Some ar names appear to it is in jokes. Some have stuck approximately for centuries, despite changing connotations. Some change with the winds that gentrification. Welcome come Blurred Lines, in i beg your pardon writer Keith Williams studies new York City"s changing neighborhood boundaries.

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indigenous an 1891 map. An alert how couple of roads have actually been developed in Queens contrasted with Manhattan and also Brooklyn. (smashville247.netPL)

Last year, we carried you a article on the evolution of monarchs County"s municipalities indigenous 1664, when the English take it over for the Dutch, through its addition by brand-new York City together the Borough that Brooklyn in 1898. Throughout that very same span, that is neighbor come the north and east, Queens County, likewise underwent a variety of changes—including the ns of almost three-quarters the its area.

With a soil area of 109 square miles, monarchs is by much the largest the the five boroughs. (Its population of 2.3 million is 2nd to Brooklyn by 300,000.) had Queens County preserved its initial size, however, it would certainly be almost four time bigger; what is now recognized as Nassau County broke away in 1899, do the county of monarchs coterminous with the one-year-old Borough the Queens.

Before us begin, a bit of elevator is needed. First: just just like Brooklyn and Manhattan, there"s to be a most land-filling over the years, for this reason the geographical extremities of this maps won"t it is in true to what they were in the 19th century (hello, airports!). For valuable purposes, an altering water limits have to be left out. And second: a couple of borders were based upon now-covered creeks and also now-obliterated roads. Together such, a couple of of the limits on these maps (particularly the ones spanning the entire county) space rough approximations.


Like Kings, monarchs County was established in 1683 as one of the original 12 counties the the of brand-new York. The was called for Catherine the Braganza, the Portuguese queen consort that England"s King Charles II. In ~ the outset, it had five towns:

Hempstead (established through the English in 1644): named either because that the Dutch town Heemstede, close to Haarlem and also Amsterdam, or for the English town Hemel Hempstead, residence of one of the co-founders.

Flushing (Dutch, 1645): originally Vlishing, indigenous Vlissingen, a Dutch city on the phibìc Sea. In 1657, 30 Vlishing inhabitants sent one appeal come Director-General Peter Stuyvesant urging him come lift a ban on Quakers. Numerous view this document, known as the Flushing Remonstrance, together the birth of religious freedom in the new World.

Jamaica (Dutch, 1656): initially Rustdorp ("rest town"), later renamed after Yameco, "beaver" in the Lenape language. It has a distinctive derivation from the Caribbean nation: that originates from the Arawak native Xaymaca ("land that wood and water").

Newtown (Dutch, 1652): initially Middenburgh; lived in by inhabitants from adjacent Maspat (today"s Maspeth). Changed to Hastings in 1663 top top the English takeover, then brand-new Towne in 1665.

Oyster Bay (English, 1667): after nearly thirty years of boundary disputes between English and also Dutch settlers in the area between Hempstead and today"s Suffolk County, the English federal government of new York integrated the township.

Before the british took control of the greater region in 1664, Oyster Bay (the waterway, that is) marked the separating line in between western lengthy Island (part of brand-new Amsterdam) and eastern long Island (part the Connecticut). That line much more or much less divides Nassau and Suffolk Counties today, but when Dutch strength had begun to slip, there was part confusion end whether the towns in the future Queens County would certainly be component of New York or Connecticut. (All of lengthy Island to be turned over to brand-new York in December 1664.)


In 1784, the northern part of Hempstead damaged away, offering itself the inventive surname of North Hempstead. This stemmed native a Loyalist-Patriot division in the Revolutionary War; the northern half declared "independence" in 1775, as Hempstead wished to remain part of the british Empire.

The county seat was originally in Jamaica; ~ the British melted the courthouse in the Revolution, the seat moved to the village of Mineola, in phibìc Hempstead, close to the geographic facility of the county. (For context, Mineola is around 10 miles due east of today"s Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and also 16 miles due eastern of today"s long Island City waterfront—as the crow flies. Imagine making that journey ~ above horseback—or foot—over winding, muddy paths.)

But as ferry service became more reliable in the at an early stage 19th century v the introduction of the vapor engine, western majesties became more popular. Lot of that development came at a place dubbed Hunter"s Point, i m sorry developer (and president of Union College) Eliphalet Nott split into lots beginning in the 1830s. Ferry service came in 1858, permitting travelers because that the an initial time a two-seat expedition from Manhattan (by ferry) to Flushing (by train); by 1869, Hunter"s allude had emerged a heaviness of its own. Inhabitants clamored because that incorporation together a town so the they could oversee their own development, rather than hear to the bigwigs the Newtown.


Due come opposition by manufacturers, who feared increased taxes, this press was beat by the state Legislature. Undeterred, Hunter"s suggest formed an alliance with neighboring villages, particularly Astoria, and also the following year flourished in creating a brand-new entity: Long Island City. The county seat moved to over there in 1874, lot to the chagrin of the residents of rural eastern queens County.


