Howard Beach, Queens

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Howard Beach
—  Neighborhoods of New York City  —
Homes on Hawtree Creek
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
Named forWilliam J. Howard
Population (2010)
 • Total26,148
ZIP code11414
Area code(s)718, 347, 917
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Howard Beach
—  Neighborhoods of New York City  —
Homes on Hawtree Creek
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
Named forWilliam J. Howard
Population (2010)
 • Total26,148
ZIP code11414
Area code(s)718, 347, 917

Howard Beach is a neighborhood in the southwestern portion of the New York City borough of Queens. It is bordered in the north by the Belt Parkway and South Conduit Avenue in Ozone Park, the south by Jamaica Bay in Broad Channel, the east by 102nd-104th streets, and the west by 78th Street. The areas houses are similar to Bayside and Hollis

The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 10.[1] and home to a large Italian population.[2] The ZIP code of Howard Beach is 11414.



Howard Beach was established in the 1890s by William J. Howard, a Brooklyn glove manufacturer who operated a 150 acre (0.61 km²) goat farm on meadow land near Aqueduct Racetrack as a source of skin for kids' gloves. In 1897, he bought more land and filled it in and the following year, built 18 cottages and opened a hotel near the water, which he operated until it was destroyed by fire in October 1907. He gradually bought more land and formed the Howard Estates Development Company in 1909. He dredged and filled the land until he was able to accumulate 500 acres (2 km²) by 1914. He laid out several streets, water mains and gas mains, and built 35 houses that were priced in the $2,500-$5,000 range.

The Long Island Rail Road established a station named Ramblersville in 1905 and a Post Office by the same name opened soon thereafter. A casino, beach, and fishing pier were added in 1915 and the name of the neighborhood was changed to Howard Beach on April 6, 1916. Development continued and ownership was expanded to a group of investors who sold lots for about $690 each starting in 1922. Development, however, was limited to the areas east of Cross Bay Boulevard near the LIRR station known as Coleman Square. The rest of Howard Beach consisted of empty marsh land except for the area to the south of Coleman Square, which consisted of many small fishing bungalows that dotted alongside Hawtree Creek and Jamaica Bay. This area of Howard Beach would retain the name "Ramblersville" only to become more known later on as "Hamilton Beach." Despite its close proximity to the Howard Beach station at Coleman Square, the LIRR would establish a station a quarter of a mile down the line at Hamilton Beach in 1919.

After World War II, Queens and Long Island went through a major suburban building boom leading to the marsh land west of Cross Bay Boulevard to be filled in. This led to the development of many Cape-Cod and High-Ranch style houses on 50 and 60 x 100 lots. This area was officially named "Rockwood Park" or "New Howard Beach" while the area east of the boulevard became known as "Old Howard Beach." In the early 1950s, farm land north of Rockwood Park was developed with the building of many red bricked two-story garden style cooperative apartments along with some six story co-op and condo apartment buildings. A number of private two family houses were also built in this neighborhood, which was named Lindenwood. The various neighborhoods continued to be developed through the 1960s and 70's as Cross Bay Boulevard became the area's main shopping district. During the 1990s and 2000s, Rockwood Park would see even further high scale development as many of the area's old houses were torn down and replaced with upscale million dollar mini-mansions.


Cross Bay Boulevard, in Howard Beach, Queens NY.

Like most Queens neighborhoods, Howard Beach is composed of several smaller neighborhoods — Howard Beach, Old Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Ramblersville, Rockwood Park, Lindenwood, and Howard Park. Howard Beach proper is a small peninsula bordered by the Belt Parkway and Conduit Avenue on the north, Jamaica Bay on the south, Hawtree Creek on the east separating it from Hamilton Beach and Shellbank Basin on the west that separates it from Cross Bay Boulevard.

Cross Bay Boulevard is the main commercial strip of Howard Beach and going northward it eventually turns into Woodhaven Boulevard after Ozone Park. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the Boulevard was made up almost exclusively of locally-owned shops and restaurants. However, starting in the 1990s, chain stores and restaurants began moving in and now many well-known franchises are on the boulevard. Entertainment venues on Cross Bay Boulevard such as the Kiddie-Park and Cross-Bay Lanes were popular until their collapse in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge (named for a deceased member of the United States House of Representatives who once represented the district that includes Howard Beach) connects mainland Queens to Broad Channel.

