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A Queens Timeline

April 15, 1524 – Giovanni da Verrazzano enters New York Bay.

Sept. 4, 1609 – Henry Hudson sails into New York Harbor, discovering Rockaways.

1614 – Adrian Block sails through Hell Gate into Long Island Sound. Astoria settled.

1628 – Flushing settled by the Dutch.

1637 – Bayside and Little Neck settled. Thomas Foster is the first settler in Bayside. Adrian Block makes maps of Little Neck.

1637-56 – Dutch farmers obtain grants to land tracts in the Astoria, Hunters Point, and Dutch Kills areas of what is now Long Island City.

1640 – Mohawk nation sells Rockaway Peninsula to the Dutch.

1642 – Dutch Governor Kieft issues charter for 13,332 acres to the 38 Englishmen who settle Maspeth. Long Island City settled by the Dutch.

1643 – Repeated Native American attacks force abandonment of Maspeth colony.

1652 – William Hallett is first settler in Astoria.

1655 – Town of Jamaica (originally called Rustdorp) founded by English at Old Town Neck on Jamaica Bay (site now covered by JFK Airport).

1656 – Springfield bought and settled. Governor Stuyvesant grants charter for Jamaica.

1657 – Quakers arrive in New York.

1657 – The Flushing Remonstrance is signed. It is the first-ever declaration of religious freedom in the New World and the foundation for the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

1661 – First part of Bowne House built by John Bowne, an Englishman who came from Boston to Flushing in 1653. Additions to the house made in 1680 and 1696.

1664 – Freedom of religious worship restored to New Netherland, due in large part to John Bowne’s plea before authorities of the Dutch West India Company in Amsterdam.

Sept. 8, 1664 – Dutch surrender New York, called New Netherland at the time, to an English Settlement at Little Neck.

Aug. 7, 1673 – The Dutch retake New York by force.

March 6, 1674 – The Peace of Westminster gives New York back to the English.

1678 – Queens Village settled.

Nov. 1, 1683 – Queens County is named for Queens Catherine of Braganza, and the county embraces all of present-day Nassau County, including towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay.

1684 – Flushing buys all land from the Matinecock Indians.

1685 – All of Rockaway Neck sold to the English by Canarsie tribe.

1686 – Rockaway settled.

Late 17th Century – African-Americans settle in Queens, beginning a tradition that will find them occupying a steady 10-12% of Queens’ total population for the next 200 years.

1703 – Colonial legislature creates law that will build a highway from the East River ferry in Kings County (Brooklyn) through Queens and Suffolk counties to East Hampton. Called Kings Highway, it would evolve into Jamaica Avenue.

1732 – Prince Nurseries established by William Prince. Reportedly the first of their kind in America, they operated for almost two centuries and were named “The Linnaean Botanic Gardens,” after the Swedish botanist Linnaeaus.

1765 – Flushing revolts against Stamp Act.

1776-83 – British occupation of Flushing. Officers quartered in Aspinwall House, which adjoined the present YMCA building on Northern Boulevard. Friends Meeting House taken over by the British for duration of the War.

July 4, 1776 – Francis Lewis, resident of what was then part of Flushing, signs the Declaration of Independence for New York State.

Aug. 1776 – Battle of Long Island. Queens becomes a quartering area.

1776-83 – Occupation of Queens by British troops sleeping in make-shift huts and tents.

1783 – Treaty of Paris; war formally ends. British evacuation is complete by November 1783.

Late 18th Century – Owing to a deadly combination of population explosion and potato famine in Ireland, major influx of Irish immigrants begins in New York.

1800 – The first bridge over Flushing Creek was built, connecting Flushing with Corona.

The Quaker Meeting House in Flushing was the site for the signing of the Flushing Remonstrance, the first step toward religious freedom in the New World.

1809 – Brooklyn, Jamaica and Flatbush Turnpike Company build the Brooklyn and Jamaica Turnpike as toll road from the Brooklyn Ferry to 168th Street, a distance of 12 miles. This represents a further development of what would later become Jamaica Avenue.

