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Howard Beach (Queens, New York)
ZIP Code 11414
Population (2000)
Demographics White
Median income $82,800 Upper Middle Class
Source: U.S. Census, Record Information Services
Homes on Hawtree Creek in Howard Beach

Howard Beach is a suburban neighborhood in the southwestern portion of the borough of Queens in New York City. It is bordered in the north by the Belt Parkway and South Conduit Avenue, the south by Jamaica Bay, the east by 102nd-104th Streets and the west by 78th Street. Howard Beach borders the neighborhoods of Ozone Park to the north and Broad Channel to the south. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 10.[1]

Howard Beach is home to a large Italian population. [2] The zip code of Howard Beach is 11414.



Howard Beach was established in the 1890s by William J. Howard, a Brooklyn glove manufacturer who operated a 150 acre (0.61 km²) goat farm on meadow land near Aqueduct Racetrack as a source of skins for kid gloves. In 1897, he bought more land and filled it in, and the following year he built 18 cottages and opened a hotel near the water, which he operated until it was destroyed by fire in October 1907. He gradually bought more land, and formed the Howard Estates Development Company in 1909. He dredged and filled the land until he was able to accumulate 500 acres (2 km²) by 1914. He laid out several streets, water mains and gas mains, and built 35 houses that were priced in the $2,500-$5,000 range.

The Long Island Rail Road established a station that was first named Ramblersville in 1913, and a Post Office by the same name opened soon thereafter. A casino, beach and a fishing pier were added in 1915, and the name was changed to Howard Beach on April 6, 1916. Development continued, and the ownership was expanded to a group of investors who sold lots for about $690 each starting in 1922.


Cross Bay Boulevard, in Howard Beach, Queens NY.

Like most Queens neighborhoods, Howard Beach is composed of several smaller neighborhoods — Howard Beach, Old Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Ramblersville, Rockwood Park, Lindenwood, and Howard Park. Howard Beach proper is a small peninsula bordered by the Belt Parkway and Conduit Avenue on the north, Jamaica Bay on the south, Hawtree Creek on the east separating it from Hamilton Beach and Shellbank Basin on the west that separates it from Cross Bay Boulevard.

Cross Bay Boulevard is the main commercial strip of Howard Beach and going northward it eventually turns into Woodhaven Boulevard after Ozone Park. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the Boulevard was made up almost exclusively of locally-owned shops and restaurants. However starting in the 1990s, chain stores and restaurants began moving in and now many well-known franchises are on the boulevard. Entertainment venues on Cross Bay Boulevard such as the Kiddie-Park and Cross-Bay Lanes were popular until their demise in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge (named for a deceased member of the United States House of Representatives who once represented the district that includes Howard Beach) connects mainland Queens to Broad Channel.

Coleman Square

Bernard Coleman Memorial Square (colloquially Coleman Square) is the small plaza at the Howard Beach-JFK station on the IND Rockaway Line of the New York City Subway (served by the A train) and the AirTrain JFK station in Howard Beach.[2] There is a memorial to servicemen from Howard Beach who died in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.[3]


Joseph Addabbo, Jr., the son of former Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo, represents the area as member of the New York State Senate. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, (D-NY) represents that part of Howard Beach east of Cross Bay Boulevard, while Congressman Anthony D. Weiner, (D-NY) represents the part west of Cross Bay Boulevard. Eric Ulrich is the New York City Councilman for Howard Beach.


The A Train Subway stop in Howard Beach was once a Long Island Rail Road station on the Long Island Rail Road's Rockaway Beach Branch. Frequent fires on the trestle to Broad Channel helped to force the LIRR to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the 1950s which allowed the city to purchase the line from the LIRR in 1956.[4]

The Howard Beach-JFK subway station located at Coleman Square provides a connection to both the A train and AirTrain JFK (and was the terminus of the former JFK Express, known colloquially as the "Train To The Plane," in the late 1970s into the early 1990s). Prior to the AirTrain JFK, the Port Authority provided a free shuttle bus to the terminals at JFK Airport. The Airtrain provides a quick and convenient connection to the terminals of JFK.