Coleman Square

Bernard Coleman Memorial Square (colloquially Coleman Square) is the small plaza at Howard Beach-JFK on the IND Rockaway Line of the New York City Subway (served by the A train) and AirTrain JFK.[2] There is a memorial to servicemen from Howard Beach who died in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.[3]


Joseph Addabbo, Jr., the son of former Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo, represents the area as member of the New York State Senate. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY) represents that part of Howard Beach east of Cross Bay Boulevard and Congressman Bob Turner (R-NY) represents the part west of Cross Bay Boulevard. Eric Ulrich (R-NY) is the New York City Councilman for Howard Beach.


Howard Beach - JFK Airport on the IND Rockaway Line was formerly a Long Island Rail Road station on the Rockaway Beach Branch. Frequent fires on the trestle to Broad Channel forced the LIRR to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the 1950s, which allowed New York City Transit to purchase the line in 1956.[4]

The station provides a connection between the A train and AirTrain JFK (and was the terminus of the former JFK Express, known colloquially as the "Train To The Plane"). Prior to the AirTrain JFK, the Port Authority provided a free shuttle bus to the terminals at JFK Airport. The AirTrain now provides these connections.


For grades 9-12, most residents attend John Adams High School or Robert H. Goddard High School in nearby Ozone Park, Specialty High Schools such as Beach Channel High School in Rockaway Park, or Catholic High Schools such as Christ the King, St. Francis Prep, or Archbishop Molloy and Forest Hills High School.

Hate crimes

Howard Beach has gained notoriety in recent years for several well-publicized hate crimes.


At approximately midnight on December 20, 1986, three African-American men, Michael Griffith, 24, Cedric Sandiford, 36, and Timothy Grimes, 20, entered New Park Pizzeria on Cross Bay Boulevard after their car had broken down in Broad Channel. By some eyewitness accounts, a teen driver in a passing car yelled a racial epithet at the men and a verbal altercation ensued. Three of these teens later returned with seven to nine friends aged fifteen to eighteen.[5] The three black men fled, pursued by the teens. Grimes escaped unscathed, while Sandiford was caught and assaulted with baseball bats, tree limbs, and fists. Griffith was killed when a car ran over him on the Belt Parkway where he had run while attempting escape. Early the next morning, then-Mayor Ed Koch condemned the crime in the media comparing the incident to a lynching. Then-Governor Mario Cuomo appointed a special prosecutor, Charles J. Hynes.[6][7]

One of the accused youths, Robert D. Riley, the son of a New York City police officer, agreed to cooperate with authorities, in exchange for leniency. Riley fingered Jon L. Lester, Jason Ladone, Scott Kern and Michael Pirone as the ringleaders of the attack. The four teens were charged with manslaughter, second degree murder and first degree assault. After a lengthy trial, Ladone, Kern and Lester were convicted of second degree manslaughter and assault. Ladone was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. Kern got up to 18 years. Lester received 10 to 20 years.[8] As part of his plea bargain, Riley received six months in jail and 400 hours of community service.[9]

A second wave of seven teens were accused of lesser charges; William Bollander, James Povinelli, and Thomas Farino were convicted of second degree riot charges after a lengthy appeals process.[10] Salvatore DeSimone and Harry J. Buonocore plead guilty to the same charge.[11] John Saggese was acquitted of the riot charge, and Thomas Gucciardo was acquitted of the charges of attempted murder, assault and riot.[12][13][14]

The incident re-energized the local civil rights community. Al Sharpton led several protests in the neighborhood[15] while a coalition of local groups joined together to form the New York Civil Rights Coalition Special prosecutor Hynes has since gone on to become the District Attorney of Brooklyn and written a book about the incident.