1814 – Jamaica becomes first incorporated village on Long Island.

1814-16 – Toll road begun by Williamsburg and Jamaica Turnpike, Road and Bridge Co. Operated until 1972, it becomes the farmers’ route to the Brooklyn Ferry and also a stagecoach route. Now known as Metropolitan Avenue.

1826 – Woodside settled.

1835 – Woodhaven settled.

1835 — Douglaston settled.

Apr. 18, 1836 – First Long Island Rail Road train runs from foot of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn to Jamaica, Queens.

1838 – Parsons Nurseries established by Samuel Parsons. The nurseries adjoin Bowne House on the north, the present site of Weeping Beech Park and the Kingsland Homestead.

1839 – Astoria charter issued.

1842 – First publication of the Flushing Journal, issued as a weekly newspaper.

1847 – Shoot of a weeping beech tree, acquired by Mr. Parsons’ son on a trip to Belgium, is planted on its present site, part of the original Parsons Nurseries. The tree was designated an historic landmark in 1971.

1850 – Middle Village settled.

1852-1854 – More than half a million Germans immigrate to New York. 

1854 – Ridgewood settled.

1860 – By this year, the vast majority of Western Queens, which had been solidly English through the 1840s, had shifted to German immigrants.

1865 – Glendale settled.

1868 – Poppenhusen Institute donated to College Point by the family of Conrad Poppenhusen.

1870-72 – Establishment of Steinway Piano factory and factory village in Long Island City.

1870 – Corona founded.

1871 – Queens Village founded.

1872 – West Flushing officially changes name to Corona.

1874 – Queens County Courthouse and seat of county government moved from Mineola (in present-day Nassau County) to Long Island City.

1882 – Ozone Park laid out by Benjamin F. Hitchcock.

1884 – Morris Park developed.

1884-85 – Hollis developed by Frederick W. Dunton in area previously known as East Jamaica.

1885 – Horse-drawn buses arrive.

1887 – First electric trolley in Queens operated from Jamaica Avenue in East New York to 168th Street in Jamaica — the second such line in the U.S.

1887 – Bellerose founded.

1888 – Richmond Hill settled.

1890 – Howard Beach settled.

1892 – Edgemere developed by Frederick J. Lancaster as “New Venice.”

Jan. 1, 1898 – Queens County joins Greater New York City. Borough of Queens carved out of the towns of Flushing, Newtown, Jamaica and the Rockaway peninsula. The eastern half of Queens County becomes a separate county (Nassau County) the next year.

1899 – Flushing and Jamaica linked by trolley line.

1903 – Queens’ first suspended bridge, the Grand Street Bridge, connects Queens to Brooklyn.

1903 – First Korean immigrants to America arrive in Hawaii, preparing to work on a plantation there.

1905 – Auburndale settled.

June 15, 1904 – German communities of Glendale, Middle Village and Ridgewood were devastated by the sinking of the General Slocum, which burned on the East River and killed more than 1,000 people, predominantly German immigrants. This was the largest loss of life in a single incident in New York until the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

1906 – Beechhurst, formerly Whitestone Landing, is laid out.

1906 – Forest Hills, originally White Pot, created north of Queens Boulevard by Cord Meyer.

The Flushing Carnival and Circus, a fundraiser for Flushing Hospital, was held on Parsons Avenue, between Elm St. and Central Ave., in 1909.


1907-11 – David Leahy develops South Ozone Park along Rockaway Boulevard, from 130th to 135th streets.

1907 – Sons of Israel Congregation opens its doors in Queens, attracting scores of Manhattan Jews to the borough.

1907 – Belle Harbor developed near Rockaway.

1908 – Horse-drawn buses are retired.

1908 – The Borden Avenue Bridge is built over the Dutch Kills.

1910 – Jamaica Estates is founded.

September 8, 1910 – Electric train service from Penn Station through East River tubes is inaugurated. The train follows the Long Island Rail Road’s main line, through Queens to Mineola and Hempstead.

1910 – The Hunters Point Avenue Bridge is built over Dutch Kills.

1911-12 – William Howard develops Howard Beach on a landfill. Originally called Ramblersville, it was renamed in 1916.

1912 – LIRR Kew Station opens. Kew Gardens, originally Hopedale, began in 1875 as a railroad station for Maple Grove Cemetery. Railroad is relocated in 1909, opening up space for the neighborhood and a new station.

1914 – Construction begins on Queens Blvd., as a 200-foot-wide arterial highway. Teddy Roosevelt delivers a July 4th speech from the Forest Hills Gardens LIRR station.

June 22, 1915 – Queensboro Subway opens, with service between Grand Central Terminal and Long Island City at Vernon-Jackson avenues via East River Tunnel.

1917 – Number 7 train connects with Corona.

1917– Hell Gate Bridge completion allows New York Connecting Railroad to cross East River at Hell Gate.

1920 – Fledgling bus operations arrive in Queens, developing a large network.

1920 – Cambria Heights begun. Named in 1924 with major growth and development during the 1930s.

1920 – Jamaica Avenue receives present name.

1923 – Real Good Construction Co. (REGO) develops Rego Park.

1923 – Glen Oaks founded.

1924 – Sunnyside Gardens opens. This limited-profit housing experiment in Long Island City features block-perimeter housing containing inside-block yards, gardens and play spaces.

1925 – Construction is completed on both the North Channel and Roosevelt Avenue Bridges.

1927 – 16 Greek families make the area that will become Little Athens their home.

1929 – Greenpoint Avenue Bridge completed, allowing Queensites easy access to Brooklyn.

1929 – Glenn-Curtis Airport built at North Beach, displacing North Beach Amusement Park and site of 17th century Bowery Bay settlement.

1930 – The U.S. Census pushes Queens’ population over 1 million, more than double the mark set by the 1920 Census.

1932 – First trolleys arrive in Queens.

1932 – By now, serviceable airfields in Queens include Grand Central Air Terminal, Glenn-Curtis Airport, Jamaica Sea Airport, Flushing Airport. Great Depression ends the building boom in Queens.

1933 – Grand Central Parkway opens from Kew Gardens to Nassau County line.

1935 – Interboro Parkway, connecting Brooklyn’s Pennsylvania Avenue to Kew Gardens, opens.

October 4, 1937 – Queens College opens in a former truant facility as a four-year college with 400 students and a 56-person staff.

1937 – Kew Gardens Hills founded.

April 29, 1939 – Bronx-Whitestone Bridge opens.

1939 – All in the same year, construction is finished on the Cross Bay-Veterans’ Memorial, Flushing (Northern Blvd.), Kosciuszko, and the Whitestone Expressway Bridge.

Held in conjunction with the 300th Anniversary of NYC’s transferal from Dutch to British control, the 1964 World’s Fair brought the Unisphere to Flushing Meadows. The Perisphere and Trylon were the symbols of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

1939 – The First New York World’s Fair opens in the newly created Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

October 15, 1939 – LaGuardia Airport officially opens. LGA stands on extensive landfill at North Beach between Flushing and Bowery Bays.

1940-1990 – Large numbers of West Indian immigrants move into Queens, tripling in number over fifty years.

1940 – Belt Parkway opens.

1940 – Transit Workers Union (TWU) is formed.

1940 – The Mill Basin Bridge is open for use for Queens and Brooklyn.

1943 – Chinese Exclusion Act repealed, which allows Chinese immigrants to begin making their way to the States.

1945-1955 - Last large-scale wave of German immigration, when many Germans leave their shattered and recovering homeland in search of a better life in America.

1946 – War Brides Act takes effect, allowing Chinese-Americans who fought in WWII to bring their wives to the States.

1946 – Queens Botanical Gardens formed on old World’s Fair site.

1946-50 – United Nations meets in New York City Building at Flushing Meadows.

The Long Island City Courthouse became the seat of Queens County in 1874.

