Astoria Boulevard, a wide boulevard that serves East Elmhurst
Location within New York City
Note: red area overlaps with Jackson Heights.
|City||New York City|
|Community District||Queens 3|
|• Total||1.795 km2 (0.693 sq mi)|
|• Density||13,000/km2 (33,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
11369, 11370, 11371
|Area codes||718, 347, 929, and 917|
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 325 acres (132 ha) 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 105-acre (42 ha) 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 40-by-100-foot (12 by 30 m) 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 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 443.53 acres (179.49 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 52.2 inhabitants per acre (33,400/sq mi; 12,900/km2).
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.
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
Places of worship
Our Lady of Fatima 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
Parks and recreation
- Louis C. Moser (formerly known as Bulova Park) Playground
- Gorman Playground
- LaGuardia Landing Lights Fields
- Flushing Bay Promenade
- Planeview Park
- East Elmhurst Playground
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 (Assemblymember 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.
- Our Lady of Fatima School - a Catholic school for nursery to 8th Grade
- Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School - a Catholic high school
- Lexington School and Center for the Deaf - the oldest and largest school for the deaf in New York. The school is state-supported.
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.
- Ditmars Boulevard
- Astoria Boulevard
- Northern Boulevard
- 94th Street (in East Elmhurst until Northern Blvd. going South; then it becomes Junction Boulevard from there).
- 73rd Street Pedestrian Overpass Bridge - a pedestrian bridge over the Grand Central Parkway that connects Astoria Boulevard North in Astoria Heights to St. Michael's Cemetery and Q19 bus stop on Astoria Boulevard South.
- There are two Flushing Bay Promenade pedestrian footbridges, one via 27th Avenue and the other via 31st Drive.
- Father Eugene F. Donnelly Corner is located on the corner of 80th Street and 25th Avenue next to Our Lady of Fatima Parish. It was named after Father Donnelly who served as parish priest to the Our Lady of Fatima Parish community in East Elmhurst for 42 years. The street co-naming event took place on September 21st, 2013.
- Mount Everest Way is located on the corner of 75th Street and 31st Avenue. Installed in 2019, it is a tribute to growing Nepalese community here in East Elmhurst and the surrounding neighborhoods of Jackson Heights and Woodside.
- Emma Brandt Way is located on the corner of 74th Street and 30th Avenue. Installed in 2016, it honors longtime civic leader Emma Brandt, who was involved in many local organizations including the Elmhurst Hospital Advisory Board, the North Queens Homeowners Civic Association, and the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.
- Arthur Hayes Way is located on the corner of 32nd Avenue and 104th Street.
- Leverich Memorial Church Way is located on 32nd Avenue and 102nd Street near the Leverich Memorial Church. It was installed in 2009. 
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:
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:
- Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor
- Harry Belafonte (born 1927), singer-songwriter, actor and activist.
- Clive Bradley
- Guy R. Brewer (1904-1978), politician.
- Ed Charles
- Charles "Honi" Coles (1911–1992), actor and tap dancer, best known for his role as Tito Suarez in the film Dirty Dancing
- Keith David
- Michael DenDekker, former Assemblymember of the NY's 34th Assembly District.
- Father Eugene F. Donnelly (-2012 - a former Our Lady of Fatima Parish priest who served the East Elmhurst community for 47 years.
- Ray Felix (1930–1991), professional basketball player who played in the NBA for the New York Knicks
- Bobby Hammond (born 1952), former running back who played in the National Football League for five seasons with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins before starting a career as a coach
- Steve Henderson
- P. J. Hill, Jr.
- Eric Holder
- Langston Hughes
- Eric B.
- Ron Amen-Ra Lawrence
- Christopher "Play" Martin
- Christopher "Kid" Reid
- Jackie Robinson
- Qubilah Shabazz (born 1960), second daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz
- Malcolm X (1925–1965), African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist, whose home in East Elmhurst was firebombed in February 1965, a week before he was assassinated
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- "MAP: Residents Settle Longstanding Debate Over Jackson Heights' Borders". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on 2019-06-09. Retrieved 2020-03-15.
- Berger, Joseph (2011-01-07). "There Stays the Neighborhood". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-03-15.