On June 29, 2005, three African-Americans were attacked with baseball bats by white men. One of them was injured seriously enough to be hospitalized and two arrests were made in the case. The convicted assailant, Nicholas Minucci, claimed that the victims had attempted to rob him.[16] On June 10, 2006, Minucci, 20, who uttered a racial epithet during the baseball bat attack, was found guilty of robbery and the racially motivated assault of Glenn Moore.[17] On July 17, 2006, Minucci was sentenced to 15 years in prison.[18]


On October 31, 2007, a confrontation between minority youths from Brooklyn and white locals resulted in two injured white teens. What caused the confrontation is not certain, but at 10:00 PM, a group of 30 to 40 African American youths chased four white youths into a McDonald's restaurant and assaulted two of them. Joseph Friedman was struck in the head with a broom handle that broke on contact. Friedman was taken to the hospital, where the wound was tended to with seven staples.[19] Another victim, Sean Camaratta, was punched in the face and suffered minor injuries. Witnesses reported hearing racial slurs during the attack. Five suspects, Patrick Pugh, George Morales, Victor Tossas, Terrance Scott and Talique Jackson, were later arrested and indicted for assault, menacing and criminal possession offenses.[20]

The Thursday following the attacks, more than 150 Howard Beach residents marched down 157th Avenue calling for the accused to be charged with hate crimes.[21] A bias motive was investigated, but prosecution efforts were hindered when a police lineup produced one positive identification of Tossas but nothing else and DNA tests of the defendants came back negative.[22][23]


As of the 2000 census, there were 28,121 people residing in Howard Beach. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 85.9% Non-Hispanic White, 2.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.0% African American, 2.3% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. 9.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.1% of the population is foreign-born. The estimated median household income as of 2007 is $69,800.

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Howard Beach include:

Notable Media Events


  1. ^ Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Lemire, Jonathan (2002-09-22). "'Small town' has big pride - & image woes: The Howard Beach story". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  3. ^ "Coleman Square, Howard Beach". Bridge and Tunnel Club. 
  4. ^ "Rockaway Branch". Forgotten New York. Retrieved 2006-06-08. 
  5. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1987-10-15). "2 Girls Do Not Support State On Howard Beach Incident". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Schmalz, Jeffrey (1987-01-19). "Cuomo and Howard Beach: Recalling Political Roots". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  8. ^ Donohue, Pete (1999-02-08). "No Parole in Slay at Howard Beach". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  9. ^ "Topics of The Times; Beyond Howard Beach". New York Times. 1988-10-14. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  10. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1990-11-29). "Howard Beach Prosecution Ends in Negotiated Sentence". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  11. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1988-05-25). "2d Defendant In Racial Case Pleads Guilty". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  12. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1988-07-15). "Howard Beach Man, 19, Cleared". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  13. ^ Ravo, Nick (1987-02-11). "12 Defendants in Attack Case; A Diverse Group". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  14. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1988-06-22). "5 in Racial Case Refuse to Testify In Second Trial". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Burke, Kerry; El-Ghobashy, Tamer; Gendar, Alison (2005-06-30). "Howard Beach 'Bias' Attack. Bat-Wielding Thug Clubs Black Man". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  17. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (2006-06-10). "Batsman Convicted of Howard Beach Hate Crimes". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  18. ^ Fenner, Austin; Shifrel, Scott (2006-07-18). "Fat Nick Gets 15 Years". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  19. ^ Times Ledger - Attack on white men in Howard Beach may be hate crime: DA
  20. ^ Lambert, Bruce (2007-11-02). "Queens: Clash Investigated as Bias Crime". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  21. ^ Block, Dorian (2007-11-04). "Howard Beach rally claims anti-white bias". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  22. ^ Bode, Nicole (2007-12-17). "Halloween Attack Raps May Be Dropped". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  23. ^ Bode, Nicole (2008-03-27). "Negative DNA Tests Weaken Assault Case Against Blacks and Hispanic Teens". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  24. ^ Araton, Harvey (1994-09-20). "Sports of The Times; 'We've Lost Another of Our Kids'". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-03. "It was the finals of the United States Open, and it was Gerulaitis, out of Howard Beach, Queens, against McEnroe, out of Douglaston, Queens." 
  25. ^

Coordinates: 40°39′35″N 73°50′36″W / 40.659611°N 73.843446°W / 40.659611; -73.843446