HOLLIS COURT BOULEVARD, Queens

by Kevin Walsh

Quite a bit of Queens real estate bears the name Hollis — the neighborhoods Hollis, Holliswood, Hollis Park Gardens and Hollis Hills, the LIRR Hollis station, Hollis Avenue, Hollis Hills Terrace and Hollis Court Boulevard. The name honors a small town in southern New Hampshire with a current population of just over a thousand.

In 1883 developer Frederick W. Dunton bought up a lot of real estate north and south of what is now the Hollis LIRR station in eastern Queens at what is now the intersection of Hollis Avenue (then Old Country Road) and Farmers Avenue (now Boulevard) and, after some reflection, decided to name his new developments for his hometown, Hollis, New Hampshire. Today’s neighborhood of Hollis (immortalized by RUN-DMC in “Christmas in Hollis”) was originally surrounded by Hollis Park Gardens, Hollis Terrace, Holliswood, Hollis Manor, and other celebrations of the southern New Hampshire villa. Over time, some of the Hollises have been renamed but you can still find the original Hollis, south of Jamaica Avenue, as well as hilly Holliswood and Hollis Hills, on the map roughly between Cross Island Parkway on the west, Clearview expressway on the west, Grand Central Parkway south, and the Long Island Expressway north.

Hollis Court Boulevard begins at 46th Avenue and Utopia Parkway and runs southeast to Francis Lewis Boulevard, a bit short of where the Franny Lew runs past the Blue Bay Diner, the Horace Harding Expressway, and St. Francis Prep. There’s another section a few miles away in Queens Village, running from Hillside Avenue at the Clearview Expressway southeast to Jamaica Avenue. It’s a quiet road running through what is mostly a bedroom community in Fresh Meadows.

The boulevard was originally laid out as a continuous road. On this 1909 Queens map, it’s called Queens Avenue (likely because it ran to Queens Village, whose previous name was simply Queens). Only later was it named for Frederick Dunton’s Hollis developments. I’m a little puzzled about why “Court” was added to a road name, since in NYC “Court” is usually applied to a building, such as an apartment house.

From the 1920s through the 1950s, major changes happened in mid-Queens as vast Cunningham Park was developed, and then the Clearview Expressway was run through (though Robert Moses was thwarted in his original plan to run the Clearview further south from Hillside Avenue). Thus a major section of Hollis Court Boulevard was lopped off the map between Francis Lewis Boulevard and 73rd Avenue.

Finally, in the 1970s, a major straightaway section of Hollis Court Boulevard between 73rd Avenue and the Grand Central Parkway was renamed for the neighborhood Hollis Hills and it became Hollis Hills Terrace. That’s how the two sections of Hollis Court Boulevard wound up so far apart.

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

11/4/20

5 comments

George Cassidy November 5, 2020 - 8:50 am

My recollection is that there is no Hollis north of Union Turnpike. Everything over there is Bayside or Oakland Gardens, So I submit that Union is the northern border of Hollis, not LIE.

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Amy Nutig November 5, 2020 - 11:45 pm

I live in Hollis – the northern boundary is generally Hillside Ave. Beyond that would be Holliswood (up to the GCP), then Fresh Meadows. My neighborhood, Hilltop Village Co-op, has both Hollis and Queens Village zip codes, and is also considered to be part of Holliswood.

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redstaterefugee November 6, 2020 - 9:37 am

I lived in Hilltop Village, 1978-84. I lived in the Ivy Ridge, which was at the top of the Francis Lewis Blvd hill. The zip code was 11427 (Queens Village PO), but just around the corner (204 St) all the other addresses were serviced by another post office. However, when it comes to confusion, nothing matches Hollis Ct. Blvd.

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George Cassidy November 7, 2020 - 6:33 pm

Hollis Hills runs all the way up to Union Turnpike. I grew up on 222nd Street, two doors off Union Turnpike. Surrey Estates.

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Amy Nutig November 24, 2020 - 10:01 am

The buildings with Francis Lewis addresses are in Queens Village, while those on 204th Street are Hollis. So 87-19 204th St (Dover building), 11423, while right next door the Cumberland is 87-40 Francis Lewis Blvd, 11427. Real estate listings often use Holliswood. Any zip code starting with 114 is in the Jamaica “zone,” and some official mail is addressed as Jamaica (anything from Social Security, for example). Gotta love it!

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