QUIET, suburban Rosedale is clustered along the Queens-Nassau County border, between Laurelton in the west and Valley Stream and Woodmere in the east. When visiting the area a couple of years ago, I was struck not by its architecture, which is mostly 50s and 60s suburban sprawl; I was more impressed with its resemblance to neighboring Nassau. It seems to be a part of Queens only by political considerations.
Till 1898, when New York City expanded to five boroughs, Queens and Nassau were one (very) large county. As you move along the Queens-Nassau border, you can see places where they might as well have never separated.
It’s also a place where some of Long Island’s longest roads begin and end…
A 1910 map by Hammond shows Rosedale as it was around 1910, when southern Queens was mostly farmland dotted with small towns. The Long Island Rail Road was already well-established by then; the Springfield station was eliminated in 1939 when grade crossings in this part of town were eliminated. The area is presently served by the Laurelton station, with the town of Springfield absorbed by the new Laurelton Land Company real-estate development in the early 20th Century. (Old Springfield was settled in the 1600s and will be featured on an upcoming FNY page). In the map, the pink is the town of Hempstead, Nassau County; the yellow is Queens.
The red line represents the aqueduct, or conduit, carrying water between the Brooklyn Water Works near Freeport back to the city. The ruins of the works can still be seen as you ride the LIRR directly past. The aqueduct has lent its name to Aqueduct Race Track (in 2005 pondering kicking out the horsies and bringing in slot machines) as well as North and South Conduit Avenues.
As we can see from the map, many of the area’s main roads are already there in 1910; some date back to the colonial era. Freeman’s Path, later Farmers Avenue, was renamed for the area’s agriculture and amazingly, is still so-called, even though all of Queens’ farms are gone, save one. It was renamed Farmers Boulevard (known to hip hop fans by the LL Cool J tribute) after a county edict in the early 20th Century mandated that many of Queens’ main roads be renamed “boulevard;” hence, Vernon Boulevard, Northern Boulevard, Springfield Boulevard, etc.
PRESENT-DAY ROSEDALE: GOOGLE MAP
Merrick Boulevard becomes Merrick Road as it enters Nassau. A NYC DOT guy-wired lamppost stands next to a Nassau County telephone pole with ornate streetlight mast.
Merrick Avenue, now Boulevard, is still there too. It begins as a trickle at Hillside Avenue between 166th and 167th Streets, and is only two lanes for a couple of blocks (yet hosts a major Jamaica bus depot and the main branch of Queens Public Library) before gaining multiple lanes at the most forlorn “Grand Army Plaza” you’ll ever see at Liberty Avenue and South Road. It picks up steam, hurtling through Springfield Gardens and Laurelton, before entering Nassau and changing its moniker to Merrick Road, roars through Valley Stream, Lynbrook, crosses Sunrise Highway (see below) in a complicated interchange in Rockville Centre, zigs and zags in Oceanside, Baldwin, Freeport, its namesake Merrick, Belmore, Wantagh, Seaford, Massapequa and West Amityville. Near the Suffolk line State Highway 27A takes over, and in general the road is known as the Montauk Highway until it ends at Montauk Point. Just east of Southampton, it becomes State Highway 27, inheriting the route from Sunrise Highway.
The town and the road were both named for the Merrick Indians.
In the colonial era, Rosedale was the eastern end of the settlement known as Springfield, so called for abundant fresh water in the area. Native Americans had used it as a hunting ground for centuries prior to that. An early British settler was named John Foster, and so the area was named Foster’s Meadows, as was the Long Island Rail Road station when the railroad arrived in the late 1800s. The only road through the meadows, now an undeveloped part of Brookville Park, was known as Old Foster’s Meadow Road until it was renamed Brookville Boulevard in the 1920s. It remains the only road connecting Rosedale with Rockaway Boulevard east of Guy Brewer Boulevard and if you look at the map, that’s a lot of territory.
