Belle Harbor, Queens


Belle Harbor, Queens

Belle Harbor is an upscale neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. It is an affluent community that is located on the western half of the Rockaway Peninsula, the southernmost area of the borough. While there are no formal boundaries for the area, Belle Harbor is often used to refer to the area between Beach 128th and Beach 142nd Streets. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 14. [ [http://www.nyc.gov/html/cau/html/cb/cb_queens.shtml Queens Community Boards] , New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.]

Belle Harbor was developed in 1907 by Frederick J. Lancaster, who had earlier developed the Edgemere neighborhood. [ [http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2005_PatchworkOfCultures/pages/QueensTimeline.htm A Queens Timeline] , "Queens Tribune, accessed December 14, 2006] The community still has much of the same character from when it was first established.

Belle Harbor is the site of the fatal 2001 crash of American Airlines Flight 587.

Geography

Belle Harbor is a suburban enclave on the Rockaway Peninsula, on a narrow barrier peninsula sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean to the south and Jamaica Bay to the north. Expansive views of the Manhattan skyline can be seen across the bay. Broad, white sandy beaches on the ocean have drawn residents to the area. The beach is open to the public. Rigorously enforced street parking restrictions in effect on weekends and holidays from May 15 to September 30, combined with limited direct access to the Belle Harbor area via public transportation, limit access for most of those heading to the beach from outside the area. [Yarrow, Andrew L. [http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F50717F93F540C708EDDAC0894DE484D81 "OUT AND ABOUT ON MEMORIAL DAY; HOW TO FIND THAT SAND AND SURF"] , "The New York Times", May 23, 1986. Accessed October 12, 2007. "Inland, on the blocks between beach and bay, are the well-kept neighborhoods of Neponsit and Belle Harbor. If you're coming by car daytime street parking is prohibited on weekends and holidays from May 15 to Sept. 30 between Beach 117th and Beach 149th Street..."]

The Crash of Flight 587

On November 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587, bound for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, crashed in the center of Belle Harbor, killing all 260 passengers and crew on board the plane as well as five people on the ground. Many of the passengers on the plane were from the Dominican community in Washington Heights. After consultation with the families in the Belle Harbor and Washington Heights communities, a memorial has been erected at Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park, a major shopping district and transportation hub in the area. In addition, although a temporary memorial was developed at the actual site of the disaster, on Newport Avenue, many still annually gravitate towards that area for commemoration.

Community

Belle Harbor is comprised primarily of single-family homes with a majority of third and forth generation Irish Catholic, middle and upper middle class population. The community also has a substantial Jewish population. The neighborhood is home to a fair number of New York City police officers and firefighters as well as members of the financial industry and, therefore, suffered heavy losses from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. A quaint commercial center is located on Beach 129th Street. A larger shopping area used by some residents of Belle Harbor is located on Beach 116th Street in the neighborhood of Rockaway Park, which is east of Belle Harbor on the Rockaway Peninsula. Belle Harbor residents also frequent a small shopping center in Breezy Point, a private co-operative neighborhood located west of Belle Harbor on Rockaway Point Boulevard. The pristine beaches of Belle Harbor combined with a strong sense of community tend to keep residents in the area for many generations; it is a neighborhood with small town charm in a big city.

Transportation

Passenger car access to the area is available via the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge providing access to Brooklyn and the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge heading to Broad Channel and mainland Queens.

The NYCS|A service of the New York City Subway is available at the Rockaway Park–Beach 116th Street station.

Education

Belle Harbor residents are zoned for schools in the New York City Department of Education.

Residents are zoned to [http://www.belleharborschool.org/ P.S. 114 The Belle Harbor School] for grades Kindergarten through 8.

A middle school called Scholars' Academy opened on Beach 104th Street. In September 2007, Scholars' will add a high school division. Priority will go to continuing 8th graders, but there will be a limited number of seats for students from other schools.

Private schools in Belle Harbor:
* [http://www.stfrancisdesalesparish.org/School/School%20Index.htm St. Francis De Sales] (Roman Catholic)
* West End Temple
* [http://www.newyorkimages.com/ybh.html Yeshiva of Belle Harbor] (YBH)
* Mercaz Hatorah of Belle Harbor

Notable Residents

* Chris Mullin, Former Basketball player and current President of the Golden State Warriors
* Jill Levy-Fisch, President of the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation
* The Eisenstadt Family, creators of Sweet'n Low

References

External links

* [http://www.nyc.gov/html/fund/html/projects/flight_587_memorial.shtml Flight 587 Memorial Project]


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