Flushing, Queens
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Flushing, Queens

Flushing
Aerial view of the neighborhood
Aerial view of the neighborhood
Location within New York City
Coordinates: 40°45?54?N 73°48?18?W / 40.765°N 73.805°W / 40.765; -73.805Coordinates: 40°45?54?N 73°48?18?W / 40.765°N 73.805°W / 40.765; -73.805
Country United States
State New York
City New York City
County/Borough Queens
Community DistrictQueens 7[1]
Founded1645
Town1683-1898
Named forVlissingen, Netherlands
Population
 o Total72,008 (176,000 with the subsections)
Race/Ethnicity
 o White9.5%
 o Black4.2%
 o Hispanic14.9%
 o Asian69.2%
 o Other2.2%
Economics
 o Median income$39,804
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 o Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
11354, 11355, 11358
Area codes718, 347, 929, and 917

Flushing is a neighborhood in the north-central portion of the New York City borough of Queens. The neighborhood is the fourth-largest central business district in New York City.[3][4] Downtown Flushing, a major commercial and retail area centered around the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, is the third-busiest intersection in New York City, behind Times Square and Herald Square.[5]

Flushing was established as a settlement of New Netherland on October 10, 1645, on the eastern bank of Flushing Creek. It was named Vlissingen, after the Dutch city of Vlissingen. The English took control of New Amsterdam in 1664, and when Queens County was established in 1683, the "Town of Flushing" was one of the original five towns of Queens. In 1898, Flushing was consolidated into the City of New York. Development came in the early 20th century with the construction of bridges and public transportation. An immigrant population, composed mostly of Chinese and Koreans, settled in Flushing in the late 20th century.

Flushing contains numerous residential subsections, and its diversity is reflected by the numerous ethnic groups that reside there. Flushing is served by several stations on the Long Island Rail Road's Port Washington Branch, as well as the New York City Subway's IRT Flushing Line ( and ​ trains), which has its terminus at Main Street.

Flushing is located in Queens Community District 7, and its ZIP Codes are 11354, 11355, and 11358.[1] It is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 109th Precinct.

History

Old Flushing Burial Ground, used in 17th and 18th centuries, now a park

Precolonial and colonial history

Flushing was originally inhabited by the Matinecoc Indians prior to colonization and European settlement.[6]

Dutch colony

On October 10, 1645, Flushing was established on the eastern bank of Flushing Creek under charter of the Dutch West India Company and was part of the New Netherland colony that was governed from New Amsterdam (Lower Manhattan). The settlement was named Vlissingen, after the city of Vlissingen, which was the European base of the Dutch West India company. By 1657, the residents called the place "Vlishing." Eventually, the formal traditional English name for the Dutch town, "Flushing", would be settled upon (despite being a Dutch colony, many of the local early settlers were British, who trickled down from nearby Connecticut colony).[7]

Unlike all other towns in the region, the charter of Flushing allowed residents freedom of religion as practiced in Holland "without the disturbance of any magistrate or ecclesiastical minister." However, in 1656, New Amsterdam Director-General Peter Stuyvesant issued an edict prohibiting the harboring of Quakers. On December 27, 1657, the inhabitants of Flushing approved a protest known as The Flushing Remonstrance. This petition contained religious arguments even mentioning freedom for "Jews, Turks, and Egyptians," but ended with a forceful declaration that any infringement of the town charter would not be tolerated. Subsequently, a farmer named John Bowne held Quaker meetings in his home and was arrested for this and deported to Holland. Eventually he persuaded the Dutch West India Company to allow Quakers and others to worship freely.[8] As such, Flushing is claimed to be a birthplace of religious freedom in the New World.[9] 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 Remonstrance was signed at a house on the site of the former State Armory, now a police facility, on the south side Northern Boulevard between Linden Place and Union Street.

English colony

In 1664, the English took control of New Amsterdam, ending Dutch control of the New Netherlands colony, and renamed it the Province of New York. When Queens County was established in 1683, the "Town of Flushing" was one of the original five towns which comprised the county.[10] Many historical references to Flushing are to this town, bounded from Newtown on the west by Flushing Creek (now Flushing River), from Jamaica on the south by the watershed, and from Hempstead on the east by what later became the Nassau County line. The town was dissolved in 1898 when Queens became a borough of New York City, and the term "Flushing" today usually refers to a much smaller area, for example the former Village of Flushing.

