Howard Beach was established in the 1890's by William J.
Howard, a Brooklyn glove manufacturer who operated a 150 acre
(0.61 km˛) goat farm on meadow land near Aqueduct Racetrack, as
a source of skins for kid gloves. In 1897, he bought more land
and filled it in, and the following year he built 18 cottages
and opened a hotel near the water, which he operated until it
was destroyed by fire in October of 1907. He gradually bought
more land, and formed the Howard Estates Development Company in
1909. He dredged and filled the land until he was able to
accumulate 500 acres by 1914 (2 km˛). He laid out several
streets, water mains and gas mains, and built 35 houses that
were priced in the $2,500-$5,000 range.
The Long Island Rail Road established a station that was
first named Ramblersville in 1913, and a Post Office by the same
name opened soon thereafter. A casino, beach, and a fishing pier
were added in 1915, and the name was changed to 'Howard Beach
on April 6, 1916. Development continued, and the ownership was
expanded to a group of investors who sold lots for about $690
each starting in 1922.
Howard Beach is home to a large Italian American population,
as well as smaller Jewish, Irish, and Polish communities. Mob
bosses John Gotti and Joe Massino had homes there and the
neighborhood gained local attention for being home to many
members of the Mafia; Gotti hosted a large fireworks display on
101st Avenue in nearby Ozone Park, near his Bergen Fish & Hunt
Club each year on July 4th, until Mayor of New York City Rudy
Giuliani put an end to the practice.
In the mid 1950s, the northernmost section of Howard Beach
was comprised of a small wooded area (Cherry Forest) and a dairy
farm (Mary's Farm), approximately 25% of the remaining area has
houses on it.
What "outsiders" refer to as Howard Beach is to those who
live there a collection of several diverse neighborhoods —
Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Ramblersville, Rockwood Park,
Lindenwood, Old Howard Beach, and Howard Park. Howard Beach
proper is a small peninsula bordered by the Belt Parkway and
Conduit Avenue on the north, Jamaica Bay on the south, Hawtree
Creek on the east separating it from Hamilton Beach and
Shellbank Basin on the west that separates it from Cross Bay
Boulevard / Woodhaven Boulevard.
Cross Bay Boulevard is the main commercial strip of Howard
Beach and going northward it eventually turns into Woodhaven
Boulevard after Ozone Park. Throughout the 1970s and 80s the
Boulevard was made up almost exclusively of locally-owned shops
and restaurants. However starting in the 1990s, chain stores and
restaurants began moving in and now most of the well-known
franchises are on the Boulevard. Entertainment venues on Cross
Bay Boulevard such as the Kiddie-Park and Cross-Bay Lanes were
popular until their demise in the 1970s and 1980s.
Just Northeast of Howard Beach is Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone
The Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge (named for a deceased
member of the United States House of Representatives who once
represented the district that includes Howard Beach) connects
mainland Queens to Broad Channel and then over the Cross Bay
Veterans Memorial Bridge to the Rockaway Peninsula (The
Rockaways) from Howard Beach.
Joseph Addabbo, Jr., the son of former Congressman Joseph P.
Addabbo, represents the area as its New York City Councilman.
Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY) represents that part of Howard Beach
East of Cross Bay Boulevard, while Congressman Anthony D. Weiner
(D-NY) represents the part west of Cross Bay Boulevard.
The A Train Subway stop in Howard Beach was once a Long
Island Rail Road station on the Long Island Railroad's Rockaway
Beach Branch. Frequent fires on the trestle to Broad Channel
helped to force the LIRR to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection in the 1950s which allowed the city to purchase the
line from the LIRR in 1956.
The Howard Beach-JFK subway station provides a connection to
both the A train and AirTrain JFK (and was the terminus of the
former JFK Express, known colloquially as the "Train To The
Plane," in the late 1970s into the early 1990s). Prior to the
AirTrain JFK, the Port Authority provided a free shuttle bus to
the terminals at JFK Airport. The Airtrain, provides a quicker
and more convenient connection at the price of $5.00 for each
entry or exit at Howard Beach or Jamaica, an unlimited monthly
pass is available for $40.00. Visitors on extended delays or
layovers at JFK Airport have lately been paying the $10.00 fee
($5.00 each way) to visit the small shops and pub at Coleman
- PS 146 The Howard Beach School K-8
- PS 207 K-8
- PS 232 The Walter Ward School K-8
- Our Lady of Grace School K-8
- Saint Helen School K-8
For grades 9-12, most residents attend John Adams High School
in nearby Ozone Park, Specialty High Schools, such as Beach
Channel High School in Rockaway Park or Catholic High Schools.
- Our Lady of Grace
- Saint Helen Roman Catholic Church
- Saint Barnabas Lutheran Church
- Howard Beach Assembly of God
- Chabad of Howard Beach
- Howard Beach Judea Center
- Rockwood Park Jewish Center
The Howard Beach Incident
Howard Beach gained some attention on December 20, 1986 when
three African-American men were assaulted by local teenagers.
One of the victims, Michael Griffith, was killed when a passing
motorist's car ran over him on the Belt Parkway as he was
attempting to flee from the pursuers. The incident triggered a
wave of racial tension in New York City and gained national
Howard Beach redux
A similar incident to the 1986 event took place on June 29,
2005, when three African-Americans were attacked with baseball
bats; one of them was injured seriously enough to be
hospitalized, and two arrests were made in the case. The alleged
assailant, Nicholas Minucci, had claimed that the victims had
attempted to rob him. On June 10, 2006, Minucci, 20, who uttered
a racial epithet during the baseball bat attack, was found
guilty of the racially motivated assault and robbery of Glenn
Moore On July 17, 2006,
Nicholas Minucci was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
28,098 respondents in the 11414 ZCTA provided ancestry
information broken down as follows:
Notable residents (past and
- Vitas Gerulaitis professional tennis
- Woody Guthrie, folk music legend (son Arlo Guthrie's music
is frequently copyrighted by "Howard Beach Music, Inc.")
- William J. Howard - Founder
- James Maritato professional wrestler.
- Richard Pearlman - volunteer EMT killed at World Trade
Center on 9/11.
- Firefighter Raymond R. York, victim of the September 11,
2001 terrorist attacks.
Forgotten-ny.com: Long Island Railroad Rockaway Line,
accessed June 8, 2006
Howard Beach 'bias' attack: Accused bat-wielding thug
arraigned on hate crime charge, New York Daily News,
June 30, 2005
Batsman Convicted of Howard Beach Hate Crimes, The New
York Times, June 10,
Fat Nick gets 15 years,
The New York Daily News,
Census Data Ancestry for the 11414 5-Digit ZCTA, United
States Census Bureau, accessed June 8, 2006