College Point, Queens
College Point Boulevard
Location within New York City
|Named for||St. Paul's College|
|• Median income||$42,500|
|Area code(s)||718, 347, 929, and 917|
College Point is a working-middle-class neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. It is bounded to the south by Whitestone Expressway and Flushing; to the east by 138th Street and Malba/Whitestone; to the north by the East River; and to the west by Flushing Bay. College Point is part of the Queens Community Board 7. The 109th Precinct of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) serves College Point. College Point is a diverse community, mostly residential, with some industrial areas.
- 1 History
- 2 Character
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Police and crime
- 5 Fire safety
- 6 Health
- 7 Post offices and ZIP code
- 8 Education
- 9 Recreation
- 10 Notable structures
- 11 Transportation
- 12 Notable people
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
College Point was named for St. Paul's College, a seminary founded in 1835 by the Rev. William Augustus Muhlenberg. The college closed around 1850, but the name remained. Former names include Lawrence's Neck, Tew's Neck, Flammersberg, and Strattonsport.
The original European settler of this area was Captain William Lawrence. He was also the largest landholder of the original incorporators of the Town of Flushing, now in Queens. He arrived in America on the sailing ship Planter in the 1630s. Lawrence married the oldest daughter of Richard "Bull Rider" Smith, who founded Smithtown on Long Island. He and his wife had a son, William Jr., who married the Richard Smiths' youngest daughter.
In 1854 the German-American industrialist Conrad Poppenhusen arrived; he was already a prosperous manufacturer in Brooklyn of hard rubber goods and expanded his operation to this small farming community. College Point became a factory town primarily for his workers, most of them also German immigrants, and the tycoon became a philanthropist, contributing to churches, libraries, and the Poppenhusen Institute, an educational beacon of College Point. Poppenhusen is responsible for the first free kindergarten in America. He connected College Point to Flushing by the Flushing and North Side Railroad, later called Whitestone Branch. A monument on College Point Boulevard, one of the main streets in College Point, stands testament to Poppenhusen. College Point became a center for breweries and day trip resorts, and in the 1920s shifted towards the manufacturing of airplane parts.
In 1926, approximately 100 single-family and two-family houses were built on the Graham estate. In 1938, the 6 acres (2.4 ha) estate of Anna Schlesinger, near Ninth Avenue and 119th Street, was sold to the Daniel Corners Realty Corporation. The land had previously been part of the Poppenhusen estate. The Daniel Corners Realty Corporation bought the land to build fifty homes on the land, which it called College Estates. Arthur Allen was the architect of the houses.
In 1953, the Fleet Street Company sold 108 Cape Cod-style homes for $13,500 near 25th Avenue and 126th Street. The architect of the homes was Alwin Cassens, Jr. The development was called Allied Homes.
A commercial park was first proposed for College Point in 1960. The 300 acres (120 ha) site was bounded by Whitestone Expressway on the southeast, 15th Avenue on the north, and 127th Street on the west, and was chosen because it was the largest suitable tract that was not on Staten Island. The proposal languished for several years before being revived in 1967. By the 1970s, the industrial park was in operation and the Great Adventure Amusement Park was being operated on part of the 565-acre (229 ha) complex. The amusement park was condemned in 1973 due to nuisance complaints.
Following the decommissioning of Flushing Airport, four large development projects were constructed around the former airport in the late 1980s. These buildings included three projects inside the 400-acre (160 ha) College Point Corporate Park, as well as another building at Linden Place and 31st Road. Floor space in these buildings rented out at an average of $10 per square foot ($110/m2), a relatively expensive rate at the time. This was due to its proximity to major transportation connections such as the LaGuardia Airport and the Bronx–Whitestone Bridge, as well as the lack of parking in nearby downtown Flushing.
In 1997, the Queens Historical Society bestowed a "Queensmark" award on College Point, in hopes of encouraging historical preservation of local landmark architecture. Also in the 1990s, a strip mall containing a Waldbaum's, Target, BJ's Wholesale Club, and other stores was built along 20th Avenue. Correspondingly, there was an increase in residential development in the 1990s and 2000s. The northern shoreline of College Point, a former oil lagoon, was designated a federal Superfund cleanup site in 2010.
Though College Point is today mainly residential, it also contains significant commercial presence, as well as remnants of a once-active industrial community. Especially in the southern part of the neighborhood, there are many industrial and light commercial businesses, including what The New York Times described as "oil storage facilities, a cement plant, a Pepsi-Cola distribution facility, furniture warehouses and contractors and other small businesses". The northern shoreline was redeveloped as a medium-density residential area starting in the 1980s. However, College Point's other residences consist largely of single-family homes from the 1920s.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of College Point was 24,275, an increase of 2,868 (13.4%) from the 21,407 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 1,148.84 acres (464.92 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 21.1 inhabitants per acre (13,500/sq mi; 5,200/km2).
