A little late with a post today, so i’ll revisit one of the stranger aspects of Queens’ conversion to numbered streets beginning in 1915: when the numbers are the same.
Beginning in 1915, NYC decided to number most of Queens’ streets to repair confusion that had sprung up. In effect, the city created a different kind of confusion, but in 1915 it seemed like a good idea. Beginning with European habitation beginning in the 1600s, a handful of major hubs such as Jamaica and Flushing had sprung up but Queens remained a county consisting of small towns here and there, connected by mostly dirt wagon traces — major roads were rare. Many of these small hamlets had their own numbering systems, and many had names like Main, Washington, Lincoln, and plant names — the kind you find in small towns everywhere.
The solution was to give most streets numbers in a single, all-encompassing system. However, geography and statistics being what they are, there were spots where both the east-west numbers and north-south numbers are the same. You can take a street map of Queens, hang it on a wall and use a ruler and a pencil to draw a line through those neighborhoods where the numbers come together, from Astoria southeast through Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Glendale, Woodhaven and South Jamaica.
Single numbered Avenues (etc.) occur only in Whitestone, so they don’t meet the single numbered Streets (etc.) in Astoria and Hunters Point. Ditto for the Teens. There’s a 20/20 corner, and 21st Street meets Avenue, Road and Drive in northern Astoria. 23/23, 24/24, 30/30, 34/34, 35/35, 36/36, 37/37, as well. In Sunnyside, 43rd Avenue meets 43rd Street, and there’s 47/47 and 48/48. And then, there’s Maspeth, and the concept goes nuts.
56th Road, 56th Street and 56th Drive come together by the LIRR railroad tracks, and 56th Terrace is nearby. 58th Street encounters 58th Avenue and Road, as does 58th Place. 59th Street and 59th Place meet 59th Drive.
The axis of like-numbered encounters continues in a general southeast direction in Queens. 62nd Street meets both 62nd Avenue and Road. There’s 70/70, 77/77 and 78/78 encounters in Glendale. Then the action shifts south of Forest Park to Woodhaven and Ozone Park, where 85th Avenue, Road and Drive all meet 85th Street. There’s an 86/86 meeting, 88/88, 89/89, 91/91, 95/95, 97/97, 101/101, 103/103, 107/107, 109/109, 111/111 (six same digits is the most in a NYC intersection), and near Kennedy Airport there’s a 131/131, 133/133 and 135/135. And that’s it — the number combinations don’t encounter each other south of that.
But nothing compares to Maspeth, where in one area, every street is named 60….