Ash Street, now called Ash Avenue, in the early 20th century

Flushing was a seat of power as the Province of New York up to the American Revolution was led by Governor Cadwallader Colden, based at his Spring Hill estate.[11][12]

Flushing was the site of the first commercial tree nurseries in North America, the most prominent being the Prince, Bloodgood, and Parsons nurseries.[13] A 14-acre (5.7 ha) tract of Parsons's exotic specimens was preserved on the north side of Kissena Park.[14] The nurseries are also commemorated in the names of west-east avenues that intersect Kissena Boulevard; the streets are named after plants and ordered alphabetically from Ash Avenue in the north to Rose Avenue in the south.[15] Flushing also supplied trees to the Greensward Project, now known as Central Park in Manhattan.[16] Well into the 20th century, Flushing contained many horticultural establishments and greenhouses.

During the American Revolution, Flushing, along with most settlements in present-day Queens County, favored the British and quartered British troops, though one battalion of Scottish Highlanders is known to have been stationed at Flushing during the war. 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.

Flushing in 1882

The 1785 Kingsland Homestead, originally the residence of a wealthy Quaker merchant, now serves as the home of the Queens Historical Society.[17]

19th century

Map of Flushing in 1891

During the 19th century, as New York City continued to grow in population and economic vitality, so did Flushing. Its proximity to Manhattan was critical in its transformation into a fashionable residential area. On April 15, 1837, the Village of Flushing was incorporated within the Town of Flushing.[18][19] The official seal was merely the words, "Village of Flushing", surrounded by nondescript flowers. No other emblem or flag is known to have been used. The Village of Flushing included the neighborhoods of Flushing Highlands, Bowne Park, Murray Hill, Ingleside, and Flushing Park.[19]

The Flushing and North Side Railroad opened its Port Washington Branch to Flushing in 1854, providing access to Hunters Point on the East River shore.[20] By the mid-1860s, Queens County had 30,429 residents. The Village of College Point was incorporated in 1867,[21] and the Village of Whitestone was incorporated in 1868. The first free public high school in what is now New York City was established in Flushing in 1875. Flushing, then a small village, established a library in 1858, the oldest in Queens County and only slightly younger than the library of the City of Brooklyn (built in 1852).

In 1898, although opposed to the proposal, the Town of Flushing (along with two other towns and other land 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. A major factor in this was the Halleran real estate agency. From the American Civil War to the end of the 1930s its slogan "Ask Mr. Halleran!" could be seen in ads all over Long Island, and the phrase from its maps "So This Is Flushing" became a catchphrase.[22][23]

20th-century development

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 Queensboro Bridge over the East River opened, connecting Queens County to midtown Manhattan.[24] With the opening of Pennsylvania Station the next year, the Port Washington Branch, now part of the Long Island Rail Road, started running to midtown Manhattan.[25] Broadway, a main roadway through Flushing, was widened and renamed Northern Boulevard.[26] The Roosevelt Avenue Bridge over the Flushing River, which carries four lanes of traffic and the New York City Subway's elevated Flushing Line ( and ​ trains), was the largest trunnion bascule bridge in the world when it was completed in 1927.[27][28] The next year, the Main Street terminal of the Flushing subway line opened in downtown Flushing, giving the neighborhood direct subway access.[29]

Flushing was a forerunner of Hollywood, when the young American film industry was still based on the U.S. 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.

Main Street, 1920

Asian communities

In the 1970s, immigrants from Taiwan established a foothold in Flushing, whose demographic constituency had been predominantly non-Hispanic white, interspersed with a small Japanese community. Additionally, a large South Korean population also called Flushing home. The Taiwanese immigrants were the first wave of Chinese immigrants who spoke Mandarin (Taiwanese also spoken) rather than Cantonese to arrive in New York City. Many Taiwanese immigrants were additionally Hokkien and had relatives or connections to Fujian province in China, which led to large influxes of Fuzhounese Americans.

Over the years, many new non-Cantonese ethnic Chinese immigrants from different regions and provinces of China started to arrive in New York City and settled in Flushing through word of mouth. This wave of immigrants spoke Mandarin and various regional/provincial dialects. The early 1990s and 2000s brought a wave of Fuzhounese Americans and Wenzhounese immigrants, who mostly spoke Mandarin, and who settled in Flushing as well as Elmhurst. Flushing's Chinese population became diverse over the next few decades as people from different provinces started to arrive.[30][31][32][33] Due to loosened emigration restrictions in mainland China, there has been a growing Northern Chinese population in Flushing. The regional food cuisines have led to Flushing being considered the "food mecca" for Chinese regional cuisine outside of Asia.[34][35]

