Howard Beach, Queens

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Howard Beach
Homes on Hawtree Creek
Homes on Hawtree Creek
Location within New York City
Country United States
State New York
Named forWilliam J. Howard
 • Total26,148
 • Median income$91,175
ZIP code
Area code(s)718, 347, 929, and 917

Howard Beach is an upper middle class neighborhood in the southwestern portion of the New York City borough of Queens. It is bordered in the north by the Belt Parkway and South Conduit Avenue in Ozone Park, in the south by Jamaica Bay in Broad Channel, in the east by 102nd–104th Streets, and in the west by 75th Street. The area's houses are similar to Bayside and Hollis.

The neighborhood is part of Queens Community District 10, served by Queens Community Board 10.[1] It is home to a large Italian-American population.[2] The ZIP code of Howard Beach is 11414.


Early development[edit]

Howard Beach was established in 1897 by William J. Howard, a Brooklyn glove manufacturer who operated a 150-acre (0.61 km²) goat farm on meadow land near Aqueduct Racetrack as a source of skin for kidd gloves. In 1897, he bought more land and filled it in and the following year, built 18 cottages and opened a hotel near the water, which he operated until it was destroyed by fire in October 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 (2 km²) by 1914. 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 named Ramblersville in 1905 and a Post Office by the same name opened soon thereafter. A casino, beach, and fishing pier were added in 1915 and the name of the neighborhood was changed to Howard Beach on April 6, 1916. Development continued and ownership was expanded to a group of investors who sold lots for about $690 each starting in 1922. Development, however, was limited to the areas east of Cross Bay Boulevard near the LIRR station now known as Bernard Coleman Memorial Square (then Lilly Place). The rest of Howard Beach consisted of empty marsh land except for the area to the south of Coleman Square, centered around Russell St. and 102nd St., which consisted of many small fishing bungalows that dotted alongside Hawtree Creek and Jamaica Bay. This area of Howard Beach would retain the name "Ramblersville." Despite its close proximity to the Howard Beach station at Coleman Square, the LIRR would establish a station a quarter of a mile south down the line at Hamilton Beach in 1919.

After World War II, Queens and Long Island went through a major suburban building boom leading to the marsh land west of Cross Bay Boulevard to be filled in. This led to the development of many Cape-Cod and High-Ranch style houses on 50 and 60 x 100 lots. This area was developed as "Rockwood Park" to the north and "Spring Park" to the south, together comprising what would be known as "New Howard Beach", while the area east of the boulevard became known as "Old Howard Beach." In the early 1950s, farm land north of Rockwood Park was developed with the building of many red bricked two-story garden style cooperative apartments along with some six-story co-op and condo apartment buildings. A number of private two-family houses were also built in this neighborhood, which was named Lindenwood. The various neighborhoods continued to be developed through the 1960s and 1970s as Cross Bay Boulevard became the area's main shopping district. During the 1990s and 2000s, there was further high-scale development as many of the area's old houses were torn down and replaced with upscale million-dollar mini-mansions.


Hate crimes[edit]

In 1986 and 2005, Howard Beach experienced two well-publicized hate crime incidents.

On December 20, 1986, one African-American man was killed and another was beaten in Howard Beach, in a racially charged incident that heightened racial tensions in New York City. The dead man was 23-year-old Michael Griffith, a Trinidadian native living in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He was killed December 20, 1986 when he was accidentally hit by a car after having been chased onto a highway by a mob of white youths who had beaten him and his friends. Griffith's death was the second in a string of three racially motivated killings of blacks by white mobs in New York City in the 1980s.[citation needed]

On June 29, 2005 three African-Americans were attacked with baseball bats by local white men. One of them was injured seriously enough to be hospitalized and two arrests were made in the case. The convicted assailant, Nicholas Minucci, claimed that the victims had attempted to rob him.[3] On June 10, 2006, Minucci, 20, who uttered a racial epithet during the baseball bat attack, was found guilty of robbery and the racially motivated assault of Glenn Moore.[4] On July 17, 2006, Minucci was sentenced to 15 years in prison.[5]

Hurricane Sandy[edit]

As Hurricane Sandy approached on October 28, 2012, city officials ordered the evacuation of residents of Zone A (low-lying, susceptible to storm surge) neighborhoods, which included Howard Beach's Hamilton Beach area. Most of the rest of Howard Beach lay in Zone B, whose residents were only urged to evacuate. Many residents decided to stay and ride out the storm, citing the relatively minor damage caused the previous year's Hurricane Irene.

