EAST ELMHURST, NY
East Elmhurst is a residential neighborhood in the northwest section of the New York City borough of Queens. It is bounded to the south by Jackson Heights and Corona, to the north and east by Bowery Bay, and to the west by Woodside and Ditmars Steinway. The area includes LaGuardia Airport, located on the shore of Flushing Bay, and Astoria Heights (ZIP Code 11370).
East Elmhurst is part of Queens Community District 3 and its ZIP Codes are 11369, 11370, and 11371. The neighborhood is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 115th Precinct, though the airport is patrolled by the Port Authority Police Department. East Elmhurst and its southern neighbor Corona are often referred to jointly as "Corona/East Elmhurst".
From colonial times to the early 1900s, the area now known as East Elmhurst was a vast marsh named Trains Meadow. Urbanization at the turn of the century was creating a New York City housing shortage and urban sprawl. In 1909, Edward A. MacDougall's Queensboro Corporation bought of undeveloped land and farms to the south and christened them Jackson Heights after John C. Jackson, a descendant of one of the original Queens families and a respected Queens County entrepreneur.
The neighborhood formerly contained an amusement area along Bowery Bay Beach (later renamed North Beach), which started operating in 1886. An amusement park called Gala Amusement Park was built by William Steinway on the Bowery Bay in what is now present-day LaGuardia Airport. In the 19th century the area used to be called Frogtown before Steinway rebuilt the area. It was home to the East Coast's first Ferris wheel and was known as the "Coney Island of Queens." Gala Amusement Park was eventually shut down due to Prohibition. In 1929 it was razed and transformed into a private flying field named Glenn H. Curtiss Airport after the pioneer Long Island aviator, later called North Beach Airport. Starting in 1937, a Works Progress Administration project transformed North Beach Airport into LaGuardia Airport, which formally opened in 1939.
The first houses were built in 1905. These residences were small frame houses located on lots, and some houses on the bay contained private beaches. The neighborhood's first commercial development came to Ditmars Boulevard during World War II.
In 1929, Holmes Airport opened near the western section of East Elmhurst. Bordering St. Michaels Cemetery to the west, the airfield was also called the Grand Central Air Terminal and Grand Central Airport. Holmes Airport shut down in 1940, one year after LaGuardia Airport opened. Today, the site is part of the Bulova Corporate Center and residential homes that surround the area.
The neighborhood saw an influx of African American residents in the 1960s and 1970s, as it was one of the few areas of the city where they could buy homes.
On September 2021, remnants of Hurricane Ida severely flooded the neighborhood of East Elmhurst and all surrounding areas. After surveying hurricane damage in New Jersey, President Joe Biden flew to East Elmhurst and toured one of the many residential common driveway inundated by the storm. Near the 87th Street alleyway, Biden met with local representatives and residents, and he delivered remarks on the response to Hurricane Ida in Queens.
The boundaries of East Elmhurst, as with most other New York City neighborhoods, are imprecise and often disputed, but the name generally applies to the area directly south of LaGuardia Airport. A more expansive definition considers East Elmhurst to be bordered by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) and 70th Street on the west, Northern Boulevard on the south, and Flushing Bay on the north and east. According to the Encyclopedia of New York City, the section west of Junction Boulevard and south of Astoria Boulevard is excluded from 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 , the neighborhood had a population density of .
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 people of any race were 63.5% (14,691) of the population.
According to the 2020 census data from New York City Department of City Planning, there were between 20,000 to 29,999 Hispanic residents while each the White, Black, and Asian residents all were each less than 5000 residents.
In 2011, the median move-in year for residents of one census tract in East Elmhurst was found to be 1974, the oldest of any of the more than 2,000 census tracts in the city.
Police and crime
East Elmhurst is patrolled by the 115th Precinct of the NYPD, located at 92-15 Northern Boulevard. The 115th Precinct was ranked 20th safest out of 69 patrol areas for per-capita crime in 2010. Crime has declined significantly since the late 20th century when the area was known as the "cocaine capital" of New York City.
The 115th Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 82.5% between 1990 and 2018. The precinct reported 3 murders, 41 rapes, 248 robberies, 368 felony assaults, 195 burglaries, 653 grand larcenies, and 149 grand larcenies auto in 2018.
Arts and culture
The intersection of 75th Street and 31st Avenue in East Elmhurst was co-named "Mount Everest Way" on March 9, 2019, to celebrate the Nepali community in the western part of East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Woodside areas.
