Corona is a densely populated lower middle class neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, in the United States. It is neighbored by Flushing to the east, Jackson Heights to the west, Forest Hills and Rego Park to the south, Elmhurst to the southwest, and East Elmhurst to the north. Corona has a multicultural population with a Latino majority, and is the site of historic African American and Italian American communities. There is also a significant Chinese population.
Corona is bordered on the east by Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, one of the largest parks in New York City and the site of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs. Located within the park are Citi Field, which replaced Shea Stadium as home of the New York Mets in 2009, and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the US Open in tennis is held annually.
Corona's main thoroughfares include Corona Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue, Northern Boulevard, Junction Boulevard, and 108th Street. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 4, while the northernmost part is included in Community Board 3. Corona's zip code is 11368.
Corona was a late 19th-century residential development in the northeastern corner of the old Town of Newtown. Real estate speculators from New York started the community in 1854, the same year that the New York and Flushing Railroad began service to the area largely to serve a newly opened race course. The name allegedly derives from the crown used as an emblem by the Crown Building Company, which developed the area; the Italian immigrants who moved into the new housing stock referred to the neighborhood by the Italian or Spanish word for "crown", or "corona".
In the last half of the 20th century, Corona saw dramatic ethnic successions. In the 1950s, what was predominantly an Italian American and African American neighborhood began to give way to an influx of Dominicans. In the late 1990s, Corona saw a new wave of immigrants from Latin America. The area north of Roosevelt Avenue contained the heart of the historic African American community. The intersection of 108th Street and Corona Avenue is the historic center of the Italian American community, sometimes referred to as Corona Heights.
The majority Hispanic community consists of Dominicans, Mexicans, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Guatemalans, Bolivians, Peruvians, and Chileans. There are also Asian Americans (Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Pakistanis) as well as Italian Americans and African Americans. Corona is represented in the New York City Council by Julissa Ferreras and in the New York State Senate by Jose Peralta, who are both Dominican Americans, and in the New York State Assembly by Francisco Moya, an Ecuadorian American, and by Jeffrion Aubry, an African American.
Corona has several private schools including School of the Transfiguration. Public schools include the High School for Arts and Business and P.S. 92. There are many churches representing diverse denominations. Antioch Baptist Church at 103rd Street and Northern Boulevard is a prominent African American congregation dating to 1936 with a membership of 700. Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church at 104th Street and 37th Avenue was built in 1899 largely out of red brick with a nearby convent of the same period. Today it conducts most of its masses in Spanish and attracts large weekend crowds.
Dorie Miller Residential Cooperative, built in 1952, comprises six buildings, containing 300 apartments, with 1,300 rooms in total. The cooperative is named after Doris "Dorie" Miller, a U.S. Naval hero at Pearl Harbor and the first African American recipient of the Navy Cross. Among its original residents were jazz greats Nat Adderley & Jimmy Heath; Kenneth and Corien Drew, publishers of Queens' first African-American newspaper, The Corona East Elmhurst News, Thelma E. Harris founder of Aburi Press and prominent Queens Judge Henry A, Slaughter. Corona was also the childhood home of Marie Maynard Daly. A biochemist, Daly was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Daly studied the effects of cholesterol on the mechanics of the heart, the effects of sugars and other nutrients on the health of arteries, and the breakdown of the circulatory system as a result of advanced age or hypertension; this scientist subsequently studied how proteins are produced and organized in the cell and the composition and metabolism of components of the cell nucleus.
During the second half of the 1940s, 1950s and '60s Corona and its neighbor, East Elmhurst, was home to legendary African American musicians, civil rights leaders and athletes including Malcolm X aka El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Dr. Ophelia Devore, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Shavers, Ella Fitzgerald, jazz vocalist, composer and recording artist Norman Mapp, Nat Adderley, Frankie Lymon, famed fashion photographer Rupert Callender, Louis Armstrong, Godfrey Cambridge, and George "BBQ George" Williams, a former Harlem night club dancer turned restaurateur who owned the renowned BBQ George's Supper Club, frequented by the Black elite of Queens and New York politicos including civil rights activist Judge William "Bill" Booth, Publisher and NYC Human Rights Commissioner and Publisher Ken Drew as well as Mayor John Lindsay and Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. The Louis Armstrong House attracts visitors to the neighborhood and preserves the legacy of one of its most prominent historical residents.
The two communities were often referred to as one "Corona/East Elmhurst" and is the childhood home of the first African American US Attorney General, Eric Holder, to Rap (Hip Hop) artists Kid n' Play, Kwamé, Salt-n-Pepa, and Kool G Rap, and is home to Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, New York State Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry, and Jimmy Heath, recognized as a prominent instrumentalist, composer, and arranger.
