Pembroke Avenue runs for two blocks in Little Neck in Queens, from Little Neck Parkway east to Glenwood Street just south of Northern Boulevard, whereupon it plunges further east into University Gardens in Great Neck, one of a plethora of political divisions in the first town east of the Queens-Nassau border that I have yet to study fully, because they’re quite complicated.
Why mention Pembroke Avenue? Once it gets into Nassau County, Pembroke Avenue and its surrounding streets behave unusually, specifically regarding its house numbers and addresses.
Pembroke Avenue begins as just another eastbound street in Little Neck. In this neighborhood, numbered streets are actually in the minority as most of the streets have kept their old names. However, an important thing to keep in mind, as we’ll see, is that the Queens house numbering system is in place here. Since Little Neck Parkway stands in for 253rd Street here, the first address on Pembroke Avenue is 253-17…
…which is a somewhat historic address, as it turns out.
The William Van Nostrand House at Pembroke Avenue and 254th Street was built in the mid-1800s; before it was in the Van Nostrand family it had been owned by Capt. Valentine Peters, who ran a general store from part of the property. When Peters owned it the house was called “Old Oaks” as it was surrounded by large oak trees. Until 1929 the house stood on Northern Boulevard where the Little Neck Theater is today, and was moved here to accommodate the new building. The theater remained open until the 1980s, when its air conditioning system failed. Today the old theater building is home to the La Grotta restaurant and other businesses.
A private housing development called Van Nostrand Court faces the old house.
The Q12 bus uses Pembroke Avenue and Glenwood Street to turn back onto Northern Boulevard for its route back to Flushing. I am standing in Nassau County for the shot — the bus, operated by New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, does not enter Nassau County.
I’m occasionally charmed by Nassau County traffic signs because they were formerly hand-lettered, and some of those signs still survive.
Great Neck is peppered with handsome Tudor buildings like these. The one on the left has retained more of its original characteristics.
And now, for Pembroke Avenue’s unusual characteristic. When Queens streets enter Nassau County, they leave their Queens numbering system behind, and begin at the beginning. For example, the border between Little Neck and Great Neck here is along Glenwood Street, so the first address on Northern Boulevard is #1. The same holds true for most streets in the area. But Pembroke, and a pocket of streets around it, keep their Queens numbering in Nassau County.
Google Maps isn’t very good at showing city and municipality divisions, so, I’ve drawn a handy black line where the Queens-Nassau border is. You can see that a number of streets, including Pembroke Avenue and a number of shorter streets cross the great divide. I have circled the area where Queens house numbering is the rule, which includes some north-south streets as well. Concord Avenue enters Queens, but once it does, it becomes Concord Street.
As far as I know, this situation is unique, though I will have to see if streets south of here that are in both Queens and Nassau share Queens street numbering. I have already depicted them in FNY’s Queens-Nassau border series, but didn’t pay attention to house numbering — I should have.
Meanwhile, by contrast, Bates Road, another Queens street that enters Nassau, has a #1 house number once it crosses over. I do not know why this patch of Nassau County has Queens house numbering. Of course, long before the hyphenated Queens house numbering was devised, all of Nassau County was Queens — until 1899.