21st-century transformation

In the 21st century, Flushing has cemented its status as an international "melting pot", predominantly attracting immigrants from Asia, particularly from throughout the various provinces of China, but including newcomers from all over the world. Flushing Chinatown is centered around Main Street and the area to its west, most prominently along Roosevelt Avenue, which have become the primary nexus of Flushing Chinatown. However, Chinatown continues to expand southeastward along Kissena Boulevard and northward beyond Northern Boulevard. The Flushing Chinatown houses over 30,000 individuals born in China alone, the largest Chinatown by this metric outside Asia and one of the largest and fastest-growing Chinatowns in the world.[36] In January 2019, the New York Post named Flushing as New York City's "most dynamic outer-borough neighborhood."[37]

Streetscape

The busy intersection of Main Street, Kissena Boulevard, and 41st Avenue in the Flushing Chinatown (), Downtown Flushing, the third-busiest pedestrian intersection in New York City. The segment of Main Street between Kissena Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, punctuated by the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington Branch overpass, represents the cultural heart of Flushing Chinatown. Housing over 30,000 individuals born in China alone, the largest by this metric outside Asia, Flushing has become home to the largest and one of the fastest-growing Chinatowns in the world, known as the "Chinese Times Square" or the "Chinese Manhattan".[38][39][36]

Demographics

Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Flushing was 72,008, an increase of 2,646 (3.8%) from the 69,362 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 853.06 acres (345.22 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 84.4 inhabitants per acre (54,000/sq mi; 20,900/km2).[2]

The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 9.5% (6,831) White, 4.2% (3,016) African American, 0.1% (74) Native American, 69.2% (49,830) Asian, 0.1% (59) Pacific Islander, 0.2% (172) from other races, and 1.8% (1,303) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.9% (10,723) of the population.[40]

The entirety of Community Board 7, which comprises Flushing, College Point, and Whitestone, had 263,039 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 84.3 years.[41]:2, 20 This is longer than the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods.[42]:53 (PDF p. 84)[43] Most inhabitants are middle-aged and elderly: 22% are between the ages of between 25-44, 30% between 45-64, and 18% over 65. The ratio of youth and college-aged residents was lower, at 17% and 7% respectively.[41]:2

As of 2017, the median household income in Community Board 7 was $51,284.[44] In 2018, an estimated 25% of Flushing and Whitestone residents lived in poverty, compared to 19% in all of Queens and 20% in all of New York City. One in seventeen residents (6%) were unemployed, compared to 8% in Queens and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 57% in Flushing and Whitestone, higher than the boroughwide and citywide rates of 53% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018, Flushing and Whitestone are considered to be high-income relative to the rest of the city and not gentrifying.[41]:7

Cultural enclaves

Diverse Chinese communities

Chinatown, Flushing
Flushing, After the Rain.jpg
The intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

Flushing Chinatown, or Mandarin Town[45] is the world's largest and one of the fastest-growing Chinatowns, known as the "Chinese Times Square" or the "Chinese Manhattan".[38][39] In Mandarin, Flushing is known as "Falasheng" (Chinese: ; pinyin: F?l?shèng).[46] The Chinatown of Flushing is centered around the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, and many of the area's Chinese businesses are located on the blocks around, or west of, Main Street.[36] However, Chinatown continues to expand southeastward along Kissena Boulevard and northward beyond Northern Boulevard.

In the 1970s, a Chinese community established a foothold in the neighborhood of Flushing, whose demographic constituency had been predominantly non-Hispanic white. Taiwanese began the surge of immigration, followed by other groups of Chinese.[30] A 1986 estimate by the Flushing Chinese Business Association approximated 60,000 Chinese in Flushing alone.[47] By 1990, Asians constituted 41% of the population of the core area of Flushing, with Chinese in turn representing 41% of the Asian population.[30] However, ethnic Chinese are constituting an increasingly dominant proportion of the Asian population as well as of the overall population in Flushing and its Chinatown. High rates of both legal[48][49] and illegal[50] immigration from Mainland China continue to spur the ongoing rise of the ethnic Chinese population in Flushing. According to a Daily News article in 2011, Flushing's Chinatown ranked as New York City's second largest Chinese community with 33,526 Chinese, surpassed only by the Brooklyn Chinatown (), and larger than Manhattan's Chinatown.[51]

Street vendor selling fruit under the Flushing-Main Street LIRR station

Flushing now rivals Manhattan's Chinatown as a center of Chinese culture.[52][53] The Lunar New Year Parade has become a growing annual celebration of Chinese New Year. In addition, several Chinese supermarkets such as Hong Kong Supermarket and New York Supermarket have locations in Flushing.[54][55][56] The World Journal, one of the largest Chinese-language newspapers outside China, is headquartered in adjacent Whitestone.[57] Numerous other Chinese- and English-language publications are available in Flushing, including SinoVision, one of North America's largest Chinese language television networks.

