Kew Gardens, Queens facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Neighborhood of Queens
Businesses on Lefferts Boulevard
|City||New York City|
|Community District||Queens 9|
|Named for||Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew|
|• Median income||$61,287 |
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Area codes||718, 347, 929, and 917|
Kew Gardens is a neighborhood in the central area of the New York City borough of Queens. Kew Gardens is bounded to the north by the Union Turnpike and the Jackie Robinson Parkway (formerly the Interboro Parkway), to the east by the Van Wyck Expressway and 131st Street, to the south by Hillside Avenue, and to the west by Park Lane, Abingdon Road, and 118th Street. Forest Park and the neighborhood of Forest Hills are to the west, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park north, Richmond Hill south, Briarwood southeast, and Kew Gardens Hills east.
Kew Gardens is located in Queens Community District 9 and its ZIP Code is 11415. It is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 102nd Precinct. Politically, Kew Gardens is represented by the New York City Council's 29th District.
Kew Gardens was one of seven planned garden communities built in Queens from the late 19th century to 1950. Much of the area was acquired in 1868 by Englishman Albon P. Man, who developed the neighborhood of Hollis Hill to the south, chiefly along Jamaica Avenue, while leaving the hilly land to the north undeveloped.
Maple Grove Cemetery on Kew Gardens Road opened in 1875. A Long Island Rail Road station was built for mourners in October and trains stopped there from mid-November. The station was named Hopedale, after Hopedale Hall, a hotel located at what is now Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike. In the 1890s, the executors of Man's estate laid out the Queens Bridge Golf Course on the hilly terrains south of the railroad. This remained in use until it was bisected in 1908 by the main line of the Long Island Rail Road, which had been moved 600 feet (180 m) to the south to eliminate a curve. The golf course was then abandoned and a new station was built in 1909 on Lefferts Boulevard. Man's heirs, Aldrick Man and Albon Man Jr., decided to lay out a new community and called it at first Kew and then Kew Gardens after the well-known botanical gardens in England. The architects of the development favored English and neo-Tudor styles, which still predominate in many sections of the neighborhood.
In 1910, the property was sold piecemeal by the estate and during the next few years streets were extended, land graded and water and sewer pipes installed. The first apartment building was the Kew Bolmer at 80–45 Kew Gardens Road, erected in 1915; a clubhouse followed in 1916 and a private school, Kew-Forest School, in 1918. In 1920, the Kew Gardens Inn at the railroad station opened for residential guests, who paid $40 a week for a room and a bath with meals. Elegant one-family houses were built in the 1920s, as were apartment buildings such as Colonial Hall (1921) and Kew Hall (1922) that numbered more than twenty by 1936.
In July 1933, the Grand Central Parkway opened from Kew Gardens to the edge of Nassau County; this road was extended in 1935 as the Interborough Parkway to Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York. Since the parkways used part of the roadbed of Union Turnpike, no houses were demolished. However, the greatest change was wrought by the opening of the Independent Subway System line along Queens Boulevard to Union Turnpike on December 31, 1936; four months later, the subway was extended to Jamaica, Queens. Residents could now reach Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx twenty-four hours a day for a five-cent fare, stimulating the construction of larger apartment buildings like Kent Manor and high-rise buildings along Queens Boulevard and the last vacant land disappeared.
Despite its historical significance, Kew Gardens lacks any landmark protection.
Kew Gardens remains a densely populated residential community, but Kew Gardens is increasingly becoming a upper class residential area, with a mix of one-family homes above the million-dollar range, complex apartments, co-ops and others converted and on the way or being converted as condominiums. A major five-star hotel is under development on 82nd Avenue, reflecting a modernization of the area. However, it is filled mainly with apartment buildings between four and ten stories high; while many are rentals, some are co-ops. Although there are no New York City Housing Authority complexes in Kew Gardens, Mitchell-Lama buildings provide stabilized rental prices for families or individuals who may need help paying rent. On 83rd Avenue there is a 32-story Mitchell-Lama building. Along the borders of Richmond Hill, Briarwood, and Jamaica, smaller attached houses exist. Many of these are two or three family homes. Expensive single family homes are located around the Forest Park area. Due to constant development, however, many owners are selling out their detached homes to developers who teardown and convert them into apartment housing. This has brought demographic change.
Surrounded by Forest Park, residents in Kew Gardens enjoy what many Manhattanites lack: greenery and quiet nights. The Park, which is very well preserved and is the third largest in Queens, has a private road where residents can jog or walk year round. There are some horse back riding paths and hiking paths actively used by residents. Frederick Law Olmsted conceived the design of the park. Some of the Queens courthouses are also located in Kew Gardens on the side of Queens Boulevard.