While Brookville Park encompasses 90 acres, most of it, the portion south of 149th Avenue, is undeveloped and wild. The cultivated section is generally between South Conduit Avenue, 147th Avenue, 232nd Street and Brookville Boulevard. A natural stream divides that section in two, punctuated by Conselyea’s Pond just north of 147th.
A long-forgotten spur of the Long Island Rail Road, known as the Cedarhurst Cutoff, once ran southeast through Rosedale. Today it is remembered only by the street pattern (a glance at the map shows Edgewood and Huxley Streets diagonally cutting through the grid for no discernible purpose; the RR once ran between the two streets). And, there’s a lengthy clearing in Brookville Park (left) corresponding to the RR’s old route.
As Bob Andersen explains at lirrhistory.com, the line connecting the main line to Cedarhurst was only in active use between 1872, when it was built, and about 1880. Yet the LIRR had high hopes for it and it was rebuilt in both 1918 and 1928, the latter an electrification, but trains never ran on the route again and by World War II, the rails had been torn up.
The Road With Two Names
Bellerose, in Queens, and Floral Park, in Nassau County, share a section of a lengthy road — State Highway 25, known as Jamaica Avenue on the north (Queens) side and Jericho Turnpike on the south side (Nassau). The two names had coexisted peacefully for the better part of a century, but Bellrose residents agitated for a change of their side of the road to Jericho Turnpike, simply to avoid confusion, they say, and not as a slap at the community of Jamaica, a couple of miles to the west. The change was made, and the road re-signed, in October 2005.
Yet in Rosedale there’s a similar awkwardly-monikered road, with nary a squawk from anyone…
Running from the junction of Brookville Boulevard and Elmont Road (which never quite reaches Queens) and 149th Avenue is Hook Creek Boulevard, which is hardly a boulevard but a moderately busy two-lane route.
From Brookville Boulevard south to about 132nd Avenue, though, only half of Hook Creek Boulevard is in Queens. The border runs down the middle of the street, and the eastern half is in Valley Stream and is called Ocean Avenue. South of 132nd, the Nassau County line moves slightly east of the road, and all of Hook Creek Blvd. reverts to Queens. As you can see from the map above both sides of the road were called Ocean Avenue in the early 20th Century.
This makes for an interesting juxtaposition of Queens and Nassau county street lighting, signage, etc. In the photo above note the Nassau County “don’t walk” stoplight just in front of the NYC street signs.
(TOP): Entirely within Nassau here (I had my passport) on Elmont Road looking south at the junction of Brookville Blvd (middle) and Hook Creek Boulevard/Ocean Avenue (left). You can recognize the Nassau County-style stoplights, davit-type poles without the guy wires of their NYC counterparts.
Frankie Lew meets his match
Francis Lewis Boulevard (Cross Island Blvd.) at Crocheron Avenue in Auburndale in 1938. It was easy driving then! “Frankie Lew” has become an eight-lane behemoth since. Brooklyn Collectibles
Francis Lewis Boulevard, named for a Queens resident (1713-1803) who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is the longest street that’s restricted to Queens (there are longer roads like Northern Blvd. that are longer, but extend far into Nassau and Suffolk Counties). It runs through Whitestone, Auburndale, Fresh Meadows, Holliswood, Hollis, Cambria Heights, and Rosedale.
Lewis, a Welshman by birth, arrived in New York in 1734 and moved to Long Island in 1775; he became a delegate to the Second Continental Congress from New York. Shortly after he signed the document, the British destroyed his home and property and took his wife prisoner for several months; she died shortly after her release. Lewis lived in poverty for the rest of his life
The boulevard is a relatively recent arrival. It doesn’t appear on maps until the 1920s, was initially called Cross Island Boulevard, and initially extended only as far as Springfield Boulevard. Probably to avoid confusion, it was renamed for the Queens patriot at about the same time as Robert Moses’ new Cross Island Parkway, the eastern end of the Belt Parkway system, opened in 1940.
