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Queens in the 1960s: A Photographic Journey Through Neighborhoods, Landmarks, and Everyday Life

Queens in the 1960s wasn’t just a borough of New York City; it was a universe of its own. From the bustling streets of Flushing to the quiet, tree-lined avenues of Forest Hills, Queens was an incredible place of cultures, communities, and experiences. Let’s take a journey back in time and explore what made Queens so unique in this vibrant decade.

The 1960s saw Queens transform from a collection of quiet residential neighborhoods to a more urban landscape. The construction of the Long Island Expressway and the Clearview Expressway opened new areas for development, leading to the rise of high-rise apartment buildings and sprawling shopping centers.

One of the most significant events of the decade was the 1964-65 World’s Fair. Held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the fair showcased futuristic technology and cultural exhibits from around the globe. It left a lasting mark on Queens, with iconic structures like the Unisphere and the New York State Pavilion remaining as reminders of this exciting era.

Family Life and Community

Families flocked to the borough for its affordable homes, good schools, and safe streets. Kids spent their days playing stickball in the streets, riding bikes to the local park, and hanging out at the candy store. The local butcher, baker, and candlestick maker were familiar faces, and neighbors knew each other by name. Life moved at a slower pace, and there was a strong sense of belonging.

Entertainment and Recreation

Queens offered plenty of options for fun and leisure. Shea Stadium, home to the New York Mets, was a popular destination for baseball fans. Rockaway Beach provided a summertime escape with its sandy shores and bustling boardwalk. Families enjoyed picnics and barbecues in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, while others explored the exhibits at the Queens Museum or caught a show at the Queens Theatre in the Park.

Foodie Paradise

The diverse communities of Queens brought with them a culinary treasure trove.  Italian restaurants in Corona served up mouthwatering plates of pasta and pizza. Greek tavernas in Astoria offered delicious souvlaki and gyros.  Chinese dim sum restaurants in Flushing drew crowds with their steaming baskets of dumplings and buns.  No matter your taste or budget, Queens had something to satisfy every craving.

#1 A Greyhound Bus arrives at the New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens, 1965.

#2 An aerial view of the Unisphere at the New York World’s Fair in Queens, 1964 or 1965.

#3 Summertime visitors walk by the entrance of the New York City Pavilion Building in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, 1967

#4 A Number 7 Flushing Line Elevated Train consisting of “Redbird” cars arrives at Queensboro Plaza Station, 1960s.

#5 Cars at the toll booth of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, 1960s.

#6 Members of the VFW, American Legion, and the public honor America’s fallen military veterans, 1960.

#8 A United Boeing 720 commercial jet airplane debarking passengers at New York International, now JFK Airport, Queens, 1960s.

#9 The American Airlines Jet Terminal at Idlewild Airport, now JFK Airport, 1960s.

#10 The American Airlines Jet Terminal with its stained glass facade at Idlewild Airport, now JFK Airport, 1960s.

#11 The underwater tunnel connecting Manhattan and Queens, 1961.

#12 The American Airlines Terminal at Idlewild Airport, now John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, 1963.

#13 A bird’s-eye view of pavilions and exhibits at the New York World’s Fair, Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, 1964.

#14 A panoramic aerial view from the New York State Pavilion observation towers at the New York World’s Fair, Flushing Meadows Park, 1964.

#15 A panoramic aerial view from the New York State Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, Flushing Meadows-Corona, Queens, 1964.

#16 Two young boys sit on the edge of a circular counter inside the New York State Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, Flushing Meadows Park, 1964.

#17 A bird’s-eye view from a Swiss Sky Ride gondola of the Switzerland Pavilion’s Le Chalet Restaurant at the New York World’s Fair, Flushing Meadows Park, 1964.

#18 A bird’s-eye view from a Swiss Sky Ride gondola of the New York State Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, Flushing Meadows Park, 1964.

#19 People walk near the Astral Fountain and the New York State Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, Flushing Meadows Park, 1964.

#26 Westward view from the Lowery Street station in Queens, 1960s.

#31 Street near the Long Island R.R. station in Jamaica, 1960s.

#34 View from a station of the Myrtle Avenue El in Queens, 1960s.

#35 View from the Rawson Station of the Flushing-IRT line, Queens, 1960s.

#36 View from the Queensborough Plaza station, Queens, 1960s.

#38 95-05 63rd Drive and Queens Boulevard, Queens, 1960s.

#39 67-41 Burns Street and 67th Avenue, Queens, 1960s.

#43 188th Street and Horace Harding Boulevard, Queens, 1960s.

#44 125-60 Sutphin Boulevard and Rockaway Boulevard, Queens, 1960s.