The boundary in between Long Island City and Newtown to be an old path dubbed the Bowery only Road, i m sorry ran indigenous the now-destroyed bridge over Newtown Creek to Bowery bay in lengthy Island Sound. While most of the winding route was obliterated by the network that ultimately came into place, a few vestiges remain, amongst them Celtic path in Woodside, the hypotenuse of man Downing Park in Woodside, Hobart Street in lengthy Island City, and also 19th road in eastern Elmhurst. (Fun fact: "Bowery" originates from the dutch word bouwerij, "farm.")

"City" to be a bit of a misnomer for the area. Unequal the City the Brooklyn, i beg your pardon was rapidly approaching a populace of one million, long Island City had just 17,000 citizens by 1880. It to be really just a confederation that villages v plenty the empty an are between them.

native an 1891 map. An alert how couple of roads have been built in Queens compared with Manhattan and Brooklyn. (smashville247.netPL)

The city"s government was basically neutered, as there was a very short cap on just how much money it can raise. Fairly than use common budgetary means, officials can create rose to deal with the growing area"s problems, such as absence of new water and the flattening the hilly terrain. This detailed plenty of methods for graft. A couple of parcels that land to be wrested away from kings County in the 1880s: brand-new York county (Manhattan) took North brother Island (1881) and also Rikers Island (1884), if in 1885, Lloyd Neck joined Suffolk County. Southern Brother Island would certainly be transferred to the Bronx in 1964.


In 1896, consolidation to be looming. Newtown adjusted its surname to Elmhurst in bespeak to distance itself native the wasteland known as Newtown Creek, which had actually been one industrial dumping ground because the polite War. Among the first polluters had actually been Peter Cooper, that was ordered to move his adhesive factories over there from Manhattan in the 1850s.

The vote to produce a consolidated City of brand-new York had actually taken place two year prior, in 1894. Overall, 62 percent of voters later on borough of majesties were in favor of the consolidation plan, but the outcomes differed widely amongst the various jurisdictions.

Long Island City, populace 35,000, vote overwhelmingly because that consolidation, through 82 percent in favor. The Democratic maker had been incredibly corrupt, offer bloated contract to contributors and doing a destructive job improving infrastructure. The water supply was so poorly controlled that fire insurance was much greater than in various other municipalities follow me the eastern River. Of note in this component of history was three-time mayor Patrick "Battle-Axe" "Paddy" Gleason, who developed a exclusive water in an attempt to gouge his own citizens, among other exploits.

Flushing, on the other hand, had actually 55 percent that voters against the proposal. Inhabitants feared an attack from Hall; the town had additionally built an progressed infrastructure, including a steady water supply and also systems because that sewage and also gas. Regrettably for them, the referendum was just advisory.


On January 1, 1898, the western part of emperors County—Long Island City, Newtown, Flushing, Jamaica, and the Rockaways portion of Hempstead—became the Borough the Queens. This developed a strange situation for the staying parts: they were technically still component of queens County, but the mass of the county was now regulated by brand-new York City.

On April 28, 1898, the state Legislature authorized the production of a brand-new county, which some in the eastern half of the previous Queens County had actually wanted for virtually 60 years.


It was dubbed Nassau, acquisition the original name for lengthy Island, i beg your pardon honored wilhelm III the the house of Orange-Nassau. It ended up being the 61st county in brand-new York State, and the first created in 45 years; just Bronx County, which broke away from brand-new York ar in 1914, is younger.* in emperors did not prefer the brand-new partition, as county officials wanted to sell off land in Nassau to pay off debts incurred before the split. In fact, in October 1898, the county clerk refuse to approve certificates to the nominees for elected offices in Nassau County. In doing so, he quote his belief that the legislation developing the new county was unconstitutional. He was promptly overruled in court, and also there is no evidence that he sought the matter further (or ultimately went to jail for contempt).


There were a few changes to both counties in the early 20th century. In 1917, valley Cove, on long Island Sound, broke away native Oyster Bay and became an independent city. Hempstead lost lengthy Beach in 1922. And in 1925, Brooklyn and also Queens redefined your border to align v the street grid.


Even today, there room reminders that the original boundaries of Queens. ZIP codes are largely aligned v those borders: what to be once long Island City is 111xx, Newtown and also Flushing re-publishing 113xx, Jamaica is 114xx, and Far Rockaway (what used to be part of Hempstead) is 116xx.

Fun truth along those lines: Ridgewood and also Glendale supplied to re-superstructure ZIP code 11227 through Bushwick, Brooklyn. But after the riots in the wake of the blackout of 1977, residents discovered their insurance prices rising, and also they efficiently petitioned Representative Geraldine Ferraro to approve them a 113xx ZIP code.

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*Correction: this short article originally claimed Bronx County to be separated from Westchester ar in 1914. What is now Bronx County to be originally part of Westchester County, yet the soil was linked by new York ar (now coterminous through the Borough that Manhattan) in 1874 and also 1895.