THE central Queens neighborhood Fresh Meadows, known best for the eponymously-named extensive residential community centered at 188th Street and the Long Island Expressway that was constructed there between 1946 and 1949 by the New York Life Insurance company. Prior to the apartment complex, the area’s claim to fame was Fresh Meadows County Club and golf course that hosted the U.S. Open in 1932. The housing mix is 3-story apartment buildings in garden settings, with a couple of high-rise towers.
Fresh Meadows History has some vintage photos from the 1940s and 50s.
Fresh Meadows takes its name from its contrast to neighboring Flushing, whose name is a transliteration of the Dutch “Vlissingen” meaning “salt meadow valley.” Ponds and creeks running through the neighboring area to the southeast were likely “fresher” or free of salt, and so Fresh Meadows replaced the harsher-sounding older name for the region, Black Stump, which apparently referred to burned, blackened stumps that marked the edges of farms. Until about 2000, one of Queens’ last remaining farms, belonging to the Klein family, sold produce on a roadside stand at 73rd Avenue and 199th Street.
From the beginning Fresh Meadows, which is a semiprivate development has had its own set of streetlamps, cylindrical poles that in the 1940s and 50s supported incandescent lights. They have recently been fitted with “Conehead” Light-Emitting Diode luminaires, which shine piercingly white.
Of course, you’ll also note something else. 65th Crescent in Fresh Meadows has the last remaining set of 1960s vintage White street signs with blue type that were installed by the thousands in Queens.There is a pair on this lamp…
…and another pair mounted across the street on an iron pole. However, a change has recently been made.
… a new pole and a new pair of signs have been installed to replace the vintage signs. Apparently these were commissioned by the housing development, as the Department of Transportation would have installed regulation green and white. An anonymous Forgotten Fan supplied the images.
I am of two minds. The vintage signs were mostly illegible; however, their loss leaves just the pair attached to the lamppost as the last remaining of Queens’ vintage white and blues.
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