The popular styles of Chinese cuisine are ubiquitously accessible in Flushing,[58] including Hakka, Taiwanese, Shanghainese, Hunanese, Szechuan, Cantonese, Fujianese, Xinjiang, Zhejiang, and Korean Chinese cuisine. Even the relatively obscure Dongbei style of cuisine indigenous to Northeast China is now available in Flushing,[59] as well as Mongolian cuisine and Uyghur cuisine.[39] Varieties of Chinese spoken in Flushing include Mandarin Chinese,[60]Fuzhou dialect, Min Nan (Hokkien), Wu Chinese (Wenzhounese, Shanghainese, Suzhou dialect, Hangzhou dialect), and Cantonese; in addition, the Mongolian language is now emerging. Given its rapidly growing status, the Flushing Chinatown has surpassed in size and population the original New York City Chinatown in the borough of Manhattan[36] and this substantial growth has resulted in a commensurate rise in this Chinatown's cultural status.[61]

In accompaniment with its rapid growth, Flushing in particular has witnessed the proliferation of highly competitive businesses touted as educational centers as well as non-profit organizations declaring the intent to educate the community. Some entities offer education in Mandarin, the most spoken Chinese variety in mainland China.[62] A diverse array of social services geared toward assisting recent as well as established Chinese immigrants is readily available in Flushing.[63]

Korean community

Koreatown

There is a Koreatown which originated in Flushing, but has since spread eastward to Murray Hill, Bayside, Douglaston, and Little Neck in Queens, and also into Nassau County. The Koreatown has historically been centered around Union Street, with the later growth being concentrated around Northern Boulevard east of Union Street.[64][65][66][67][68] As of the 2010 United States Census, the Korean population of Queens was 64,107.[69]

In the 1980s, a continuous stream of Korean immigrants emerged into Flushing, many of whom began as workers in the medical field or Korean international students who had moved to New York City to find or initiate professional or entrepreneurial positions.[65] They established a foothold on Union Street in Flushing between 35th and 41st Avenues,[65] featuring restaurants and karaoke (noraebang) bars, grocery markets, education centers and bookstores, banking institutions, offices, consumer electronics vendors, apparel boutiques, and other commercial enterprises.[64] As the community grew in wealth and population and rose in socioeconomic status, Koreans expanded their presence eastward along Northern Boulevard, buying homes in more affluent and less dense neighborhoods in Queens and Nassau County.[64][70] This expansion has led to the creation of an American Meokjagolmok, or Korean Restaurant Street, around the Murray Hill station.[64] The eastward pressure to expand was also created by the inability to move westward due to the Flushing Chinatown on Main Street.[65] Per the 2010 United States Census, the Korean population of Queens was 64,107,[69] representing the largest municipality in the United States with a density of at least 500 Korean Americans per square mile.[71] The Korean American population, consisting of 218,764 individuals in the New York metropolitan area,[72] is the second largest population of ethnic Koreans outside Korea.

The Korea Times, a news organization based in Seoul, carries a significant presence in the Long Island Koreatown. The Long Island Koreatown features numerous restaurants that serve both traditional and/or regional Korean cuisine. Korean is spoken frequently alongside English and Chinese varieties, and retail signs employing the Hangul () alphabet are ubiquitous. A significant array of social services toward assisting recent and established Korean immigrants is available in Koreatown. There is also a significant population of Korean-Chinese or Chinese-Koreans in Flushing who can speak Mandarin, Korean, and English.[73]

Other ethnic communities

The neighborhood of East Flushing, technically within Greater Flushing, also houses a substantial Chinese community along with most of Downtown Flushing. However, East Flushing also substantially includes Irish, Greek, Russian, Italian and Jewish communities, as well as communities of Indians, Sri Lankans, Malaysians, and Hispanics, mostly Colombians and Salvadorans. This neighborhood tends to be more diverse visibly than Downtown Flushing because of the more even distribution of the ethnicities of East Flushing residents resulting in more ethnic businesses catering to each community rather than the dominance of Chinese and to a lesser extent Korean businesses in Downtown Flushing.

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 Whites, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans.

An area south of Franklin Avenue houses a concentration of Indian, Pakistani, Afghan, and Bangladeshi markets. This concentration of Indian American and other South Asian American businesses south of Franklin Avenue has existed since the late 1970s, one of the oldest Little India in North America. The Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthanam (Sanskrit ?, Tamil ?) at 45-57 Bowne Street in Flushing was the very first of the traditional Hindu temples in the US.[74][75] However, Indians are migrating eastward into neighborhoods in northeastern Queens and into Nassau County, as with many Chinese and Korean immigrants.