The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 32.0% (7,757) White, 2.3% (551) African American, 0.1% (26) Native American, 27.9% (6,774) Asian, 0.0% (2) Pacific Islander, 0.4% (97) from other races, and 1.7% (402) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 35.7% (8,666) of the population.
The entirety of Community Board 7, which comprises Flushing, College Point, and Whitestone, had 263,039 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 84.3 years.:2, 20 This is longer than the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods.:53 (PDF p. 84) Most inhabitants are middle-aged and elderly: 22% are between the ages of between 25–44, 30% between 45–64, and 18% over 65. The ratio of youth and college-aged residents was lower, at 17% and 7% respectively.:2
As of 2017, the median household income in Community Board 7 was $51,284. In 2018, an estimated 25% of College Point and Flushing residents lived in poverty, compared to 19% in all of Queens and 20% in all of New York City. One in seventeen residents (6%) were unemployed, compared to 8% in Queens and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 57% in College Point and Flushing, lower than the boroughwide and citywide rates of 53% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018[update], College Point and Flushing are considered to be high-income relative to the rest of the city and not gentrifying.:7
Police and crime
Flushing, College Point, and Whitestone are patrolled by the 109th Precinct of the NYPD, located at 37-05 Union Street. The 109th Precinct ranked 9th safest out of 69 city precincts for per-capita crime in 2010. With a non-fatal assault rate of 17 per 100,000 people, College Point and Flushing's rate of violent crimes per capita is less than that of the city as a whole. The incarceration rate of 145 per 100,000 people is lower than that of the city as a whole.:8
The 109th Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 83.7% between 1990 and 2018. The precinct saw 6 murders, 30 rapes, 202 robberies, 219 felony assaults, 324 burglaries, 970 grand larcenies, and 126 grand larcenies auto in 2018.
Preterm and teenage births are less common in College Point and Flushing than in other places citywide. In College Point and Flushing, there were 63 preterm births per 1,000 live births (compared to 87 per 1,000 citywide), and 8 teenage births per 1,000 live births (compared to 19.3 per 1,000 citywide).:11 College Point and Flushing have a higher than average population of residents who are uninsured. In 2018, this population of uninsured residents was estimated to be 14%, slightly higher than the citywide rate of 12%.:14
The concentration of fine particulate matter, the deadliest type of air pollutant, in College Point and Flushing is 0.0073 milligrams per cubic metre (7.3×10−9 oz/cu ft), less than the city average.:9 Thirteen percent of College Point and Flushing residents are smokers, which is lower than the city average of 14% of residents being smokers.:13 In College Point and Flushing, 13% of residents are obese, 8% are diabetic, and 22% have high blood pressure—compared to the citywide averages of 22%, 8%, and 23% respectively.:16 In addition, 15% of children are obese, compared to the citywide average of 20%.:12
Ninety-five percent of residents eat some fruits and vegetables every day, which is higher than the city's average of 87%. In 2018, 71% of residents described their health as "good," "very good," or "excellent," lower than the city's average of 78%.:13 For every supermarket in College Point and Flushing, there are 6 bodegas.:10
Post offices and ZIP code
College Point and Flushing generally have a similar rate of college-educated residents to the rest of the city. While 37% of residents have a college education or higher, 23% have less than a high school education and 40% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 39% of Queens residents and 43% of city residents have a college education or higher.:6 The percentage of College Point and Flushing students excelling in math rose from 55% in 2000 to 78% in 2011, and reading achievement rose from 57% to 59% during the same time period.
College Point and Flushing's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is less than the rest of New York City. In College Point and Flushing, 9% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, lower than the citywide average of 20%.:24 (PDF p. 55):6 Additionally, 86% of high school students in College Point and Flushing graduate on time, more than the citywide average of 75%.:6
Schools and churches
Public elementary schools, defined as kindergarten through 5th grades, include PS 29 and PS 129. College Point is home to St. Fidelis Parish, founded in 1856. The present church was completed in 1906. Adjacent to the church is the grave of Father Huber, the founding pastor. For over 150 years, the parish conducted an elementary school including kindergarten through 8th grades. In 1924, St. Fidelis School, a three-story building of 18 classrooms, opened its doors on the present 14th Avenue and 124th Street. In 1961, the 12 classroom annex was opened. In its heyday, St. Fidelis School had almost two thousand students, from kindergarten through grade 8. When it closed, there were just over 200 students. During all of these years, it was staffed by the Dominican Sisters of Amityville (Dominican Sisters of the American Congregation of the Holy Cross). Due to significant demographic changes in College Point, the elementary school was finally closed in June 2013.
