East Elmhurst, Queens
East Elmhurst is a culturally diverse area in the northwest section of the New York City borough of Queens. It is located northeast of Jackson Heights and north of Corona. The area includes La Guardia Airport and is bounded on the east and north by Flushing Bay. Residents are mostly moderate-income families. East Elmhurst is a young working Middle Class Community. The proximity to the City has made this a great location to live. The neighborhood is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 115th Precinct; the airport is patrolled by the Port Authority Police Department. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 3. The ZIP codes of East Elmhurst are 11369 and 11370. East Elmhurst and its southern neighbor Corona are often referred to jointly as “Corona/East Elmhurst”.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of East Elmhurst was 23,150, an increase of 1,967 (9.3%) from the 21,183 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 443.53 acres (179.49 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 52.2 inhabitants per acre (33,400/sq mi; 12,900/km2).
The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 4.7% (1,092) White, 25.4% (5,869) African American, 0.2% (46) Native American, 4.4% (1,023) Asian, 0.1% (14) Pacific Islander, 0.6% (146) from other races, and 1.2% (269) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 63.5% (14,691) of the population.
The Corona East Elmhurst News, first published in 1959 by Kenneth and Corien Drew, was located on Astoria Boulevard. It ultimately became the Queens Voice and was published for 1959-2002. The tabloid style newspaper was a weekly publication which included many notable columnists that highlighted the social and political activities of the African American communities of Corona and East Elmhurst and the Borough of Queens.
New York City Department of Education operates District 30 public schools in the area. P.S. 127 Aerospace Science Magnet School, an elementary school for grades PK-8. East Elmhurst Community School serves students PK-3. Also in East Elmhurst is the application school: I.S. 227 Louis Armstrong Middle School (grades 5-8), for Queens residents. A small section of the neighborhood is zoned for separate district in Whitestone, Queens causing some children to attend P.S. 21 for elementary and J.H.S 185 for middle school.
The Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center "conceived and designed by the residents of the Corona-East Elmhurst community" houses one of the most extensive collections of African American art and literature. A component of the Queens Library system, the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center is located in Corona on Northern Boulevard.
The Black Heritage Reference Center, a part of the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, serves Queens with a comprehensive reference and circulating collection, totaling approximately 30,000 volumes of materials written about and related to Black culture. Emphasis is given to those geographic areas where African-Americans have lived in significant numbers, including West Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Canada and the United States. 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. The curator is responsible for the coordination, supervision, and care of the special collection for its continued development and ongoing maintenance. Cultural arts programs are scheduled through the Black Heritage Reference Center. Meeting space is available to community organizations by application. Special features of the Black Heritage Center include:
- The Schomburg Clipping 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 Africans and African-Americans in the Diaspora. The focus of the collection is on criticisms of Black writers, with special emphasis on the works of writer and poet Langston Hughes.
- 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; and titles such as "Sankofa," and the "Million Man March." Through the Black Heritage Reference Center literature readings, workshops and lectures are scheduled, as well as cultural arts programming in fine art exhibitions, film festivals, dance, musical, and dramatic presentations/ performances.
During the 1950s and 1960s the area was home to legendary African American musicians, civil rights leaders, professionals, and athletes including Malcolm X, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat Adderley, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Heath, Frankie Lymon, Charlie Shavers, Ella Fitzgerald, and Willie Mays. During the late 1960s and early 1970s. numerous New York Mets such as Ed Charles and Tommie Agee called East Elmhurst home. East Elmhurst is the childhood home of former US Attorney General Eric Holder and is home to former Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. Jazz vocalist Norman Mapp also made East Elmhurst his home.
Other notable current and former residents include:
- Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor
- Harry Belafonte
- Clive Bradley
- Guy R. Brewer
- Charles "Honi" Coles (1911-1992), actor and tap dancer, who was best known for his role as Tito Suarez in the film Dirty Dancing.
- Keith David
- Ray Felix (1930-1991), professional basketball player who played in th NBA for the New York Knicks.
- Bobby Hammond (born 1952), former running back who played in the National Football League for five seasons with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins before starting a career as a coach.
- Steve Henderson
- P. J. Hill, Jr.
- Eric Holder
- Langston Hughes
- Christopher "Play" Martin
- Christopher "Kid" Reid
- Jackie Robinson
- Qubilah Shabazz (born 1960), second daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz.
- Malcolm X (1925-1965), African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist, whose home in East Elmhurst was firebombed in February 1965, a week before he was assassinated.
- NYPD 115th Pct
- Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.
- Table PL-P5 NTA: Total Population and Persons Per Acre - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, February 2012. Accessed June 16, 2016.
- Table PL-P3A NTA: Total Population by Mutually Exclusive Race and Hispanic Origin - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, March 29, 2011. Accessed June 14, 2016.
- New York Times "They Were Famous, Admired and (Finally) Welcome"
- Dunning, Jennifer. "Charles (Honi) Coles, 81, Dancer; Known for Elegance and Speed", The New York Times, November 13, 1992. Accessed November 28, 2017. "Charles (Honi) Coles, a virtuosic tap dancer who won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway musical "My One and Only" and whom Lena Horne once described as making 'butterflies look clumsy,' died yesterday at his home in East Elmhurst, Queens. He was 81 years old."
- http://www.nytimes.com/1991/07/31/obituaries/ray-felix-60-is-dead-knicks-center-in-50-s.html "Ray Felix, 60, Is Dead; Knicks Center in 50's"], The New York Times, July 31, 1991. Accessed November 28, 2017. "Ray Felix, who played five seasons as a center for the New York Knicks in the 1950's, died on Sunday at his home in East Elmhurst, Queens. His son, Ray Jr., said the cause of death was a heart attack."
- Kornheiser, Tony. "Giants' Hammond Keeps His Roots As He Blossoms", The New York Times, October 30, 1977. Accessed November 28, 2017. "It is a story of a young man who grew up in East Elmhurst, Queens. went to high school in Bayside, sold men's clothing in Flushing and ended up, after some disappointments, playing professional football for the Giants and marrying his high school sweetheart, who used to he a cheerleader.... Bobby Hammond is 25 years old, old for a rookie."
- Jones, Charisse. "Qubilah Shabazz: An 'Ideal Young Lady'", The New York Times, January 13, 1995. Accessed November 28, 2017. "The second of six girls, Ms. Shabazz was born on Christmas Day, 1960. Gordon Parks, the famed photographer and film director, was her godfather. Not yet 5 years old when her father was murdered, her father's rise and fall within the Nation of Islam played a major role in her early childhood, with the firebombing of her family's home in East Elmhurst, Queens, on Feb. 13, 1965, and Malcolm X's murder a week later."
- Handler, M. S. "Malcolm X Flees Firebomb Attack; Wife and 4 Daughters Also Escape as Flames Sweep Brick House in Queens", The New York Times, February 15, 1965. Accessed November 28, 2017. "Malcolm X, the controversial Black Nationalist leader, and his family escaped injury early yesterday when a firebomb attack wrecked the small brick house in which they lived in East Elmhurst, Queens."
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