Close-up on Woodside, Queens
Portions of this article have been updated.
Once dubbed "Suicide's Paradise" by residents, Woodside is wedged between two cemeteries in northern Queens. The skyward view is crisscrossed by elevated commuter and subway trains and, in the evening hours, air traffic to LaGuardia, which is less than a mile from the neighborhood's northern edge. Yet Woodside remains one of the most pleasant and interesting neighborhoods in the city. It has an astoundingly diverse population of Koreans, South Asians, Mexicans, Dominicans, and Ecuadorians, but it is most noted for its long-established community of Irish immigrants and expats. The Gaelic saying, Céad míle fáilte , or "a hundred thousand welcomes," takes on new meaning here, where there are seemingly 100,000 pubsa new one seems to open after practically every meal.
Boundaries: St. Michael's cemetery to the north, 70th and 74th streets to the east, New Calvary cemetery to the south, and 43rd and 50th streets to the west.
Transportation: Take the 7 train to Woodside-61st Street or the LIRR to Woodside Station; about 20 minutes to Manhattan via the 7 local.
Main Drags: Broadway, Northern Boulevard, Queens Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue, and Woodside Avenue
Average Price to Rent: One-bedroom, $850 to $1,000 ($750 to $1,000); two-bedroom, $1,200 to $1,500 ($1,200 to $1,500); three-bedroom, $1,600 to $1,800 ($1,600 to $1,800). Due to high demand, availability is "almost nonexistent," says Carl Serrano of NCR Real Estate (39-18 63rd Street, 718-335-9220).
Average Price to Buy: One-family house, $500,000 to around $700,000 ($280,000 to $300,000); two-family house, $700,000 to $900,000 ($380,000 to $700,000); three-family house, $900,000 and up ($480,000 to $850,000)
Green Space: Apart from its two cemeteries, Woodside does not have much in the way of green space. Doughboy Plaza (between Woodside and Skillman Avenues at 56th Street), however, was recently rated the 18th best park in the city by the non-profit New Yorkers for Parks. Doughboy Plaza curves around the northeast corner of Windmuller Park, which has handball and basketball courts, a pool, a playground, and swings.
Cultural Institutions: The non-profit Emerald Isle Immigration Center (59-26 Woodside Avenue, 718-478-5502 www.eiic.org) serves the Irish immigrant community, offering job placement, computer training, and immigration counseling, among other services. Woodside On the Move (39-42 59th Street, 718-476-8449) is a community development organization that puts on cultural events and offers housing assistance and job placement.
Best Restaurants: There are lines for breakfast outside La Flor café, bakery, and restaurant (53-02 Roosevelt Avenue, 718-426-8023), which serves an unconventional Irish breakfast including bourbon-vanilla French toast. "It's not the real Irish breakfast," says chef Viko Ortega, who likes to fuse Italian, French, and Mexican cuisines. "I would call it Continental." He also prepares pan-roasted Atlantic salmon, crab cakes, grilled chicken salad, and sirloin steaks. The recently opened Cuckoo's Nest (61-04 Woodside Avenue, 718-426-5604) offers pork chops with applesauce, split-pea soup, quiche with fries, and the best pint of Guinness in Woodside.
Best Bars: The Station Café (39-50 61st Street, 718-429-9464) opened "about 80 years ago," according to bartender John. With its patinated bar, Venetian blinds, and sepia interior, it's the place to meet your private detective. The bar organizes an annual fishing trip in July at $70 per person. Seán Óg's (60-02 Woodside Avenue, 718-899-3499) screens English Premier League soccer, holds darts tournaments, and offers wintertime Karaoke and indoor beach parties. Saints and Sinners (59-21 Roosevelt Avenue, 718-396-3268) holds a pub quiz on alternate Wednesdays: $20 to enter; the winning team takes the pot.
Happenings: A street fair will be held on Woodside Avenue from 59th to 65th streets on July 5 and September 27 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Woodside on the Move is organizing eight summer concertsthe first two will be held in Windmuller Park on June 19 and 26.
Politicians: Councilman Eric Gioia, a Democrat; Assemblymembers Ivan Lafayette, Margaret Markey, and Catherine Nolan, all Democrats; State Senators George Onorato, John Sabini, Toby Ann Stavisky, all Democrats, and Serphin Maltese, a Republican; and Congresspersons Joseph Crowley, Carolyn Maloney, and Nydia Velázquez, all Democrats. Issues that preoccupy Woodside residents include the recent smoking ban (which bar owners say is hurting business), the firehouse closings, the presence of day-laborers soliciting work on area thoroughfares, and the illegal conversion of houses to multifamily dwellings.
Crime Stats: The 108th precinct serves Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Woodside. As of November 22, 2005, it reported 6 murders, 25 rapes, 133 robberies, 334 felony assaults, and 437 burglaries. (As of June 2, it reported no murders and no rapes, the same as last year; two robberies, down four from last year; five felonious assaults, up four; and 13 burglaries, up four.)
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