Subsections

Broadway-Flushing

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. Much of the area has been rezoned by the City of New York to preserve the low density, residential quality of the neighborhood. The neighborhood awaits designation as an Historic District by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Broadway-Flushing is approximately bounded by 29th Avenue to the north, Northern Boulevard and Crocheron Avenue to the south, 155th Street to the west, and 172nd Streets to the east.

Linden Hill

Linden Hill is bound by 25th Avenue to Willets Point Boulevard to the north, 154th Street to the east, Northern Boulevard to the south and the Whitestone Expressway to the west.[76]

Linden Hill was originally a rural estate owned by the Mitchell family. Ernest Mitchell owned an adjacent area known as Breezy Hill and his father owned the area now called Linden Hill.[77] The two areas are sometimes referred to as Mitchell-Linden. A major change in the rural nature of Linden Hill occurred in the early 1950s. Neisloss Brothers with architect Benjamin Braunstein envisioned a cooperative project to be set on Linden Hill and landfill of an adjacent swamp which would provide middle-income housing to veterans of World War II and the Korean War[77] under Section 213 of the Federal Housing Act of 1950.[78] Gerace and Castagna with architects Samuel Paul and Seymour Jarmul subsequently developed the larger Linden Towers several years after this. Paul was additionally the architect of Embassy Arms. In total, 41 six-story buildings containing 3,146 apartments comprising the Linden Hill, Mitchell Gardens, Linden Towers, and Embassy Arms cooperatives were erected.

Once a primarily European-American neighborhood, Linden Hill is now a diverse mix of European-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latino-Americans. The Asian-American population has expanded markedly in the southern part of Linden Hill in the past decade (as it has throughout Flushing) and the Latino-American population has also grown noticeably. Conversely, the European-American population has lessened somewhat, though European-Americans still remain in great numbers north of Bayside Avenue, west of 149th Street.

Murray Hill

Map of Murray Hill (including Broadway-Flushing)

Murray Hill is bounded by 150th Street to the west and 160th Street to the east and straddles ZIP Codes 11354, 11355, and 11358.[79] Traditionally the home of families of Irish and Italian immigrants, many Korean and Chinese immigrants have moved into Murray Hill in recent years. Murray Hill within Flushing is often confused with the larger Murray Hill neighborhood on the East Side of Manhattan.[79][80]

Before the area was developed for residential housing in 1889, Murray Hill was the location of several large nurseries owned by the King, Murray, and Parsons families.[81] The Kingsland Homestead has been preserved as the home of the Queens Historical Society.[79] The Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden is also located in Murray Hill.[82]Comic strip artist Richard F. Outcault, the creator of The Yellow Kid and Buster Brown, lived on 147th Street in Murray Hill.[83]

Queensboro Hill

Queensboro Hill in southern Flushing is bordered to the west by College Point Boulevard, to the north by Kissena Park and Kissena Corridor Park, to the south by Reeves Avenue and the Long Island Expressway, and to the east by Kissena Boulevard. Queensboro Hill is a part of ZIP Codes 11355 and 11367 and contains the NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens hospital. One of the leading churches is the Queensboro Hill Community Church, a multi-racial congregation of the Reformed Church in America. Turtle Playground serves the residents of this section of Flushing. This area is often referred to as South Flushing.

Waldheim

Map of Waldheim, early 20th century

The Waldheim neighborhood, an estate subdivision in Flushing constructed primarily between 1875 and 1925, is bound by 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 Kissena Park. a small district of upscale "in-town" suburban architecture. Waldheim, German for "home in the woods", is known for its large homes of varying architectural styles and is laid out in an unusual street pattern.[84]

Waldheim was the home of some of Flushing's wealthiest residents until the 1960s. Notable residents include the Helmann family of condiment fame, the Steinway piano-making family, as well as A. Douglas Nash, who managed a nearby Tiffany glass plant. Starting in the 1980s, homes in Waldheim were destroyed by the Korean American Presbyterian Church of Queens, one of the area's largest land owners.[85] In 2008 the city rezoned the neighborhood 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, and as of 2017, structures in Waldheim were still being torn down.[86]

Points of interest

Houses of worship

Free Synagogue of Flushing, located at 41-60 Kissena Boulevard, near Sanford Avenue
Pure Presbyterian Church, located at 142-08 32nd Avenue, near Union Street

