Flushing, founded in 1645,
is a neighborhood in the north central part of the City of New York borough of
Queens, ten miles (16 km) east of Manhattan.
Flushing was one of the first Dutch settlements on Long Island.
Today, it is one of the largest and most diverse neighborhoods in
New York City. Flushing's diversity is reflected by the numerous
ethnic groups that reside here including people of Asian, Hispanic,
European and African American ancestry. It is part of the
Congressional District, which encompasses the entire
northeastern shore of Queens County, and extends into neighboring
Flushing is served by five railroad
stations on the Long Island Rail
Road Port Washington
, and the New York City
Subway Number 7
has its terminus at Main Street. The intersection of
Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue is the third busiest intersection
in New York
City behind only Times
Square and 34th Herald
is part of Queens Community
Board 7 and is bounded by Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the
West, Francis Lewis
Boulevard to the East, Union Turnpike to the South and
Willets Point Boulevard to the North.
Dutch colonial history
Flushing was settled by Europeans on the eastern bank of Flushing Creek under charter of the Dutch West India Company and was
part of the New Netherland colony. The settlement was
named after the city of Vlissingen, in the southwestern Netherlands, the main port of the company.
In its early days, Flushing was inhabited by English colonists,
among them a farmer named John Bowne
John Bowne defied a prohibition imposed by New Amsterdam
Director-General Peter Stuyvesant
on harboring Quakers by allowing Quaker
meetings in his home. Landmarks remaining
from the Dutch period in Flushing include the John Bowne
House on Bowne Street and the Old Quaker
Meeting House on Northern
The Flushing Remonstrance
signed in Flushing on December 27, 1657, protested religious
persecution and eventually led to the decision by the Dutch West
India Company to allow Quakers and others to worship freely. As
such, Flushing is claimed to be a birthplace of religious freedom
in the new world.
English colonial history
In 1664, the English took control of New Amsterdam, ending Dutch
control of the colony, and renamed it New York. When Queens County
was established in 1683, the Town of Flushing
was one of
the original five towns
the county was subdivided. Many historical references to Flushing
are to this town. The town was dissolved in 1898 when Queens became
a borough of New York City.
Flushing was the site of the first commercial tree nurseries
in North America, the
most prominent being the Prince, Bloodgood, and Parsons nurseries.
the northern section of Kissena Park, former site of the Parsons nursery, still contains
a wide variety of exotic trees.
The naming of streets
intersecting Kissena Boulevard on its way toward Kissena Park
celebrates this fact (Ash Avenue, Beech, Cherry ...Poplar, Quince,
Rose). Flushing also supplied trees to the
Greensward project, now known as Central Park in Manhattan.
During the American Revolution, Flushing, along with most
settlements in present-day Queens County, favored the British and
quartered British troops. Following the Battle of Long Island
, Nathan Hale
, an officer in the Continental Army
, was apprehended near
Flushing Bay while on what was probably an intelligence gathering
mission and was later hanged.
Homestead, originally the residence of a wealthy Quaker merchant, now serves as
the home of the Queens
The 1790 United States census recorded that 5,393 people lived in
what is present-day Queens County.
During the 1800s, as New York City continued to grow in population
and economic strength, Flushing's proximity to Manhattan was
critical to its growth and transformation to a fashionable
Map of Flushing in 1891.
In 1813, the Village
Flushing was incorporated within the Town of Flushing. By the
mid-1860s, Queens County had 30,429 residents. Flushing's growth
continued with two new villages incorporating: College Point
in1867, and Whitestone in 1868.
In 1898, although opposed to the proposal, the Town of Flushing
(along with two other towns of Queens County) was consolidated into
the City of New York to form the new Borough
Queens. All towns, villages, and cities within the new borough were
dissolved. Local farmland continued to be subdivided and developed
transforming Flushing into a densely populated neighborhood of New
Twentieth century and World's Fairs
continued construction of bridges over the Flushing
River and the development of other roads increased the
volume of vehicular traffic into Flushing. In 1909, the
construction of the Queensboro Bridge over the East River connected Queens County to midtown Manhattan.