Sandy made landfall on October 29, dragging a ten-foot-high storm surge from Jamaica Bay that flooded all of Old and New Howard Beach plus the neighborhoods of Broad Channel and the Rockaways, along with some sections of Lindenwood and neighboring Ozone Park. The storm knocked out power to Howard Beach for three weeks. The flooding damaged most, if not all, houses in the neighborhood, all of the stores along Cross Bay Boulevard, the Howard Beach – JFK Airport station, and the IND Rockaway Line trestle that carries trains over Jamaica Bay into Broad Channel and the Rockaways. After Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the New York City Office of Emergency Management provisionally re-classified Howard Beach along with the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Gerritsen Beach and Red Hook as Zone A neighborhoods.

As of early 2013, recovery in the neighborhood was incomplete but largely successful. On April 5, 2013, the Howard Beach post office reopened after extensive repairs.[6]


As of the 2000 census, there were 28,121 people residing in Howard Beach. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 85.9% Non-Hispanic White, 2.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.0% African American, 2.3% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. 11.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.1% of the population is foreign-born. The estimated median household income as of 2007 is $69,800. Many of the residents are Italian-American, often from immigrant families that relocated from Brooklyn in the 1940s and 1950s as they looked for a better life for their families.[citation needed]


Coleman Square

Like many New York City neighborhoods, Howard Beach is composed of several smaller neighborhoods – Howard Beach, Old Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Ramblersville, Spring Park, Rockwood Park, Lindenwood, and Howard Park (Old Howard Beach, Ramblersville, Howard Park, and Hamilton Beach are sometimes all grouped together as "Old Howard Beach", instead of being referred to by their proper names). 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.

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 many 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 collapse in the 1970s and 1980s. 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) carries the boulevard over Jamaica Bay, connecting mainland Queens to Broad Channel.

Bernard Coleman Memorial Square (colloquially known as Coleman Square) is a small plaza near the Howard Beach – JFK Airport station.[2] There is a memorial to servicemen from Howard Beach who died in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.[7]

Hamilton Beach[edit]

Hamilton Beach is a middle class neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. Its boundaries are the 102nd Street Creek to the north, the IND Rockaway Line (A train) tracks and JFK Airport to the east, Hawtree Creek to the west, and Jamaica Bay to the south. Hamilton Beach is one of the few communities in New York City that has its own volunteer fire department. Hamilton Beach is frequently referred to as West Hamilton Beach.[8] East Hamilton Beach was on the east side of the then Long Island Rail Road tracks, but was taken by the City for expansion of Idlewild Airport (now JFK Airport) in the 1940s. Hamilton Beach bears no relation to the Hamilton Beach Company other than the name. The company is named after a Mr. Hamilton and a Mr. Beach.[9][8]

There was a Hamilton Beach station on the Long Island Rail Road's Rockaway Beach Branch. The station closed on June 27, 1955 in connection with the LIRR's sale of much of the branch's right of way to the New York City Transit Authority. Hamilton Beach is a small community that has one long strip (104th Street) with ten dead-end blocks connected to it. It is mostly surrounded by water. There is one way into Hamilton Beach by car and two ways in by foot. It is accessible by a boardwalk that stretches from the A train station at Coleman Square to 104th Street, or by the Hawtree Basin pedestrian bridge that is in between two of the ten blocks. This bridge connects Hamilton and Old Howard Beach. Hamilton has a small park at the southern end, with a 200-foot baseball field, a handball court, a small jungle gym area and beach. Gateways Hamilton Beach Park, just south of 165th Avenue, is the last stop for the Q11 bus. Hamilton Beach was once an area with dirt roads, old shack-type houses (bungalows), and no sewer system, as the area was unincorporated, but recently Hamilton Beach has been "building up." There are new houses going up on almost every block.


Lindenwood is a section of Howard Beach, developed in the 1950s and 1960s, and sits on landfilled land. Lindenwood is considered to be New Howard Beach - the newer side, as compared to Old Howard Beach. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community District 10, served by Queens Community Board 10.[10] It is primarily made up of six-story, orange or red-brick apartment buildings, constructed in the early to mid-1960s, smaller co-op "garden-apartments" (four-unit red-brick buildings) constructed in the 1950s, and seen from the Belt Parkway, and two-family homes (some attached) built in the 1960s. The "hi-rise" apartment buildings are co-op (red bricks) or condominiums (orange brick). Heritage House East and West (84-39 and 84-29 153rd Avenue) were among the first condominium apartment buildings in New York State. Additional townhouses, near the Brooklyn border, were built in the 1970s, 1990s and 2000s. The hi-risers, used to be very family friendly but today many of the apartment building play grounds have been converted into sitting areas and no longer even allow dogs.[11] Lindenwood's residents tend to be of mostly Jewish and Italian heritage along with some of Hispanic heritage.