Corona/East Elmhurst also houses one of the most extensive collections of African American art and literature in the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, which serves Queens County with reference and circulating collections, totaling approximately 30,000 volumes of materials written about or relating to black culture. The Black Heritage Reference Center of Queens County includes books, periodicals, theses and dissertations, VHS videos, cassettes and CDs, photographs, posters, prints, paintings, and sculpture. Cultural arts programs are scheduled through the Center. Meeting space is available to community organizations by application. Special features of the Center include:
- The Schomburg Clippings File, an extensive microfiche collection of periodicals, magazine clippings, typescripts, broadsides, pamphlets, programs, book reviews, menus and ephemera of all kinds.
- The UMI Thesis and Dissertation Collection—consists of more than 1,000 volumes of doctoral and master dissertations concerning the African and African-American diasporas.
- The Adele Cohen Music Collection contains most of America's foremost black publications on microfilm. The papers cover 15 states beginning in 1893, and are updated each year with current issues.
- The Black Heritage Video Collection documents the history and culture of Africans and African-Americans on tape, and in all subject areas including literature, biography, social science, fine arts.
According to the 2000 Census, the total population of this ZIP code was 98,609 and its racial/ethnic composition was 64.9% Hispanic/Latino persons of any race, 14.5% Black, 10.0% Asian, 7.9% White, and 2.7% Other. By the 2010 Census, the population had risen to 109,931, which was 73.8% Hispanic/Latino persons of any race, 9.5% Black, 9.9% Asian, 5.3% White, and 1.7% non-Hispanic persons of other races or two or more races. The African American population is declining in Corona, giving way to the rising total Asian and Hispanic populations; concomitantly with the overall trend in Queens.
In popular culture
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- F. Scott Fitzgerald referred to the Flushing-Corona dumps as the "valley of ashes" in his novel The Great Gatsby.
- Books about Corona's history and present include Roger Sanjek's The Future of Us All and Steven Gregory's Black Corona.
- Chapter 6 of Andrew Morton's biography of Madonna describes Madonna's brief stint as a Corona resident in the late 1970s/early 80s.
- Paul Simon bade "goodbye to Rosie, the queen of Corona", in his song "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard".
- Lemon Ice King of Corona, at 108th Street and Corona Avenue, appears in the opening credits of the TV show King of Queens.
The IRT Flushing Line (7 <7> trains) runs through the neighborhood with stops at 111th Street, 103rd Street – Corona Plaza and Junction Boulevard. Buses that run through the neighborhood, such as the Q23, Q48, Q66, Q72 help transport people between the community and the stations they connect with.
Notable current and former residents of Corona include:
- Cannonball Adderley (1928–1975), jazz alto saxophonist
- Nat Adderley (1931–2000), jazz cornet and trumpet player
- Louis Armstrong (1901–1971), jazz trumpeter, whose house is now a museum
- Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church
- Maurice E. Connolly (1881–1935), Queens Borough President from 1911 to 1928
- Marie Maynard Daly (1921–2003), first African American woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry
- Harry Diaz (born 1973), Civil Engineer
- Peter T. Farrell (c. 1901–1992), judge who presided over the trial of bank robber Willie Sutton
- Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996), jazz vocalist
- Dizzy Gillespie (1917–1993), jazz trumpeter
- Jimmy Heath (born 1926), jazz saxophonist
- Lena Horne (1917–2010), singer and actress
- Crockett Johnson (1906-1975), cartoonist and author of children's books, lived here when he was a boy, c. 1912-1924.
- Estée Lauder (1906–2004), founder of the cosmetics company that bears her name
- Johnny LoBianco (1915–2001), boxing referee
- Frankie Lymon, jazz musician
- Madonna (born 1958), singer lived here from 1979–1980 as a member of the band Breakfast Club
- Frankie Manning (1914–2009), popularized the Lindy Hop
- Helen Marshall, Queens Borough President (2002 - )
- Omar Minaya (born 1958), Former General Manager of the Montreal Expos and New York Mets
- Robert Parris Moses, a legendary figure in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and later founder of the Algebra Project, lived at 108-63 Ditmars Boulevard in Corona
- Carlos D. Ramirez (1946–1999), publisher of El Diario La Prensa
- Charlie Shavers, jazz musician
- Clark Terry (born 1920), Swing trumpeter
- Jim Valvano (1946–1993), basketball coach
- Marie Maynard Daly (1921–2003), biochemist, the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry.
- Hip-hop musicians from Corona
- The Beatnuts
- Kid 'n Play
- Kool G Rap (born 1968), rapper.
- Kwamé Raper/producer aka Kwamé Holland
- Noreaga
- Salt-n-Pepa
- V.I.C.