Below Springfield Boulevard, planners had a considerable obstacle to their plans of extending Francis Lewis Blvd. to Rosedale: Montefiore Cemetery.
A novel solution was implemented as 121st Avenue, 230th Place, and 138th Avenue were dragooned into service, and renamed Francis Lewis Boulevard in order to have the road continue on its southeastern push. In this neighborhood the boulevard takes on a weird “Z” shape.
When it arrives in Rosedale, Francis Lewis Boulevard assumes the route of one of the town’s former main drags, Rosedale Avenue. It finally meets its end at a gas station and a tangle of utility wires at Hook Creek Boulevard and 148th Avenue. This isn’t quite the end of Francis Lewis Boulevard, however. It has an oddly-named extension into Nassau County…
Hungry Harbor Road extends from Hook Creek Boulevard, crossing the boulevard’s titular creek before entering the town of Woodmere and changing its name to Rosedale Road. The origin of the name is unclear, but the town of Woodmere contains a lengthier road with the same name that has nothing at all to do with this.
Forgotten Fan Rob Hans writes:
“I have this book my mother got from the Village of Valley Stream Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Valley Stream in the book has the beginnings of Valley Stream, how it was named and such in the book and says “On the extreme southwest, approaching Jamaica Bay, was Hungry Harbor, so called because it was largely a settlement of squatters, and the squatters went hungry a goodly part of the time. True, it was a harbor because it was the only area of farmland that possessed rich fertile land in addition to having access to the sea. Hirst dock was the sole commercial enterprise of Hungry Harbor.”
Edge of the Universe
Cosmo Kramer, finding himself at 1st and 1st (a corner that actually exists, in the East Village), called it “the nexus of the universe.”
Rosedale, then, must be the edge of the universe…it has NYC’s highest-numbered streets, when you add the cross streets together. NYC’s highest-numbered individual street, 271st, is in Bellerose. Ah, but the biggest sums are in Rosedale, such as the 401 at left. The biggest sum in Rosedale is 411, at 149th Avenue and 262nd Street.
(The sum of your webmaster’s Flushing street coordinates is 205)
I’ll Follow the Sun
Sunrise Highway was begun in 1926 and has never really been finished. It’s an at-grade highway in some sections, and an elevated expressway in others. The expressway sections in Nassau and Suffolk Counties were begun in 1958 and the latest, in Oakdale in Suffolk, was finished in 1998. The highway proper is State Highway 27 (as Linden Boulevard is in Brooklyn and Queens) and carries the name Sunrise Highway as far as County Road 39 in Shinnecock Hills.
The road is a cognate of sorts of Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard, albeit much less glamorous.
But Sunrise Highway isn’t thought of as a New York City thoroughfare. Or is it?
Sunrise Highway signs and median at Brookville Boulevard
The highway extends west into Queens, or rather proceeds from Queens east, for the better part of a mile. When the Belt System turns north along the Queens-Nassau Line, Shore Parkway becomes Laurelton Parkway and Sunset Boulevard picks up some of the Belt Parkway’s eastbound traffic. North and South Conduit Avenues transfer their allegiances here: they have accompanied Shore Parkway all the way from the Brooklyn line, and escort Sunrise Highway till they end at the city line just east of Hook Creek Boulevard.
I have a couple of maps from the 1930s that show Conduit Boulevard, the 4-lane section of the Belt that spurs west from Cross Bay Boulevard to Atlantic Avenue, as Sunrise Highway but have yet to see anything definitive regarding that.
You’re Welcome..But Watch Your Step
TOP: where else but Brookville Boulevard, way out at the edge of New York City, are you still going to find such a large flock of General Electric M400 streetlamp luminaires, vintage 1962? When these were installed, the Beatles hadn’t yet appeared on Sullivan!
I ask you…
LINDA’S GOT ONE. Why don’t you get one?
