Queens History

In 1895 a deadly tornado hit Queens, and the ruins became a tourist attraction

The destructive force of tornado season has made itself abundantly evident in the Midwest this week, and New Yorkers can sometimes develop a false sense of security by the rarity of twister activity here. But tornados do occasionally make their way to the five boroughs. A 2007 tornado in Brooklyn and Staten Island caused widespread damage of the kind… Read More

Planes Trains and Automobiles

New York City’s “stripped and abandoned” car crisis

The fate of an automobile at Breezy Point, 1973 (Courtesy US National Archives) The abandoned car, that most dramatic symbol of urban blight, is a sight that has pretty much vanished from most New York City streets. (Most, not all.) In a city refitted for the automobile by the mid 20th century, people just began… Read More

The other Draft Riots: Brooklyn infernos, Queens bonfires

You probably know something about the Civil War draft riots that kept New York paralyzed during the week of July 13, 1863. But New York only meant Manhattan back then. What about the rest of the future boroughs? The conscription act initiated draft lotteries throughout the area as, by 1863, the Union struggled to fill… Read More

Robert Moses’ ridiculously large parking lot

Photo:Claudio Papapietro for Starting Monday, May 12, New Yorkers will have another way to transport themselves between boroughs with a new ferry service shuttling between Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. You’re probably familiar with at least one of its three stops: Pier 11’s sleek Wall Street Ferry Terminal, just a few steps away from Staten… Read More