at the Center of It All

News From The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association

Woodhaven is a great neighborhood in its own right. But part of what makes it truly exceptional is how close it is to so many other terrific sites and neighborhoods.

You don’t need me to list the vast array of offerings in Forest Park, along Jamaica Avenue, or elsewhere in the neighborhood. If you’ve spent any time in Woodhaven, you already know. And if you haven’t, you should change that soon.

But perhaps the most underrated— and seldom-mentioned— positive feature of Woodhaven is how well-located it is.

That statement might confuse Astoria residents who are a 15-minute commute from Midtown, or anyone who lives in Manhattan and rarely ventures off the island. It is, however, absolutely true.

What many who are unfamiliar with Woodhaven might not understand is that it is at a crossroads in its part of New York City. This means it is extremely close to some exceptional parts of our city, and is a mere stone’s throw from some other terrific neighborhoods.

Have you ever needed to pick up a visitor who was flying into John F. Kennedy International Airport? Unless the visitor arrives in the middle of rush hour, we Woodhaven residents know we can get there very quickly. If the visitor texts or calls us when they land, we can typically be there waiting for them by the time they retrieve their luggage.

With summer here, many New Yorkers are in the mood to spend some time at the beach. The ill-informed might think that “beach” and “New York City” don’t belong in the same sentence. Others might be under the misimpression that Coney Island is the only place in the five boroughs with a superlative boardwalk. Both are wrong. The Rockaways are magnificent, and they are extremely close to Woodhaven. I’ve spent many happy, sun-drenched afternoons there.

If Forest Park doesn’t provide enough nature for you, then Jamaica Bay certainly should. This salt marsh ecosystem is home to enough wildlife to awe you for ages. And it’s a quick trip from Woodhaven.

If a Woodhaven resident in a shopping state of mind can’t find that elusive item on Jamaica Avenue, then Glendale, Elmhurst, and Middle Village have shopping centers that are a brief drive or bus ride away.

If you want to pay your respects to our fallen servicemembers on Memorial Day, there are few better places to do it than in Cypress Hills National Cemetery, just down Jamaica Avenue from Woodhaven. If you want to honor fallen New York City police officers, Cypress Hills Cemetery features the Arlington Police Memorial. The graves of Houdini, Jackie Robinson, and many others are all within walking distance. And the proximate Ridgewood Reservoir offers an amazing stroll on a nice day.

It’s risky to try to name the notable restaurants in the surrounding neighborhoods, because there are so many that I’d undoubtedly leave some out. The dozen or so surrounding neighborhoods are home to establishments that have served Woodhaven residents countless great meals over the years, and without requiring a trek. New York City is truly a melting pot, and its unbelievable variety of ethnic food is on display in and around Woodhaven.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of what you’ll find within a short trip from Woodhaven.

And if, after all that, you still need to go to Manhattan, you can take a subway directly into the city, catch an express bus, pick up the Long Island Rail Road in Kew Gardens or Forest Hills, or easily join the many drivers who get behind the wheel for their commute.

Woodhaven is a great neighborhood, and it’s even better when one thinks of all the great places right around it.

Editor’s note: Blenkinsopp is a member of Community Board 9 and director of communications for the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. For more information on the WRBA, visit www.woodhaven-nyc.org.

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