- Copquin, Claudia Gryvatz (2007). The Neighborhoods of Queens. Yale University Press. pp. xxix. ISBN 978-0-300-11299-3.
- Jackson, Kenneth T., ed. (2010). The Encyclopedia of New York City (2nd ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 389. ISBN 978-0-300-11465-2.
- "Jackson Heights & East Elmhurst – DNAinfo.com Crime and Safety Report". www.dnainfo.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- "115th Precinct CompStat Report" (PDF). www.nyc.gov. New York City Police Department. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
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- "Masjid Abu Huraira – Islami Center". Retrieved 2020-12-05.
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- "퀸즈한인교회". www.kcqny.org (in Korean). Retrieved 2020-12-05.
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"Marine Air Terminal" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. November 25, 1980. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
"Marine Air Terminal Interior" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. November 25, 1980. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
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- "Louis C. Moser Playground Highlights : NYC Parks". www.nycgovparks.org. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
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- "LaGuardia Landing Lights : NYC Parks". www.nycgovparks.org. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
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- "East Elmhurst Street Co-Named 'Mount Everest Way," Tribute to Nepali Community". Jackson Heights Post. 2019-03-12. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
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- Vecsey, George. "Ed Charles, Infield Sage of the Miracle Mets, Is Dead at 84", The New York Times, March 15, 2018. Accessed July 8, 2018. "Ed Charles, the heart and soul of the Miracle Mets of 1969, died on Thursday at his home in East Elmhurst, Queens."
- Mele, Christopher. "Helen M. Marshall, First Black Borough President of Queens, Dies at 87", The New York Times, March 4, 2017. Accessed July 8, 2018. "Before entering politics, she was a community activist in her East Elmhurst neighborhood, where she pushed for job training programs and economic development."
- Greater Astoria Historical Society. "Singer, activist Belafonte once lived in E. Elmhurst", TimesLedger, March 14, 2014. Accessed July 8, 2018. "Living in East Elmhurst at the time, Belafonte went on to appear on television and in more than 30 films and documentaries."
- Dunning, Jennifer. "Charles (Honi) Coles, 81, Dancer; Known for Elegance and Speed", The New York Times, November 13, 1992. Accessed November 28, 2017. "Charles (Honi) Coles, a virtuosic tap dancer who won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway musical "My One and Only" and whom Lena Horne once described as making 'butterflies look clumsy,' died yesterday at his home in East Elmhurst, Queens. He was 81 years old."
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- "Ray Felix, 60, Is Dead; Knicks Center in 50s", The New York Times, July 31, 1991. Accessed November 28, 2017. "Ray Felix, who played five seasons as a center for the New York Knicks in the 1950s, died on Sunday at his home in East Elmhurst, Queens. His son, Ray Jr., said the cause of death was a heart attack."
- Kornheiser, Tony. "Giants' Hammond Keeps His Roots As He Blossoms", The New York Times, October 30, 1977. Accessed November 28, 2017. "It is a story of a young man who grew up in East Elmhurst, Queens. went to high school in Bayside, sold men's clothing in Flushing and ended up, after some disappointments, playing professional football for the Giants and marrying his high school sweetheart, who used to be a cheerleader.... Bobby Hammond is 25 years old, old for a rookie."
- Jones, Charisse. "Qubilah Shabazz: An 'Ideal Young Lady'", The New York Times, January 13, 1995. Accessed November 28, 2017. "The second of six girls, Ms. Shabazz was born on Christmas Day, 1960. Gordon Parks, the famed photographer and film director, was her godfather. Not yet 5 years old when her father was murdered, her father's rise and fall within the Nation of Islam played a major role in her early childhood, with the firebombing of her family's home in East Elmhurst, Queens, on Feb. 13, 1965, and Malcolm X's murder a week later."
- Handler, M. S. "Malcolm X Flees Firebomb Attack; Wife and 4 Daughters Also Escape as Flames Sweep Brick House in Queens", The New York Times, February 15, 1965. Accessed November 28, 2017. "Malcolm X, the controversial Black Nationalist leader, and his family escaped injury early yesterday when a firebomb attack wrecked the small brick house in which they lived in East Elmhurst, Queens."
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