Major Changes to Kew Gardens Hills

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The Story

In the early 1930's, the period when Abraham Wolosoff named Kew Gardens Hills, major changes were made to the area making it a more desirable place to live:

In 1933, the Queens Valley Golf Club opened between 72nd Avenue and Union Turnpike – changing the area from farmland into a more luxurious and leisurely area. [1] The Wolosoff brothers are credited with creating both this golf club as well as the Arrowbrook Golf Club located between 72nd and Jewel Avenues. [2] This major change to the area was due in part to the expansion of the IND subway, the paving of Queens Boulevard, and the connection of the Grand Central Parkway to the Triborough Bridge. [3] The Wolosoff brothers built the first private residential complex of Kew Gardens Hills south of Vleigh Road in 1938.[4] By 1939, what was once muddy farmland, had become an area of 1200 homes built in the colonial revival style. [5]

The original vision for the area was that it should be a place where beauty would always remain and undesirable buildings would never be welcomed. It was to be a tranquil place just outside of the bustling Manhattan, much like a country town – its sounds would be the chirping of birds, rustling leaves and the croaking of frogs. [6] However, that vision was altered during World War II - a time that marked another period of major change for Kew Gardens Hills:

The roads that were originally footpaths became wagon roads and, then eventually transformed into paved highways;private farms were changed into both detached and row houses. Buses were introduced into the area, schools,post offices and movie theaters were opened: creating a growth in the population. The area began to catch up to its neighboring communities, Flushing and Forest Hills. And the constant bustle of Queens Boulevard replaced what had once been a quiet calm.[7]. In 1941, the area's Civic Association was founded.[8].

After World War II, garden apartments and low-rise buildings were built to accommodate the growing number of people moving into the area.

The People

While the original population consisted of German, Irish, and Italian families moving from Brooklyn, by the 1950s the area had become predominantly filled with Orthodox Jews – who forever changed the landscape of the area. The large influx of Jews resulted in the creation of many synagogues - displacing the predominance of churches. The first synagogue - the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills was established in 1950, with just 15 members.[9]

The Area

While there are no pictures of what Kew Gardens Hills looked like as a whole during these decades of major change, many buildings remain from that time. These buildings serve as testaments to that time.

The Main Street movie theater, built in 1940, is still in use today.
The Queens County Savings Bank, built in 1949, still stands on Main Street and 75th Avenue.

This is the first private house that was built in Kew Gardens Hills in 1938. It still remains at 141-35 73rd Ave.

The Queen of Peace Church, built in 1941 located at Main Street and 77th Avenue,is still used today.


Click to go to the next page: Where Kew Gardens Hills Stands Today


  1. Kew Gardens Hills Community History." Queens Library. 2 Mar. 2009 < .
  2. Landor, Lee. " 1937: Kew Gardens Hills." (accessed
  3. Shaman, Diana. "If You're Thinking of Living In/Kew Gardens Hills; Tranquil Enclave, Especially on Saturday."
  4. Landor, Lee. " 1937: Kew Gardens Hills." (accessed
  5. Kew Gardens Hills Community History." Queens Library. 2 Mar. 2009 < .
  6. ibid.
  7. ibid.
  9. Shaman, Diana. "If You're Thinking of Living In/Kew Gardens Hills; Tranquil Enclave, Especially on Saturday."
  10. ibid.
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