The introduction of rail road service to Manhattan in 1910 by the
Long Island Rail Road
Washington Branch and in 1928 by the New York City Transit
Number 7 subway line hastened the continued
transformation of Flushing to a commuter suburb and commercial
center. Due to increased traffic, a main roadway through Flushing
named Broadway was widened and renamed Northern Boulevard.
was a forerunner of Hollywood, when the young American film
industry was still based on the East Coast and Chicago.
Decades later, the RKO
Keith's movie palace would host vaudeville
acts and appearances by the likes of
, The Marx Brothers
and Bob Hope
. The theater now lies vacant and in
disrepair due to an unauthorized real estate development project
that took place in the early 1990s.
The 1939-1940 World's
was held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Massive
preparations for the Fair began in 1936 and included the
elimination of the Corona dumps. Among the innovations presented to
the world in 1939 was the television
which broadcast a speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt
World's Fair, the New York City pavilion was converted into the
temporary headquarters of the United Nations where, in 1947, the
voted in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel.
After the United Nations moved to their
permanent headquarters in Manhattan, the New York City pavilion was
converted into a roller rink & ice skating center.
A second World's Fair, the 1964-1965 World's Fair
held at the site of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Pope Paul VI
attended the Fair on October 4,
1965. On this papal trip, Pope Paul VI became the first pope to
visit the United States. An exedra
commemorates the site of the Vatican pavilion. Michelangelo
's masterpiece, the Pietà
, was exhibited during his trip.
the Fair, the Unisphere, the New York State Pavilion and the New York City
Pavilion remained in the park.
The NYC Pavilion's roller
rink which had been converted back into exhibit space for the
1964-1965 World's Fair became the Queens Museum of Art.
By 2009 many Mandarin
-speaking people moved to
Flushing. Kirk Semple of The New York Times said in a 2009
article that Flushing began to rival the Manhattan
Chinatown in being a center of Chinese-speaking New Yorkers'
politics and trade.
Landmarks, museums and cultural institutions
Numerous historic structures are located in Flushing.
Town Hall  on Northern Boulevard is the headquarters of
the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, an affiliate of the
Institution in Washington, D.C.
The building houses a
concert hall and cultural center and is one of the sites designated
along the Queens Historical Society's Freedom Mile.
registered New York City Landmarks include the Bowne House, Kingsland Homestead, Old Quaker Meeting House (1694), Flushing High School, St. George's Church (1854), the Lewis
H. Latimer House, the former RKO Keith's movie
theater, the United States Post Office on Main Street and the
Unisphere, a 12-story high, stainless steel globe that served
as the centerpiece for the 1964 New York World's
Fair. The Flushing Armory, on Northern Boulevard, was formerly used by the
Presently, the Queens North Task Force of
the New York City Police
uses this building. In 2005, the Fitzgerald-Ginsberg
on Bayside Avenue and in 2007, the
Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden 
were designated as landmarks.
attractions were originally developed for the World's Fairs in
Meadows-Corona Park. There is a stone marker for the two
5,000-year Westinghouse Time Capsules made of special alloys buried
in the park, chronicling 20th Century life in the United States,
dedicated both in 1938 and 1965. Also in the park are
Museum of Art which features a scale model of the City of New
York, the largest architectural model ever built; Queens Theatre in
the Park ; the New York Hall of Science and the Queens Zoo.
Botanical Garden on Main Street has been in operation continuously
since its opening as an exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair.
Marker of the time capsules
The Botanical Garden carries on Flushing's nearly three centuries
long horticultural tradition, dating back to its once famed tree
nurseries and seed farms.
Flushing is a very religiously diverse community in America (if not
the most). There are "over 200 places of worship in a small urban
neighborhood about 2.5 square miles [6.5 square kilometers]."
"Flushing has become a model for religious pluralism in America,
says R. Scott Hanson, a visiting assistant professor of history at
the State University of New York at Binghamton and an affiliate of
the Pluralism Project at Harvard University."
In 1657, while Flushing was still a Dutch settlement, a document
known as the Flushing
was created by Edward Hart, the town clerk, where
some thirty ordinary citizens protested a ban imposed by Peter
Stuyvesant, the director general of New Amsterdam, forbidding the
harboring of Quakers. The Flushing Remonstrance cited the Flushing
Town charter of 1645 which promised liberty of conscience.