Flushing is among the most religiously diverse communities in America. Today, Flushing abounds with houses of worship, ranging from the Dutch colonial epoch Quaker Meeting House, the historic Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Queens, St. Andrew Avellino Roman Catholic Church, St. George's Episcopal Church, the Free Synagogue of Flushing, the Congregation of Georgian Jews, St. Mel Roman Catholic Church, St. Michael's Catholic Church, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine Church, Holy Annunciation Russian Orthodox Church, St. John's Lutheran Church, Queensboro Hill Community Church, Hindu Temple Society of North America, and the Muslim Center of New York.[87]

There are more than 200 houses of worship in Flushing.[88] "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."[89]

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 Remonstrants cited the Flushing Town charter of 1645 which promised liberty of conscience.[9]

Landmarks, museums, and cultural institutions

Fitzgerald-Ginsberg Mansion

Flushing has many registered New York City Landmarks, several of which are also located on the National Register of Historic Places. Several city landmarks are located on the Queens Historical Society's Freedom Mile.[90]Flushing Town Hall on Northern Boulevard is the headquarters of the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and houses a concert hall and cultural center.[91] Other landmarks include the Bowne House,[92]Kingsland Homestead,[93] the Weeping Beech,[94]Old Quaker Meeting House,[95]Flushing High School,[96]St. George's Church,[97] the Lewis H. Latimer House,[98] and the inside of the former RKO Keith's movie theater.[99] The Flushing Armory, on Northern Boulevard, was formerly used by the National Guard.[100]

There are several other landmarks in Flushing, but outside the Freedom Mile. These include the Protestant Reformed Dutch Church of Flushing,[101] the Fitzgerald/Ginsberg Mansion,[102] on Bayside Avenue and the Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden.[103] In addition, the Broadway-Flushing Historic District, Free Synagogue of Flushing, United States Post Office, and Main Street Subway Station (Dual System IRT) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[104]

The Queens Botanical Garden is located on 39 acres (16 ha) between College Point Boulevard and Main Street.[105] It has been in operation continuously since its opening as an exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair,[106] and has been at its current location since 1963.[107] The Botanical Garden carries on Flushing's horticultural tradition that dates back to the area's 18th-century tree nurseries and seed farms.[106]

Parks

Arthur Ashe Stadium, built in 1997 at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, is the world's largest tennis-specific stadium.
Citi Field, built in 2009 at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, is the home of Major League Baseball's New York Mets.

Public parks and playgrounds in Flushing are supervised by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, an 897-acre (3.63 km2) park, is the largest park in Queens.[108][109] The site hosted two World's Fairs, in 1939-1940 and 1964-1965, and the park infrastructure reflects the construction undertaken for the Fairs.[110][111] The northern part of the park contains Citi Field, home of the New York Mets of Major League Baseball; the field, opened in 2009, replaced the former Shea Stadium.[112] To the south is the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center which is the home of the US Tennis Open.[113]

Several attractions were originally developed for the World's Fairs in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. One of the most prominent is the Unisphere, the iconic 12-story-high stainless steel globe that served as the centerpiece for the 1964 New York World's Fair, which was made a city landmark.[114] Additionally, 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; the New York Hall of Science; and the Queens Zoo.[115] The New York State Pavilion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.[104]

Other parks

Malls

Flushing Commons, seen from Lippmann Plaza near 39th Avenue and 138th Street

Many shopping malls and entertainment centers have emerged in the heart of Flushing. These multi-use businesses serve as sites for both business and leisure.

  • Queens Crossing, at 39th Avenue and 136th Street, which opened in 2017.[120]
  • New World Mall, at Roosevelt Avenue east of Main Street
  • One Fulton Square, at 39th Avenue and Prince Street, which opened in 2014.[121]
  • The Shops at Skyview Center, at College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, which opened in 2010.[122] The mall also contains a condominium development atop it.[123]
  • Flushing Commons, at 39th Avenue and Union Street, which opened its first phase in 2017. This is a multi-phase retail and housing development project.[124]
  • Tangram, at 39th Avenue and 133rd Street. It is in development and set to house the first 4DX movie theater in Queens.[125]

Police and crime

Flushing, College Point, and Whitestone are patrolled by the 109th Precinct of the NYPD, located at 37-05 Union Street.[126] The 109th Precinct ranked 9th safest out of 69 patrol areas for per-capita crime in 2010.[127] As of 2018, with a non-fatal assault rate of 17 per 100,000 people, Flushing and Whitestone's rate of violent crimes per capita is less than that of the city as a whole. The incarceration rate of 145 per 100,000 people is lower than that of the city as a whole.[41]:8

