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Glendale is a middle class neighborhood in the west-central portion of the New York City borough of Queens. It is bordered to the north by a section of the Montauk Branch of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in the western portion (Lower and Middle Glendale), and by Cooper and Metropolitan Avenues in the eastern portion (Upper Glendale). To the east, the border is the Rockaway Beach Branch of the LIRR, just east of Woodhaven Boulevard, and Forest Park, from south of Union Turnpike. Forest Park, along with a number of contiguous cemeteries, through which the borough line with Brooklyn runs, creates the southern border. Glendale's borders are completed in the southwest and west (from Cooper and Wyckoff Avenues) by the Bay Ridge Branch of the LIRR, and in the northwest by Fresh Pond Road and the elevated M train, which, due to its private right of way, creates five dead-end streets north of 68th Avenue. Since Cooper Avenue runs significantly in a diagonal direction, it is part of Glendale's borders at opposite corners of the neighborhood.
Glendale, a part of Queens Community Board 5, is characterized as an upper-middle-class and middle-class residential community, with other upper and middle-class neighborhoods directly surrounding it such as Forest Hills, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Middle Village, and Kew Gardens. Because of its relative isolation from the New York City Subway system, its abundance of trees, proximity to Forest Park, its bordering by over a dozen cemeteries, and slightly cooler microclimate, Glendale has a bucolic, sleepy quality unlike nearby Ridgewood.
Compared to most other Queens neighborhoods, Glendale is long and narrow since it is essentially sandwiched by cemeteries and Forest Park. As a result, it is considered to have three areas: from east to west, they are Upper Glendale, Middle Glendale, and Lower Glendale. Each area has its own unique attributes.
The easternmost portion near the Shops at Atlas Park is known as Upper Glendale and in general has more expensive homes and slightly higher income levels than the rest of Glendale. Upper Glendale has detached single-family houses of above-average size, semi-detached wood frame houses and a number of brick townhomes with often meticulously maintained grassy front yards. Many of these were built after the 1920s.
The middle portion of Glendale that straddles Myrtle Avenue is the primary business district and has a mix of semi-detached, wood frame, single-family houses as well as a number of multi-family dwellings and townhomes. The housing stock here often dates back to the late 1800s/early 1900s and as a result, a significant number of them are made of yellow Kreischer brick much like similar, landmarked buildings in neighboring Ridgewood.
The western or "lower" part of Glendale has three national historic districts (see Architecture below) and includes the neighborhoods of Evergreen (near and around Evergreen Park) and Liberty Park, which is bordered by Cypress Hills Street, Cooper Avenue, 61st Street and cemeteries to the south. Like most of Glendale, Evergreen is relatively flat. It has mostly late 1800s/early 1900s semi-detached, multi-family, wood frame houses and a significant number of townhomes made of yellow Kreischer brick again similar to landmarked buildings in neighboring Ridgewood. In contrast, Liberty Park, developed in the 1920s, is built on the north slope of a hill and is dominated by detached single-family, wood-frame houses with private driveways and backyards.
Originally named Fresh Ponds, this was a swampy area of land with fresh water pools. It was part of 74,000 acres (300 km²) of land collectively called Newtown, chartered by the Dutch West India Company in 1642.
By the mid-nineteenth century, Fresh Ponds was a thriving German farming community. In 1860, George C. Schott, a developer, was given a large amount of land in Fresh Ponds as repayment for a debt. He renamed the land Glendale after his hometown in Ohio. Nine years later, one John C. Schooley, a real estate agent, bought a substantial amount of property and also called it Glendale. Schooley laid out streets and divided his property into 469 lots, measuring 25 x 100 ft (7.6 x 30 m), which he then sold off for $300 each.
In 1847, The State Rural Cemeteries Act was passed in New York, which by 1850 put an end to the establishment of any new cemeteries in Manhattan. Cemetery owners were however encouraged to build in Brooklyn and Queens. Glendale quickly became almost encircled by cemeteries being located in what is called the "Cemetery Belt". Among the cemeteries that surround Glendale are Saint John's, Cypress Hills, Salem Fields, All Faith's Lutheran, Mount Lebanon, Mount Carmel, Beth-El, Mount Neboh, and Union Field. Some of these cemeteries are the resting places of many famous people, including Jackie Robinson, Mae West, and Harry Houdini, at whose tomb devotees gather each year on Halloween to see if he can pull off the ultimate escape trick and return from the grave. Cypress Hills Cemetery is the site of the New York City Police "Arlington" and also contains the graves of Confederate soldiers who died in local prisons and hospitals. It also was one of the earliest Military Cemeteries and its most unique resident is a circus elephant.
