Whitestone, Queens, New York City
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Whitestone is a neighborhood in north-central section of the borough of Queens in New York City, located between the East River to the north and Bayside Avenue to the south. Dutch settlers derived the name of the town from a large limestone boulder that used to lie on the shore of the river.
The area was, in part, the estate of Francis Lewis, a delegate to the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In the late nineteenth century, many wealthy New Yorkers began building mansions in the area, on what had once been farmland. Rapid development of the area ensued in the 1920s, however, as trolley and Long Island Rail Road train service on the Whitestone Branch was expanded into the neighborhood. Although this rail service ended during the Great Depression, a small part of the right-of-way was later used by Robert Moses to help construct the Belt Parkway, which includes the Whitestone Expressway which runs along the southeast edge of the former Flushing Airport and through Whitestone.
Further development came with the building of the Bronx Whitestone Bridge in 1939. The bridge measures 2,300 feet, and was the fourth longest bridge in the world at the time of its construction. Today, Whitestone is a largely working and middle-class neighborhood of mostly Greeks, Irish, Italians, and Jews. The neighborhood is comprised mostly of single family homes, garden apartment complexes, and small apartment buildings.
Notable community landmarks include St. Lukes Church and the DG athletic league. Grace Episcopal Church, on Clintonville street in Whitestone, was built in 1858 on land donated by Francis Lewis. The Russian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas, with its distinctive great blue onion dome, was built in 1968.
Just to the west of Queens side of the Whitestone Bridge approach, situated between Whitestone proper and College Point is the area known to local residents as Malba, a small area on the waterfront home to some of the largest private houses in New York City. Local residents pride themselves on their Malba addresses.
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