The neighborhood also has many airline personnel because of its proximity to the Q10 to John F. Kennedy International Airport, as well as to Delta Air Lines and other airlines' special shuttles that serve pilots and flight attendants staying in Kew Gardens.
Kew Gardens's commercial center is Lefferts Boulevard between Austin Street and Metropolitan Avenue. This street is the home to many favorite spots, including Kew Gardens Cinemas with a selection of independent international films, Dani's Pizzeria, Austin's Steak and the Austin Ale House, and Comic Den. The county's civic center, Queens Borough Hall, along with one of the county criminal courts, stand at the northern end of the neighborhood, on Queens Boulevard, in a complex extending from Union Turnpike to Hoover Avenue.
Schools of note located in Kew Gardens include Yeshiva Tifereth Moshe, Bais Yaakov of Queens and Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah. P.S. 99, the local public school, has special programs for gifted students such as the Gifted and Talented program, where children start to learn advanced material beginning in second grade.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Kew Gardens was 23,278, a decrease of 610 (2.6%) from the 23,888 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 469.74 acres (190.10 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 49.6 inhabitants per acre (31,700/sq mi; 12,300/km2).
The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 49.3% (11,478) White, 6.5% (1,515) African American, 0.2% (37) Native American, 15.6% (3,628) Asian, 0.0% (11) Pacific Islander, 1.1% (257) from other races, and 3.0% (701) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.3% (5,651) of the population.
The entirety of Community Board 9, which comprises Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, and Woodhaven, had 148,465 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 84.3 years. This is higher than the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods. Most inhabitants are youth and middle-aged adults: 22% are between the ages of between 0–17, 30% between 25–44, and 27% between 45–64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 17% and 7% respectively.
As of 2017, the median household income in Community Board 9 was $69,916. In 2018, an estimated 22% of Kew Gardens and Woodhaven residents lived in poverty, compared to 19% in all of Queens and 20% in all of New York City. One in twelve residents (8%) were unemployed, compared to 8% in Queens and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 55% in Kew Gardens and Woodhaven, higher than the boroughwide and citywide rates of 53% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018[update], Kew Gardens and Woodhaven are considered to be high-income relative to the rest of the city and not gentrifying.
The Hispanic and Asian populations in Kew Gardens have grown since the 2000 United States Census. At the time, the demographics were 66.2% White, 13.0% Asian, 7.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, and 7.4% of other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 20.0% of the population. Many of the residents are between the ages of 30 and 38, married, college graduates and renters.
Kew Gardens is ethnically diverse. A large community of Jewish refugees from Germany took shape in the area after the Second World War which is reflected still today by the number of active synagogues in the area. The neighborhood attracted many Chinese immigrants after 1965, about 2,500 Iranian Jews arrived after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and immigrants from China, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, the former Soviet Union, India, Bangladesh and Korea settled in Kew Gardens during the 1980s and 1990s. Currently, Kew Gardens has a growing population of Bukharian Jews from Uzbekistan, alongside a significant Orthodox Jewish community. Also many immigrants from Central America, and South America call Kew Gardens home, as well as immigrants from Japan.
The increase of the Korean population followed the renovation and rededication of the First Church of Kew Gardens, which offers Korean-language services. In recent years, young professionals and Manhattanites looking for greenery, park-like atmosphere and spacious apartments have moved to the area.
Major development in the neighborhood, such as the construction of new apartment complexes and multi-family homes, has resulted in great demographic change as well. Immigrants from Latin America, Guyana, South Asia and East Asia, and the Middle East (especially Israel), have moved into these new developments. Even the local cuisine reflects this diversity in Kew Gardens, with Russian, Italian, Indian, Pakistani, and Uzbek dining available to residents and visitors. Many religious groups such as Jews, Muslims, and Hindus, can shop at local markets and bazaars that cater to their religious-food needs.
The neighborhood is served by the New York City Subway's E, F <F> trains at the Kew Gardens–Union Turnpike subway station, and by the J and Z train at the 121st Street subway station. In addition, Long Island Rail Road's City Terminal Zone stops at the Kew Gardens station. New York City Bus routes include Q10, Q37, Q46, Q54, Q60, as well as express bus routes to Manhattan.
The neighborhood is accessible by car from Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway), Grand Central Parkway, Jackie Robinson Parkway, Queens Boulevard, and Union Turnpike. These all intersect at the Kew Gardens Interchange.
