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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 bounded on the north by Cooper Avenue in the eastern portion (Upper Glendale) and by a section of the Montauk Branch of the LIRR in the western portion (Middle and Lower Glendale), Woodhaven Boulevard to the east, a number of contiguous cemeteries and part of Forest Park to the south and the Bushwick Branch of the LIRR to the west. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 5.
Glendale 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.
Within Glendale are several smaller sections with their 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 multifamily 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 buildings in neighboring Ridgewood.
The western part of Glendale includes the neighborhoods of Evergreen (around Evergreen Park) and Liberty Park just south of Cooper Avenue by Cypress Hills Street. Like most of Glendale, Evergreen is relatively flat. It has mostly late 1800s/early1900s semidetached, multifamily, wood-frame houses and brick townhomes. 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, Cornellville 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.
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. However, freight trains still operate, although in recent years controversy over trains transporting radioactive waste through the community has arisen.
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.
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 1890's 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. Roller hockey is popular at Mafera Park, as the 104th Precinct Roller Hockey League exists there. In the mid-nineteen-twenties, the parks closed as they were unable to financially weather Prohibition. The parks were incorporated by the city into what is known today as Forest Park.
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.
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 in Bushwick. This ended after the 1977 blackout, which was accompanied by riots and looting in Bushwick, Ridgewood and Glendale. Ridgewood and Glendale disassociated themselves from Bushwick in 1979. Since then the two areas were granted a Queens ZIP Code, 11385.
However, there is currently a movement (in 2012) 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.
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 had been conveniently located just half a block from the train station. However, with the station's closing, it is now 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 right off Cooper Avenue.
Glendale's newest additions, Tazzina (formerly La Tavernetta), Edison Place (formerly Von Westernhagen's) and 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 seven schools: 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 one 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 long 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 2 months later became Company 10 in the Newtown Fire Department.
Today, the neighborhood is serviced by Fire Department Engine Company #286 and Ladder Company #135, housed on the south side of Myrtle Avenue between 66th Place and 67th Street and by the 104th Police Precinct located on Catalpa Avenue at 64th Street.
Forest Park has been a place for fun for the residents of Glendale. The park has a bandshell, which provides shows for the community and the park is also a popular spot for skaters. It also has a public golf course, as well as horse riding trails (stables are located off the park grounds).
Notable current and former residents of Glendale include: