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|Neighborhoods of New York City|
The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge as seen from Whitestone
|Area code(s)||718, 347, 917|
Whitestone is a residential neighborhood in the northernmost part of the New York City borough of Queens. It is widely considered one of the few elite enclaves of Queens, and is located between the East River to the north and 25th Avenue to the south. Whitestone is surrounded by College Point, Flushing, Bayside, Auburndale, Linden Hill, and Murray Hill.
Dutch settlers derived the name of the town from limestone that used to lie on the shore of the river according to a popular tradition. This tradition is supported by 17th century wills and deeds, which may be found in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, that refer to "the white stone" as a local landmark and survey reference point. Whitestone got its name because the settlers discovered that Whitestone was built on white limestone. The neighborhood is patrolled by the NYPD's 109th Precinct, and part of Queens Community Board 7. It is traditionally bounded by the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (opened 1939) on the west and the Throgs Neck Bridge (opened 1961) on the east. The zip code of Whitestone is 11357.
The area was, in large part, the estate of Francis Lewis, a delegate to the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The estate was the site of an English raid during the Revolutionary War. Lewis was not present but his wife was taken prisoner and his house was burned to the ground. For a period of time Whitestone was called Clintonville after Dewitt Clinton, the former governor of New York. In the late 19th century, many wealthy New Yorkers began building mansions in the area, on what had once been farmland or woodland. Rapid development of the area ensued in the 1920s, however, as trolley and Long Island Rail Road train service on the Whitestone Branch was expanded into the neighborhood. Although this rail service ended during the Great Depression, part of the right-of-way was later used by Robert Moses to help construct the Belt Parkway, which includes the Whitestone Expressway which runs along the southeast edge of the former Flushing Airport and through Whitestone. Flushing Airport has been abandoned since 1985.
Further development came with the building of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge in 1939. The bridge measures 2,300 feet and was the fourth longest bridge in the world at the time of its construction.
Community landmarks include St. Luke's Roman Catholic Church, Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, and the Dwarf Giraffe Athletic League. The Grace Episcopal Church, on Clintonville street, was built in 1858 on land donated by the family of Francis Lewis. The Whitestone Hebrew Centre consists of two buildings on Clintonville Street and was founded in 1929. The Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, with its distinctive great blue onion dome, was built in 1968. The Greek Orthodox Church, Holy Cross, or "Timios Stavros", is located on 150th street. Whitestone Academy is Whitestone's only high school.
As of the 2000 census, there were 39,725 people residing in Whitestone. The estimated median household income as of 2007 was $63,552. There are large numbers of Greek Americans, and Italian Americans, with minorities of Latin Americans, Irish Americans, and Croatian Americans living in Whitestone.
The Glacéau beverage company operates out of Whitestone.
The New York City Department of Education operates public schools. in the area. Currently, there is a plan that wants to put a high school in Whitestone which many residents are opposed to. This proposed high school would be a block from the former home of Walt Whitman in the 150th street and 4th avenue area.
The Bronx Whitestone Bridge gives access to and from the Bronx. Whitestone is located only 5–10 minutes from the Bronx. The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge carries I-678 across the East River. From the Queens side, the Whitestone Expressway carries I-678 to the bridgehead. The Cross Island Parkway meets up with the Whitestone Expressway 1/2 mile before the bridge.
On the Bronx side, the bridge leads directly into the Bruckner Interchange, which serves as the northern terminus of I-678, which is where the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95), Bruckner Expressway (I-278 & I-95), Hutchinson River Parkway, and the Cross Bronx Expressway extension (I-295) meet. The segment of I-678 between the bridge and the Bruckner Interchange is a depressed freeway.
New York City Bus and MTA Bus Company serve Whitestone on the Q15, Q15A, Q16, Q20A, Q20B, Q25, Q34, Q44, Q50, Q76, QM2, and QM20 routes; these buses provide access to and from Flushing – Main Street on the IRT Flushing Line (7 <7> trains) of the New York City Subway. No subway service directly serves this neighborhood.
The Whitestone Branch was a branch of the Long Island Rail Road, running north and east from Flushing. It ran north along Flushing Bay and east along the East River to Whitestone. Originally intended to lead into Westchester County, it was consolidated into the Long Island Rail Road in 1876. Stations consisted of Flushing–Bridge Street, College Point, Malba, Whitestone–14th Avenue, and Whitestone Landing at 155th Street, which later became the Beechhurst Yacht Club. Flushing–Bridge Street Station was built in 1870, College Point, and Whitestone–14th Avenue stations were opened in 1869, and Whitestone Landing Station was built in 1886, all by the F&NS Railroad. Malba station was built in 1909 by the LIRR. The line was abandoned on February 15, 1932.
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In the early days of the film industry, celebrities such as Mary Pickford and Rudolph Valentino had homes in different areas of Whitestone, most notably in the northeastern section called Beechhurst. Valentino's summer home stands at 201-10 Cross Island Parkway, just blocks from the present day Whitestone - Bayside border. As of 2012, the home is under the management of the New York City Department of Parks. Pickford’s Beechhurst home still stands on 160th Street and Powells Cove Boulevard. Broadway producer Arthur Hammerstein, uncle of Oscar Hammerstein II, had a two story 15 room mansion at 168-11 Powells Cove Boulevard. Poet Walt Whitman, born in Long Island, briefly taught in a schoolhouse later called P.S. 30 (another public school in another part of Queens has been designated with this number), located on the south side of 12th Road, one building East of Clintonville Street (closed in the 1950s and demolished in the late 1960s), which was set up by local farmers. Whitman made several references to it years later in letters to friends from that period in his life, while a young man, and is said[by whom?] to have written poetry by the Whitestone seaside. Future U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt visited Whitestone by boat while a college student:
One August day Roosevelt set out (by boat) with cousin Johniee Elliot for Whitestone, more than twenty miles away (from Oyster Bay, where he was staying with his parents). Returning the next day, the pair ran into a squall and several times their boat nearly capsized. They didn't reach the safety of home until after midnight. Roosevelt loved every minute.
- Entertainer Ronnie the Limo Driver Mund from the Howard Stern radio show.
- Cartoonist Tex Blaisdell grew up in Whitestone
- Actress Drea de Matteo, native
- Singer and actress Christina Vidal, native
- Physician Joshua Prager, native
- Jill Barad (then Jill Elikann), a former CEO of Mattel, Whitestone native
- Former New York Rangers forward Christopher Higgins was born in Whitestone, but eventually moved out to Long Island.
- State Senator Tony Avella as well as New York City Council Member Dan Halloran reside in Whitestone.
- Former New York Mets outfielder Mike Baxter was born and raised in Whitestone, originally starting his baseball career at St. Luke's Roman Catholic School.
- Bianca Pappas was the first Miss Whitestone United States 2011, and later Miss New York United States 2011.
- Underworld crime figure Carmine Tramunti a.k.a. Mr. Gribbs, resided in a modest home in Whitestone while the reputed head of the Lucchese crime family. He was arrested calmly at his Whitestone residence preceding his conviction.
- FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
In popular culture
- A scene in which a house exploded in the 1996 film Eraser, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vanessa L. Williams, was filmed in Whitestone. An HBO Special on Dr Kevorkian was also filmed in whitestone around the 154th street area.
- A scene in the season five episode Where's Johnny? of The Sopranos was filmed in a bar in Whitestone formerly known as "Fiddler's Green". A scene from the 2000 movie Boiler Room, starring Giovanni Ribisi and Vin Diesel, was filmed in the same bar.
- Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.
- Redeveloping the Hammerstein Estate in Queens; Wildflower to Blossom Again in Beechurst New York Times', 'March 15, 1998
- Brands, H. W. (1997). TR: The Last Romantic. Basic Books.
- Whitestone Residents Protest Proposed High School CBS New York October 5, 2013
- Filming locations on IMDb
- The Sopranos location guide
- 'Sopranos' shooting draws crowd to Whitestone bar
- Forgotten New York - The Long Island Rail Road Whitestone & Westchester Branch
- Forgotten New York - The Whitestone Neighborhood
- Whitestone Commercial and Residential Civics Association
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