Flushing today is very different from the one I knew. Today, you'd swear you were in Chinatown (or Korea-town). But smack in the middle of downtown Flushing you can still see a real live castle, turrets and all - the Flushing Armory.
Built in late Victorian style, it dates back to 1905. In the 1920s, it housed the National Guard. Across the street is a pink marble World War I monument, erected in 1920.
In the 1960s, they used it for bazaars and rummage sales, which I loved to go to with my mother. I don't remember ever buying anything, but poking through all the old stuff was great fun.
In the 1990s, the armory became a shelter for the homeless. Since 1996, the police took over the building and turned it into the headquarters of the Queens North Task Force. Personally, I think it's kind of a waste. What on earth do the cops need a castle for?
This building in the photo may not look like much from Northern Boulevard in Flushing but it is one of the most famous and earliest Quaker Meeting Houses. In the 1650 the leadership of the town that became Flushing stood up for religious tolerance in a famous letter know as the Flushing Remonstrance they proclaimed themselves the first spot in the “new world” to Grant Universal religious freedom. At the time the Dutch Colonal government headed by Governor Peter Stuyvesant's demand that "Quakers, Catholics, Jews, Turks and other heretics be given the boot. John Brown was arrested and went all the way to Holland to Court and won.
This Build the oldest place of worship in New York City was the Center for the moment to prohibit slaver and was considered Grand Central Station of the Underground railroad(that moves slaves to freedom from the South).
The Flushing Remonstrance was written on December 27, 1657 to New York Governor Peter Stuyvesant to protest his interference in the religious practices of the Quakers. Stuyvesant had issued an edict forbidding anyone in the colony of Vlissingen (later, Flushing) to entertain a Quaker or allow a meeting in his or her home. Anyone who did so was imprisoned and fined.
The Flushing Remonstrance was the thus first document of religious freedom in the New World.
The Quaker Meeting House on Northern Boulevard, built in 1694, is the oldest house of worship in New York State. The wood for construction was taken from an old sailing ship. The place is still operating today.
I don't remember this building on Northern Boulevard ever being used for anything when I lived in Flushing, but as a kid, it always struck me as interesting because of its salamander pink color. Now that I think about it, I also remember it being draped with banners and election posters every once in a while, so maybe it did function as a town hall.
It was built in 1862, in the Romanesque Revival style, which was apparently very fashionable at the time. Today it's a concert hall and the home of the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts.
Flushing was the site of two world's fairs - 1939/40 and 1964/5. I wasn't around for the first one, but I was 11 years old and living in Flushing when the second one came to town. They say it was the 1939 World's Fair that inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyworld.
The theme in 1964 was "Man in a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe." There were 21 state pavilions and 36 foreign pavilions, at an investment over a billion dollars. What a waste to take it all down after one year, but that's what happened. All that remains are the New York City building and the Unisphere - a giant steel globe sitting on a reflecting pool.
I visited the World's Fair a number of times, and do have certain memories of it - some still strong in my mind and others strangely vague. I remember the Vatican Pavilion, where Michelangelo's Pieta was exhibited for the first time outside of St. Peter's in Rome. We stood on a moving sidewalk, like the kind they have today in airports, and slowly glided past the milky white sculpture. There was so much emotion radiating from that block of marble.
I remember waiting on line at the helipad and going up in a real helicopter. The noise of the propeller was deafening and the whole experience was terrifying. I have some dim recollection of the Israel pavilion, and I'm pretty sure I was on Pepsi Cola's "It's a Small World" ride, which was a salute to UNICEF - although I could be mixing it up with the ride at Disneyworld in Orlando.
Another memory is going into a Bell Telephone videophone booth with my family and seeing my grandmother on the screen as we spoke on the phone - which I realize today could only have happened if she was in another booth and had the same equipment. I remember it as an amazing experience, but somehow I was sure this conversation was taking place while she was at home. The mind does funny things.
After the World's Fair, the NYC pavilion was used as an ice-skating rink.
Today there are plans to build an Air & Space Museum in the park.
When visiting Flushing Meadows Corona Park make sure to visit The Queens Museum of Art. This place houses a NYC replica