FORGOTTEN NY T-SHIRTS and more!
Photographs taken June 2003; page completed 10/29/05
©2005 Midnight Fish
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Grew up there
Miss the good times, the park the pizza king and most of all my friends
Visit Rosedale on Facebook
149th Ave and Weller?
Wow! Memories! Weller Lane! I lived right around the corner from Weller Lane, on 256th Street. My two best friends lived on Weller Lane. And P.S. 195 was my elementary school. Memories….
Did you work in the Italian deli on 243 st?
Or your brother?
I sold one of you a 1964 ford gallon
White with a red convertible top.
Wish I had it today.
Ford falcon 1964
He lived across from ps 195 school corner house.
Joe Vitale I thing was his name
Lived about 6 houses down.
Anyone have pictures of Pizza King?
Did you date Ann Finn?
yes great times also grew up there herman stark
Correction: I was born and raised in Valley Stream; I moved out in 1975, but returned two years ago. My parents came from Springfield Gardens, and here’s where my correction comes from. In the above, it is stated that the Springfield Station of the LIRR, which was located at Higbie Avenue (140th Avenue today) and Thurston Street, was eliminated in 1939. Not so. My mother and aunt lived in an apartment in a two-family house on Thurston Street from 1940 to 1947, and my mother told me that she and my aunt caught the LIRR at the Springfield Station every morning during their residence there. It was at a grade crossing that I even recall as late as circa 1955, at Higbie and Thurston. It was, in fact, called the Higbie Station, not to be confused with the elevated Springfield Gardens station which was east of Springfield Boulevard. I’m including a photo of the Higbie station, circa early ’50s.
Sorry, I couldn’t get the attachment to post.
The station name was Higbie Avenue. The LIRR was at grade from southeast of Jamaica station until the upgrade into the Laurelton Station until the late 1950s, with stops (in outbound order) at Cedar Manor, Locust Manor, Higbie Avenue, and Laurelton. The Locust Manor station was opposite Jamaica Racetrack but was moved southeast when the line was rebuilt on a berm.
I moved to Rosedale in the 60’s and have incredibly fond memories of places, family, and friends.
Pizza King was the hangout for under the age for drinking, legally that is, of teenagers which the owners embraced heartily. To them, my sincere gratitude and appreciation. They knew that all that the kids wanted to do is have a good time. So, they provided accommodating and entertaining dancing waiters, live bands as well as DJ s and pizza, no alcoholic beverages. That was for the adults in the next room which was the bar. We danced with friends and non friends and there was a great time for all. Never any incidents. Brookville park was across the street and you could actually walk in it at night without fear. The parking lanes adjacent to the park was 232 street where many cars and friends parked and had their growing up experiences. 243 rd street was the small town with Bohack grocery store, Coopermans Drugstore, the library and 2 fountain drink luncheonettes. St. Pius Catholic school and church had some of the best dances for kids off 147th ave. It was one mile to Green Acres and the Sunrise Drive-in. I had many friends in Rosedale and Springfield Gardens High School which I am fortunate enough to keep in touch with at least on the Internet.
As Archie said, “those were the days.”
Love your comments. Thank you.
Ahhhhh….243rd Street! I remember many a time walking home from PS 138 (before we were transferred to JHS 231 in Springfield Gardens) and stopping at both the library as well as the bakery that was on the same side of that street (two doors down, I think, if memory serves me). I can remember two or three wonderful candy stores…a Bohack (wow…this is really taking me back!) and was there also an A&P, too? I used to go fishing with my friends in Brookville Park. I remember the Catholic Church there, too… St. Pius…went to many church dances there. And also, at Temple Hillel (I think that was the name of the synagogue, am I right?) We also used to walk to Green Acres (before it was all enclosed) – I remember Sam Goody’s, Klein’s, Newberry’s, Lerner’s. And on Sundays, we used to go to House of Chang, either right before or right after we went to the movies (bugging me that I can’t remember the name of the movie theatre, though – was it a Century Theatre, maybe?). Ahhhh….such wonderful memories of my chlldhood.
