Howard Beach, Queens (History)

(Neighborhoods In Queens)

neighborhoods_queens_howard_beach_300x300Howard Beach is a middle class neighborhood in the southwestern portion of the New York City borough of Queens. It is bordered in the north by the Belt Parkway and South Conduit Avenue in Ozone Park, in the south by Jamaica Bay in Broad Channel, in the east by 102nd–104th Streets, and in the west by 78th Street. The area’s houses are similar to Bayside and Hollis.

The neighborhood is part of Queens Community District 10, served by Queens Community Board 10.It is home to a large Italian-American population.The ZIP code of Howard Beach is 11414.

 

HISTORY

Howard Beach was established in the 1890s by William J. Howard, a Brooklyn glove manufacturer who operated a 150 acre (0.61 km²) goat farm on meadow land near Aqueduct Racetrack as a source of skin for kid gloves. In 1897, he bought more land and filled it in and the following year, built 18 cottages and opened a hotel near the water, which he operated until it was destroyed by fire in October 1907. He gradually bought more land and formed the Howard Estates Development Company in 1909. He dredged and filled the land until he was able to accumulate 500 acres (2 km²) by 1914. He laid out several streets, water mains and gas mains, and built 35 houses that were priced in the $2,500–$5,000 range.

The Long Island Rail Road established a station named Ramblersville in 1905 and a Post Office by the same name opened soon thereafter. A casino, beach, and fishing pier were added in 1915 and the name of the neighborhood was changed to Howard Beach on April 6, 1916. Development continued and ownership was expanded to a group of investors who sold lots for about $690 each starting in 1922. Development, however, was limited to the areas east of Cross Bay Boulevard near the LIRR station now known as Bernard Coleman Memorial Square (then Lilly Place). The rest of Howard Beach consisted of empty marsh land except for the area to the south of Coleman Square, centered around Russell St. and 102nd St., which consisted of many small fishing bungalows that dotted alongside Hawtree Creek and Jamaica Bay. This area of Howard Beach would retain the name “Ramblersville.” Despite its close proximity to the Howard Beach station at Coleman Square, the LIRR would establish a station a quarter of a mile south down the line at Hamilton Beach in 1919.

After World War II, Queens and Long Island went through a major suburban building boom leading to the marsh land west of Cross Bay Boulevard to be filled in. This led to the development of many Cape-Cod and High-Ranch style houses on 50 and 60 x 100 lots. This area was developed as “Rockwood Park” to the north and “Spring Park” to the south, together comprising what would be known as “New Howard Beach”, while the area east of the boulevard became known as “Old Howard Beach.” In the early 1950s, farm land north of Rockwood Park was developed with the building of many red bricked two-story garden style cooperative apartments along with some six-story co-op and condo apartment buildings. A number of private two-family houses were also built in this neighborhood, which was named Lindenwood. The various neighborhoods continued to be developed through the 1960s and 1970s as Cross Bay Boulevard became the area’s main shopping district. During the 1990s and 2000s, there was further high-scale development as many of the area’s old houses were torn down and replaced with upscale million-dollar mini-mansions.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

As of the 2000 census, there were 28,121 people residing in Howard Beach. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 85.9% Non-Hispanic White, 2.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.0% African American, 2.3% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. 9.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.1% of the population is foreign-born. The estimated median household income as of 2007 is $69,800. Many of the residents are Italian-American, often from immigrant families that relocated from Brooklyn in the 1940s and 1950s as they looked for a better life for their families.