Places of worship
Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church - A Roman Catholic church in the western part of East Elmhurst
First Baptist Church - located along Astoria Boulevard
Masjid Abu Huraira - A mosque in the western part of East Elmhurst.
St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church - A Roman Catholic church in the eastern part of East Elmhurst
The Korean Church of Queens - A Korean Church in the northern part of East Elmhurst
Notable landmarks and structures
The Marine Air Terminal in LaGuardia Airport is a New York City designated landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bulova Corporate Center was the original headquarters of the Bulova Watch Company. It was redesigned as an office center, and contains the New York City Department of Correction headquarters.
The Riker-Lent-Smith Homestead and Cemetery is a historic house and cemetery in the Astoria Heights section of East Elmhurst and is part of the National Register of Historic Places.
St. Michael's Cemetery - a triangular cemetery surrounded by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Grand Central Parkway
Parks and recreation
Politically, East Elmhurst is represented by parts of the 21st (Francisco Moya), 22nd (Tiffany Cabán), and 25th Districts (Shekar Krishnan) in the New York City Council.
In the New York State Legislature, East Elmhurst in the State Senate is part of District 13 with Jessica Ramos as current senator. In the State Assembly, the lower half of the legislature, East Elmhurst is a part of District 34 (Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas) and District 35 (Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry).
New York City Department of Education operates District 30 public schools in the area. P.S. 127 Aerospace Science Magnet School is 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 a separate district in Whitestone, causing some children to attend P.S. 21 for elementary and J.H.S 185 for middle school.
East Elmhurst is home to Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology located at 86-01 23rd Avenue, abutting Grand Central Parkway.
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.
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.
There are no New York City Subway stations nearby, but MTA Regional Bus Operations' Q19, Q23, Q33, Q47, Q48, Q49, Q66, Q69, Q72, and M60 SBS buses serve East Elmhurst.
= Bike Lanes: =
In Queens Community District 3, 11% of roads have bike lanes. The bike lanes in East Elmhurst include:
Post offices and ZIP Codes
East Elmhurst covers three ZIP Codes: 11369 (East Elmhurst east of 85th Street), 11370 (East Elmhurst west of 85th Street and the sub-neighborhood of Astoria Heights), and 11371 (LaGuardia Airport). The United States Post Office operates two locations in East Elmhurst:
East Elmhurst is served by two New York City Fire Department (FDNY) fire stations. Engine Co. 316 fire station is located at 27-12 Kearney Street and serves the eastern part of East Elmhurst. Another fire station, Engine Co. 307/Ladder Co. 154, is located at 81–19 Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights and serves the western part of East Elmhurst.
The New York City Department of Health has a 2018 community health report on the Queens Community Board 3 district which includes East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and North Corona. As of 2018, preterm births are about the same in the district as in other places citywide, but births to teenage mothers are more common. In the district, there were 86 preterm births per 1,000 live births (compared to 87 per 1,000 citywide), and 27.9 births to teenage mothers per 1,000 live births (compared to 19.3 per 1,000 citywide). The East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and North Corona area has a high population of residents who are uninsured. In 2018, this population of uninsured residents was estimated to be 28%, which is higher than the citywide rate of 12%.
The concentration of fine particulate matter, the deadliest type of air pollutant, in the district is 0.0073 milligrams per cubic metre (7.3×10−9 oz/cu ft), lower than the city average. Thirteen percent of district residents are smokers, which is slightly lower than the city average of 14% of residents being smokers. In addition, 20% of residents are obese, 13% are diabetic, and 29% have high blood pressure—compared to the citywide averages of 20%, 14%, and 24% respectively. 26% of children are obese, compared to the citywide average of 20%.
Eighty-six percent of residents eat some fruits and vegetables every day, which is slightly lower than the city's average of 87%. In 2018, 72% of residents described their health as "good", "very good", or "excellent", lower than the city's average of 78%. For every supermarket in the area, there are 17 bodegas. The district also has two farmer's markets.
The nearest large hospital in East Elmhurst is the Elmhurst Hospital Center in Elmhurst.
In 2020, the neighborhoods of Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights were most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. As of August 10, these communities, with a cumulative 303,494 residents, had recorded 12,954 COVID-19 cases and 1,178 deaths. COVID-19 cases in East Elmhurst ZIP Codes 11369 and 11370 were among the highest of any ZIP Code in New York City.
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:
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