Up until Vatican II, St. Fidelis was a thriving parish. For many years, it was led by Father (and eventually Monsignor) William J. Osborne. Monsignor Osborne died in 1998 at the age of 102, the oldest living Catholic priest in the United States at the time. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were four daily masses in St. Fidelis Parish, as well as ten Sunday masses in three venues. Currently, with diminished enrollments and changing demographics, there is one daily mass, and four Sunday masses, one in Spanish.
St. Agnes Academic High School, a private Catholic high and independent of St. Fidelis parish, has been operating for over one hundred years. In its early years, it was very briefly co-educational, but is now restricted to girls. It is owned and still staffed by the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, assisted by lay men and women. For many years, Reverend Mother Agatha, O.P., was superior and principal of St. Agnes High School. The Dominican Sisters reside in Saint Agnes Convent as well as the Harbor of Grace Convent, which was the original convent for this community. In June, 2018, The Harbor of Grace Convent will permanently close, since the Diocese of Brooklyn wishes to reclaim the building. The Harbor of Grace, first opened in the early 1970s, with Sr. Julianne (Nora Daniel) Connolly, O.P. being one of its pioneers. Sister Julianne has lived there for its entire history. St. Agnes Convent, the last of the Dominican Convents in College Point, will close in 2019.
St. Fidelis Roman Catholic Church,, St. John's Lutheran, and The First Reformed Church of College Point host the community's three largest congregations.
- MacNeil Park, formerly known as College Point Shorefront Park as well as Chisholm's by many locals (after the family that owned the mansion that once stood in the park), features a water front view, full playground, basketball and handball courts, and baseball fields. The Chisholm's Mansion was located at the highest part of the park, overlooking the East River and Rikers Island. This mansion served as the summer residence of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia during his term of office as Mayor of New York.
- Poppenhusen Playground is a park for primary school-aged children.
- College Point Park, the former location of P.S. 27, is located across the street from Poppenhusen Library.It is called "27" by many locals. It has basketball and handball courts as well as an adjacent municipal parking lot. A hot-dog vendor is often in the park on days with good weather and has handballs available for sale.
- Powell's Cove Park, an environmental waterfront park, lies on the border of College Point and Malba and affords a great view of the Bronx Whitestone Bridge
- Frank Golden Memorial Park, located behind the strip mall on 14th Avenue, features 4 baseball diamonds and is used by local softball leagues.
- College Point Sports Park: College Point is home to a newly reconstructed hockey rink on Ulmer Street complete with floodlights and bleachers, which was part of a larger reconstruction of the College Point Fields. The baseball fields and hockey rink are now New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Fields, but the entire property used to belong to the College Sports Association, which leased the fields from the City for $1 a day. The fields were to be rebuilt in the late 1990s, but due to complications due to the EnViroFill dumping construction debris, in 1999, the construction was stopped, the fields closed and the lease revoked. The local leagues nearly collapsed due to the closure of the fields, but under the leadership of Jerry Castro, President of the Little League until 2006, and Tony Mongeluzzi, President of the Roller Hockey League, the leagues survived and are now thriving.
- College Point Little League: The College Point Little League, based out of the College Point Little League Building, is chartered by Little League Baseball in Williamsport, and serves the College Point, Flushing, and Whitestone areas of Queens. The College Point Little League is an all volunteer organization dedicated to providing boys and girls, ages 5 through 18, a place where they can build their baseball skills while learning good sportsmanship, fair play, teamwork, and most of all, having fun.
- College Point Stars: The College Point Stars (not affiliated with the College Point Little League) are a youth baseball team that advanced to the 2007 Cal Ripken Babe Ruth League Division World Series, coached by Nelson Santiago and Anthony Figueroa, who were involved with the Little League for several years, including managing a team of 11-year-olds to a second-place finish in New York State in the summer of 2006.
Landmarks and historic buildings
- Academy Mailbox & Intercom Company – a gray-facaded warehouse on 15th Avenue built circa 1870. The building was originally used as an ice house to chill beer from a local brewery.
- College Point Little League Building – a listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 as Firemen's Hall.
