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Whitestone is a large residential neighborhood in the northernmost part of the City of New York borough of Queens. Located between the East River to the north and 25th Avenue to the south. Whitestone is surrounded by College Point, Flushing, Bayside, Auburndale, Linden Hill, and Murray Hill. Dutch settlers derived the name of the town from a large limestone boulder that used to lie on the shore of the river. The neighborhood is patrolled by the NYPD's 109th Precinct, and part of Queens Community Board 7. It is traditionally bounded by the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (opened 1939) on the west and the Throgs Neck Bridge (opened 1961) on the east.[1] The zip code of Whitestone is 11357.

Contents

History

The area was, in large part, the estate of Francis Lewis, a delegate to the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The estate was the site of an English raid during the Revolutionary War. Lewis was not present but his wife was taken prisoner and his house was burned to the ground. In the late nineteenth century, many wealthy New Yorkers began building mansions in the area, on what had once been farmland or woodland. Rapid development of the area ensued in the 1920s, however, as trolley and Long Island Rail Road train service on the Whitestone Branch was expanded into the neighborhood. Although this rail service ended during the Great Depression, a small part of the right-of-way was later used by Robert Moses to help construct the Belt Parkway, which includes the Whitestone Expressway which runs along the southeast edge of the former Flushing Airport and through Whitestone. Flushing Airport has been abandoned since 1985; efforts to do something with the land have failed.

Further development came with the building of the Bronx Whitestone Bridge in 1939. The bridge measures 2,300 feet, and was the fourth longest bridge in the world at the time of its construction. The neighborhood is comprised mostly of single to four family homes, tall and small condominiums and co-ops, as well as a large garden apartment complex. Whitestone is located only 25 minutes from Manhattan.

St Nicholas, Russian Orthodox Church
St Luke's, Roman Catholic Church
Roadway on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge
Manhattan-bound 7 train is Whitestone's closest train--located in Flushing
From The Bronx (view of Malba)

Notable community landmarks include St. Luke's Roman Catholic Church, Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church and the DG athletic league. The neighborhood's large Italian community is evident on Sundays when St Luke's RC Church is filled to capacity during its Italian mass. The area around St Luke's consists of a complex of beautifully well kept semi-attached two family homes built in 1970. The Grace Episcopal Church, on Clintonville street in Whitestone, was built in 1858 on land donated by the family of Francis Lewis. The Whitestone Hebrew Centre consists of two buildings on Clintonville Street and was founded in 1929. The Russian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas, with its distinctive great blue onion dome, was built in 1968. The Greek Orthodox Church, Holy Cross, or "Timios Stavros," is located on 150th street. Whitestone Academy is Whitestone's only high school.

Whitestone is largely a European diverse community. Most of Whitestone's residents are of Croatian, Italian, Polish, Irish, German, and Greek descent. There is also a minority of Korean Americans and Hispanic Americans. The population of Whitestone is 57,350.

Transportation

Whitestone is easily accessed from the rest of the city.

Subway

There is no New York City Subway station located within its boundaries.

Road Connections

The Bronx Whitestone Bridge gives access to and from The Bronx. Whitestone is located only 5-10 minutes from the Bronx. The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge carries I-678 across the East River. From the Queens side, the Whitestone Expressway carries I-678 to the bridgehead. The Cross Island Parkway meets up with the Whitestone Expressway 1/2 mile before the bridge.

On the Bronx side, the bridge leads directly into the Bruckner Interchange, which serves as the northern terminus of I-678, which is where the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95), Bruckner Expressway (I-278 & I-95), Hutchinson River Parkway, and the Cross Bronx Expressway extension (I-295) meet. The segment of I-678 between the bridge and the Bruckner Interchange is a depressed freeway.

New York City Bus Service

New York City Bus serves Whitestone on the Q14, Q16, Q20B, Q44, Q34, Q76, Q15, QBx1, x32, QM2 routes. The Q15 via 150th Street to Beechhurst provides access to and from the Flushing-Main Street station on the Number 7 subway line.

Whitestone RailRoad

The Whitestone Branch was a branch of the Long Island Rail Road, running north and east along the left bank of the Flushing River from the Port Washington Branch near the modern Willets Point, Flushing. It crossed the river at one of the three bridges later torn down for the Van Wyck Expressway, then ran north along Flushing Bay and east along the East River to Whitestone. Originally conceived as a branch of the Flushing and North Side Railroad that was intended to lead into Westchester County (a connection that never materialized) in 1869, it was consolidated into the Long Island Rail Road in 1876. Stations consisted of Flushing–Bridge Street, College Point, Malba, Whitestone–14th Avenue, and Whitestone Landing at 155th Street, which later became the Beechhurst Yacht Club. Flushing–Bridge Street Station was built in 1870, College Point, and Whitestone–14th Avenue stations were opened in 1869, and Whitestone Landing Station was built in 1886, all by the F&NS Railroad. Malba station was built in 1909 by the LIRR. The line was abandoned on February 15, 1932.

Famous residents

In the early days of the film industry, celebrities such as Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini and Rudolph Valentino had homes in different areas of Whitestone, most notably in the Northeastern section called Beechhurst. Valentino's summer home still stands at 201-10 Cross Island Parkway, just blocks from the present day Whitestone - Bayside border. Today, the home is under the management of the New York City Department of Parks. Pickford’s Beechhurst home still stands on 160th Street and Powells Cove Boulevard. Poet Walt Whitman, born in Long Island, briefly taught in a one-room school-house in Whitestone while a young man, and is said to have written poetry by the Whitestone seaside. There is no record of the school, which was setup by local farmers of modest means, but Whitman made several references to it years latter in letters to friends from that period in his life. According to H. W. Brands' biography of Theodore Roosevelt, TR: The Last Romantic (1997), the future president visited Whitestone by boat while a college student: "One August day Roosevelt set out (by boat) with cousin Johniee Elliot for Whitestone, more than twenty miles away (from Oyster Bay, where he was staying with his parents). Returning the next day, the pair ran into a squall and several times their boat nearly capsized. They didn't reach the safety of home until after midnight. Roosevelt loved every minute." Actress Drea de Matteo, Singer/Actress Christina Vidal and singer/songwriter Jesse Malin are also Whitestone natives. Current New York Rangers forward Christopher Higgins was born in Whitestone, but eventually moved out to Long Island. Tony Avella resides in Whitestone.

Popular culture

A scene in which a house exploded in the 1996 film Eraser, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vanessa L. Williams, was filmed in Whitestone.[2]

A scene in an episode of The Sopranos was filmed in a bar in Whitestone formerly known as "Fiddler's Green." A scene from the 2000 movie Boiler Room, starring Giovanni Ribisi and Vin Diesel, was filmed in the same bar.

Robert De Niro has resided in Whitestone in the 1970s.

1998 by Rancid mentions Whitestone Queens.

The film "Carlitos Way" was partly filmed in Whitestone

Al Pacino was in the area filming "You Don't know Jack", which is a new HBO Series about Dr. Kevorkian. It also features Brenda Vaccaro, Susan Sarandon and John Goodman.

References

See also

External links

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