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In a borough largely ignored by NYC’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, the magnificent garden apartments of Jackson Heights are a happy exception. Today’s Jackson Heights is a neighborhood of handsome six-story co-operative apartments, most of which surround a central garden.

They appeared — seemingly out of nowhere — beginning in 1914 when the entire area was not much more than a swampy meadow. The Queensboro Corporation and developer Edward MacDougall built now-landmarked housing along today’s 82nd Street; the area became known as Jackson Heights honoring John C. Jackson, who laid Jackson Avenue, now Northern Boulevard, out across the meadow beginning in 1859.

The boundaries of Jackson Heights proper are fairly well-defined, from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway on the west to about 90th Street on the east, and from Roosevelt Avenue on the south to the Grand Central Parkway (and LaGuardia Airport) on the north.

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08/04/15 9:45am

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Last week, I showed BQ readers the highlights of my walk down the entire length of Metropolitan Avenue, from the East River waterfront all the way to its eastern end at Jamaica Avenue, with an emphasis on its Queens identity east of Newtown Creek. I only got us as far as 69th Street, just east of the last stop on the M train.

Metropolitan  Avenue is about 13 miles long, end to end, and today’s highlights cover a lot of territory from Middle Village to Forest Hills. If you’re not up to the challenge of walking the whole way, that’s fine: simply take the M to the end of the line and grab the B54 bus heading east, which runs nearly the entire length of the avenue with a detour into The Shops at Atlas Park.

The best way to see a neighborhood, though, is by putting one foot in front of the other; behind the wheel or the handlebars, there are other things to pay attention to, such as cars and traffic regulations.

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07/21/15 9:45am

Woodhaven-Queens

The community of Woodhaven lies just east of the undefended border between Brooklyn and Queens. It’s a fairly large neighborhood located between Forest Park on the north, Liberty Avenue on the south, Eldert Lane (the official boundary of Brooklyn and Queens) on the west and Woodhaven Boulevard on the east.

Visitors to Woodhaven can easily travel on the J train from Williamsburg, Bushwick and East New York to the Forest Parkway station; connections to the J can be made from the A and L trains at Broadway Junction.

From the 1830s to the 1850s, the area was known as Woodville. But this was an era before the invention of zip codes, and there was some Post Office confusion between New York City’s Woodville and another Woodville upstate. In 1853, residents voted to change Woodville’s name to Woodhaven. (more…)

07/14/15 9:30am

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Astoria. Ditmars Boulevard. The subway signs on the R train advertised these outlandish, far-off locales as I boarded it in Bay Ridge, back when I lived there for the better part of three decades. But I never really thought to trouble this northwest section of Queens until I actually moved to the borough a couple of decades ago. (more…)

07/13/15 11:00am

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Is Queens becoming the best borough for beer drinkers?

“While the indie beer scene is booming up and down New York State, Queens is leading the way in new microbreweries,” said Cat Wolinski, a New York City-based beer writer who curated the new Queens Beer Book, a bar guide and passport offering 30 beers at 30 bars for $30.

“Between 2012 and 2015, six new breweries opened operating businesses in Queens — SingleCut, Rockaway, Finback, Transmitter, Big Alice, and the LIC Beer Project, which opened just this spring,” Wolinski said. “And more are on the way, with Bridge and Tunnel Brewery and Queens Brewery both opening locations in Ridgewood later this year.” (more…)

05/14/15 9:45am

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On Tuesday, I was invited to bring the camera to the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, as the Queens Economic Development Corporation held the 13th annual Queens Taste, an expo showcasing the borough’s amazing restaurants.

The first Queens Taste, I’m told, had just twelve tables and was held in a tiny space at JFK airport. This one needed an entire floor of the Hall of Science, and even that was barely big enough. (more…)

04/24/15 9:45am

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The Orange Hut at Broadway and 54th Street still carries the outlines and contours of its former life as a White Tower hamburger chain restaurant. The last White Tower closed in Toledo, Ohio, in June 2008; the chain originated in 1926. There were about 230 White Towers at the chain’s height in the 1950s.

The restaurants have operated in at least 14 states, including New York, Illinois, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

The interior of the Orange Hut still contains some hints of its origins, such as swivel stools adjoining a counter. Here it is in its original incarnation, below. Pretty spiffy looking.

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Outdoor, nighttime marketplaces are very popular throughout the Asian world, so it only makes sense that one is about to open in Flushing Meadows Corona Park this Saturday. The Queens International Night Market will launch in the New York Hall of Science’s parking lot (above) at 6 pm with special music and dance performances. Vendors will sell a diverse array of culturally authentic street food (arepas, crepes, dumplings), art, and merchandise. This is the grand opening, but the founder, John Wang, plans to operate the bazaar on Saturdays throughout the spring and summer.

Photo: Queens International Night Market

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Taiwan’s biggest bubble tea maker has chosen Flushing as an entry point into the Western market. This morning, La Kaffa Group signed a contract with F & T Group to open a flagship store at One Fulton Square, a mixed-used development at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Prince Street that is currently under construction. Specializing in tea, coffee, desserts, and entrees, La Kaffa currently has more than 450 locations with distinct popularity in Asia and the Middle East. Meanwhile, One Fulton Square, which will have a floor area of approximately 330,000 square feet, will include retail space, 22 office units and 43 residential units. A rendition of the planned venue is below.

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Top photo: It’s in Queens; bottom photo: One Fulton Square

03/31/15 2:00pm

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Bierleichen, a new German-style bar slated for 582 Seneca Avenue, looks just about ready to open. The bar posted some nice photos up on its Facebook account and it is looking really good. The owners, who are also behind the Brooklyn bars The Bounty and The Drink, actually hoped to open earlier this year so they’re a little behind schedule. Bierleichen is going to serve German beers, sausages and pretzels in its new space.

Check out two more interior sneak peeks after the jump! GMAP

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