Today, Flushing abounds in houses of worship, ranging from the
Dutch colonial epoch Quaker Meeting House, St. George's Episcopal
Church, the Free Synagogue of Flushing, St. Mel Roman Catholic
Church, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church - the largest Greek
Orthodox Church in the United States, and the Muslim Center of New
Roosevelt Avenue is one of the main commercial streets in
The intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, the business
center for Flushing located at the terminus of the Number 7 subway
line on the westernmost edge of the neighborhood has a
concentration of Chinese and Korean small businesses, including
Asian restaurants. Chinese-owned businesses in particular
predominate in the area along Main Street and the blocks west of
it. Japanese businesses catering mainly to the Japanese expatriate
community in Flushing, flourished in the 1970s, but have all but
moved out and disappeared due to shrinking numbers of Japanese
living in the area of Flushing. However, Flushing used to have a
very large Japanese population and was home to a major Japanese
enclave in the late 1950s before the Chinese and Koreans arrived
during the 1960s, but have all moved out of Flushing because the
economy took a downturn and was turning bad in the 1970s.
Ethnic Chinese are constituting an increasingly dominant proportion
of the Asian population of the overall population in Flushing, and
consequently, Flushing's Chinatown has grown rapidly enough to have
become likely the second-largest Chinatown outside of Asia. In
fact, the growth of Flushing's Chinese population continues rapidly
enough to the extent that the Flushing Chinatown may surpass the
original Manhattan Chinatown itself within a few years to become
likely the largest outside of Asia.
The northeastern section of Flushing continues to maintain large
Italian and Greek presences that are reflected in its many Italian
and Greek bakeries, grocery stores and restaurants. The northwest
is a mix of Jews
, and Italians
. Most of central Flushing is an
ethnic mix of European Americans
, and Asian Americans
An area south of Franklin Avenue is a concentration of Indian,
Pakistani, Afghan and Bangladeshi markets.
, also known as
North Flushing, is a residential area with many large homes. Part
of this area has been designated a State and Federal historic
district due to the elegant, park-like character of the
neighborhood. Recently much of the area was rezoned by the City of
New York to preserve the low density, residential quality of the
area. The neighborhood awaits designation as an Historic District
by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Broadway-Flushing is bounded by 29th
the north, Northern Boulevard and Crocheron Avenue to the south,
to the west and 172nd
Streets to the east.
Neighborhood, an estate subdivision
in Flushing constructed primarily between 1875 and 1925, is a small
district of high quality "in-town" suburban architecture that
preservationists have tried to save for at least twenty-five years.
Waldheim (German for "home in the woods"), known for its large
homes of varying architectural styles, laid out in an unusual
street pattern, was the home of some of Flushing's wealthiest
residents until the 1960s. The neighborhood was rezoned by the City
of New York in 2008, in order to halt the destruction of its
original housing stock, which became a problem starting in the late
1980s, and to help preserve the low density, residential character
of the neighborhood. Today, Waldheim stretches between Sanford and
Franklin Avenues on the north, 45th Avenue on the south, Bowne
Street on the west and Parsons Boulevard on the east. The area is
immediately southeast of the downtown Flushing commercial core, and
adjacent to the Kissena Park and East Flushing neighborhoods.
All the public parks and playgrounds in Flushing are supervised by
York City Department of Parks and Recreation
. For Queens
County, the Department of Parks and Recreation is headquartered at
The Overlook in Forest Park located in Kew Gardens.
- Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, a park, is considered a flagship park in
Queens. The site hosted two World's Fairs, the first in
1939-1940 and the second in 1964-1965. As the result, the park
infrastructure reflects the construction undertaken for the Fairs.
Also located here is Citi Field and the National Tennis Center
which is the home of the US Tennis Open. In 2008, a new Aquatic
Center was opened in the park.
- Bowne Park is an park developed on the former estate of New
York City Mayor Walter Bowne.
- Flushing Fields is a greenbelt that includes the home athletic
field of Flushing High School.
The public schools in Flushing are all supervised by the New York
City Department of Education through Administrative District
There are numerous public Elementary and Junior High Schools in
Flushing and students generally attend a school based on the
location of their residence.
In 1858, the first library in Queens County was founded in
Flushing. Today, there are eight branches of the
Borough Public Library with Flushing addresses.