The 109th Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 83.7% between 1990 and 2018. The precinct reported 6 murders, 30 rapes, 202 robberies, 219 felony assaults, 324 burglaries, 970 grand larcenies, and 126 grand larcenies auto in 2018.[128]

Fire safety

Flushing contains the following New York City Fire Department (FDNY) fire stations:[129]

  • Engine Company 273/Ladder Company 129 - 40-18 Union Street[130]
  • Engine Company 274/Battalion 52 - 41-20 Murray Street[131]
  • Engine Company 320/Ladder Company 167 - 36-18 Francis Lewis Boulevard[132]

In addition, FDNY EMS Station 52 is located at 135-16 38th Avenue.

Health

As of 2018, preterm births and births to teenage mothers are less common in Flushing and Whitestone than in other places citywide. In Flushing and Whitestone, there were 63 preterm births per 1,000 live births (compared to 87 per 1,000 citywide), and 8 births to teenage mothers per 1,000 live births (compared to 19.3 per 1,000 citywide).[41]:11 Flushing and Whitestone have a higher than average population of residents who are uninsured. In 2018, this population of uninsured residents was estimated to be 14%, slightly higher than the citywide rate of 12%.[41]:14

The concentration of fine particulate matter, the deadliest type of air pollutant, in Flushing and Whitestone is 0.0073 milligrams per cubic metre (7.3×10-9 oz/cu ft), less than the city average.[41]:9 Thirteen percent of Flushing and Whitestone residents are smokers, which is lower than the city average of 14% of residents being smokers.[41]:13 In Flushing and Whitestone, 13% of residents are obese, 8% are diabetic, and 22% have high blood pressure--compared to the citywide averages of 22%, 8%, and 23% respectively.[41]:16 In addition, 15% of children are obese, compared to the citywide average of 20%.[41]:12

Ninety-five percent of residents eat some fruits and vegetables every day, which is higher than the city's average of 87%. In 2018, 71% of residents described their health as "good," "very good," or "excellent," lower than the city's average of 78%.[41]:13 For every supermarket in Flushing and Whitestone, there are 6 bodegas.[41]:10

The nearest major hospitals are NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens and Flushing Hospital Medical Center.[133] NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens serves Flushing as well as surrounding communities with comprehensive medical care services.[134] Numerous tertiary medical clinics also serve the residents of Flushing.

Post offices and ZIP Codes

Flushing is covered by multiple ZIP Codes. Downtown Flushing and western Murray Hill is covered by 11354; south Flushing, including Queensboro Hill and Waldheim, is included in 11355; and eastern Murray Hill and Broadway-Flushing fall within 11358. ZIP Codes 11356 and 11357, which are part of College Point and Whitestone respectively, also cover small parts of northern Flushing and Linden Hill.[135] The United States Post Office operates three post offices nearby:

ZIP Codes prefixed with 113 are administered from a sectional center at the Flushing Post Office. The 113-prefixed area extends west to Elmhurst and Jackson Heights; southwest to Ridgewood; south to Forest Hills; southeast to Fresh Meadows; and east to Bayside and Little Neck.[139]

Education

Flushing and Whitestone generally have a similar rate of college-educated residents to the rest of the city as of 2018. While 37% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 23% have less than a high school education and 40% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 39% of Queens residents and 43% of city residents have a college education or higher.[41]:6 The percentage of Flushing and Whitestone students excelling in math rose from 55% in 2000 to 78% in 2011, and reading achievement rose from 57% to 59% during the same time period.[140]

Flushing and Whitestone's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is less than the rest of New York City. In Flushing and Whitestone, 9% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, lower than the citywide average of 20%.[42]:24 (PDF p. 55)[41]:6 Additionally, 86% of high school students in Flushing and Whitestone graduate on time, more than the citywide average of 75%.[41]:6

Public schools

IS 237
The East-West School

Flushing's public schools are operated by the New York City Department of Education. Flushing contains the following public elementary schools, which serve grades PK-5 unless otherwise indicated:[141]

  • PS 20 John Bowne[142]
  • PS 21 Edward Hart[143]
  • PS 22 Thomas Jefferson[144]
  • PS 24 Andrew Jackson (grades K-5)[145]
  • PS 32 State Street[146]
  • PS 107 Thomas A. Dooley[147]
  • PS 120[148]
  • PS 163 Flushing Heights[149]
  • PS 214 Cadwallader Colden[150]
  • PS 242 Leonard P Stavisky Early Childhood School (grades PK-3)[151]
  • PS 244 The Active Learning Elementary School (grades PK-3)[152]

