St. Albans is a small, middle class community in eastern Queens that borders Jamaica to the east, Rosedale and John F. Kennedy International Airport to the south, Queens Village to the east, and Hollis to the north.
Unlike most Queens neighborhoods it has no solid boundaries, and is smack-dab in the middle of the square formed by Grand Central Pkwy, Cross Island Pkwy/Laurelton Pkwy, Belt Pkwy, and Interstate-678.
Historically, St Albans was part of the original land grant given to Dutch settlers under Governor Peter Stuyvesant in 1655. Over the next two centuries little changed, and St. Albans remained undeveloped farmland. In the late 18th century, the Long Island Rail Road was extended to run through the neighborhood by way of the Cedarhurst Cut-off. Within years the first working street lamps were illuminating the neighborhood. The community was retroactively christened “St. Albans” after a post office built in 1899 was named St. Albans, after a Saint Albans of Hertfordshire, England.
Like many parts of southeastern Queens near John F. Kennedy Airport, including Rosedale and Rochdale, St. Albans experienced an unprecedented demographic turnover after WWII, when most whites left the area for Nassau County further east. Today St. Albans is a predominantly African American neighborhood (92%), with Hispanic residents coming in a far second (6%) in terms of population. Like neighboring Hollis, St. Albans was once the home of many famous jazz musicians, who all resided in the area around Addisleigh Park. James Brown lived in St. Albans near the modern-day Veterans Administration facility.
St. Albans is served by 4 public elementary schools and 2 intermediate schools. The Riverton Street Charter School is joined by 3 parochial schools as the private school alternatives near the community. Popular restaurants in the area include Margherita Pizza, Taj Mahal Restaurant, Sagar, and El Rey in neighboring Jamaica. Commuters have easy access to any of the four major thoroughfares surrounding the area, as well as Springfield Blvd, Linden Blvd, and Merrick Blvd.
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