Queens lawmaker commemorates Woodhaven’s 187th birthday with a resolution

Woodhaven 187th birthday
Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar celebrates Woodhaven’s 187th birthday with residents on Saturday, June 25. (Photo courtesy of Rajkumar’s office)

State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar introduced a historic resolution to the community, commemorating Woodhaven’s 187th birthday during a celebration held on June 25.

Rajkumar’s first-of-its-kind resolution was unanimously passed in the Assembly, marking the first time the state recognized the neighborhood’s founding and unique history. 

Woodhaven 187th birthday
Photo courtesy of Rajkumar’s office

“I was proud to lead the state Assembly in honoring the place I call home,” Rajkumar said. “Woodhaven is one of the last remaining authentic neighborhoods in this city. The resolution highlights the landmarks, styles, businesses, people and artistry that makes ours one of the best communities in New York. I am proud to say that every year from now on we will celebrate Woodhaven’s birthday on July 1. I look forward to Woodhaven’s next 187 years!”

The celebration started when the assemblywoman and her staff entered a Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association meeting, surprising attendees with balloons, cake and everything needed for a fabulous celebration.

Rajkumar was there to celebrate the neighborhood’s birthday, which falls on July 1.

To commemorate the occasion, she brought huge golden balloons in the shape of the number 187, as well as a cake from Pan Ugo Bakery bearing the message, “Happy Birthday Woodhaven!” 

Woodhaven 187th birthday
Photo courtesy of Rajkumar’s office

The assemblywoman’s office distributed printed and stamped copies of the special resolution to all attendees. The resolution recounts the history, great people, and notable sights of the nearly 200-year-old neighborhood. 

This includes the local treasure of Forest Park, its storied carousel and tales of legend Mae West. It has emerged as an art haven, as home to the Woodhaven Art Circle and concerts at Forest Park, sponsored by Rajkumar. 

The neighborhood boasts a storied history of successive migrations, beginning as Native American territory and later a settlement by the Dutch before John R. Pitkin purchased the land to form Woodhaven in 1835. 

Today, there are historic small businesses, such as Neil’s Tavern, the oldest bar in New York City, and Schmidt’s Candy, which has provided the finest confectioneries since 1925. 

Attendees were filled with pride and hope for the future of the neighborhood as it continues on its journey of growth and development. They thanked Rajkumar for her resolution and surprise party, which will now be an annual event.

“In my 56 years of living in Woodhaven, I have never seen our neighborhood honored like this,” Eric Ackermann said. “Our history, our culture and our businesses are getting their moment in the sun, and it’s all because of Assemblywoman Rajkumar. Seeing everything that makes Woodhaven great in one document makes me prouder than ever to call the neighborhood my home.”

Maribel Perez-McDaniel said Rajkumar is the first elected official from Woodhaven in a generation, describing her as a “true leader” who lives in the neighborhood with a district office and lets Albany know about the importance of the neighborhood.

“Just when I thought she was doing everything she could for Woodhaven, she surprises us with a birthday party for the neighborhood,” Perez-McDaniel said.

Daphney Paul said she already has the “beautiful resolution” on display at home.

“Now if anyone asks me why I love Woodhaven so much, I can just show them this. Even better is that we will now celebrate Woodhaven every year, and I can’t wait until we get to do it again. Thank you to Assemblywoman Rajkumar for this great celebration,” Paul said.