The neighborhood is known for once having been a development of the New York Life Insurance Company. Fresh Meadows is bordered by Hillcrest to the southwest, Cunningham Park to the east, St. John’s University to the south, and South Flushing to the west.
In the 18th century famous Union general Benedict Arnold used the area around what is now public school M.S. 216 as a drilling grounds for his troops. After the war, the farming community became known as Black Stump, because back then property lines were often demarcated with the placement of blackened tree stumps at corners. A few such stumps can still be seen in Cunningham Park. Almost a hundred years later residents of the newly developed Fresh Meadows claimed that Cunningham Park was haunted by ghosts of the Revolutionary War. Park rangers solved the mystery in 1908 when they found an Irish recluse living in the park singing Gaelic folk songs at night.Find Fresh Meadows apartments
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Well into the mid-20th century Fresh Meadows remained an out-of-the-way, recreational residential community. A country club that was the site of the 1930 PGA Championship and the 1932 US Open was built in 1923. In 1946 the pace of life changed when the area was bought by the New York Life, which turned it into the Fresh Meadows Housing Development for WWII veterans. Notably, it was one of the first communities designed with automobile rather than pedestrian traffic in mind, as recorded by Lewis Mumford in 1949.
Today Fresh Meadows is a small community with a high cost of living. It has historically been a Jewish community, and at one time in the 1950s-80s 90% of Fresh Meadows was Jewish. These days the Bukharian Jewish community is still prevalent, but a growing minority of Asian Americans and Israelis has joined them.
Fresh Meadows is a very attractive family residence in eastern Queens due to the proximity of a number of academic institutions, including St. John’s University’s main campus, as well as the very reputable Francis Lewis High School and St. Francis Preparatory School, the largest Catholic school in the US. Fresh Meadows is also a meeting point for the Japanese Weekend School of New York. Popular restaurants in the area include Mian (Chinese), Bagel Oasis, Tokyo Steak & Sushi, and Taipan (Halal Thai/Chinese).
The buses that run to Fresh Meadows include the Q17, Q26, Q30, Q31, Q46 and Q88 as well as the QM1, QM5, QM6, QM7, and QM8 to midtown Manhattan. The interchange between the Long Island Expy and the Clearview Expy is at the northeastern corner of the neighborhood. Other major thoroughfares include Union Tpke and Grand Central Pkwy.