The wealthy merchant Abraham Bell developed Bayside in 1824. He purchased 245 acres of untamed wilderness and built upon it a farm, which would grow to become one Queens’ many neighborhoods. Bell Boulevard was initially a meager divide meant to separate the lower farms from the upper farms. As time progressed, it served as a place for trade and commerce.
People today still go to the boulevard for with similar intentions. What once began as a rural farming community blossomed into a resort destination, which now serves as a suburban outpost for Manhattan commuters.
Additionally, Bayside has had its share of notable residents: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Paul Newman and Rudolph Valentino.
Located in the northeastern corner of Queens, the neighborhood of Bayside is defined by the following boundaries: to the west, Francis Lewis Boulevard; to the east, 233rd Street; to the south, Grand Central Parkway; and the Cross Island Parkway and Little Neck Bay to the north.
Bayside falls under the jurisdiction of the 111th precinct, which is headed by Deputy Inspector Scott Hanover. The majority of the neighborhood is very safe, and crime is very low. In 2008, there were no reported incidents of murder, one account of rape and 97 robberies.
Overall, Bayside proves to be a very safe neighborhood. Over the course of a decade, police have managed to cut crime down 55 percent. However, last year there were 440 accounts of grand larceny filed in the precinct.
Shopping and Dining
Bay Terrace is the epicenter of retail. Countless stores and boutiques line the streets and rows of styled mannequins guard the sidewalks. Pedestrians are free to wander for the day in and out of stores.
Numerous bars ranging from holes-in-the-wall to chic public houses serve as watering holes for local residents at the end of the day. Gluttony has a battalion of allies on Bell Boulevard.
Judy Limpert, President of the Bayside Business Association, affectionately refers to it as “Restaurant Row.”
“They have everything, but a French restaurant,” said Limpert. The cuisine on Bell Boulevard ranges from sushi to Americana with an equally varied price range.
“Bayside public schools are the top performing schools in the city and have been for a long time,” said Susan Seinfeld, district manager for community board 11.
Bayside has 11 elementary schools, three high schools, three middle schools and six private schools. The city’s Department of Education conducts annual progress reports for the city’s public schools. They gauge school environment, student performance and student progress.
Bayside High School and Benjamin A. Cardozo High School received B’s in every category. P.S. 169 Bay Terrace received an A in student performance and P.S. 159 received A’s in all three categories.
With all of the beautiful scenery, parks flourish in the neighborhood.
“We have some of the greatest parks,” Seinfeld said.
Joe Michaels Mile is part of Crocheron Park and parallels Little Neck Bay. It was established in honor of Joseph Michaels, a health activist, Queens resident and drummer for “Jay and the Americans.” Joggers and bicyclists flock to the area to enjoy the marshlands while they work out.
The marina is also an attractive location for recreation. Located at Cross Island Parkway and Little Neck Bay, people can launch boats, kayaks and canoes. While on the water, points of interests include Fort Totten and the Civil War Battery. Fort Totten protected New York Harbor from the Confederation during the Civil War, and now serves as home to the Bayside Historical Society.
The golf course at Clearview Park is open to the public and offers golf lessons for different age groups and skill levels. They also have a pro shop and clubhouse.
Transportation and Commute
Major highways that Bayside residents include the Long Island Expressway, Clearview Expressway and the Cross Island Parkway.
While the subway does not service Bayside directly, the Q13 bus line offers access to the No. 7 train in Flushing. Two express buses, the QM2 and the QM 2A can get a commuter to Manhattan in under an hour. The QM2 can be found on Bell Boulevard and 23rd Avenue and the QM2A can be caught at Corporal Kennedy Boulevard and 23rd Avenue.
To get from Bayside to Penn Station via the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) takes about 30 minutes. There is a train stop at Bell Boulevard and 41st Street.