In the middle of the neighborhood is the elementary school, P.S. 232, built in the early 1960s (and now known as the Walter Ward School,[12] named after the neighborhood's late longtime City councilman) and the Lindenwood Shopping Center, which consists of a supermarket and about 20 stores. In the early 1970s, a second supermarket called the Village was located behind the shopping center. After failing, the building became a mall, flea market, bingo hall and private school before finally becoming a walk-in medical center. There is also a second small strip mall on Linden Boulevard, adjacent to the Lindenwood Diner.

Lindenwood once had a synagogue named Temple Judea. It was located on 153rd Ave and 80th Street, was converted into apartments when the temple merged with the then Howard Beach Jewish Center in Rockwood Park. The neighborhood also used to have two pool clubs, one on 88th Street and 151st Ave, that became walk-up apartments in the early 1970s and another across from 232 that was developed in 1980, into townhouses, adjacent to a branch of Queens County Savings Bank (formerly Columbia Savings Bank), which had been previously developed. There also used to be a tennis "bubble" on 153rd Ave and 79th Street, that was also developed around 1980.

Old Howard Beach[edit]

Old Howard Beach is a section of Howard Beach that lies between Shellbank Basin and Hawtree Creek to the east of Cross Bay Boulevard. Coleman Square, Wetzel Triangle and Frank M. Charles Park are located in Old Howard Beach. The area is locally referred to as "Old Howard Beach" since it was the original place in which founder William Howard built his famous hotel, and later the area's first houses in the 1920s. The current housing in Old Howard Beach consists of several different types of houses. Those located near the former Howard Park hospital are mainly 1950s and 1960s detached two-family homes, while the areas near Coleman Square, Frank M. Charles Park, and Shellbank Basin contain primarily single-family homes. The Q11 serves the neighborhood.


Circa 1900 photograph of Ramblersville by William M. Vander Weyde (1871–1929)

Ramblersville is a section of greater Howard Beach, being a small neighborhood of about a dozen blocks between Hawtree Creek and JFK Airport.[13][14][15] It is nearly surrounded by waterways leading into nearby Jamaica Bay. It is bordered by on the north by 160th Avenue, on the west by Hawtree Creek, across which is Old Howard Beach; on the east by the New York City Subway's Rockaway Line (A train, beyond which is Bergen Basin and the airport; and on the south by the 102nd Street Creek. Crossing the creek, 102nd Street reaches Hamilton Beach at Russell Street. The size of the neighborhood is about 1,000 feet (300 m) on each side, and it notably lacks the rectangular street grid of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Ramblersville, which once considered itself independent of New York City when the city was first unified, is purportedly the oldest neighborhood in what later became known as Howard Beach.[16]

A 1905 article from The Washington Post said that all the houses were built on stilts and the population was one-thousand in the summer and a dozen in the winter.[17] In 1962, the neighborhood's private water mains were replaced by the city; the neighborhood had 130 families at the time.[18]

In 2001, The New York Times reported that the neighborhood "resembles a cozy fishing village with its pebbled streets and wooden bungalows built on pilings... [T]all grass... surrounds many of its marshy fields."[19]

Fishing was a large industry in the tiny neighborhood. Ramblersville still has streets named Broadway, Church, and Bridge. Just north of Ramblersville is 159th Drive, also known as Remsen Place, named after Jeromus Remsen, a Revolutionary War officer. This area, near the current subway station, was known as "Remsen's Landing" at the time. Before the Howard Beach development was named in 1916, the entire area was commonly known as "Ramblersville", including Hamilton Beach to the south on Jamaica Bay, and Old Howard Beach to the west. The Howard Beach – JFK Airport subway stop was originally the "Ramblersville Station" on the Long Island Rail Road.

Ramblersville is the smallest neighborhood in New York City in terms of real estate per square foot.[20][15]

Rockwood Park[edit]

Rockwood Park is a section of Howard Beach that mainly consists of single family homes and is considered to be a more upper class section of Howard Beach. It is part of what is commonly referred to as "New Howard" by many residents. The area is situated between 78th and 92nd Streets (these are north-south streets) and 156th and 165th Avenues (the east-west streets). The Q41 and Q21 serve Rockwood Park. To the west of 78th Street, the last street in the neighborhood, lies Spring Creek Park in which lies the border between Brooklyn and Queens.