Public middle schools include:[141]

The eight public high schools in Flushing are:[141]

Private schools

The private high schools include:

On December 22, 1980,[158]The Japanese School of New York moved from Jamaica Estates, Queens into Fresh Meadows, Queens,[159] near Flushing. In 1991, the school moved to Yonkers in Westchester County, New York, before moving to Greenwich, Connecticut in 1992.[158]

As a result of the high number of Chinese and Korean immigrants with (Confucius) educationally orientated outlooks, there is a large number of cram schools (Buxiban and hagwon) located not only in Flushing, but also following Northern Blvd. west into Nassau County.[160]

Higher education

Queens College's Student Union building

Queens College, founded in 1937, is a senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), and is commonly misconstrued to be within Flushing neighborhood limits due to its Flushing mailing address. It is actually located in the nearby neighborhood of Kew Gardens Hills 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, and was located at 65-21 Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills until 2012.[161] It moved to Long Island City for the Fall 2012 Semester. The Law School operates Main Street Legal Services Corp., a legal services clinic.

Libraries

Branch of the Queens Public Library in Flushing

Flushing contained the first public library in Queens, founded in 1858. Today, Queens Public Library contains five libraries in Flushing.[162]

The largest of the libraries is the Flushing branch, located at the intersection of Kissena Boulevard and Main Street in Flushing's central business district.[163] It is the busiest branch of the Queens Public Library,[163][164] the highest-circulation system in the United States.[165] This library has 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 Carnegie library, built through a gift of Andrew Carnegie.[164]

The other branches are:

  • East Flushing - 196-36 Northern Boulevard[166]
  • McGoldrick - 155-06 Roosevelt Avenue[167]
  • Mitchell-Linden - 31-32 Union Street[168]
  • Queensboro Hill - 60-05 Main Street[169]

In addition, the Auburndale, Hillcrest, and Pomonok libraries carry Flushing addresses but are not located in Flushing proper.[162]

Transportation

Public transportation

The following MTA Regional Bus Operations bus routes serve Flushing:[170]

The n20G Nassau Inter-County Express bus route, which runs along Sanford Avenue and Northern Boulevard, terminates in Flushing.[170]

The Flushing-Main Street, the terminal station of the IRT Flushing Line ( and ​ trains)

There is one New York City Subway station in Flushing, the Flushing-Main Street station at Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, served by the and ​ trains.[171] It is one of the busiest stations in the New York City Subway system as of 2018[172]

The Long Island Rail Road's Port Washington Branch also serves Flushing via the following stations:[173]

Roads

Major highways that serve the area include the Van Wyck Expressway and Whitestone Expressway (Interstate 678), Grand Central Parkway, and Long Island Expressway (Interstate 495). Northern Boulevard (part of New York State Route 25A) extends from the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City through Flushing into Nassau County.

Political clout

The political stature of Flushing appears to be increasing significantly, with many Chinese from Flushing becoming New York City Council members. Taiwan-born John Liu, former New York City Council member representing District 20, which includes Flushing and other northern Queens neighborhoods, was elected New York City Comptroller in November 2009. In 2018 Liu defeated incumbent Tony Avella to become the first of two Asian Americans in the New York State Senate.

At the same time, Shanghai-born Peter Koo was elected to succeed Liu to assume this council membership seat. Additionally, in 2012 Flushing resident Grace Meng, a State Assembly Member, was elected to Congress as the first Asian-American member of the United States House of Representatives from the eastern United States.

In 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 and Roosevelt Ave.
  • 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 Boulevard in Flushing.[174]
  • 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 was born in Flushing Hospital.
  • Flushing was the location of the Stark Industries (later Stark International) munitions plant in Marvel Comics' original Iron Man series. In the movie Iron Man 2, the Stark Expo is located in Flushing.
  • On the Norman Lear-produced TV show All in the Family, in the episode when Edith Bunker was arrested for shoplifting, she mentions the names of a few long-gone stores that were in downtown Flushing. The Bunkers also mention having lived on Union Street in Flushing.
  • The main characters of The Black Stallion series resided in Flushing and many of Flushing's streets and landmarks in the 1940s were mentioned in the first book.
  • In the musical Hair, the character Claude Bukowski is from Flushing.
  • The 2014 novel Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish takes place largely in Flushing and surrounding neighborhoods. The novel depicts the unlikely romance between an Iraq War veteran and a Uighur immigrant.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby alludes to Flushing: "About half way between West Egg (Great Neck) and New York, the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile."[175]

Notable people

See also

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