Kew Gardens, Queens
|Neighborhoods of New York City|
Homestead Gourmet Shop and other stores on Lefferts Blvd.
Maple Grove station in 1891
|Named for||Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew|
|• Estimate ()||25,769|
|• Median income||$43,344|
|Area code(s)||718, 347, 917|
Kew Gardens is a triangular-shaped upper middle class neighborhood in the central area of the New York City borough of Queens, bounded to the north by the Jackie Robinson Parkway (formerly Interborough Parkway), to the east by Van Wyck Expressway and 131st Street, to the south by Hillside Avenue, and to the west by Park Lane, Abingdon Road and 118th Street. Forest Park and the neighborhood of Forest Hills and Forest Hills Gardens lie west of the neighborhood. The neighborhood is accessible thanks to its surrounding expressways and the Union Turnpike-Kew Gardens subway station. The commute on the E or F train to Midtown Manhattan is about thirty minutes.
Kew Gardens was one of seven planned garden communities built in Queens from the late 19th Century to 1950. Much of the area was acquired in 1868 by Englishman Albon P. Man, who developed the neighborhood of Hollis Hill to the south, chiefly along Jamaica Avenue, while leaving the hilly land to the north undeveloped.
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 located at what is now Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike. In the 1890s, the executors of Man's estate laid out the Queens Bridge 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 m) 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 of the neighborhood.
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. Since 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 from Kew Gardens. 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.
Despite its historical significance, Kew Gardens lacks any landmark protection.
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 with a selection of independent international films, Dani's Pizzeria, Austin's Steak and the Austin Ale House, and Comic Den. The county's civic center, Queens Borough Hall, along with one of the county criminal courts, stand at the northern end of the neighborhood, on Queens Boulevard, in a complex extending from Union Turnpike to Hoover Avenue.
Schools of note located in Kew Gardens include Yeshiva Tifereth Moshe, Bais Yaakov of Queens and Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah. P.S. 99, the local public school, has always had special programs for gifted students ranging from T.A.G.(talented and gifted) where children start at second grade learning things beyond their level, and special grants such as Shakespeare grants, and the like.
Kew Gardens is filled mainly with apartment buildings between four and ten stories high. Many are rentals, while some are co-op. Although there are no New York City Housing Authority complexes in Kew Gardens, Mitchell-Lama buildings provide stabilized rental prices for families or individuals who may need help paying rent. On 82nd Avenue there is a 32-story Mitchell-Lama building. Along the borders of Richmond Hill, Briarwood, and Jamaica, smaller attached houses exist. Many of these are two or three family homes. Expensive single family homes are located around the Forest Park area. Due to constant development, however, many owners are selling out their detached homes to developers who teardown and convert them apartment housing. This has brought demographic change.
As of 2000[update] U.S. Census, the demographics were 66.2% White, 13.0% Asian, 7.0% Black or African American, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 7.4% Other and Hispanic or Latino were 20.0% of the population. The neighborhood's demographics have since changed, however. The Hispanic and Asian populations have grown significantly over the past decade. Current U.S. Census estimates place the Kew Gardens population at more than 25,769.
Kew Gardens is ethnically diverse. A large community of Jewish refugees from Germany took shape in the area after the Second World War which is reflected still today by the number of active synagogues in the area. 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 and Korea settled in Kew Gardens during the 1980s and 1990s. Currently, Kew Gardens has a growing population of Bukharian Jews from Uzbekistan, alongside a significant Orthodox Jewish community. Also many immigrants from Central America, and South America call Kew Gardens home, as well as immigrants from Japan. Kew Gardens is well known for being a residential area, with a mix of one-family homes above the million-dollar range, complex apartments, co-ops and others converted and on the way or being converted as condominiums. A major five-star hotel is under development on 82nd Avenue, reflecting a modernization of the area.
Surrounded by Forest Park, residents in Kew Gardens enjoy what many Manhattanites lack: greenery and quiet nights. The Park, which is very well preserved and is the third largest in Queens, has a private road where residents can jog or walk year round. There are some horse back riding paths and hiking paths actively used by residents. Frederick Law Olmsted conceived the design of the park. The convenience of the Kew Gardens station of the Long Island Railroad and the E and F trains on the corner of Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike (the Kew Gardens station) make the area an excellent choice to live in. Some of the Queens courthouses are located in Kew Gardens on the side of Queens Boulevard. These government offices bring a floating, diverse community during the day.
The neighborhood is also teeming with airline personnel because of its proximity to the Q10 airport buses and Delta Air Lines as well as other airlines have special shuttles serving pilots and flight attendants staying in Kew Gardens. The increase of the Korean population followed the renovation and rededication of the First Church of Kew Gardens, which offers Korean-language services. Kew Gardens is also economically diverse: from middle-class young professionals to upper middle class. 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.
Even the local cuisine reflects this diversity in Kew Gardens with Russian, Italian, Indian, Pakistani, Uzbek, dining available to residents and visitors. Food outlets include restaurants, delis, and markets. Small diners, Indian restaurants, Spanish restaurants, Caribbean restaurants, European and Arab Minimarkets, and Kosher delis line the streets of Kew Gardens. Many religious groups such as Jews, Muslims, and Hindus, can shop at local markets and bazaars that cater to their religious-food needs.
Major development in the neighborhood, such as the construction of new apartment complexes and multi-family homes has resulted in great demographic change. Immigrants from Latin America, Guyana, South Asia and East Asia, and the Middle East (especially Israel), have moved into these new developments. Many residents celebrate the diversity, however, a lack of homeownership in the neighborhood has led some residents to complain that the neighborhood is undergoing a series of negative changes.
Over 17% of students are enrolled in English Language Learners programs.
In 1964, the neighborhood gained news notoriety when Kitty Genovese was murdered near the railroad station. A New York Times article reported that none of the neighbors responded when she cried for help. The story came to represent the apathy and anonymity of urban life. The circumstances of the case are disputed to this day. It has been alleged that the critical fact reported by the NYT that "none of the neighbors responded" was false. The case of Kitty Genovese is an oft cited example of the Bystander effect, and the case that originally spurred research on this social psychological phenomenon.
Kew Gardens has many locally owned businesses and restaurants especially on Lefferts Blvd., Metropolitan Ave., Austin St. and Kew Gardens Rd. The courthouse and the Union Turnpike-Kew Gardens train station brings much money to the area. Pilots and flight attendants who stay in Kew Gardens in between John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport flights also have an impact on the local economy.
Notable residents of Kew Gardens include:
- Maud Ballington Booth (1865–1948), Volunteers of America co-founder, lived in Kew Gardens.
- Saul B. Marantz, was a pioneer in the development of high-fidelity sound systems. Working out of the basement of his Kew Gardens home on 81st Avenue at the corner of Austin Street, Marantz built a high-quality preamplifier using nothing but his car radio and parts from a Manhattan radio store. Marantz sold his first audio product, the "Consolette" pre-amp, in 1952.
- Joshua Brand, television writer, director and producer, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Ralph Bunche (1903–1971), diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
- Rodney Dangerfield (1921–2004), comedian who lived above the Austin Ale House.
- Rona Elliot, music journalist, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Mary Garfield, daughter of U.S. President James A. Garfield, lived in Kew Gardens at the turn of the 20th century.
- George Gershwin (1898–1937), composer, lived in Kew Gardens.
- Burt Bacharach (1928–) Award-winning pianist, composer and producer grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Miriam Hopkins (1902–1972), actress, lived in Kew Gardens.
- Rabbi Paysach Krohn, rabbi and author, currently lives in Kew Gardens.
- Josef Lhevinne (1874–1944), concert pianist, lived in Kew Gardens.
- Robert H. Lieberman, filmmaker, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Peter Mayer, former Penguin Books CEO, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Kitty Genovese (1935–1964), raped and murdered by Winston Moseley.
- Anaïs Nin (1903–1977), author, lived in Kew Gardens.
- Dorothy Parker (1893–1967), poet, lived in Kew Gardens.
- Will Rogers (1879–1935), actor, lived in Kew Gardens.
- Will Rogers, Jr. (1911–1993), congressman and son of Will Rogers, lived in Kew Gardens.
- Nelson Saldana, track cycling champion, lived in Kew Gardens.
- Ossie Schectman, NBA basketball guard
- Robert Schimmel, comedian, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Jerry Springer, talk show host and former mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Carol Montgomery Stone, actress and daughter of actor Fred Stone, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Lisa Ysaye Tarleau, (1878-1952) an early 20th-century female author, lived in Kew Gardens
- Charles Chaplin, actor, lived at 105 Mowbray Drive in 1919–1922.
- Bernhard Goetz
- "Next to the L.I.R.R. Tracks; Five 2-Family Houses For Kew Gardens", The New York Times, April 24, 1994. Accessed September 27, 2010. "In 1909, when train service began on the Long Island Rail Road, the northerly section of the Man property was renamed Kew Gardens, also after a section of London."
- "New York Real Estate: Kew Gardens", AM New York, August 28, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
- Donovan, Aaron. " If You're Thinking of Living In/Kew Gardens, Queens; Small-Town Feeling at a Busy Crossroads", The New York Times, October 15, 2000. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
- "P.S. 99 Kew Gardens School", Inside Schools, September, 2006. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
- "Kew Gardens—Quiet and Leafy Location", Queens Chronicle, June 12, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
- "Forest Park: History", New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, July, 2009. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
- A Picture History of Kew Gardens, NY – Kitty Genovese – The popular account of the Kitty Genovese murder is mostly wrong as shown by the evidence from her killer's trial and other sources[dead link]
- Bystander effect
- "Ministry Addresses in the U.S.." Embassy of Saudi Arabia Washington D.C. Retrieved on January 5, 2008.
- "GIFT TO MAUD B. BOOTH.; Charles D. Stickney Leaves Residuary Estate to Head of Volunteers.", The New York Times, March 31, 1916. Accessed July 5, 2009. "Charles Dickinson Stickney, a prominent lawyer of this city, who died on March 8, did not provide in his will for twelve first cousins, two second cousins, and one aunt, but bequeathed his entire residuary estate to Mrs. Maud Booth, widow of Ballington Booth and head of the Volunteers of America, who lives in Kew Gardens, L.I."
- Chan, Sewell. "Nazi Refugees’ Son Explores Complex Feelings", New York Times, April 22, 2009. Accessed July 5, 2009. "Growing up in Kew Gardens, Queens, in the 1940s and '50s, the children of Jewish refugees from Central Europe did not always feel different...Joshua Brand, the writer and producer, a creator of the television hits "St. Elsewhere" and "Northern Exposure"; the architectural historian Barry Lewis."
- Rimer, Sara. "From Queens Streets, City Hall Seems Very Distant", The New York Times, October 19, 1989. Retrieved November 13, 2007.
- Christon, Lawrence. "THE EDUCATION OF RODNEY DANGERFIELD", Los Angeles Times, July 1, 1986. Accessed April 1, 2008. "Perhaps school talk reminded him of growing up in New York's Kew Gardens, where, as a boy named Jacob Cohen, he had an entertainer father who didn't use the family name (he billed himself as Phil Roy and when Dangerfield went into show business as a comedian, he used the moniker Jack Roy)."
- Chan, Sewell. "Nazi Refugees’ Son Explores Complex Feelings", New York Times, April 22, 2009. Accessed July 5, 2009. "Growing up in Kew Gardens, Queens, in the 1940s and '50s, the children of Jewish refugees from Central Europe did not always feel different...the pop music critic Rona Elliot; Joshua Brand, the writer and producer, a creator of the television hits "St. Elsewhere" and "Northern Exposure"; the architectural historian Barry Lewis; and, to be sure, countless lawyers and doctors."
- Hart, May Gleason. "Kew Gardens of Today – A Far Cry from 50 years Ago", Community News, January, 1966. Accessed July 5, 2009. "We have had many prominent people reside in Kew Gardens... Mrs. Stanley Brown, President Garfield's daughter, who taught me how to make buttonholes. The idea for the first World's Fair of 1938 was hatched on the sun porch of John B. Burton, our next door neighbor, who was given Queens' Most Prominent Citizen Award. "
- Bortolot, Lana. "New York Real Estate: Kew Gardens, Queens", AM New York, August 28, 2008. Accessed July 5, 2009. "The neighborhood's nickname, "Crew Gardens," is a nod to the many airline personnel living here, but Kew Gardens has always been home to the jet set: Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, Dorothy Parker and George Gershwin were among the artistic community that settled here in the 1920s."
- Lewis, Barry. "Kew Gardens: Urban Village in the Big City", April 30, 1999. Accessed July 5, 2009. "Kew Gardens, a village in Queens about twelve miles (19 km) from Manhattan, has been home to movie stars and Broadway performers (Charlie Chaplin, Miriam Hopkins, and Will Rogers), authors (Anaïs Nin and Dorothy Parker), and even Nobel Prize winners (Ralph Bunche). In many ways it has been a community ahead of its time."
- "The Mohel", July, 2009. Accessed July 5, 2009. "He lives in Kew Gardens, NY with his wife Miriam and takes great pride in his family. ."
- "Neighborhood at Risk: Kew Gardens", Historic Districts Council, July2009. Accessed July 5, 2009. "Kew Gardens became the home of an artistic and intellectual set. In the 1910's and 1920's, neighbors included film and stage stars, writers, musicians, and artists such as Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, Anaïs Nin, Dorothy Parker, Joseph Lhevinne, and George Gershwin. "
- Chan, Sewell. "Nazi Refugees’ Son Explores Complex Feelings", New York Times, April 22, 2009. Accessed July 5, 2009. "Growing up in Kew Gardens, Queens, in the 1940s and '50s, the children of Jewish refugees from Central Europe did not always feel different...Such are the themes of "Last Stop Kew Gardens," a 54-minute semiautobiographical documentary by Robert H. Lieberman, 68, a senior lecturer in physics at Cornell who has branched out into novels and films."
- Chan, Sewell. "Nazi Refugees’ Son Explores Complex Feelings", New York Times, April 22, 2009. Accessed July 5, 2009. "Michael Nussbaum, a lawyer, and Peter Mayer, the former chief executive of Penguin Books, both recall their acute embarrassment about their German-speaking parents, who sounded just like the Nazis in postwar American films."
- Hart, May Gleason. "Kew Gardens of Today – A Far Cry from 50 years Ago", Community News, January, 1966. Accessed July 5, 2009. "We have had many prominent people reside in Kew Gardens. Wil [sic] Rogers and his family lived on the opposite corner. Will Rogers, Jr., Mary and Jimmie were my daughter Jeanne's play and schoolmates and were frequently joined by Paula and Carol Stone, daughters of the famous musical comedy star, Fred Stone."
- Krawitz, Alan. "Kew Gardens — Quiet And Leafy Location", Queens Chronicle, June 12, 2008. Accessed July 5, 2009. "Notable former residents of Kew Gardens include Will Rogers and most recently daytime talk host Jerry Springer. In addition, Kew Gardens has been the subject of numerous books and films, including Barry Lewis' 1999 book, "Kew Gardens: Urban Village in the Big City," and Robert Lieberman's film "Last Stop Kew Gardens," featuring Springer, Josh Brand and comedian Robert Schimmel."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kew Gardens, Queens.|
- http://www.KewGardens.com (Official Website for all things Kew Gardens)
- A Picture History of Kew Gardens
- Kew Gardens Civic Association
- Kew Gardens Synagogue
- Kew Garden Apartment Rentals Page