The area remained primarily undeveloped during the first half of the 1900s. After the Second World War marsh land west of Cross Bay Boulevard was filled in, which led to the building of many Cape Cod-style houses in the area, followed later on in the 1960s and 1970s by high ranch-style houses. Becoming known as a more upscale section of Howard Beach led the area to become the home of many known mob figures, most notably Gambino crime family boss John Gotti who lived on 85th Street. Starting in the late 1980s and through the 2000s, Rockwood Park began to go through another building boom. Many of the area's old Cape Cod-style houses were demolished and replaced with upscale million dollar mini-mansions. Another famous resident was folk singer Woody Guthrie, who lived at 159-13 85th Street with his family after moving from Coney Island.


Joseph Addabbo, Jr., the son of former Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo, represents the area as member of the New York State Senate. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY) represents that part of Howard Beach east of 104th Street and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) represents the part west of 104th Street. Eric Ulrich (R-NY) is the New York City Councilman for Howard Beach. Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-NY) represents Howard Beach in the New York State Assembly.


The structure of the Howard Beach – JFK Airport station

Howard Beach – JFK Airport on the IND Rockaway Line was formerly a Long Island Rail Road station on the Rockaway Beach Branch. Frequent fires on the trestle to Broad Channel forced the LIRR to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the 1950s, which allowed New York City Transit to purchase the line in 1956.[21] The station provides a connection between the A train and Howard Beach JFK AirTrain route (and was, until 1990, the terminus of the former JFK Express, known colloquially as the "Train to the Plane"). Prior to the AirTrain JFK, the Port Authority provided a free shuttle bus to the terminals at JFK Airport. The AirTrain now provides these connections.

Local bus service in the neighborhood is provided on the Q11, Q21, Q41, Q52 SBS, Q53 SBS. All of these routes are operated by MTA Bus Company. There are also the QM15, QM16, QM17, QM18 express buses.


Before the public elementary schools changed to K-8 schools, residents of Howard Beach that attended PS 207, PS 232 or PS 146 then went to Junior High School 202 (Robert H. Goddard Junior High School) for grades 7-8.[22] It is located on the northwest corner of Conduit Boulevard and Lafayette Place, and a footbridge crosses over Conduit Boulevard, allowing students from southern Howard Beach to attend the school. Some 9th graders also attended JHS 202.

For grades 9–12, most residents attend their zoned school which is John Adams High School in nearby Ozone Park. Others attended specialty high schools such as Beach Channel High School in Rockaway Park, or Catholic high schools such as Christ the King, St. Francis Prep, Stella Maris or Archbishop Molloy.

Notable people[edit]

Notable current and former residents of Howard Beach include:

In popular culture[edit]

