91st AND 91st, Woodhaven

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….

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

6/13/17

 


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11 Responses to 91st AND 91st, Woodhaven

  1. Gary Dunaier says:

    There are parts of Queens where the numbers don’t interesect, but they repeat – it’s just different “types” of roads. For example (and this one is made up), you’ll have 94th Street, followed by 94th Road, then 94th Place, then 94th Lane. That sort of thing.

    I read somewhere that this was done because the powers that be were concerned that if every numbered road was a “street,” the numbers would get too high, and the different “types” were added to help keep the numbering down. Do you know anything about this?

    In any case, the highest numbered street in NYC is 271st Street in Floral Park/New Hyde Park. So maybe there’s no truth to the ‘keep the numbering down’ theory.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gary_dunaier/34848583491/in/photolist-V6sggM-V6s6Lp-VeBybY-TyDiNG-TX2csk-p1UfZh-oL4jXG-oLrTFT-p3xyVX-oLrUgm-oL4omW-f76o3V-f76nua-f7kC75-f7kCk7-crbTG3-crbTT1-crbUns-crbUe7-crbU2w-8vGUmi-7sABdn-8vGUx2-7NEQso

  2. Emilio Castro says:

    If Nassau County ever became part of NYC, I wonder if we would ever see something like 498th
    Street?

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      Nassau was part of Queens until 1898, when the three eastern towns broke away to become Nassau. However, those three towns were never part of NYC

  3. Ke says:

    Major East/West roads were known as ‘Avenues’. Major North/South roads were ‘Streets’.

    When the developers came along and inserted a roadway between the Avenues (but generally parallel to them) those were usually called a ‘Road’ and then a ‘Drive’ based upon the Avenue name.

    Look at 82nd Ave. in Floral Park near Little Neck Parkway: The first road south is 82nd Road. The next one south is 82nd Drive, then comes 83rd Avenue. They would get creative and a ‘Terrace’ every now and then.

    If there was a road that came between 2 Streets, that was usually called a ‘Place’. Example: 218th Place in Queens Village.

  4. dan says:

    Brooklyn has some intersections like that but I think 8th Avenue & 8th Street in Park Slope are the highest common street numbers. 2nd Avenue & 2nd Street are the highest common street numbers in Manhattan – https://goo.gl/maps/ey8ftQRn81F2

  5. ron says:

    This is often cited as evidence of how confusing Queens streets are. This is surprising from people who can usually figure out what it means when 1st avenue meets 1st street or 10th avenue meets 10th street in Manhattan. It’s not rocket science.

  6. Kevin Fallon says:

    When the grid was laid out, Streets ran North/South and Avenues East/West. There was a method to the naming of the Roads, Drives, Places, etc.

    Take a look in Floral Park at the intersection of 82nd Ave. and 255th St. There are two roads south of 82nd Ave before you get to 83rd Ave. The first is 82nd Road, followed by 82nd Drive. That was the standard pattern for roads between Avenues. An alternative would be like 87th Terrace, since there already was a Road and Drive.

    When it comes to Streets, the most common variant is Place. See Queens Village with 218th Place between 218th St. and 219th St.

    Once you get into neighborhoods with name streets, the pattern doesn’t hold up very well.

  7. You forgot to mention Maspeth this time.

  8. Howard Fein says:

    Two corrections:

    Single numbered Avenues are in College Point as well as Whitestone.

    There is no intersection of 77th Avenue and 77th Street. For some perverse reason, there is no 77th Street between 76th and 78th Streets, both of which intersect 77th Avenue.

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