City Living: Woodside
The people of Woodside love their hometown -- even if they ended up here accidentally.
Danny Ensanian moved to Woodside two years ago after initially looking for a place in the nearby hotspots of Astoria or Long Island City. The marketing coordinator said he is now thrilled to call the central Queens neighborhood home.
“I didn’t know much about the area at all at first,” Ensanian said. “But I definitely got a good feeling after looking around Woodside.”
The neighborhood has a mix of newcomers and lifers. Residents like Ensanian said Woodside is affordable, accessible and diverse.
In just one Woodside block, visitors can find an Irish pub, a sushi parlor, an Italian restaurant, a deli -- and just about anything else a city-slicker can dream of.
Denise Keehan has more than three decades of life in Woodside under her belt and in those years she saw a great deal of change. Growing up, Keehan said she was close with her neighborhood friends.
She said the neighborhood is now pulling off an impressive feat of maintaining its roots as a small town in a big city while also making room for a booming new demographic.
“A lot of my growing up centered around the church back then,” she said, paying respect to St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church. “A lot of kids participated in the church. It is still to a certain extent that way, but not as much.”
Not only is Woodside a central point of Queens -- arguably the most diverse borough in the city -- but it is also the geographic center of New York City, according to a gold-trimmed plaque at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 58th Street.
Head down 54th Street near 37th Avenue and spot the Playbill Inc. building, where more than four million programs are printed each month for various city productions.
The area is also home to some of the city’s parades, including Queens’ Saint Patrick’s Day parade, which took place this year on March 1st.
The area was mostly established in the late 1860s, when it shifted from farmlands to urban life. By the early 1900s, Woodside was well on its way to becoming an ideal spot to settle because of its expanding railway options and booming residential and commercial development, according to news reports from the time.
Today, the area is easily accessible by numerous trains and buses. Roosevelt Avenue runs through the heart of the nabe and includes the Long Island Rail Road hub, which can take commuters anywhere between eastern Long Island and the rest of the city.
Woodside’s real estate market is also diverse. The neighborhood has its fair share of apartment dwellers, also boasts some single-family homes that have been there for decades.
Alfredo Ramos of American Dream Real Estate said it has a booming market, from six-story walk-ups to co-ops, with the average one-bedroom going for anywhere between $1,400 and $2,000 a month, depending on where you look.
Recent news reports also hint at new developments coming to the area as its neighboring Long Island City continues to boom.
Congressman Joseph Crowley, of Jackson Heights, was raised in Woodside and said that regardless of the national economy, the area remains a great place to raise a family.
“A lot of communities in Queens have been able to maintain their identities as a neighborhood over the years,” Crowley said. “And Woodside has that as well. People identify with it. They don’t say ‘I’m from Queens.’ They say, ‘I’m from Woodside.’”
“It has always been a vibrant, very multi-cultural kind of community,” he added. “Back when I was growing up, it was very Irish, Italian and German. It still has a strong flavor of that, but is now home to so many other ethnic groups as well. “
Notable people from Woodside:
Edward Burns, actor
Francis Ford Coppola, movie director and producer
Joel Klein, former city schools chancellor
Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Woodside’s real estate market, which is heating up due to an influx of new residents, is affecting the neighborhood’s schools. More »
52-30 39th Drive. One-bed, one-bath co-op with gorgeous views and a doorman; 750 square feet: $229,000. More »
Woodside sits in the northwestern part of Queens between Sunnyside and Elmhurst. Its borders are roughly the Grand Central Parkway to the north, the Long Island Expressway to the south, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to the east and 50th Street to the west. More »
Trains: 7 to 52nd, 61st and 69th streets; E, M and R to Northern Boulevard More »
Queens Library, Woodside Branch, 54-22 Skillman Ave. More »
USPS, 3925 61st St. More »
The 108th Precinct, at 5-47 50th Ave., serves the far eastern side of town, and the 114th, at 34-16 Astoria Blvd., covers the rest. Recent crime trends have been largely the same for both precincts, with grand larcenies, or large thefts, recording the most incidents to date. Recently, both precincts recorded a slight uptick in robberies in the past month, but those numbers were still well below what they were in years past. Overall crime for both precincts has dropped more than 50% from the year 2000. More »
Authentic and homey – showcasing the deeply-rooted Italian culture still thriving within Woodside’s borders. Head here for pizza, pasta and anything in between.
I Am Thai
The name says it all. This place dishes out Thai favorites like pad Thai and assorted curry options.
La Flor is an intimate Mexican restaurant emblematic of the diversity that is Woodside. Prime location and expansive menu of authentic Mexican dishes.
The nest may look like your standard watering hole but it’s the service that gets patrons to stick around. It’s a great spot for seeing live music and throwing back a few brews.
The heart of Woodside beats in Donovan’s Pub. Patrons come to enjoy its rustic romantic setting with a range of beers on tap, and to eat their famous burgers and fries.
Sean Og Tavern
An old-fashioned Irish pub that reminds everyone where Woodside found its roots.
C&J Prime Meat Market
Your typical, small-town, old-fashioned butcher with fresh cuts of meat ready to cook.
Inthira Thai Market
Find a huge range of different Thai ingredients making it easy to explore new foods. New to Thai? They are happy to help.
99 Cents Paradise
This 99-cent store has just about anything you need and is organized in such a way that keeps shoppers busy exploring for that hidden gem.
Doughboy Park has everything a townie would want in their local park. Memorial statues and plaques commemorate the veterans of yesteryear while it offers the kind of open space necessary for family fun in a small town.
Lawrence Virgilio Playground
Parents take their tots here for playtime, swings and other playground favorites. It is also easy to access for all in Woodside – right in the center of the town.
Sherry Park Dog Run
This is the perfect place for you and your pet pups to play freely. The terrain is impressive and there is a water fountain.
Adrian Bordoni has been working for years to bring new events and fun to the streets of Woodside through the nonprofit community organization Woodside on the Move Incorporated. With his help, the group hosts programs to complement the community’s ever-changing demographics while working to create economic opportunity for its residents and business owners. More »