July 1, 1948 – Idlewild Airport, later called John F. Kennedy International Airport, inaugurated by President Harry Truman.

1948 – Subway fare increased to 10 cents. The fare had been five cents since 1913.

1953 – New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) is formed to operate the City’s subways and buses. Subway fares are raised to 15 cents and tokens are introduced.

1954 – The Pulaski Bridge is built over Newtown Creek.

1954 – Hillcrest Country Club becomes St. John’s University.

1955-60 – Long Island Expressway opens in several stages, taking over the route of the Horace Harding Expressway. Many immigrant communities are split in two as the highway had taken huge swaths of land for construction.

1955 – Construction complete, the Roosevelt Island Bridge is open for business.

1957 – Surface transit routes become converted entirely to buses with the replacement of the last streetcar route.

Late 1950s – Japanese immigrants first move into Queens in large numbers.

1960s – First major wave of South Asian immigrants to New York.

1960 – Queens native Lynn Edythe Burke wins two gold medals at the Rome Olympics, taking the 100-meter backstroke, and the 4X100 medley relay.

1961 – Throgs Neck Bridge opens, connecting Queens to the Bronx.

1963 – The Hawtree Bridge, for use by pedestrians, is completed.

1964 – Sri Chimoy becomes resident of Jamaica. (He is now the guru of peace and the official mediator at the United Nations.)

April 17, 1964 – Shea Stadium, home to the New York Mets and the New York Jets, opens. The first game at Shea Stadium, Mets vs. Pirates, has 48,736 in attendance.

1964-65 – World’s Fair is held at Flushing Meadows Park, using the site of the 1939-40 fair and public parkland created since the 1936 landfill.

1965 – The Beatles play to sell-out crowds at Shea Stadium.

1967 – Robert Moses, as World’s Fair president, hands over a completed Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the NYC Parks Dept.

1968 – The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) takes control of the Transit Authority.

Early 1970s – Major leap in Russian and former-Soviet immigration to the borough, when hundreds of thousands fleeing Communist oppression make Queens their home.

1970s – Large numbers of Chinese and Korean immigrants begin scooping up property in Flushing, a nearly empty area filled with cheap real estate.

1970 – Public transportation fare increased to 30 cents.

1972 – Public transportation fare increased to 35 cents.

1972 – Local attorney Mario Cuomo leads Corona to victory over the proposed height of the LeFrak hi-rise development.

1974 – The New York Yankees move to Shea Stadium while Yankee Stadium in the Bronx undergoes renovation.

1975 – Public transportation fare increased to 50 cents.

1976 – David Berkowitz, aka “Son of Sam,” terrorizes Queens.

1977 – Blackout conquers the city that never sleeps.

1979 – All transit construction is suspended as focus is on repairing aging facilities and reversing decay.


1980s-Early 1990s – Economic downturn in Mexico and Colombia attracts large numbers of Latino immigrants to New York seeking work.

1980 – Handicapped access to buses are improved with wheelchair lifts.

1981 – Public transportation fare increased to 75 cents.

June 1983 – Queens celebrates its Tercentennial, hosting a two-day bash in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

1983 – Queens Chamber of Commerce elects its first female president, Margaret Swezey of Citibank.

1984 – 718 area code designated for Queens, which also covers Brooklyn and Staten Island. Democratic Queens Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro is nominated for Vice President.

1984 – Queens native Nancy Lynn Hogshead wins three gold medals at the Los Angeles Olympics. She swims the 100 meter freestyle, 4X100 meter medley relay, and the 4X100 meter freestyle relay.

1984 – Public Transportation fare increased to 90 cents.

1985 – Groundbreaking for new Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, connecting Queens and Brooklyn, replacing the 55-year old span.

1986 – Borough President Donald Manes takes his life after an earlier failed suicide attempt.

1986 – New York Hall of Science reopens after major renovations; ground is broken for American Museum of the Moving Image (AMMI) in Astoria.

