With scenic views, East River breezes, and tree-lined streets, the upper middle-class residential neighborhood of Whitestone feels more like a suburb than a part of New York City.
The neighborhood sits at the northernmost point of Queens and is bounded by the East River to the north, Bayside Avenue to the South, Whitestone Expressway to the west and Francis Lewis Boulevard to the east.
Whitestone is one of the oldest European settlements in New York. Settled by the Dutch in 1640 and eventually purchased for a very small sum from the Matinecock Indian tribe. In 1684 the tribe signed a deed giving full ownership to the Dutch.
The neighborhood's name comes from the Dutch who discovered large white limestone rocks on the shores of the East River. In the early 1800s, Whitestone underwent a name change and for a short while it was known as Clintonville, named after New York City Mayor DeWitt Clinton. The mayor was a resident of Whitestone and eventually went on to become Governor of the State of New York.
Like many areas of Queens, the Long Island Railroad played a significant role in the development of Whitestone and surrounding areas. In 1869, a Long Island Railroad station was built that connected Whitestone to Manhattan and the neighborhood soon flourished. In 1932 train service was discontinued and all three stations in Whitestone closed due to logistics, flooding and costs.
The housing stock in Whitestone consists of single-family homes, two-family detached homes, semi-attached homes, apartments buildings and condos. The neighborhood has beautiful architecture, especially in the sub-neighborhood of Malba. You’ll see Tudors, Dutch colonials, Victorians, Cape Cods, ranches and stucco houses built mostly between the 1920s and 1950s.
The main business district is in and around Clintonville Street and 14th Avenue. Part of Clintonville Street looks just like a Main Street in a small town. It’s very charming and has been serving the neighborhood for many decades.
Francis Lewis Park – The 17-acre waterfront park is named after American patriot and founding father, Francis Lewis. The park was once part of his estate. It’s a great place to shoot some hoops, play some handball, or even bocce ball. It has a playground and a kayak launch too. Bring some food and take in the views of Whitestone – Bronx Bridge.
Cherry Valley Deli – There’s just something special about a classic New York City deli. Especially this one. It’s a favorite spot for the locals and has a plethora of classic sandwiches as well as other delicious deli style food.
Village Green Pub – Every so often you have to visit a dive bar. This one is well worth the trek to Whitestone. It’s a small place with a great atmosphere and a pool table. They offer fantastic pub food too.
What You Might See
Depending on where you are in the neighborhood, you’ll see the Throgs Neck Bridge and the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.
You’ll see well-kept homes and automobiles because most Whitestone residents drive everywhere. You’ll also see some great river views.
What You Don’t Know
Whitestone was close to some of the old movie studios in Astoria, so many celebrities choose to live there. Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini, and Rudolph Valentino are just a few of the icons that called Whitestone home.
The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge lost 6,000 tons when it underwent a renovation in 2001. The $286 million overhaul removed 6,000 tons of steel trusses, concrete, and other outdated materials. The end result, a lighter and leaner bridge.