This is likely the only street in New York City named for a Swedish botanist (Carl von Linné). Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) developed the modern taxonomic naming system used by scientists for living species (i.e. Homo sapiens, “wise man” for our human species). The C-shaped alley in Flushing, off Prince Street north of 35th Avenue, also takes its name from the Linnaean Gardens, the nation’s first commercial plant nursery run by Robert Prince and his son William beginning in 1735. Though it had gone out of business by the 1860s, other nurseries including James Bloodgood’s and Robert Parsons thrived until the 20th Century. Adams, Washington and Jefferson all visited the Prince plant nursery, with Jefferson being the most enthusiastic customer.

There aren’t many remnants of these plant businesses left in Flushing except for the street naming system, which runs from Ash to Rose, and a stand of trees in Kissena Park opposite Parsons Boulevard. This little alley reminds us that Prince Street, named for the businessman, was originally named Linnaeus Street, for the scientist.


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4 Responses to LINNAEUS PLACE, Flushing

  1. Alan Gregg Cohen says:

    According to a G.W. Bromley Property Atlas of 1909, these rowhouses were exant in 1909. They appear to be Italianate in design, however almost all of their identifying architectural details (save a few roof corbels), have been stripped off of the houses. It is surprising though to see that they appear relatively well maintained, in a small residential enclave surrounded by industrial buildings just north of downtown Flushing. It is also surprising to note that when these houses were built, Flushing was a relatively countrified outlying suburban village, however there were many semi-attached if not attached dwellings with rather narrow street frontage, in the blocks surrounding (and what) is current day downtown Flushing. Often the larger houses and country estates were built in very close proximity to these relatively high density homes, or on the outskirts of the rapidly growing village, so often the homes of the working and middle class were very close to those of the more well to do.

  2. Mitch says:

    Linnaeus, not Linneaus.

  3. Dave says:

    I lived on Farrington Street, (the next block over from Prince Street) and remember Linnaeus Street well. At that time the houses were old and in disrepair and mostly rented to lower income families. I vaquely recall that there was something unusual about the utilities in that area (something to due with those houses not having sewers, but not sure)

    In the midst of a busy area, Linnaeus was tucked away in it own little world.

  4. Lynn Albanese says:

    My grandparents immigrated from Italy and lived on Prince Street in the 1930’s. My Dad lived there with them till he married my mom, they lived in one of the semi-attached homes on Linnaeus, on the corner. I lived there with them till I was four, then we moved to 188th St. My grandparents moved around the block to Farrington St. Their address on Prince was 33-38 Prince St. There were a lot of Italians on those two blocks and we all knew each other back then. I don’t have my grandparents address on Farrington but I remember a factory being built next to their house after the house was bought and demolished. They managed to have a self sustaining farm on the land. They grew white and red grapes, vegetables and fruit, and had rabbit pens. Their house was bought for cash from an Asian businessman in the 60’s.

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