Kew Gardens has many locally owned businesses and restaurants especially on Lefferts Boulevard, Metropolitan Avenue, Austin Street, and Kew Gardens Road. The courthouse is very profitable, as is transportation to the area; however, neither profit the neighborhood directly, but instead serve as an incentive to move to the area. The cost of living in the neighborhood (as of 2015) is $62,900. Pilots and flight attendants who stay in Kew Gardens in between John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport flights also affect the local economy.
Saudi Arabian Airlines operates an office in Suite 401 at 80–02 Kew Gardens Road in Kew Gardens.
Kew Gardens and Woodhaven generally have a lower rate of college-educated residents than the rest of the city as of 2018[update]. While 34% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 22% have less than a high school education and 43% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 39% of Queens residents and 43% of city residents have a college education or higher. The percentage of Kew Gardens and Woodhaven students excelling in math rose from 34% in 2000 to 61% in 2011, and reading achievement rose from 39% to 48% during the same time period.
Kew Gardens and Woodhaven's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is less than the rest of New York City. In Kew Gardens and Woodhaven, 17% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, lower than the citywide average of 20%. Additionally, 79% of high school students in Kew Gardens and Woodhaven graduate on time, more than the citywide average of 75%.
Schools of note located in Kew Gardens include Yeshiva Tifereth Moshe, Bais Yaakov of Queens and Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah. The only public school in Kew Gardens is PS 99, which has special programs for gifted students such as the Gifted and Talented program.
The Queens Public Library operates two branches near Kew Gardens:
- The Richmond Hill branch at 118-14 Hillside Avenue
- The Briarwood branch at 85-12 Main Street
Notable residents of Kew Gardens include:
- Grace Albee (1890-1985), printmaker and wood engraver.
- Burt Bacharach (born 1928) Award-winning pianist, composer and producer grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Crosby Bonsall (1921–1995) artist and children's book author and illustrator.
- Maud Ballington Booth (1865–1948), Volunteers of America co-founder.
- Joshua Brand (born 1950), television writer, director and producer, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Ralph Bunche (1903–1971), diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
- Rudolf Callmann (1892-1976), German American legal scholar and expert in the field of German and American competition law who assisted Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany.
- Ron Carey (1936-2008), labor leader who served as president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1991 to 1997.
- Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), actor, lived at 105 Mowbray Drive in 1919–1922.
- Rodney Dangerfield (1921–2004), comedian who lived above the Austin Ale House.
- Rona Elliot (born 1947), music journalist, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Lloyd Espenschied (1889-1986), electrical engineer who co-invented the modern coaxial cable.
- George Gershwin (1898–1937), composer.
- Ladislav Hecht (1909-2004), Jewish professional tennis player, well known for representing Czechoslovakia in the Davis Cup during the 1930s.
- Miriam Hopkins (1902–1972), actress.
- Frederick Jagel (1897-1982), tenor, primarily active at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1930s and 1940s.
- Rabbi Paysach Krohn (born 1945), rabbi and author, currently lives in Kew Gardens.
- Norman Lewis (1915–2006), Olympic fencer
- Josef Lhevinne (1874–1944), concert pianist.
- Rosina Lhévinne (1880-1976), pianist and pedagogue.
- Robert H. Lieberman, filmmaker, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Saul Marantz (1911-1997), designed and built the first Marantz audio product at his home in Kew Gardens.
- Peter Mayer (1936-2018), former Penguin Books CEO, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Anaïs Nin (1903–1977), author.
- Dorothy Parker (1893–1967), poet.
- Will Rogers, Sr. (1879–1935), actor.
- Will Rogers, Jr. (1911–1993), congressman and son of Will Rogers, Sr.
- Nelson Saldana, track cycling champion.
- Ossie Schectman (1919-2013), basketball guard, who is credited with having scored the first basket in the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which would later become the National Basketball Association (NBA).
- Robert Schimmel (1950-2010), comedian, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Jerry Springer (born 1944), talk show host and former mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Paul Stanley (born 1952), musician, singer, songwriter and painter best known for being the rhythm guitarist and singer of the rock band Kiss.
- Carol Montgomery Stone (1915-2011), actress and daughter of actor Fred Stone, grew up in Kew Gardens.
- Sim Van der Ryn, architect, researcher and educator, who has applied principles of physical and social ecology to architecture and environmental design.
- Dick Van Patten (1928-2015), actor, best known for his role on the television comedy-drama Eight Is Enough.
- S. Howard Voshell (1888–1937), professional tennis player and later a promoter.
- Robert C. Wertz (1932-2009), politician who served for 32 years as a member of the New York State Assembly.
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