For grades 9-12, most residents attend John Adams High School in nearby Ozone Park, Specialty High Schools, such as Beach Channel High School in Rockaway Park or Catholic High Schools, such as Christ the King, St. Francis Prep, or Archbishop Molloy.

Howard Beach 1986 incident

Howard Beach gained some national attention on December 20, 1986 when three African-American men were assaulted by local teenagers, resulting in one death.

At approximately midnight on December 20, 1986, three African-American men, Michael Griffith, 24, Cedric Sandiford, 36, and Timothy Grimes, 20, entered New Park Pizzeria on Cross Bay Boulevard after their car had broken down in the adjacent neighborhood of Broad Channel, approximately three miles to the South. By some witness accounts, a teen driver in a passing car yelled a racial epithet at the men, and a verbal altercation ensued. Three of these teens later returned with seven to nine friends, aged fifteen to eighteen.[5] The three black men fled, pursued by the teens. Grimes escaped unscathed, while Sandiford was caught and assaulted with baseball bats, tree limbs, and fists. Griffith was killed when a car ran over him on the Belt Parkway where he had run while attempting escape. Early the next morning, then-Mayor Ed Koch condemned the crime in the media comparing the incident to a lynching. Then-Governor Mario Cuomo appointed a special prosecutor, Charles J. Hynes.[6][7]

One of the accused youths, Robert D. Riley, the son of a New York City police officer, agreed to cooperate with authorities, in exchange for leniency. Riley fingered Jon L. Lester, Jason Ladone, Scott Kern and Michael Pirone as the ringleaders of the attack. The four teens were charged with manslaughter, second degree murder and first degree assault. After a lengthy trial, Ladone, Kern and Lester were convicted of second degree manslaughter and assault. Ladone was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. Kern got up to 18 years. Lester received 10 to 20 years.[8] As part of his plea bargain, Riley received six months in jail and 400 hours of community service.[9]

A second wave of seven teens were accused of lesser charges; William Bollander, James Povinelli, and Thomas Farino were convicted of second degree riot charges after a lengthy appeals process.[10] Salvatore DeSimone and Harry J. Buonocore plead guilty to the same charge.[11] John Saggese was acquitted of the riot charge, and Thomas Gucciardo was acquitted of the charges of attempted murder, assault and riot.[12][13][14]

Al Sharpton led several protests in the neighborhood [15] Special prosecutor Hynes has since gone on to become the District Attorney of Brooklyn and has written a book about the incident.

2005 incident

Another incident took place on June 29, 2005, when three African-Americans, who were in Howard Beach, tryng to steal a car, when they were attacked with baseball bats. One of them was injured seriously enough to be hospitalized, and two arrests were made in the case. The convicted assailant, Nicholas "Fat Nick" Minucci, had claimed that the victims had attempted to rob him.[16] On June 10, 2006, Minucci, 20, who uttered a racial epithet during the baseball bat attack, was found guilty of the racially motivated assault and robbery of Glenn Moore.[17] On July 17, 2006, Minucci was sentenced to 15 years in prison.[18]

2007 incident

Another incident took place on Halloween night 2007, when a confrontation between minority youths from Brooklyn and white locals resulted in two injured white teens. What caused the confrontation is not certain, but at 10:00 PM a group of 30 to 40 black and hispanic males chased four white youths into a McDonald's restaurant and assaulted two of them. Joseph Friedman was struck in the head with a broom handle that broke on contact. Friedman was taken to the hospital, where the wound was tended to with seven staples.[19] Another victim, Sean Camaratta, was punched in the face and experienced minor injuries. Witnesses reported hearing racial slurs during the attack. Five suspects, Patrick Pugh, George Morales, Victor Tossas, Terrance Scott and Talique Jackson, were later arrested and indicted for assault, menacing and criminal possession offenses. A possible bias motive is still under investigation.[20] The Thursday following the attacks, more than 150 Howard Beach residents marched down 157th Avenue calling for the accused to be charged with hate crimes.[21] Prosecution efforts were hindered when a police lineup produced one positive identification of Tossas but nothing else and DNA tests of the defendants came back negative.[22][23]


As of the 2000 census, there were 28,121 people residing in Howard Beach. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 87.5% White, 2.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.0% African American, 2.3% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. 10.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 47.6% of the population claimed Italian ancestry. 13.9% of the population is foreign-born. The estimated median household income as of 2007 is $69,800 where houses range between $650,000 and $2,000,000+.