- Styles P of The L.O.X. born in Corona
- Chinatown, Manhattan (紐約華埠)
- Little Fuzhou (小福州)
- Chinatown, Brooklyn (布鲁克林華埠)
- Chinatown, Flushing (法拉盛華埠)
- Flushing, Queens
- Chinatown, Elmhurst (唐人街, 艾姆赫斯特)
- Chinatown, Avenue U (唐人街, U大道)
- Chinatown, Bensonhurst (唐人街, 本森社区)
- Sunset Park, Brooklyn
- Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
- Lawrence A. McGlinn, Department of Geography SUNY-New Paltz. "Beyond Chinatown: Dual immigration and the Chinese population of metropolitan New York City, 2000, p. 115". Middle States Geographer, 2002, 35: 110–119, Journal of the Middle States Division of the Association of American Geographers. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
- Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.
- 11368 Zip Code Detailed Profile, City-Data.com. Accessed April 18, 2008.
- "Antioch Baptist Church of Corona". Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Willensky, Elliot (1988). AIA Guide to New York City, Third Edition. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 748. ISBN 978-0-15-603600-9.
- "Our Lady of Sorrows Parish". Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Doris "Dorie" Miller bio
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010: ZCTA 11368". 2010 Demographic Profile Data. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Queens County, New York QuickLinks". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
- Berman, Eleanor. "The jazz of Queens encompasses music royalty", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 1, 2006. Accessed October 1, 2009. "Mr. Knight shows the brick building that was the studio of Dizzie Gillespie, where other Corona residents like Cannonball Adderley used to come and jam....When the trolley tour proceeds, Mr. Knight points out the nearby Dorie Miller Houses, a co-op apartment complex in Corona where Clark Terry and Cannonball and Nat Adderley lived and where saxophonist Jimmy Heath still resides."
- the Louis Armstrong House & Archives Museum. Accessed September 17, 2007.
- Krebs, Albin. "Louis Armstrong, Jazz Trumpeter and Singer, Dies", The New York Times, July 7, 1971. Accessed October 1, 2009. "Louis Armstrong, the celebrated jazz trumpeter and singer, died in his sleep yesterday morning at his home in the Corona section of Queens."
- Staff. "Maurice Connolly of Queens is dead; Former Borough President, 54, ill since serving year in jail for sewer frauds. Was an attorney at 21. Resigned under fire in 1928 after having been political ruler for 17 years.", The New York Times, November 25, 1935. Accessed October 1, 2009.
- Staff. Marie Maynard Daly, Journal of Chemical Education. Accessed October 1, 2009. "One of three children, Marie Daly was born on April 16, 1921 in Corona, Queens, New York."
- Pace, Eric. "Peter T. Farrell, 91; Judge Who Presided At the Sutton Trial", The New York Times, November 10, 1992. Accessed October 11, 2009.
- Holloway, Lynette. "House of Satch Gets New Gig", The New York Times, February 10, 1996. Accessed October 1, 2009. "The Armstrongs embraced Corona, selected partly because of its proximity to other jazz musicians who lived nearby, including Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Heath, Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald, said Phoebe Jacobs, executive vice president of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation."
- Severo, Richard. "Estée Lauder, Pursuer of Beauty And Cosmetics Titan, Dies at 97", The New York Times, April 26, 2004. Accessed October 1, 2009. "Josephine Esther Mentzer was born at home in Corona, Queens, on July 1, 1908, according to several biographies, although her family believes it may have been two years earlier."
- Goldstein, Richard. "Johnny LoBianco, 85, Referee In Controversial Duran Bout", The New York Times, July 21, 2001. Accessed October 1, 2009.
- Ciccone, Christopher; and Leigh, Wendy. "Life with My Sister Madonna", p. 56. Simon & Schuster, 2008. ISBN 1-4165-8762-4. Accessed October 1, 2009. "By the time we get to town, en route to Connecticut, Madonna is living in Corona, Queens, in a synagogue that has been converted into a studio, and playing drums in her boyfriend Dan Gilroy's band, the Breakfast Club."
- Monaghan, Terry. "Frankie Manning, the Ambassador and Master of Lindy Hop, Dies at 94", The New York Times, April 28, 2009. Accessed October 1, 2009. "He was 94 and lived in Corona, Queens."
- O' Keeffe, Michael. "Mets' Minaya a Ground Breaker", Daily News (New York), May 27, 1999. Accessed October 11, 2009. "Minaya was born in the Dominican Republic, raised in Corona, Queens, by parents who spoke only Spanish."
- Ravo, Nick. "Carlos D. Ramirez, 52, Publisher of El Diario", The New York Times, July 13, 1999. Accessed October 9, 2009.
- Thomas, Robert McG., Jr. "Jim Valvano, Colorful College Basketball Coach, Is Dead at 47", The New York Times, April 29, 1993. Accessed October 11, 2009.
- Kool G Rap, Will C., 2008, Road to the Riches Remaster Liner Notes, p. 4.
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