- Farrington's Service Station – The oldest Gulf gas station in the state and possibly the oldest gas station in Queens. It was founded in the 1860s at the corner of 126th Street and 15th Avenue as a blacksmith shop and transformed into a gas station and auto service center in the early 1900s. The building has been renovated several times over the past 150 years and is still in operation on the same corner.
- First Reformed Church – A church built in 1872 in the small town New England style. The church is on a large lot, has a bell tower, and is adorned with "gingerbread" trim. On June 6, 2008 a fire caused damage in the steeple, which was repaired, maintaining the historical appearance of the building. (Up on 119th Street) In 2018 it was listed on the National Register.
- Poppenhusen Institute – Built in 1868 by Conrad Poppenhusen, the founder of College Point. The architecture features a French Second Empire Mansard roof topping off the three Italianate style stories. During the entire Civil War, the Poppenhusen Institute building housed the disassembled Abraham Lincoln's log cabin. After the war, it was returned to Hodgenville Kentucky, the current site of the log cabin. The Institute's other claim to fame is that it conducted America's first free kindergarten. Originally a town hall, this City Landmark now serves as a cultural and historical center and offers a variety of classes and activities.
- Schleicher Court – A mansion built in 1857 by Morris A. Gescheidt, it is located in the middle of 123rd Street at 13th Avenue. The mansion was built for Herman A. and Malvina Schleicher, and it is the only remaining 19th-century mansion in College Point built for a German-American family. From 1892 to 1923, John Jockers operated the Grand View Hotel at the property, at a time when College Point was a waterfront resort area. The house was divided into apartments in 1923. After the house had an electrical fire on July 9, 2008, the house was forcibly vacated by the Department of Buildings because of hazardous electrical conditions. The house was made a New York City designated landmark in 2009.
- Spangelberg Mansion – A yellow and white-facaded mansion circa 1860 now also divided into apartments.
Shopping and entertainment
- Farrington's Service Station was established in the 1860s on the corner of 126th Street and 15th Avenue as a blacksmith shop. John Farrington, a blacksmith, later transformed it into a gas station and auto service center in the early 1900s. The Farrington family still owns and operates the gas station on the same corner. It is the oldest Gulf station in the state.
- Empire Market on College Point Boulevard has sold German meats and groceries since 1920 and is owned by the Lepine's a third-generation German family. The store also offers a wide variety of candy in glass jars and is a favorite among children.
- College Meat Center, family owned and operated since 1963, has been serving local residents for over 40 years, surviving a fire in the 1980s.
- A strip mall-style shopping center on 20th Avenue includes Target, TJ Maxx, BJ's Wholesale Club, Modell's, Old Navy, and a ShopRite supermarket. There is also a McDonald's and Starbucks in the middle of this center's parking lot.
- De Point on 127th Street and 20th Avenue, an eco-friendly lifestyle center, was opened in 2012, with views of the Manhattan skyline, and a number restaurants, a spa, a swimming pool, a hotel, children's corner, rooftop garden restaurant and lounge and various shops.
- The College Point Multiplex Cinemas has 12 movie screens, as well as a mini-arcade.
Other points of interest
The Flushing Airport, opened in 1927 along the shore of Flushing Bay, had been a busy aviation hub before LaGuardia Airport was built in 1939 about one mile away. It carried the IATA code FLU. In 1977, a Piper Twin Comanche crashed shortly after taking off from the airport. The incident eventually led to the closing of this airport in 1984. The site remains abandoned, although plans have been proposed over the years to convert it into a blimp-port or office park. Given natural deterioration of the hangars and concrete runways, however, it is likely that the site will simply return to being natural wetlands.
MTA Regional Bus Operations' Q20A/B, Q25, Q65, and Q76 lines serve the neighborhood. No New York City Subway lines have ever been built to the area, although a spur from the IRT Flushing Line (present-day 7 and <7> trains) was proposed during much of the early 20th century.:371 The Long Island Rail Road's Whitestone Branch used to run near the area.
Notable current and former residents of College Point include:
- David Gallagher (born 1985), actor who portrayed "Simon Camden" on the show 7th Heaven
- Steve Karsay (born 1972), Major League Baseball pitcher.
- Conrad Poppenhusen (1818-1883), founder of College Point, education innovator, hard rubber manufacturer, railroad tycoon and German-born philanthropist
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- Keys, Lisa. "At Home with … Steve Karsay – No. 31's Flavor", New York Post, August 14, 2004. Accessed October 10, 2016. "The reliever grew up in a small two-bedroom in College Point, Queens. It’s only a little more than 10 miles away, but light years away in spirit."
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