Kew Gardens in Queens NY

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Kew Gardens is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the country. A large community of Jewish refugees from Germany took shape in the area after the Second World War. The neighborhood attracted many Chinese immigrants after 1965, about 2,500 Iranian Jews arrived after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and immigrants from China, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, the former Soviet Union, India, Bangladesh, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Korea settled in Kew Gardens during the 1980s and 1990s. Currently, Kew Gardens has a growing African American and Latino population, as well as Bukharian Jews from Uzbekistan, alongside a significant Orthodox Jewish community. Most recently, Guyanese people from Ozone Park and Richmond Hill have moved to Kew Gardens. Other groups of West Indians such as people from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Jamaica, among others have moved to Kew Gardens in lesser amounts. Many immigrants from Central America, and South America call Kew Gardens their home.

The neighborhood is also teeming with airline personnel because of its proximity to New York's two largest airports. The increase of the Korean population followed the renovation and rededication of the First Church of Kew Gardens, which offers Korean-language services. The local public school, P.S. 99 Queens, has a substantial Hispanic and East Asian population. Kew Gardens is also economically diverse: it is predominantly lower class to upper middle class, but also sees residents at the more extreme ends of the spectrum. Even the local cuisine reflects this diversity in Kew Gardens with Russian, Italian, Indian, Pakistani, Uzbek, Mexican and Peruvian dining available to residents and visitors. In recent years, young professionals and Manhattanites looking for greenery, park-like atmosphere and spacious apartments have moved to the area. Kew Gardens continues to change as these families move in.

History and Development

Maple Grove Cemetery on Kew Gardens Road opened in 1875. A Long Island Rail Road station was built for mourners in October and trains stopped there from mid-November. The station was named Hopedale, after Hopedale Hall, a hotel at what is now Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike. In the 1890s, the executors of Man's estate laid out the QueensBridge Golf Course on the hilly terrains south of the railroad. This remained in use until it was bisected in 1908 by the main line of the Long Island Rail Road, which had been moved 600 feet (180 meters) to the south to eliminate a curve.

The golf course was then abandoned and a new station was built in 1909 on Lefferts Boulevard. Man’s heirs, Aldrick Man and Albon Man Jr. decided to lay out a new community and called it at first Kew and then Kew Gardens after the well-known botanical gardens in England. The architects of the development favored English and neo-Tudor styles, which still predominate in many sections.

In 1910, the property was sold piecemeal by the estate and during the next few years streets were extended, land graded, and water and sewer pipes installed. The first apartment building was the Kew Bolmer at 80-45 Kew Gardens Road, erected in 1915; a clubhouse followed in 1916 and a private school in 1918. In 1920, the Kew Gardens Inn at the railroad station opened for residential guests, who paid $40 a week for a room and a bath with meals. Elegant one-family houses were built in the 1920s, as were apartment buildings such as Colonial Hall (1921) and Kew Hall (1922) that numbered more than twenty by 1936.

In July 1933, the Grand Central Parkway opened from Kew Gardens to the edge of Nassau County; this road was extended in 1935 as the Interborough Parkway to Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York. Because the parkways used part of the roadbed of Union Turnpike no houses were sacrificed.

The greatest change was wrought by the opening of the Independent subway along Queens Boulevard to Union Turnpike on December 31, 1936; four months later, the subway was extended to Jamaica, Queens. Residents could now reach Manhattan and Brooklyn twenty-four hours a day for five cents: midtown Manhattan is still a mere half hour away. The immediate effect was to stimulate the construction of larger apartment buildings like Kent Manor and high-rise buildings along Queens Boulevard, and the last vacant land disappeared.

Kew Gardens remains a densely populated residential community with its commercial center being Lefferts Boulevard between Austin Street and Metropolitan Avenue. This street is the home to many favorite spots, including Kew Gardens Cinemas (indie films and cheap matinée prices), Dani's Pizzeria, and Comic Den The county's civic center, Queens Borough Hall, along with one of the county criminal courts stands at the northern end of the neighborhood, on Queens Boulevard, in a complex extending from Union Turnpike to Hoover Avenue.

Important schools located in Kew Gardens include Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe, Bais Yaakov of Queens and Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah.

Interesting resourse about Old Kew Gardens.

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