In 1869, a railroad stop at 73rd Street was opened by the South Side Railroad, which was sold in 1874 to the North Side Railroad, which then was merged into the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in 1876, becoming part of the Montauk Branch. In 1927, the station burned down and was never replaced. In 1998, service to the Glendale station was discontinued and most recently, the last passenger service through the area was discontinued. However, freight trains still operate, although in recent years controversy over trains transporting radioactive waste through the community has arisen. All goods shipped by rail with a destination on Long Island (Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau and Suffolk counties), must come through the Fresh Pond/Fremont Yards, located in Glendale, which is the crossroads of the LIRR Montauk Branch, the Bay Ridge Branch (which serves the docks and float barges in Sunset Park, Brooklyn), the Bushwick Branch and the New York Connecting Railroad, which connects them all to the rest of the country by traveling north to Selkirk, New York and across the Hudson River to New Jersey and west. The biggest product currently shipped from here is municipal waste and construction and demolition debris. During World War II, most of the aircraft and military equipment made on Long Island was shipped by rail through this area.
Farms continued to provide the backbone of the economy until World War I, though development was beginning along Myrtle Avenue, Glendale's main thoroughfare, as many family-run stores began opening and steam powered trolleys were introduced on "The Avenue" in 1891.
After World War I, Glendale's economic base shifted from farming to textiles and breweries. The largest employer was the Atlas Terminal, a vast industrial park, consisting of 16 buildings (factories). It was demolished in 2004 and replaced by a massive shopping center called The Shops at Atlas Park, which opened in April 2006. Because of the skilled work force living in the area and the many small machine shops located here, Glendale played a big part in the war effort during WWII and, especially in the "Manhattan Project", which produced the first atomic bombs. Traditionally, Glendale was home to a large and active community of German immigrants. And while this group is still heavily represented in the neighborhood, most of the local businesses have become more Americanized over the generations.
While having always been part of Queens, until the late 1970s Glendale and neighboring Ridgewood were served by the Brooklyn post office and its 11227 ZIP Code in Bushwick. This ended after the 1977 blackout, which was accompanied by riots and looting in Bushwick. Ridgewood and Glendale disassociated themselves from Bushwick in 1979. Since then, with the help of then-Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, the two areas were granted a Queens ZIP Code, 11385.
However, in 2007, there was a movement by Glendale residents to obtain their own ZIP code since sharing a zip code with Ridgewood has caused many problems due to auto-fill features programmed into most computer databases. As a result, most Glendale residents receive mail addressed "Ridgewood" and have difficulties when arranging deliveries or hiring plumbers, electricians or contractors. The incorrect, misleading Ridgewood address causes many of them to go to the wrong location. This is because identically numbered streets in Queens are often broken into separate segments by barriers like railroad tracks, highways and cemeteries.
In 2012, the quest to obtain a unique ZIP code for Glendale (the unused 11384 has been suggested) was again brought to the forefront by Congressman Bob Turner (NY-09) and Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-38). This request was again denied by the USPS although the postal service headquarters did offer a compromise. The USPS modified its software to include "Glendale" as a preferred community name for the identified area.
As of 2014[update], this software modification by the USPS has not yet been updated in the City Map web site, which still displays Queens community names based solely on names associated with ZIP codes (this map can be found on the NYC dot gov web site). As a result, locations several miles away from Ridgewood such as 80-00 Cooper Avenue (The Shops at Atlas Park), 72-25 Woodhaven Boulevard (Trader Joe's) and 75-11 Woodhaven Boulevard (Home Depot) are listed by City Map as being in Ridgewood despite being located in Glendale, in Rego Park, or possibly even in Forest Hills.
In the lower portion of Glendale, just east of the Bushwick branch of the LIRR, three national historic districts were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. These are the 75th Avenue-61st Street Historic District, Central Avenue Historic District and Cooper Avenue Row Historic District. Each of these districts contains significant numbers of early 20th century buildings made with the distinctive yellow Kreischer brick.
In Glendale, many ethnic groups are represented. Most residents of Glendale are of German, Irish, and Italian descent. Like nearby Ridgewood, Maspeth, and Middle Village an influx of Eastern Europeans and Hispanics has moved into Glendale in recent years.
Myrtle Avenue was greatly enjoyed for its parks often frequented by picnickers. With the steam trolley running along the Avenue, several investors bought a total of 500 acres (2 km²) of land in the eastern end of Glendale and opened a number of parks and beer gardens. In the 1890s on the north side of Myrtle Avenue from what is now 83rd Street to Woodhaven Boulevard, the following picnic parks opened: Schmidt's Woods, Glendale Schuetzen Park, Greater New York Park and Casino and Tivoli Park. On the south side of Myrtle Avenue from 88th Place to Woodhaven Boulevard: El Dorado Park, Emerald Park and Florida Park opened. These parks drew large crowds, not only from Glendale but from Eastern Brooklyn, where there were no proper parks at the time. One of the sections of Glendale, now known as "Liberty Park", is located on the site of a former beer garden of the same name. Another section of Glendale, adjacent to the LIRR Fresh Pond/Fremont Yards, was named after the Ivanhoe Park beer garden at that location. "Doddies", located at Cooper Avenue and 74th Street, was the last of the beer gardens, surviving into the late 1960s with an outdoor picnic area and the first neighborhood bar to have a television in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Redeemer Lutheran School occupies the site of "Hoffman Hall", a beer garden and dance hall. In the mid-nineteen-twenties, the parks closed as they were unable to financially weather Prohibition.
