Flushing branches is located at the intersection of Kissena Boulevard and Main Street,[26] and is the busiest branch of the highest circulation system [5] in the country .[27] This library has 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.[27]


7 train at the Flushing - Main Street station

The New York City Transit Authority operates the Flushing Number 7 subway line, which provides a direct rail link to Grand Central Station and Times Square in Manhattan. The Flushing-Main Street subway station located at the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue is the eastern terminus of the line. Until the Flushing Number 7 made its way to the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue in 1928, the center of Flushing was considered to be at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Main Street.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington Branch that has five rail road stations in Flushing. The Flushing-Main Street Station of the Long Island Rail Road is located one block away from the subway station that bears the same name. The Long Island Rail Road also has stations at Mets–Willets Point, Murray Hill, Broadway and Auburndale. The Long Island Rail Road provides a direct rail link to Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan.

Major highways that serve the area include the Van Wyck Expressway, Whitestone Expressway, Grand Central Parkway and Long Island Expressway. Northern Boulevard extends from the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City through Flushing into Nassau County.


The New York Mets uses Citi Field as its home stadium. Shea Stadium was the home park until the end of the 2008 season. The United States Tennis Association's National Tennis Center hosts the U.S. Open Tournament in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park every year. This tournament relocated to Flushing from its original home in Forest Hills, Queens.

Popular culture

  • The first series of Charmin toilet paper commercials featuring Mr. Whipple (Dick Wilson) were filmed in Flushing at the Trade Rite supermarket on Bowne Street.
  • The rock band KISS first played at the Coventry Club on Queens Boulevard in 1973, and is said to have derived its name from "Kissena," one of Flushing's major boulevards.[28]
  • Joel Fleischman, the fictional character from the 1990s comedic drama Northern Exposure, was said to have relocated from Flushing. Often, references were made to actual locations around Main Street, Flushing.
  • The eponymous celebration in Taiwanese director Ang Lee's 1993 comedy hit, The Wedding Banquet, takes place in Downtown Flushing's Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel.
  • Fran Drescher's character "Fran Fine" on the TV show "The Nanny", was said to have been raised in Flushing, where her family still lived. Drescher herself was born in Flushing.
  • Flushing was the location of the Stark Industries (later Stark International) munitions plant in Marvel Comics' original Iron Man series.
  • On the Norman Lear-produced TV show All in the Family, in the episode when Edith Bunker was arrested for shop lifting, she mentions the Q 14 bus, and the names of a few long-gone stores that were in downtown Flushing.

Notable residents

Gene Larkin, Major League Baseball player

Buried in Flushing


  1. ^ Flushing Town Hall Official Website
  2. ^ Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007
  3. ^ Vermeer's Life: Timeline
  4. ^ Kenneth T. Jackson, Op-Ed, The New York Times, December 27th, 2007
  5. ^ "Before the Five Borough City:Queens". http://www.bklyn-genealogy-info.com/Map/5.Bor.Q.Rich.html.  This later map shows former boundaries of the Town of Flushing. The map does not show the towns that were part of Queens and are now part of Nassau.
  6. ^ "Kingsland Homestead". Queens Historical Society. http://www.queenshistoricalsociety.org/kingsland.html. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  7. ^ Semple, Kirk. "In Chinatown, Sound of the Future Is Mandarin." The New York Times. October 21, 2009. Retrieved on October 27, 2009.
  8. ^ Flushing Meadows Corona Park - Parks - New York Magazine
  9. ^ "Rare footage of UN vote creating Israel to screen at Flushing synagogue". NY Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2007/11/20/2007-11-20_rare_footage_of_un_vote_creating_israel_.html. 
  10. ^ Flushing Town Hall
  11. ^ Representative Crowley: New York: Flushing
  12. ^ The Queens Historical Society
  13. ^ Queens 35th Anniversary Edition
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ http://www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2008/August/20080819162731xjsnommis0.5391199.html
  17. ^ http://newsblaze.com/story/20080826083401tsop.nb/topstory.html
  18. ^ Kenneth Jackson, International Herald Tribune, December 27, 2007
  19. ^ The New York Times
  20. ^ Min Zhou (2009). Contemporary Chinese America: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Community. Temple University Press. pp. 57–59. http://books.google.com/books?id=ghKia5k6hXUC&pg=PA57#v=onepage&q=&f=false. 
  21. ^ Nancy Foner (2001). New immigrants in New York. Columbia University Press. pp. 158–161. http://books.google.com/books?id=MR4iVnvulMQC&pg=PA158#v=onepage&q=&f=false. 
  22. ^ Angela Montefinise (2002). "Koreans In Queens: Finding A Second Home In The Borough Of Queens". Queens Tribune. http://www.queenstribune.com/anniversary2002/koreans.htm. 
  23. ^ A Journey Through Chinatown - Downtown Flushing map
  24. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 103." Retrieved on June 17, 2009.
  25. ^ "Library Branch Addresses and Hours". Queens Library. http://www.queenslibrary.org/index.aspx?section_id=12&page_id=303. 
  26. ^ "Flushing". Queens Library. http://www.queenslibrary.org/index.aspx?section_id=12&page_id=44&branch_id=F. 
  27. ^ a b "New York And 22 Big-City Libraries Awarded $15 Million By Carnegie Corp.". Carnegie Corporation of New York. http://www.carnegie.org/sub/news/libibitia.html. "Today, the largest branch library in New York City is the Flushing Library, situated on the site of one of the branch libraries built with Mr. Carnegie's money." 
  28. ^ Behind The Music, Queens Tribune by Stephen McGuire, accessed February 3, 2007
  29. ^ Bland, James Allen, Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Accessed September 23, 2007. "James Bland was born on October 22, 1854, in Flushing, Long Island, New York, to Allen M. Bland and Lidia Ann (Cromwell) Bland, one of 12 children."
  30. ^ Cotter, Holland. "Poetic Theaters, Romantic Fevers", The New York Times, July 13, 2007. Accessed October 8, 2007. "But they meant the world to this intensely shy artist, who lived on sweets, worshiped forgotten divas and made portable shrines to them — his version of spiritual art — in the basement of the small house he shared with his mother and disabled brother in Flushing, Queens."
  31. ^ Experience the glory of Queens - International Herald Tribune

Coordinates: 40°45′57″N 73°49′59″W / 40.765830°N 73.833084°W / 40.765830; -73.833084

Simple English

Flushing is a neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York City. Flushing is the largest urban center in New York and New York's second-biggest Chinatown is located there.

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