Francis Lewis Boulevard
Francis Lewis Boulevard is a boulevard in the New York City borough of Queens. The roadway is named for Francis Lewis, a Queens resident who was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. The boulevard is unique in the sense that it zigzags across physical roadways and intersects itself at a 90-degree angle multiple times, much like Tremont Street in Boston does.
Francis Lewis Boulevard begins at an intersection with 148 Avenue and Hook Creek Boulevard in Rosedale, Queens, due northwest and encounters its first major intersection (with NY 27 (South Conduit Avenue and Sunrise Highway) approximately 0.8 miles later, where it also crosses under the Long Island Rail Road's Montauk Branch. Passing over the Laurelton Parkway a short distance later, Francis Lewis Boulevard then continues as a neighborhood street westbound until it reaches the intersection of 138 Avenue and 230 Place, at which point, Francis Lewis Boulevard turns right to a northeastern direction, with 138 Avenue continuing to the west and 230 Place continuing to the south.
Continuing northward from where 230 Place ends at 138 Avenue, Francis Lewis Boulevard becomes wider with a grass mall and then a painted median as it snakes around the Montefiore Cemetery in Laurelton, taking the alignment of 121 Avenue as it snakes around the cemetery. After 223 Street, Francis Lewis Boulevard leaves 121 Avenue and resumes roughly the same northwestern alignment that it had before the Laurelton Parkway. Passing Springfield Boulevard in Cambria Heights, Queens, Francis Lewis Boulevard becomes a 4-lane road, and maintains a status as a four- or six-lane median divided street for the remainder of its run through Queens, using the alignment of what would be 206 Street south of Cunningham Park and the alignment that would be 200 Street north of it to the Port Washington Branch. Neighborhoods traversed north of Springfield Boulevard are Cambria Heights, Hollis and Queens Village the western edge of Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows, Auburndale, Bayside, and Whitestone, passing under the LIRR Main Line at the boundary of Hollis and Queens Village, NY 25 (Hillside Avenue), the Grand Central Parkway and the Horace Harding Expressway at the south and north ends of Cunningham Park, respectively, and NY 25A (Northern Boulevard) in Bayside. After crossing under the Port Washington Branch, Francis Lewis Boulevard leaves the street grid and intersects with streets at oblique angles through the rest of its run in Whitestone to its northern terminus at the Cross Island Parkway in Whitestone. At 10.8 miles long, Francis Lewis Boulevard is one of the longest streets in Queens that only runs in Queens, and is the only Queens street to pass uninterrupted past both Conduit Avenue and Northern Boulevard.
Francis Lewis Boulevard has two main bus lines, the Q76 and the Q77. The Q76 runs down Francis Lewis Boulevard from Hillside Avenue in Hollis to the Cross Island Parkway in Whitestone. It runs through the Holliswood, Cunningham Park, Bayside, and Whitestone sections of the street. The Q77 runs on the stretch between the intersection with Springfield Boulevard to Hillside Avenue, and goes through the Springfield Gardens, St. Albans, and Hollis stretches of Francis Lewis Boulevard. Both bus lines operate from the 165th Street Bus Depot in Jamaica, and also share a route along Hillside Avenue. Other bus lines, such as the Q16, and Q28, serve smaller stretches of the street.
The Cunningham Park stretch of Francis Lewis Boulevard is notorious for drag racing, which has resulted in several fatalities to drivers and pedestrians over the years. Recently, speed cameras have been installed along this stretch. The Brooklyn-Queens Greenway also runs parallel to Francis Lewis Boulevard through Cunningham Park.
Two major Catholic high schools in New York City, St. Francis Preparatory School and Holy Cross High School are both located on Francis Lewis Boulevard. St. Francis Preparatory is located at the intersection with Horace Harding Expressway, whereas Holy Cross is located by the intersection with 26th Avenue. Every year the two schools play a football game in the beginning of the season called the "Battle of the Boulevard", in reference to the shared stretch of road.
Before being renamed in the 1930s, the roadway (or at least the part between Springfield Boulevard and 23rd Avenue in Whitestone, plus all of present-day Clintonville Street) was called Cross Island Boulevard. The street was renamed after Francis Lewis to honor a signer of the Declaration of Independence who owned a home in Whitestone, and to avoid confusion with the Cross Island Parkway. Many residents that live by the street usually refer to Francis Lewis Boulevard as simply "Franny Lew".
From the former Long Island Motor Parkway bridge
At 42nd Avenue in Bayside
At 53rd Avenue, Oakland Gardens
At Hillside Avenue in Hollis
- Forgotten NY: Rosedale, accessed November 15, 2006
- Rutkoff, Aaron. "A Need To Stop The Speed", Queens Tribune, April 15, 2007. Accessed August 15, 2007.
- Never to Be Forgotten, Newsday. Accessed July 24, 2007. "Francis Lewis Boulevard, originally Cross Island Boulevard, was renamed in the 1930s."
- Kilgannon, Corey. " Accident Fuels Anger on Strip Infamous for Drag Racing", The New York Times, April 10, 2004. Accessed September 29, 2007. "In springtime, the boulevard becomes what locals call the Franny Lew Speedway, with drivers running quarter-mile sprints for money or stoplight-to-stoplight races for high-velocity kicks and bragging rights."
- Google Maps - Francis Lewis Boulevard
- Jeff Saltzman's Francis Lewis Blvd. section
- Forgotten NY: Rosedale
- FrancisLewisBlvd.com (News, Photos, Links) related to Francis Lewis Blvd in Queens, NY
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