Queens is one of the largest boroughs of New York City and, according to The Free Library, has the most diversified economy and culture. Also, as it is stated in the NYPD analysis, it is one of New York’s neighborhoods with the lowest violent crime rate.
Queens became officially a county on November 1, 1683, when it emerged for the first time as a geographical entity. It was named, as an honor, after Queen Catherine of Braganza, the wife of King Charles II.
Though it is historically attested since 1683, the first residents of Queens, as we know it, were the Natives. Later, in 1614, Adrien Block became the first to realize that Long Island was an island, as well as the first European to set eyes on Queens. In those times, New York was named New Amsterdam.
This lasted until 1664, when the English sailed into the harbor, demanding the surrender of those who ruled the city. It was the English who renamed New Amsterdam, New York, and Long Island to Yorkshire.
Queens’ Modern Age
In the 19th century, Queens was a rural village in the process of urbanization. The 1890s were the era of consolidation from many points of view; social, geographical, and political. Also, the idea of a Greater New York area, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn became a legal fact.
The rapid expansion and transition changed the neighborhood forever. The most important event in the history of the county occurred in 1909, when the Queensboro Bridge was finally opened, ending the borough’s century of isolation and dependence on ferries.
The Borough of Diversity
Today, Queens is New York City’s borough of diversity. The dozens of neighborhoods that compose the county have their unique identities, determined by the populations within. For example, Flushing has a large Asian community, while Whitestone, Middle Village, and Ozone Park are growing Italian and Hispanic populations. Ridgewood is home to many Eastern European immigrants and Forest Hills hosts large Jewish communities. Furthermore, it has the largest Colombian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Salvadoran populations.
Due to these facts, in the borough of diversity, there are over 130 languages spoken. Also, Queens includes various cultural institutions that serve its communities; ranging from historical museums to scientific ones and from conventional art galleries to great graffiti exhibits.
As a confirmation of its cultural and culinary diversity, in 2015, the travel magazine, “Lonely Planet” appointed the borough the best travel destination in the country. The journalists stated that nowhere else is the image of New York truer than in Queens.
The Safest Borough of New York
Though it is a borough of cultural diversity, Queens is one of the New York counties with the lowest violent crime rate. According to the NYPD analysis, made in 2015, nine neighborhoods in Queens are in the top 20 safest neighborhoods in New York. The analysis was made considering several factors, such as crime (violent and non-violent) and neighborhood population.
In terms of crime, in Queens, the risks of car theft, rape or burglary are lower than the national average. Although statistics are higher than the national average, the risks of assault or murder are only between 15 and 19 percent.
Queens is a safe county regarding natural disasters too. The risks of tornadoes and earthquakes in this area are low. Neither storms nor hurricanes are expected to happen.
By Bianca-Ramona Dumitru
Edited by Jeanette Smith
AddressReport.com: NYC’s Safest & Most Dangerous Neighborhoods
DailyNews: Queens: The best travel destination in the country
Thirteen.org: A Walk Through Queens
Image Courtesy of RushinRoulettePhotography‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License