The largest of the
Flushing branches is located at the intersection of Kissena
Boulevard and Main Street, and is the busiest branch of the highest
circulation system 
in the country . This library has and
houses an auditorium for public events. The current building,
designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, is the third to be
built on the site—the first was a gift of Andrew Carnegie
The five public high schools in Flushing include John Bowne High
School, Robert F. Kennedy Community High School (Forest Hills
High School), Townsend
Harris High School, The Flushing
International High School and Flushing High School, the oldest public high school in the City of New
Flushing High School is housed in a distinctive Gothic
Revival building built between 1912 and 1915 and declared a NYC
Landmark in 1991. Private high schools include Holy Cross High
School. Townsend Harris High
is a selective high school located on the Queens College
campus and was recently ranked by the U.S. News and World Report as
one of the best public high schools in the United States.
, founded in 1937, a senior college of the City University of New York
(CUNY) is located on Kissena Boulevard near the Long Island
Expressway. The City University of New
York School of Law
was founded in 1983 adjacent to the Queens
College campus. The Law School operates Main Street Legal Services
Corp., a legal services clinic.
The New York City Transit Authority operates the Flushing Number 7
subway line, which provides a direct rail link to Grand Central
Station and Times Square in Manhattan. The Flushing-Main Street subway
station located at the intersection of Main Street and
Roosevelt Avenue is the eastern terminus of the line.
the Flushing Number 7 made its way to the intersection of Main
Street and Roosevelt Avenue in 1928, the center of Flushing was
considered to be at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Main
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates the Long Island
Rail Road Port Washington Branch that has five rail road stations
in Flushing. The Flushing-Main Street Station of the Long Island
Rail Road is located one block away from the subway station
that bears the same name. The Long Island Rail Road also has
stations at Mets–Willets Point, Murray Hill, Broadway and Auburndale.
The Long Island Rail Road provides a direct
rail link to Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan.
numerous bus routes available at the intersection of Main Street
and Roosevelt Avenue with destinations to other Queens
neighborhoods by MTA New
York City Transit buses, the Bronx and Nassau County by MTA Long Island
, and QBx1
Major highways that serve the area include the Van Wyck Expressway
, Whitestone Expressway
, Grand Central Parkway
and Long Island Expressway
Boulevard extends from the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City
through Flushing into Nassau County.
The New York Mets
Baseball Club calls
Flushing home. The team uses Citi Field as its home stadium. Shea Stadium was the home park until the end of the 2008
season. The United States Tennis Association's
National Tennis Center hosts the U.S. Open Tournament in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park every
This tournament relocated to Flushing from its
original home in Forest Hills, Queens.
Shea Stadium has hosted four World
, in 1969, 1973, 1986 and 2000. In 2009, Shea Stadium
was replaced by Citi
Field, which was built in one of the parking areas of
- The first series of Charmin toilet paper
commercials featuring Mr. Whipple
(Dick Wilson) were filmed in Flushing at
the Trade Rite supermarket on Bowne Street.
- The rock band KISS first
played at the Coventry Club on Queens Boulevard in 1973, and is
said to have derived its name from "Kissena," one of Flushing's
- Joel Fleischman, the fictional character from the 1990s
comedic drama Northern
Exposure, was said to have relocated from Flushing. Often,
references were made to actual locations around Main Street,
- The eponymous celebration in Taiwanese director Ang Lee's 1993 comedy hit, The Wedding Banquet, takes place in
Downtown Flushing's Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel.
- Fran Drescher's character
"Fran Fine" on the TV show "The Nanny", was said to have been raised in
Flushing, where her family still lived. Drescher herself was born
- Flushing was the location of the Stark Industries (later Stark
International) munitions plant in Marvel
Comics' original Iron Man
- On the Norman Lear-produced TV show
All in the Family, in the episode
when Edith Bunker was arrested for shop
lifting, she mentions the Q 14 bus, and the names of a few
long-gone stores that were in downtown Flushing.
- Judd Apatow, stand-up comedian,
director, producer, screenwriter
- Annet Artani, singer/songwriter and
international pop star
- Daniel Carter Beard founder
of the Boy Scouts of America
- James A. Bland singer and composer
- Godfrey Cambridge African
American comedian and actor
"Fidelito" Castro Díaz-Balart, Cuban leader
Fidel Castro's son
- Joseph Cornell, artist.
