Woodhaven is a small, low-density middle-class neighborhood south of the large Forest Park.
Today, Woodhaven is perhaps best known as a neighborhood with a large number of trees (which is only significant because this is New York City we’re talking about). In other words, it still looks and feels very suburban, but also hints at an older European influence with its many Victorian and Colonial-style homes.
Once known as Woodville, Woodhaven was settled in the 18th century as a farming town, and one of the founding families was the original Ditmar family. Before the age of the electrified railway, Woodhaven was a notable stop on the horse-drawn LIRR due to its two horse racing tracks. In the late 19th century, a tin factory was opened, and workers began settling in the area. St. Anthony’s Mansion was a hospital that pioneered pulmonary treatments, and Dexter Park was the first baseball field to have enjoyed a night lighting system. Both have since been demolished.
Woodhaven is quietly tucked away from the bustle of northwestern Queens, shielded from the white noise by Forest Park, which includes a golf course, tennis courts, athletic fields, carousel, and running trails. Its bandshell is often used by the Big Apple Circus and the Metropolitan Opera, and every month during the spring and summer the Queens Borough Orchestra and New York Philharmonic offer shows. Jamaica Bay and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge are also just a few minutes’ drive south.
The population is predominantly Hispanic, with a smaller white community and an even smaller Asian and black presence. Since the 2000s other ethnic groups have settled within the zip code as well, and the Asian community is growing. Commerce happens on Jamaica Ave, where the largest number of retail stores and restaurants are located. Famous eats include Thailand Kitchen, New Pop’s Restaurant, Caridad Restaurant, and Neir’s Tavern (the sight of the post-airport robbery scene from Goodfellas).
Woodhaven is very small. In fact, it’s only about half the size of Forest Park. Despite that, there are 3 schools, 1 private school, and a number of transportation options. Subway stops include 75th St, 85 St - Forest Pkwy, and Woodhaven Blvd on the raised J line that runs above Jamaica Ave. Buses that service Woodhaven include the Q11, Q21, Q24, Q29, Q38, Q52, Q53, Q56, Q59, Q60, BM5, and QM15. The LIRR also stops in Woodhaven.
Woodhaven is bordered on the west by Richmond Hill, on the east by Cypress Hills, and on the south by Atlantic Ave and Ozone Park. Woodhaven Blvd and Jamaica Ave run through the center of the small neighborhood.
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