Howard Beach in Queens NY

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Howard Beach, although just twenty-five blocks wide and nine blocks long, is filled with families, making it an “all-residential community”. Its small size may lead you to believe that there’s not much to it, but that statement would be very wrong.

Howard Beach has it all: private homes, condominiums, and garden apartments. It’s surrounded by the Belt Parkway on the north, Spring Creek Park on the west, JFK airport on the east, and Jamaica Bay on the south. Most of Howard Beach is populated by Jews and Italians. This little town has great places to eat, too. Rag Time Deli and Brother’s Italian Deli are a couple of favorites for a bite to eat. Besides delicatessens, they have great pizzerias: Joe’s Pizza and Gino’s Pizzeria are two great places like that. But probably the most popular is New Park Pizzeria. New Park Pizzeria was once named to serve the best pizza in Queens.

Not only restaurants, but Howard Beach is packed--literally--with tons of natural beauty and cool places. You name it, they probably have it. Hungry for some desserts? Want to decorate your house but not sure which direction to go? Cross Bay Interiors can help! You can also find places for medicine, fitness, ice cream, pet grooming, and more!

Let's get into some history of Howard Beach. The small town was named after William J. Howard who purchased thirty-seven acres of marsh west of Hawtree Creek in 1897. He brought all the elements together and created what was and still is Howard Beach.

Mr. Howard was more than just “the one who purchased the land”. He is responsible for many of the great features of Howard Beach that are still attractions today. For instance, there is the Howard Cycle Path. This path runs all the way to the park. Walking along Hawtree Avenue, you’ll look down and notice cobblestones, which are also called Belgian Blocks.

I suppose you are wondering about the people who live in Howard Beach. As I stated before, Howard Beach is highly residential. The majority of residents are Italian-American’s, whose ancestors immigrated to lower Manhattan from Italy and then moved to Howard Beach.

Even though there are many Italian-Americans in Howard Beach, there are other cultures that populate the area. For instance, there are people who speak not only Italian and English, but Spanish, Korean, Polish, Russian, and French as well. This diverse community has many programs that bring the community together. For example, there is the Howard Beach Civic Forum. This group is a non-profit type organization that is meant to bring the community together. It has been doing community service for almost a decade. This group is very active in fundraising; it made sure that one million dollars were put aside to make the parks of Howard Beach more appealing. For this project, with the help of the community, the Howard Beach Civic Forum planted 25 trees in the parks. The Howard Beach Civic Forum does a lot of fun things too; it even sponsored its own Easter egg hunt for the town.

The president of the Howard Beach Civic Forum is Stephen Marino. He has led the group to participate in many interesting projects. For example, they instituted a project commemorating 9/11 by making patriotic banners to post up across town. Surprisingly, this whole project cost more than twenty thousand dollars to produce.

In early 2002, they decided to create a local chamber of commerce, beginning with the renovation of the commercial strip that runs along Cross Bay Boulevard. What was interesting about this idea was the inclusion of the neighboring communities of Lindenwood and Coleman Square. The people weren’t just doing this because they wanted to. They were doing it because it was needed. By forming a chamber of commerce they could make sure the town was in better condition and solve problems caused by people breaking laws and such. This is how the whole idea of renovating the parks came up. They wanted the town to be based a little more in “nature”. They achieved this goal by planting trees near and around the Cross Bay Boulevard Mall. Another issue that had to be taken into consideration was the lighting of the park. According to the group, the community of Howard Beach needed the light at night the most because that is when the people jog, run and exercise a lot.

Of course, HBCF has done a lot for the community. There are other organizations too. STARS, the “Striving to Achieve and Reach Success” youth group, is the group that helps bring together the youth of Howard Beach, making them involved in the town. Among the many fun activities they have are yoga, boy’s hip-hop, cheerleading, dance, creative movement and more!

Speaking of the community, there are members of the Howard Beach community that have great notoriety. For instance, there is John Gotti, the crime mob kingpin of Howard Beach. As creepy as this guy once seemed there are many interesting facts about him. When someone ran over his son, the next day, that person was killed. If you did not live in Howard Beach, you probably looked at him as a monster. But to the people of Howard Beach, Gotti was more of a hero. Even though he did some bad things, he did give a lot to the community. After John Gotti died, a lot of people were rejoicing in the streets outside of Howard Beach, but inside the town itself, many of them mourned his death.

Crime mob families aside, Howard Beach, although a small town in size, has proven to its surrounding people that you can be surprised, and that fantastic things come in small packages. As mentioned previously, there are many groups of people that work together to benefit the community. Consequently, it is the people themselves that make Howard Beach what it is--a diverse community of open, hard-working people.

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