Oh! And Daitch supermarket, on the way to Green Acres. Next door to Daitch was a drug store and a wonderful candy and toy store called Royal (bought all my coloring books and models of the USS Enterprise in that store). Those were the good old days…
The candy store was originally called Charlies after the original owner Charlie Felloni it later became Royal and was owned by a husband and wife.
Pete and Fran were the Husband/Wife team that owned that Candy Store. So we always called it Pete and Fran’s. Betty’s was the other one and Babi’s was the 3rd
Thanks, I was trying to remember the name of the synagogue (we moved away when I was a kid). Temple Hillel is right.
hi, i used to live in rosedale,but the part that was off of rockaway tpke, on the flip side of brookville blvd. it used to be called warnerville many years ago. during the 60s and 70s i went to christ the king school, ps 138, jhs 231 and springfield hs. we used to love canolli from palermo? bakery on 243 st. and buying now and laters from bambi’s? near the bohack. i miss it all too.
Those were the days. I lived in Rosedale up until I was 30 I still miss my friends but I still talk to them on Facebook as now I live in Florida there’s no place like home❤❤❤
my name is ed caputo and I grew up in pizza king brookville park avaties pork store. love those plane overhead.
ANDRADE DID IT
I grew up in Rosedale 1933,married in 1953,moved out on the island to West Babylon & raised a family with my husband. Memories of livng in Rosdale are wonderful.I had many friends,we spent many days & evenings in Brookville park,ice skating on the ponds & tennis court when they fire dept froze it.Had dancing,football,picnics,boating. Never locked our doors,neighbors always watched over the children while playing in the woods & fields.Great Place for growing up. Had Louie the butcher that knew what cut of meat mom wanted & always gave us samples!
Yup, Louie Bravetti was the butcher.
Mrs Ormsby had the soda shop, The Miller’s had a grocery store.
I lived on Hungry Harbor Road and hung out with the Rosedale crowd as a teenager. It was interesting times in the 70’s with gas lines and shortages. Green Acres Shopping center was the Mecca for us to go – bowling alley memories and hanging in the streets.
I miss Rosedale.
It exists only in our memories now. It was the people and the safety that made it a great place.
I didn’t catch any info on the communities of Warnerville or Meadowmere on this site. Are there any articles?
hi, there are articles and pix from the aftermath of super-storm sandy. google lenny zamiello who was my neighbor. you will findsome info. donna s.
Grew up in Rosedale, since 1951, and my mother lived in the same house (249 St & Hook creek Bl) till she died 57 years later! Lots of changes over the years. First job was delivering for a local butcher shop, Confident (later “Jim’s”) Meat Market on Frances Lewis Blvd between Sunrise and 246 St. Remember many of the places in above article!
Oh yes Rosedale ice skating in Brookfield park , roller skating, pogo sticks. Those w definitely were the good old days for me
Does anyone know the name of the pizza place on 243rd?
It was Rosedale Pizza
What were the stores on Hook Creek Blvd . next to Cohens candy store .
DICKMAN’S BARBER SHOP, GERMAN DELI, AND BANNO’S ITALIAN GROCERY,. THERE WAS A BUTCHER SHOP NEXT TO COHEN’S. REMEMBER THE WOMAN OWNER …..”YOU VANT SOMETHING?”
