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Queens

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  Summary  

Queens, the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City, is the most diverse place in the world with approximately 138 different languages spoken and an astounding 46% of residents born outside of the United States who collectively represent over 100 different nations. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, since 1899 Queens has had the same boundaries as Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States. Queens, as well as neighboring borough Brooklyn, sits on the west-end of Long Island.

Were each New York City borough an independent city, Brooklyn and Queens would be the country's third and fourth largest cities, respectively, after Los Angeles and Chicago.
With a population of 2.3 million, it is the second most populous borough in New York City and the tenth most populous county in the United States. It is also the nation's fourth-most-densely populated county . The 2.3 million figure is the highest historical population for the borough.

The borough's architecturally varying neighborhoods offer many different types of dwellings from large single-family detached homes to high-density apartment buildings. The neighborhoods in eastern Queens have a look and feel similar to the bordering suburbs of western Nassau County. In its northwestern section, Queens is home to many very urban neighborhoods and several central business districts. Long Island City, on the Queens' waterfront across from Manhattan, is the site of the Citicorp Building, the tallest skyscraper in New York City outside of Manhattan, and the tallest building on geographic Long Island.

Queens is home to two of the three major New York City area airports, JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport. These airports are among the busiest in the world, leading the airspace above Queens to be the most congested in the country. It is also the location of the New York Mets baseball team, the US Open tennis tournament, Flushing Meadows Park, Kaufman Astoria Studios, Silvercup Studios, and Aqueduct Racetrack.

Queens was established in 1683 as one of the original 12 counties of New York and was supposedly named for the Queen consort, Catherine of Braganza (1638–1705), the Portuguese princess who married King Charles II of England in 1662.

  History  

European colonization brought Dutch and English settlers, as a part of the New Netherlands colony. First settlements occurred in 1635 followed by early colonizations at Maspeth in 1642,
and Vlissingen in 1643.
Other early settlements included Newtown and Jamaica. However, these towns were mostly inhabited by English settlers from New England via eastern Long Island subject to Dutch law. After the capture of the colony by the English and its renaming as New York in 1664, the area became known as Yorkshire.

The Flushing Remonstrance signed by colonists in 1657 is considered a precursor to the United States Constitution's provision on freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights. The signers protested the Dutch colonial authorities’ persecution of Quakers in what is today the borough of Queens.

Originally, Queens County included the adjacent area now comprising Nassau County. It was an original county of New York State, one of twelve created on November 1, 1683. It is believed that the county was named after Catherine of Braganza, since she was Queen of England at the time. The county was founded alongside Kings County , and Richmond County .
On October 7, 1691, all counties in the Colony of New York were redefined. Queens gained North Brother Island, South Brother Island, and Huletts Island .
On December 3, 1768, Queens gained other islands in Long Island Sound that were not already assigned to a county but that did not abut on Westchester County (today’s Bronx County).

Queens played a minor role in the American Revolution, as compared to Brooklyn where the Battle of Long Island was largely fought. Queens, like the rest of Long Island, remained under British occupation after the Battle of Long Island in 1776 and was occupied throughout most of the rest of the war. Under the Quartering Act, British soldiers used, as barracks, the public inns and uninhabited buildings belonging to Queens residents. Even though many local people were against unannounced quartering, sentiment throughout the county remained in favor of the British crown. The quartering of soldiers in private homes, except in times of war, was banned by the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution. Nathan Hale was captured by the British on the shore of Flushing Bay in Queens before being executed by hanging in Manhattan for gathering intelligence.

From 1683 until 1784, Queens County consisted of five towns: Flushing, Hempstead, Jamaica, Newtown, and Oyster Bay. On April 6, 1784, a sixth town, the Town of North Hempstead, was formed through secession by the northern portions of the Town of Hempstead.

The seat of the county government was located first in Jamaica,
but the courthouse was torn down by the British during the American Revolution to use the materials to build barracks.
After the war, various buildings in Jamaica temporarily served as courthouse and jail until a new building was erected about 1787 in an area near Mineola known then as Clowesville.
The 1850 census was the first in which the population of the three western towns exceeded that of the three eastern towns that are now part of Nassau County. Concerns were raised about the condition and distance of the old courthouse, and several sites were in contention for the construction of a new one. In 1870, Long Island City split from the Town of Newtown, incorporating itself as a city, consisting of what had been the Village of Astoria and some unincorporated areas within the Town of Newtown. Around 1874, the seat of county government was moved to Long Island City from Mineola.

On March 1, 1860, the eastern border between Queens County and Suffolk County was redefined with no discernible change.
On June 8, 1881, North Brother Island was transferred to New York County.
On May 8, 1884, Rikers Island was transferred to New York County.
In 1885, Lloyd Neck, which was part of the Town of Oyster Bay and was earlier known as Queens Village, seceded from Queens and became part of the Town of Huntington in Suffolk County.
On April 16, 1964, South Brother Island was transferred to Bronx County.

 Borough of Queens
The New York City Borough of Queens was authorized on May 4, 1897, by a vote of the New York State Legislature after an 1894 referendum on consolidation.
The eastern of Queens that became Nassau County was partitioned on January 1, 1899.

Queens Borough was established on January 1, 1898.
Long Island City, the towns of Newtown, Flushing, and Jamaica, and the Rockaway Peninsula portion of the Town of Hempstead were merged to form the new borough, dissolving all former municipal governments within the new borough.
The areas of Queens County that were not part of the consolidation plan,
consisting of the towns of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay, and the major remaining portion of the Town of Hempstead, remained part of Queens County until they seceded to form the new Nassau County on January 1, 1899, whereupon the boundaries of Queens County and the Borough of Queens became coterminous. With consolidation, Jamaica once again became the county seat, though county offices now extend to nearby Kew Gardens also.

From 1905 to 1908 the Long Island Rail Road in Queens was electrified. Transportation to and from Manhattan, previously by ferry or via bridges in Brooklyn, opened up when the Queensboro Bridge was finished in 1909, and with railway tunnels under the East River in 1910. From 1915 onward, much of Queens was connected to the New York City subway system.
With the 1915 construction of the Steinway Tunnel carrying the IRT Flushing Line between Queens and Manhattan, and the emergent expansion of the use of the automobile, the population of Queens more than doubled in the 1920s, from 469,042 in 1920 to 1,079,129 in 1930.
Queens was the site of the 1939 New York World's Fair and the 1964 New York World's Fair. LaGuardia Airport, in northern Queens, opened in 1939. Idlewild Airport, in southern Queens and now called JFK Airport, opened in 1948.

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Queens", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.