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 About Howard Beach Queens
       
 

History

Howard Beach was established in the 1890's by William J. Howard, a Brooklyn glove manufacturer who operated a 150 acre (0.61 km˛) goat farm on meadow land near Aqueduct Racetrack, as a source of skins for kid gloves. In 1897, he bought more land and filled it in, and the following year he built 18 cottages and opened a hotel near the water, which he operated until it was destroyed by fire in October of 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 by 1914 (2 km˛). 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 that was first named Ramblersville in 1913, and a Post Office by the same name opened soon thereafter. A casino, beach, and a fishing pier were added in 1915, and the name was changed to 'Howard Beach on April 6, 1916. Development continued, and the ownership was expanded to a group of investors who sold lots for about $690 each starting in 1922.

Today

Howard Beach is home to a large Italian American population, as well as smaller Jewish, Irish, and Polish communities. Mob bosses John Gotti and Joe Massino had homes there and the neighborhood gained local attention for being home to many members of the Mafia; Gotti hosted a large fireworks display on 101st Avenue in nearby Ozone Park, near his Bergen Fish & Hunt Club each year on July 4th, until Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani put an end to the practice.

In the mid 1950s, the northernmost section of Howard Beach was comprised of a small wooded area (Cherry Forest) and a dairy farm (Mary's Farm), approximately 25% of the remaining area has houses on it.

Geography

What "outsiders" refer to as Howard Beach is to those who live there a collection of several diverse neighborhoods — Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Ramblersville, Rockwood Park, Lindenwood, Old Howard Beach, and Howard Park. Howard Beach proper is a small peninsula bordered by the Belt Parkway and Conduit Avenue on the north, Jamaica Bay on the south, Hawtree Creek on the east separating it from Hamilton Beach and Shellbank Basin on the west that separates it from Cross Bay Boulevard / Woodhaven Boulevard.

Cross Bay Boulevard is the main commercial strip of Howard Beach and going northward it eventually turns into Woodhaven Boulevard after Ozone Park. Throughout the 1970s and 80s the Boulevard was made up almost exclusively of locally-owned shops and restaurants. However starting in the 1990s, chain stores and restaurants began moving in and now most of the well-known franchises are on the Boulevard. Entertainment venues on Cross Bay Boulevard such as the Kiddie-Park and Cross-Bay Lanes were popular until their demise in the 1970s and 1980s.

Just Northeast of Howard Beach is Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park.

The Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge (named for a deceased member of the United States House of Representatives who once represented the district that includes Howard Beach) connects mainland Queens to Broad Channel and then over the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge to the Rockaway Peninsula (The Rockaways) from Howard Beach.

Government

Joseph Addabbo, Jr., the son of former Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo, represents the area as its New York City Councilman. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY) represents that part of Howard Beach East of Cross Bay Boulevard, while Congressman Anthony D. Weiner (D-NY) represents the part west of Cross Bay Boulevard.

Transportation

The A Train Subway stop in Howard Beach was once a Long Island Rail Road station on the Long Island Railroad's Rockaway Beach Branch. Frequent fires on the trestle to Broad Channel helped to force the LIRR to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the 1950s which allowed the city to purchase the line from the LIRR in 1956.

The Howard Beach-JFK subway station provides a connection to both the A train and AirTrain JFK (and was the terminus of the former JFK Express, known colloquially as the "Train To The Plane," in the late 1970s into the early 1990s). Prior to the AirTrain JFK, the Port Authority provided a free shuttle bus to the terminals at JFK Airport. The Airtrain, provides a quicker and more convenient connection at the price of $5.00 for each entry or exit at Howard Beach or Jamaica, an unlimited monthly pass is available for $40.00. Visitors on extended delays or layovers at JFK Airport have lately been paying the $10.00 fee ($5.00 each way) to visit the small shops and pub at Coleman Square.

Schools

  • PS 146 The Howard Beach School K-6
  • PS 207 K-6
  • PS 232 The Walter Ward School K-6
  • Our Lady of Grace School K-8
  • Saint Helen School K-8

For grades 9-12, most residents attend John Adams High School in nearby Ozone Park, Specialty High Schools, such as Beach Channel High School in Rockaway Park or Catholic High Schools.

Religion

  • Our Lady of Grace
  • Saint Helen Roman Catholic Church
  • Saint Barnabas Lutheran Church
  • Howard Beach Assembly of God
  • Chabad of Howard Beach
  • Howard Beach Judea Center
  • Rockwood Park Jewish Center

The Howard Beach Incident

Howard Beach gained some attention on December 20, 1986 when three African-American men were assaulted by local teenagers. One of the victims, Michael Griffith, was killed when a passing motorist's car ran over him on the Belt Parkway as he was attempting to flee from the pursuers. The incident triggered a wave of racial tension in New York City and gained national attention.

Howard Beach redux

A similar incident to the 1986 event took place on June 29, 2005, when three African-Americans were attacked with baseball bats; one of them was injured seriously enough to be hospitalized, and two arrests were made in the case. The alleged assailant, Nicholas Minucci, had claimed that the victims had attempted to rob him. On June 10, 2006, Minucci, 20, who uttered a racial epithet during the baseball bat attack, was found guilty of the racially motivated assault and robbery of Glenn Moore On July 17, 2006, Nicholas Minucci was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Demographics

28,098 respondents in the 11414 ZCTA provided ancestry information broken down as follows:

Ancestry Population Percent
Italian 13,915 49.7%
Irish 3,350 11.9%
German 2,218 7.9%
Polish 1,106 3.9%
Russian 800 2.8%
Greek 352 1.3%
Romanian 183 0.7%
Austrian 161 0.6%
French 143 0.5%
Swedish 117 0.4%
Scottish 117 0.4%
Lithuanian 113 0.4%
African 113 0.4%

Notable residents (past and present)

  • Vitas Gerulaitis professional tennis player.
  • Woody Guthrie, folk music legend (son Arlo Guthrie's music is frequently copyrighted by "Howard Beach Music, Inc.")
  • William J. Howard - Founder
  • James Maritato professional wrestler.
  • Richard Pearlman - volunteer EMT killed at World Trade Center on 9/11.
  • Firefighter Raymond R. York, victim of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

References

  1. ^ Forgotten-ny.com: Long Island Railroad Rockaway Line, accessed June 8, 2006
  2. ^ Howard Beach 'bias' attack: Accused bat-wielding thug arraigned on hate crime charge, New York Daily News, June 30, 2005
  3. ^ Batsman Convicted of Howard Beach Hate Crimes, The New York Times, June 10, 2006
  4. ^ Fat Nick gets 15 years, The New York Daily News, July 18, 2006
  5. ^ Census Data Ancestry for the 11414 5-Digit ZCTA, United States Census Bureau, accessed June 8, 2006

 
   
 

   
     
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