Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the United States, is geographically the largest of the five boroughs of New York City. It is coterminous with Queens County in the State of New York and is located on western Long Island. Established on November 1, 1683 when counties were established in New York, it was named for the queen consort, Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II. As of 2000, the population is 2,229,379. Its county seat is the district of Jamaica, a neighborhood of New York City. The United States Postal Service divides the borough into four "towns" : Jamaica, Long Island City, Flushing, and Far Rockaway; mail addressed to a residence or business in Queens includes the name of the applicable "town" on the line next below the street address — rather than "Queens, New York" — followed by the ZIP Code).
Queens County consists of the northwestern part of Long Island and a few smaller islands, most of which are in Jamaica Bay and form part of Gateway National Recreation Area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 461.7 km² (178.3 mi²). 282.9 km² (109.2 mi²) of it is land and 178.8 km² (69.0 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 38.73% water.
Originally, Queens County included the adjacent area now comprising Nassau County. It was an original county of New York State, one of twelve created in 1683. By 1870 Queens County consisted of six towns: Newtown, Flushing, Jamaica, North Hempstead, Hempstead, and Oyster Bay. In 1870, the city of Long Island City was incorporated, consisting of what had been the Village of Astoria and some unincorporated areas in the Town of Newtown. Long Island City, Newtown, Flushing, Jamaica, and the Rockaway Peninsula of the Town of Hempstead became the borough of Queens in Greater New York on January 1, 1898. The part of Queens County that was not annexed to New York City, consisting of the towns of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay and all of the Town of Hempstead except the Rockaway Peninsula, was constituted as the new Nassau County in 1899.
The borough of Queens is a patchwork quilt of dozens of unique neighborhoods, each with its own distinct identity. Astoria, in the northwest, is traditionally home to the largest Greek population outside of Greece, and is home to a growing population of young professionals from Manhattan, and nearby Long Island City, in the southwest, is a major manufacturing and commercial center; Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona make up an enormous conglomeration of Hispanic and Asian communities; Flushing, in the north-central part of the borough, is a major commercial hub for Chinese and Korean businesses; Richmond Hill, in the south, has the largest population of Indian Sihks outside of India; Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, in central Queens, have traditionally large Jewish populations; while Jamaica is a major business and transportation hub for the borough, and also home to large African-American and Caribbean populations. Together, these neighborhoods comprise the most diverse county in the US, and easily provide the richest cultural experience found anywhere in the world.
The economy of Queens is based on tourism, industry, and trade. Queens has two of the busiest airports in the world, John F. Kennedy International Airport, located in Jamaica, and La Guardia Airport, in Flushing. Queens is increasingly attracting film studios — a return of an industry that had departed decades earlier — notably the Kaufman Studios in Astoria, where a number of television shows are made. Western Queens is becoming an artistic hub, including the Noguchi Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, Museum for African Art, and the American Museum of the Moving Image. The current poet laureate of Queens is Ishle Yi Park.
The Queens Museum of Art and the New York Hall of Science are further east, in Flushing Meadows Park — site of both the 1939 New York World's Fair and the 1964 New York World's Fair. Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets baseball team, is just north of the park.
Law, Government and Politics
Queens is considered a volatile swing county in New York politics. Although it is heavily Democratic, Republicans who do well in Queens usually win statewide or citywide, like former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, current Mayor Michael Bloomberg and current New York Governor George Pataki.
Hence, Queens resident voted for Michael Bloomberg for Mayor in 2001 by 210,432 votes to 163,528 to his Democratic opponent Mark Green. In 2002, they voted against George Pataki for Governor with a slim 45.01% (155,599) to 46.50% (160,746).
Queens residents voted for Senator Kerry for President in 2004 by 71.7% (433,835) to 21.4% (165,954) for President Bush. However, apart from Staten Island, Queens is the last borough in heavily Democratic New York City in which a majority voted Republican in a presidential election : in 1972 when Queens went for Richard Nixon.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 2,229,379 people, 782,664 households, and 537,690 families residing in the county. The population density is 7,879.6/km² (20,409.0/mi²). There are 817,250 housing units at an average density of 2,888.5/km² (7,481.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 44.08% White, 20.01% Black or African American, 0.50% Native American, 17.56% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 11.68% from other races, and 6.11% from two or more races. 24.97% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. 32.9% of the population is White and not of Hispanic origin.
Some main European ancestry in Queens, 2000 :
- Italian : 8.99%
- Irish : 7.05%
- German : 4.74%
- English : 1.32%
According to the Census Bureau, the population decreased to 2,225,486 in 2003.
There are 782,664 households out of which 31.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% are married couples living together, 16.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% are non-families. 25.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.81 and the average family size is 3.39.
In the county the population is spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.6 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $42,439, and the median income for a family is $48,608. Males have a median income of $35,576 versus $31,628 for females. The per capita income for the county is $19,222. 14.6% of the population and 11.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 18.8% of those under the age of 18 and 13.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Famous people from Queens
50 Cent, Susan Anspach , Anthrax, David Caruso, Carroll O'Connor, Mario Cuomo, Fran Drescher, Richard Feynman, Art Garfunkel, Stephen Jay Gould, Carl Icahn, Jam Master Jay, Ja Rule, Ron Jeremy, LL Cool J, Cyndi Lauper, John Leguizamo, Lucy Liu, Drea de Matteo, John McEnroe, Ethel Merman, Mobb Deep, Nas, Nina Sky, N.O.R.E., Joey Ramone, Ray Romano, Al Roker, Run-DMC, Russell Simmons, Paul Simon, Jerry Stiller, Cecil Taylor, George Tenet, Christopher Walken, Steven Weber, and John Zorn.
Sports and other attractions
Queens is the home of the New York Mets baseball team, the US Open tennis tournament, and Aqueduct Racetrack. Just over the Queens line, in Nassau County, is Belmont Park Race Track, the home of the Belmont Stakes. Queens is also home to Queens College and Saint John's University, which is renowned for its men's basketball and men's soccer teams.
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