  • A 1989 TV movie was made based on the 1986 racial incident entitled Howard Beach: Making a Case for Murder.
  • In the 1989 Spike Lee movie Do the Right Thing, in a riot scene near the end of the film, a chant rises up: "Howard Beach! Howard Beach! Howard Beach!" This immediately follows a scene wherein a young black man is killed by police using excessive force to break up a fight.[38]
  • On The Chris Rock Show, comedian Chris Rock proposed renaming Cross Bay Boulevard after Tupac Shakur, asking the predominantly white residents of the neighborhood to sign a petition.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Queens Community Boards, New York City. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Lemire, Jonathan (September 22, 2002). "'Small town' has big pride – & image woes: The Howard Beach story". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  3. ^ Burke, Kerry; El-Ghobashy, Tamer; Gendar, Alison (2005-06-30). "Howard Beach 'Bias' Attack. Bat-Wielding Thug Clubs Black Man". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
  4. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (2006-06-10). "Batsman Convicted of Howard Beach Hate Crimes". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
  5. ^ Fenner, Austin; Shifrel, Scott (July 18, 2006). "Fat Nick Gets 15 Years". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on January 28, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  6. ^ "Howard Beach Post Office Reopens After Undergoing Sandy Repairs". NY1. Archived from the original on 30 June 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Coleman Square, Howard Beach". Bridge and Tunnel Club.
  8. ^ a b "WEST HAMILTON BEACH, Queens". Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  9. ^ "Ramblin' in Ramblersville". Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  10. ^ Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.
  11. ^ Wendelken, Joseph (2006-10-26). "Lindenwood Dog Days Coming And Going". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-01-17.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Welcome!". December 22, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  13. ^ Six photographs Archived June 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. by William M. Vander Weyde, American (1871(?)-1929)
  14. ^ Ramblin' in Ramblersville, Forgotten New York
  15. ^ a b Newman, Andy. "New York Today: Mr. de Blasio Goes to Albany". The New York Times. February 25, 2015.
  16. ^ "The Sewers Of Ramblersville / Abandoning cesspools would ease pollution of Jamaica Bay, but hookup costs are a concern". Newsday. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  17. ^ "Venice in New York: Oddities of Ramblersville on a Jamaica Bay Creek". The Washington Post. July 30, 1905. p. A8.
  18. ^ "Section of Queens to Get New Mains". The New York Times. July 7, 1962. p. 8.
  19. ^ "Neighborhood Report: Howard Beach: Junk to You, Junk to Us Too, Embattled Residents Say". The New York Times. March 4, 2001. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  20. ^ "The Story of Ramblersville, New York's Smallest Neighborhood". Curbed NY. Archived from the original on March 25, 2015. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  21. ^ "Rockaway Branch". Forgotten New York. Retrieved 2006-06-08.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Katz, Michael. "ANTUOFERMO, A 'BORN FIGHTER,' RETURNS", The New York Times, September 13, 1984. Accessed December 28, 2016. "To be specific, he is an Italian-born fighter, who now lives in Howard Beach, Queens."
  24. ^ Araton, Harvey (1994-09-20). "Sports of The Times; 'We've Lost Another of Our Kids'". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-03. It was the finals of the United States Open, and it was Gerulaitis, out of Howard Beach, Queens, against McEnroe, out of Douglaston, Queens.
  25. ^ "Personnel Announcement". Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  26. ^
  27. ^ General Counsel Keith E. Gottfried Archived July 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ "Hud Archives: Keith E. Gottfried Becomes Hud'S General Counsel". Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  29. ^ "HUD Archives: Prepared Statement of Keith E. Gottfried, General Counsel Nominee before the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate (9/15/05)". Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  30. ^ "HUD officer anchored by home life". The Denver Post. 2006-07-18. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  31. ^ " : Resources For The President's Team". 2005-10-07. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  32. ^ "Queens Tribune Feature Story". October 27, 1940. Archived from the original on September 2, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  33. ^ Celona, Larry; and Tacopino, Joe. "Feds raid Victoria Gotti's home, sons' auto-parts business", New York Post, September 15, 2016. Accessed December 28, 2016. "Victoria, who married Agnello in 1984, was raised in Howard Beach, Queens, where her 'Dapper Don' father ran the Gambino crime family."
  34. ^ Downes, Lawrence. "This Land Is His Land; Roaming Through Woody Guthrie’s New York", The New York Times, September 18, 2014. Accessed December 28, 2016. "Clockwise from top left, Will Geer’s Fifth Avenue apartment, a 1940 Guthrie stop; his home in Howard Beach, Queens, in 1955; a Coney Island sign; and the Guthrie home in Queens today."
  35. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn. "I Slept With Joey Ramone: A Family Memoir by Mickey Leigh with Legs McNeil; Leigh, the singer's younger brother, and music journalist McNeil handle their subject gracefully.", Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2010. Accessed December 28, 2016. "Jeff was always awkward, but when his parents became the first couple in their community to divorce, his troubles grew more pronounced. Tall and lanky, he was a target at school -- even more so after his mother remarried and moved her sons to Howard Beach."
  36. ^ Gustafson, Anna. "Howard Beach goes ga-ga for Pia", Queens Chronicle, March 10, 2011. Accessed December 28, 2016. "Toscano, a Howard Beach native who has been singing for nearly as long as she has been alive, was named one of the top 13 contestants on the show last Thursday."
  37. ^ Associated Press (5 February 2017). "Man in Custody in Connection to Death of Jogger Karina Vetrano: Police Sources". NBC New York. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  38. ^ Travers, Peter. "Do The Right Thing", Rolling Stone, June 30, 1989. Accessed December 28, 2016. "The pizzeria and the bat are just two of the references Lee makes to Howard Beach.... Raheem's senseless killing releases all Mookie's pent-up frustration and fury. It is Mookie who hurls the garbage can through Sal's window, inciting the crowd to shout, 'Howard Beach!'"

Coordinates: 40°39′29″N 73°50′24″W / 40.658°N 73.84°W / 40.658; -73.84