#45 Union Turnpike, 247th Street, Jamaica, Queens, 1960s.

#46 Union Turnpike, 247th Street, Jamaica, Queens, 1960s.

#47 Union Turnpike, 247th Street, Jamaica, Queens, 1960s.

#48 Union Turnpike, 247th Street, Jamaica, Queens, 1960s.

#49 Union Turnpike, 247th Street, Jamaica, Queens, 1960s.

#50 Dilapidated and graffiti-covered cement staircases lead to a row of homes on 37th Avenue in Corona, Queens, 1960.

#51 Residential and commercial buildings at the intersection of 108th Street and 37th Avenue, Corona, Queens, 1960.

#52 Motorists driving northbound along Junction Boulevard in Corona, Queens, 1960.

#53 A parked vehicle at the intersection of 37th Avenue and 112th Street, Corona, Queens, 1960.

#54 Daphne Thomas, customer service representative for Air France, looks at tapestries by Rene Perrot at Idlewild Airport, 1960.

#55 The New York International building at Idlewild Airport in Jamaica, New York, 1960.

#56 The Howard Johnson’s restaurant on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park, Queens, 1960.

#58 Construction of the LeFrak City apartment complex on the border of Elmhurst-Corona, Queens, 1963.

#60 Vehicle traffic on the Long Island Expressway in Elmhurst, Queens, 1963.

#61 Traffic heading west on the Long Island Expressway in Elmhurst, Queens, 1963.

#62 Construction of the LeFrak City apartment complex and a two-truck accident scene, Queens, 1963.

#63 A car accident on Junction Boulevard in Corona, Queens, 1963.

#64 Groundbreaking for the Billy Graham Pavilion at the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Flushing, New York, 1963.

#65 Men talk in the PS 143 schoolyard in Corona, Queens, 1963.

#66 The construction site for the 1964/1965 World’s Fair in Corona, Queens, with the Unisphere in the background, 1963.

#67 A softball game in the PS 143 schoolyard in Corona, Queens, 1963.

#68 Residential and commercial buildings along 112th Street at Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, Queens, 1963.

#69 Vehicle traffic leaving the parking lot for Alexander’s department store in Rego Park, Queens, 1963.

#70 The tennis courts at Flushing Meadows Park in Corona, Queens, with the construction site for the 1964/1965 World’s Fair in the background, 1963.

#71 Construction of new exit and entrance ramps for Municipal Stadium on the Grand Central Parkway, Queens, 1963.

#72 Construction underway on Municipal Stadium at Flushing Meadows (later named Shea Stadium) in Corona, Queens, 1963.

#73 Ongoing construction on the Long Island Expressway at the Grand Central Parkway interchange in Corona, Queens, 1963.

#74 Junkyard on Willets Point Boulevard in Queens’ Corona neighborhood with the Municipal Stadium under construction in the background, 1963.

#75 Construction site for the 1964/1965 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, with Terrace On The Park under construction in the background, 1963.

#76 Construction underway on the Municipal Stadium at Flushing Meadows (later named Shea Stadium) in the Corona neighborhood, Queens, 1963.

#77 Police motorcycles as part of a heavy security presence as US President Lyndon B. Johnson passed through Queens on his way to attend the funeral of former New York Governor Herbert H. Lehman, 1963.

#78 A police officer positioned atop an apartment building as part of a heavy security presence as US President Lyndon B. Johnson passed through Queens on his way to attend the funeral of former New York Governor Herbert H. Lehman, 1963.

#79 Construction site for the 1964/1965 World’s Fair in Corona, Queens, with the New York State Pavilion and Observation Towers visible in the background, 1964.

#80 Muddy construction site for the 1964/1965 World’s Fair in Corona, Queens, 1964.

#81 Bird’s-eye view of pavilions and exhibits at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, 1964.

#82 Residential and commercial buildings along 108th Street in the Corona neighborhood, Queens, 1964.

#83 Panoramic aerial view of the 1964 New York World’s Fairgrounds toward LaGuardia Airport on Flushing Bay in Corona, Queens, 1964.

#84 Bird’s-eye view of an expressway near the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, 1964.

#85 Elevated view of vehicle traffic at the intersection of Queens and Woodhaven boulevards in the Elmhurst neighborhood, Queens, 1965.

#86 Exterior shot of the Queens Restaurant (featuring ‘International Foods’) in Corona, Queens, 1966.

#87 A jam-packed Shea Stadium just before The Beatles took the stage on their last US Tour, 1966.

#88 Young fans on their bicycles try to catch a glimpse of The Beatles over a fence outside Shea Stadium, 1966.