Notable residents (past and present)

Notable Media Events

  • A movie was made based on the 1986 racial incident, entitled "Howard Beach: Making A Case For Murder".
  • On The Chris Rock Show, comedian Chris Rock proposed renaming Cross Bay Boulevard after Tupac Shakur, asking the predominantly white residents of the neighborhood to sign a petition.
  • In the 1989 Spike Lee Movie "Do the Right Thing," in a riot scene near the end of the film, a chant rises up: "Howard Beach! Howard Beach! Howard Beach!" This immediately follows a scene wherein a young black man is killed by police using excessive force to break up a fight.


  1. ^ Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Lemire, Jonathan (2002-09-22). "'Small town' has big pride - & image woes: The Howard Beach story". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  3. ^ "Coleman Square, Howard Beach". Bridge and Tunnel Club. 
  4. ^ "Rockaway Branch". Forgotten New York. Retrieved 2006-06-08. 
  5. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1987-10-15). "2 Girls Do Not Support State On Howard Beach Incident". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Schmalz, Jeffrey (1987-01-19). "Cuomo and Howard Beach: Recalling Politcal Roots". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  8. ^ Donohue, Pete (1999-02-08). "No Parole in Slay at Howard Beach". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  9. ^ "Topics of The Times; Beyond Howard Beach". New York Times. 1988-10-14. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  10. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1990-11-29). "Howard Beach Prosecution Ends in Negotiated Sentence". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  11. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1988-05-25). "2d Defendant In Racial Case Pleads Guilty". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  12. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1988-07-15). "Howard Beach Man, 19, Cleared". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  13. ^ Ravo, Nick (1987-02-11). "12 Defendants in Attack Case; A Diverse Group". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  14. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1988-06-22). "5 in Racial Case Refuse to Testify In Second Trial". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Burke, Kerry; El-Ghobashy, Tamer; Gendar, Alison (2005-06-30). "Howard Beach 'Bias' Attack. Bat-Wielding Thug Clubs Black Man". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  17. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (2006-06-10). "Batsman Convicted of Howard Beach Hate Crimes". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  18. ^ Fenner, Austin; Shifrel, Scott (2006-07-18). "Fat Nick Gets 15 Years". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  19. ^ Times Ledger - Attack on white men in Howard Beach may be hate crime: DA
  20. ^ Lambert, Bruce (2007-11-02). "Queens: Clash Investigated as Bias Crime". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  21. ^ American Renaissance News: Howard Beach Rally Claims Anti-White Bias
  22. ^ Bode, Nicole (2007-12-17). "Halloween Attack Raps May Be Dropped". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  23. ^ Bode, Nicole (2008-03-27). "Negative DNA Tests Weaken Assault Case Against Blacks and Hispanic Teens". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  24. ^ Araton, Harvey (1994-09-20). "Sports of The Times; 'We've Lost Another of Our Kids'". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-03. "It was the finals of the United States Open, and it was Gerulaitis, out of Howard Beach, Queens, against McEnroe, out of Douglaston, Queens." 
  25. ^ Raab, Selwyn (2000-04-29). "A Mafia Family's Second Wind; Authorities Say Bonannos, All but Written Off, Are Back". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-12. "A heavyset man, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing about 200 pounds, Mr. Massino lives with his wife, Josephine, in a modest home in Howard Beach, Queens. It is about a block from where his close friend John J. Gotti, the boss of the Gambino family, lived before he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1992 for murder and racketeering." 

Coordinates: 40°39′35″N 73°50′36″W / 40.659611°N 73.843446°W / 40.659611; -73.843446



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