I lived in Rosedale (Queens) in the late 1980’s on 149-th Road with my sister Tina, mom Angelina and dad Joey.We moved there in 1982 from City-Line (Brooklyn) and i hated it ! I was a secretary for a huge non-profit organization in midtown and Rosedale is so isolated !No subway line goes near here and the only sporadic train service is the LIRR Rosedale station to Penn Station,and the daily cost is sizable.Making the commute to Manhattan extremely expensive and difficult! Rosedale is closer to Nassau County than the rest of Queens. We moved from there after my dad passed away in 2002 to Old Howard Beach and the “A” train is there on the Rockaway line, making the commute easier;still a long one and far-away from Manhattan, but better than Rosedale. Since then,my mom has passed on,too. I am retired now and now live in South Florida since 2014.
would the q113 bus have helped ? it goes from jamaica to far rockaway and there were other buses that ran down 147th ave into town in rosedale and went back thru laurelton and springfield gardens. i took them to get to springfield hs.
does anyone remember the really good pizza place near the cross island pkwy on merrick off of brookville. something was always under construction next to it. valencia? or columbia corners?
Rosedale is in a 2 fare zone which means you gotta take a bus to the subway. Millions of New Yorkers do it. As big as the subway is it only serves about half of the entire city. Everything can’t be right next to Manhattan. New York is a very large city and every borough has two fare zones even Manhattan. Vast sections of each borough are not served by the subway thus the two fare zones. Just be grateful Rosedale is in NYC the buses run 24 hours you can call a cab anytime and there are dollar vans. Kuz if you lived in Los Angeles and lived in a section the same distance from downtown L.A. as Rosedale is from Midtown, Manhattan you would be fucked without a car!
I can’t remember a name for that pizza place, but I always thought that one of the guys who ran the place looked to me a lot like Dean Martin. I ate many of slices there.
I’m not sure but could that be A and S pizza. Only rectangular pies. It was on Herrick not far from Brookville.
J&S still the Best
The pizza place was the Pizza King, did you live on Huxley?
““Frankie Lew” has become an eight-lane behemoth since.”
Ummmmm… No. It as always Franny Lew, both in Whitestone and Rosedale. I lived in both during the 50s and 60s.
I remember Pizza King on Brookville and 147th (Cherry Ave) Tough guys hung out at the Central on 243rd st in Rosedale. Rosedale Auto Parts is STILL there!
Is this Mitch Rubin ? This is Phil Melnick. Our friends were Robert Saltzman and his younger brother Danny. and the Kerr boys, Steve, Jeffrey(?) and Joel. Their dad was Irving. How are you doing, Mitch ? Hope you’re O.K. I’m doing fine for a young at heart 76 year old guy. Hope to hear from you. My brother Hal (Harold as a kid) is recently retired from teaching and doing fine too.
A shot in the dark. Phil, I went to school with your brother Harold at P.S. 138. He was in the same 6th grade class as I with Mrs. Campus as our teacher. Harold went off to JHS 59 in the Special Progress program along with a handful of other kids that included Jeffery Kerr. You graduated from P.S. 138 in 1958 in the same class as my sister Joyce Larsen; Mrs. Russell was your homeroom teacher. I am still in contact with many from that 6th grade class and would be interested in hearing from Harold if he is so inclined: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You forgot this angle: https://youtu.be/nRfAdi0s73I
THANK YOU. People forget just how racist Rosedale used to be. Growing up as an Indian girl on a street that still had a predominantly white population on my street, it was pretty much hell dealing with my neighbors until I got older and we had other POC move in on our block. It’s great to reminisce on the amazing memories you’ve had in Rosedale, just don’t forget the racism that was highly prevalent in the area as well.
I loved it there in the 60’sx70’s
I went fishing at the park almost every day
I lived on 256 st nextt to the creek.
Woodmere was on the other side of the creak.
Those were the days
any idea whats at the end of the dead-end of 148th Dr near Brookville Blvd? road ends, maybe its a private road but it seems to end in the park.
The deli on Hook Creek Blvd. was Winkleman’s, AKA Winki’s.
I lived on 145th Ave and 230th Place; we moved there in the early 50’s; was in the first class at St. Clare’s.
Rosedale was a racist place to live if you was a person of color. 60s 70s 80s all where terrible times to live in rosedale. To hell with those racist pizza stores