#89 Three somber-looking fans unable to attend The Beatles concert stand by a fence around the back of Shea Stadium, 1966.

#90 Teenage Beatles fans exit a chartered bus in the parking lot of Shea Stadium on their way to see the band live on their last American Tour, 1966.

#91 A Ford sedan buried in snow along the Horace Harding Expressway in Rego Park, Queens, 1967.

#92 Vehicle traffic on the Long Island Expressway and the Horace Harding Expressway in Elmhurst, Queens, 1967.

#93 Parked cars along the Horace Harding Expressway in Rego Park, Queens, 1967.

#94 Snow-covered parked cars along the Horace Harding Expressway in Rego Park, Queens, 1967.

#95 Two snow-covered sedans on Fitchett Street in Rego Park, Queens, 1967.

#96 Vehicles double parked in front of John Malossi Bar & Grill in Corona, Queens, 1967.

#97 The former New York World’s Fairgrounds in Flushing Meadows, Queens, with attractions from the 1964-1965 Fair, 1960s.

#98 Entrances to the Belt Parkway in Queens near Kennedy Airport blocked by stalled cars stuck in the snow, 1969.

#99 Cars stalled along the route into Kennedy Airport due to heavy snow drifts, 1969.

#100 The Long Island Rail Road where Catherine “Kitty” Genovese parked her car before being murdered on Austin Street in Kew Gardens, Queens, 1964.

#101 Scene where Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was murdered on Austin Street in Kew Gardens, Queens, 1964.

#102 View of 82-70 Austin Street, Kew Gardens, Queens, 1964.

#103 View from the Long Island Rail Road of 82-70 Austin Street, Kew Gardens, Queens, 1964.

#104 View of the Long Island Rail Road and 82-70 Austin Street, Kew Gardens, Queens, 1964.

#105 View of 82-70 Austin Street, Kew Gardens, Queens, 1964.

#106 Fresh Pond Road and Putnam Avenue, Ridgewood, Queens, 1960s.

#107 Cypress Avenue and Putnam Avenue, Ridgewood, Queens, October 1969.

#108 Greenpoint Avenue and 45th Street, Sunnyside, Queens, 1969.

#109 80th Street and Northern Boulevard, Jackson Heights, Queens1960s.

#110 Greenpoint Avenue off 45th Street, Sunnyside, Queens, 1969.

#111 34th Street and 30th Avenue, Astoria, Queens, 1960s.

#112 Cherry Avenue and Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, Queens, September 1969.

#113 30th Avenue and 42nd Street, Astoria, Queens, 1968.

#114 Another view of 30th Avenue and 42nd Street in Astoria, Astoria, Queens, 1968.

#115 Myrtle Avenue and 68th Street, Glendale, Queens, 1960s.

#116 63rd Drive and Booth Street, Rego Park, Queens, 1960s.

#117 Flushing Avenue off 61st Street; Trolleybus, Maspeth, Queens, 1960.

#118 34th Street and 30th Avenue, Astoria, Queens, 1960s.

#119 63rd Drive and Wetherole Street, Rego Park, Queens, 1969.

#120 Another view of Greenpoint Avenue and 45th Street, Sunnyside, Queens, 1969.

#121 Fresh Pond Road and Putnam Avenue,Ridgewood, Queens, 1969.

#122 84th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights, 1960s.

#123 Myrtle Avenue and 68th Street, Glendale, Queens, 1969

#124 Steinway Street and 30th Avenue, Astoria, Queens, 1960s.

#125 74th Street and 37th Road, Jackson Heights, Queens, 1960s.

#126 Grand Avenue and 71st Street, Maspeth, Queens, 1960s.

#127 94th Street and 37th Avenue with a view of the Polk Theater, Jackson Heights, Queens, 1964.

#128 Astoria Boulevard and 85th Street, East Elmhurst, Queens, May 1961.

#129 Jamaica Avenue toward Woodhaven Boulevard, Woodhhaven, Queens, 1960

#130 Jamaica Avenue and 92nd Street,Woodhhaven, Queens 1963.

#131 Jamaica Avenue toward 91st Street, Woodhhaven, Queens 1963.

#132 Northern Boulevard and 89th Street, Jackson Heights, Queens, 1960s.

#133 Main Street and 72nd Avenue, Flushing, Queens, 1960s.

#134 Alternate View of Northern Boulevard and 89th Street, Jackson Heights, Queens, 1960s.

#135 60th Drive and Fresh Pond Road, Maspeth, Queens, 1960s.

Written by Adriana Palmer

Blogger, Editor and Environmentalist. A writer by day and an enthusiastic reader by night. Following the Jim Roh's prophecy “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”

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