Many of these picnic parks were incorporated by the city into what is known today as Forest Park. Forest Park has been a place for fun for the residents of Glendale. The park has a bandshell, which provides shows for the community. It also has a public golf course, as well as horse riding trails (stables are located nearby, off the park grounds). Forest Park Drive, which runs throughout the park, is closed to vehicles from Woodhaven Boulevard to Metropolitan Avenue, making it a popular spot for skaters.
At Mafera Park, formerly the site of minor league baseball's Farmers Oval, roller hockey can be played on the rink there.
On the most eastern edge of Glendale, on the site between the train tracks of the Rockaway Beach and Montauk Branches of the LIRR where an old ice house once stood, is Seither Stadium, the home field of the Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth Little League.
South of the Liberty Park section of Glendale (and separated by cemeteries as well as the Jackie Robinson Parkway) is Ridgewood Reservoir, a beautiful naturalistic part of Highland Park that the city renovated in 2013 by adding new period lighting and fences.
Glendale was renowned for its many authentic German restaurants, namely Zum Stammtisch (The Family Table), Von Westernhagen's, Gebhardt's, and Hans Gasthaus. However, in the last decade all but Zum Stammtisch have closed doors for good. Stammtisch can be found highly regarded in most New York City tour guides even though it is located in an outer borough.
The oldest operating business in Glendale dates to the 1830s. Originally called the Woods Inn, the Woods is a two-story house with a bar on the first floor and apartments, which were once rooms-for-rent, on the second floor. It is conveniently located just half a block from the former LIRR train station. Since that station's closing, it is an off-the-beaten-path watering hole for locals. Part of an episode of NYPD Blue was filmed here in the late 1990s. "A Stranger Is Watching" (1982) starring Rip Torn was also filmed here, and most of the crew ate lunch with the owner at that time, John Virga.
Another of Glendale's bars, The Assembly, figured prominently in the 1996 film Trees Lounge, written, directed, and starring Steve Buscemi. It served as the set for the fictional bar for which the movie is named.
Glendale is also home to Cooper's Ale House, which is featured in the show The King of Queens as a local bar. Cooper's was taken over by new ownership and is now called Yer Man's Irish Pub. It is on 88th Street just south of Cooper Avenue.
Glendale's newest additions, include Room 55 (formerly Tazzina), and Edison Place (formerly Von Westernhagen's). Additionally, the Shops at Atlas Park has a number of chain and independent restaurants, including California Pizza Kitchen, Chili's Grill & Bar, Johnny Rockets, Starbucks, Manor Oktoberfest, and Shiro of Japan. It also includes ColdStone Creamery and a Movie Theatre.
Glendale is home to eight schools: P.S. 68 Elementary, P.S. 91 Elementary, P.S. 113 Elementary, I.S. 119 The Glendale Intermediate School, St. John's Lutheran Elementary, Sacred Heart Elementary, Redeemer Lutheran Elementary, and St. Pancras Elementary.
In 1896, Glendale's first fire department, the Ivanhoe Park Hose Company, a volunteer fire company, was established. It was funded by Henry Meyer, a wealthy businessman, who owned a cigar factory, a lucrative holding of stocks, and a sizable amount of land, part of which would become the neighborhood of Liberty Park. The fire department's uniforms, a hose cart and the hose were subsidized by Meyer. He also undertook several construction projects, such as building pumping stations, to ensure water would be available anywhere along the major streets (i.e., Myrtle Avenue and Cypress Hills Street). Later that year, the first company was expanded with a hook and ladder and renamed Ivanhoe Fire Hook and Ladder Company and two months later became Company 10 in the Newtown Fire Department.
Today, the neighborhood is served by the New York City Fire Department's Engine Company #286 and Ladder Company #135, housed on the south side of Myrtle Avenue between 66th Place and 67th Street, in their original, historic building, erected in 1913 and by the 104th Police Precinct located on Catalpa Avenue at 64th Street.
There are no New York City Subway stations in Glendale. The closest are the Fresh Pond Road station of the M train, which has entrance stairs from the dead-end of 62nd Street, and Halsey Street of the L train, both in neighboring Ridgewood.
Notable current and former residents of Glendale include: