FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MAY 30, 2019 • LIVING IN BAYSIDE • THE QUEENS COURIER 53
living in bayside
A glimpse at Bayside’s history
Bayside was incorporated as a village
in 1837, but its roots date back some 400
years to the time when Henry Hudson
discovered what would become New York
Very little of Bayside’s history prior to
1789 is known. During that year, a fi re
destroyed in the home of the Flushing
town clerk destroyed Flushing’s and
Bayside’s early historical records. Arson was
deemed the cause of the fi re, and then-state
Attorney General Aaron Burr – who later
became vice president and killed Alexander
Hamilton in a famous duel – prosecuted
two slaves for the crime. Th ey were convicted
and sentenced to death by hanging.
What is known about Bayside’s early
years is that settlers from the Netherlands
and, later, England trickled into present
day Bayside in the early 1600s. For
generations, the land had been occupied
solely by the Matinecock tribe.
As with most real estate, Bayside’s
appeal was about location, location, location:
the area is close to Long Island
Sound and Little Neck Bay and, at the
time, was covered with glacial streams
and very fertile soil. Needless to say, fi shing
and farming primed the Bayside economy
in its infancy.
Th e Lawrence brothers – William,
John and Th omas – were among the
fi rst settlers to Bayside, acquiring land
through a grant. In 1645, the Dutch leader
of New Amsterdam, Governor William
Kleft , granted the brothers authority over
the Town of Vlissingen (later known as
Flushing), covering 16,000 acres of land
in present-day northeast Queens. For the
next 100 years, Bayside would remain an
unoffi cial part of Flushing.
Th e roots of Bayside began to take
shape at around 1798, when settlers began
referring to it by name. In 1821, Bayside
received further recognition with the
opening of its own post offi ce. Th e area
further developed through Irish immigrant
Abraham Bell, who in 1824 purchased
245 acres of farmland. He divided
the land into upper and lower farms;
the dirt road connecting the farms would
later become Bell Boulevard.
Industries began springing up around
Bayside in the days prior to the Civil
War, but throughout the 19th century, the
community thrived on fi shing and farming.
Clamming was particularly lucrative,
as local baymen profi tted from harvesting
Little Neck clams from the bay which
were in huge demand from consumers
and Manhattan restaurants.
Th e city’s wealthy began relocating to
bucolic Bayside in the early part of the
20th century. Many of them came via the
North Shore Railroad, which later became
the Port Washington branch of the Long
Island Rail Road.
Bayside’s population, in particular,
exploded following World War II and
automobile use became more prolifi c.
New housing developments sprung up in
areas that were still farmland, including
Bay Terrace. Th e Long Island Rail Road
and the construction of the Clearview and
Long Island expressways further contributed
to the Bayside’s population boom.
Th ough much has changed in the
neighborhood, one thing remains true
about Bayside: it’s a beautiful community
in which to live, to grow, to work and
The corner of Bell and Northern Boulevards marks the spot where one of the fi rst enamel-steel
prefabricated White Castle outlets was well-established by 1933.
An undated photo of the Bayside Yacht Club
which used to be off 28th Avenue.
Pix show Bayside both then . . . and now
THE COURIER/File photos & historic photos courtesy of the Bayside Historical Society
This view of Bell Boulevard was taken in 1916 and features the tracks that Bayside’s trolley ran along.