1986 – “Bull’s Eye” transportation token introduced. It’s more difficult to counterfeit than the older tokens.

1986 – Private bus companies Queens Transit and Steinway Omnibus merge to form Queens Surface Corporation.

1986 – Public Transportation fare increased to a dollar.

1986 – Claire Shulman becomes first woman to be elected borough president of Queens County.

1986 – Furor erupts after an African-American man is chased to his death on the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach. Jon Lester, Jason Ladone, Richard Riley, and Scott Kern are sent to prison.

September 1988 – American Museum of the Moving Image opens.

October 1989 – Ellen Shulman Baker, daughter of Claire Shulman, blasts off into space aboard the space shuttle Atlantis. Along with her, she takes a Queens flag, messages from the Queens Hall of Science, and a CD-ROM disc containing an issue of the Queens Tribune.

1991 – United States Tennis Association (USTA) plans expansion of U.S. Open tennis facility in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

March 1992 – USAir Flight 405 crashes while leaving LaGuardia Airport. The Fokker F28-4000 slides into Bowery Bay, killing 27 of the 51 passengers.

1992 – Queens ranked as the most ethnically diverse county on the planet.

1992 – Public transportation fare increased to $1.25.

1995 – Work begins to connect the 63rd Street tunnel to the Queens Blvd. subway lines. Completion is scheduled for 2002. The Army announces plans to abandon most of Ft. Totten in Bayside, and planning for future uses begins.

1995 – Flushing Town Hall is restored and opened.

October 1995 – One million people pack Aqueduct Racetrack to celebrate a mass with Pope John Paul II.

August 1996 – TWA Flight 782 sheds a nine-foot section of wing flap that falls on 156th Avenue between 89th and 90th Streets in Howard Beach. There are no injuries, but TWA fails to report the incident to the FAA.

1997 – President Clinton and a sell-out crowd celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking of baseball’s color barrier. The Interboro Parkway is re-named after the ballplayer.

1997 – U.S. Open unveils the new Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium.

1997 – Two-fare zones, the public transit areas in Queens that forced residents to pay two fares for rides into Manhattan, are eliminated.

1998 – Queens County marks a century as part of Greater New York City.

August 1998 – The Queens Tribune completes a nearly year-long crusade to put the names of Queens neighborhoods back on envelopes, instead of being clumped into Flushing, Jamaica or Long Island City.

1998 – Flushing Library is reborn at the intersection of Main Street and Kissena Boulevard.

1999 – The 7 Train, dubbed the International Express, becomes one of 16 sites in the country designated part of the Millennium Trail, making it a mobile landmark.

Francis Lewis of Flushing signed the Declaration of Independence.

1999 – Billboards screaming immigration is “eroding our Quality of Life” are repelled. The Tribune lashes back, noting the diversity and multicultural experience that is Queens.

Sept. 11, 2001 – Two hijacked planes are piloted into the World Trade Center’s tallest towers. The terrorist attack shuts down Queens’ highways, airports, subways and buses—and takes the lives of many Queens residents and their loved ones. There is an immediate backlash against Middle Eastern and South Asian Queens residents.

Nov. 12, 2001 – Airlines Flight 587 bound for the Dominican Republic explodes in mid-air over Queens, slamming into homes in Belle Harbor. More than 267 people are killed in the crash, including seven people on the ground. A dozen homes burn as investigators try to determine the cause of the crash.

2001 – The first Hispanic Councilman from Queens, Hiram Monserrate, and the first Asian Councilman, John Liu of Flushing, are elected to the City Council.

2002 – A strike by workers from Queens’ private bus lines leave thousands of commuters with transit headaches for weeks.

2003 – 26 years after the first big blackout, another one befalls New York.

2004 – $1.9 Billion AirTrain makes its first run at Howard Beach, shuttling folks from the subway to JFK.

2004 – The first Asian is elected to the State Assembly, Jimmy Meng from Flushing.

2005 - A bill is introduced in City Council to grant voting rights to non-citizens in municipal elections.

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