- Fran Drescher, actress, author,
politician/humanitarian, cancer survivor, activist (known for
The Nanny as Fran
- Tom Duane, first out gay member of the
New York State Senate
- Jimmy Durante, comedian
- Nikki Rock, bassist/songwriter of
- Black Sheep rap
- Jon Favreau, actor/producer/director
- F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940),
- Franky G, actor
- Mic Geronimo, rap
- Charles Dana Gibson,
- Mary Gordon, writer
- Al Greenwood, former keyboard of Foreigner
- Marvin Hamlisch, composer
- Sarah Jones, Tony Award-winning stage actress and poet
- Steve Karsay, Baseball player
- Keith and The Girl, podcasters
- Kevin "Flushing Flash" Kelley,
- Large Professor, hip-hop producer
- Lewis Latimer,
inventor - Lewis
H. Latimer House is a designated New York City Landmark
- Gene Mayer, tennis player
- Sandy Mayer, tennis player
- Charles Momsen, vice admiral who organized rescue of USS Squalus
- Robert Moog, inventor of the
- Lewis Mumford, architecture critic and historian
- Jonathan "JB" Brightman, original bassist, Buckcherry, founder
of Black Robot
- Andrew Brightman, music executive
- Prong, crossover thrash band
- Richard Outcault, creator of
Buster Brown and Hogan's Alley
- Samuel Parsons, landscape architect
- Nancy Reagan, actress and First Lady
- M. Daniel Reznik, The Legend.
- Royal Flush ,rapper
- John Seery, artist
- Kasey Smith, musician
- Paul Stanley, member of the band
- Beau Starr, actor
- Mike Starr, actor
Gene Larkin, Major League Baseball player
- Buried in Flushing:
- John Bowne, Quaker advocate
- Louis "Lepke" Buchalter,
- Alan King, comedian
- Louis Armstrong, jazz
- Bernard Baruch, financier
- Eugene Bullard, the first Black
- Ellis Parker Butler, author
noted for the story Pigs is
- Dr. Adam Clayton Powell,
- Jack Gilford, comedian and
- Waxey Gordon, notable American
- Dizzy Gillespie, one of the
greatest jazz trumpeters
- Hermann Grab, Bohemian writer
- Thomas Birdsall Jackson,
- Bert Lahr, actor
- Molly Picon, Yiddish stage and film
- Lemuel E. Quigg, United States Representative
- May Robson, actress
- Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, celebrated husband
and wife, Yiddish theater stars
- Aris San, acclaimed Greek-Israeli singer
- Vincent Sardi,
Sr., founder of the famous Sardi's restaurant.
- Henny Youngman, comedian]
- Famous visitors:
- Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed
September 3, 2007
- Kenneth T. Jackson, Op-Ed, The New York Times,
December 27th, 2007
- This later map shows former boundaries of the Town of Flushing.
The map does not show the towns that were part of Queens and are
now part of Nassau.
- Flushing Meadows Corona Park - Parks - New York
- Semple, Kirk. " In Chinatown, Sound of the Future Is Mandarin."
The New York Times. October 21,
2009. Retrieved on October 27, 2009.
- Representative Crowley: New York: Flushing
- Queens 35th Anniversary Edition
- Kenneth Jackson, International Herald Tribune, December 27,
- The New York Times
- A Journey Through Chinatown - Downtown Flushing
- Behind The Music, Queens Tribune by
Stephen McGuire, accessed February 3, 2007
- Bland, James Allen, Pennsylvania Center for the
Book. Accessed September 23, 2007. "James Bland was born on October
22, 1854, in Flushing, Long Island, New York, to Allen M. Bland and
Lidia Ann (Cromwell) Bland, one of 12 children."
- Cotter, Holland. "Poetic Theaters, Romantic Fevers", The New York
Times, July 13, 2007. Accessed October 8, 2007. "But they
meant the world to this intensely shy artist, who lived on sweets,
worshiped forgotten divas and made portable shrines to them — his
version of spiritual art — in the basement of the small house he
shared with his mother and disabled brother in Flushing,
- Experience the glory of Queens - International Herald