Conselyea’s Pond, Queens

The visual centerpiece and namesake of Brookville Park in the Rosedale neighborhood of Queens is the stream flowing through the park. It widens into two ponds before flowing out into the marshes of Idlewild. The larger one is Conselyea’s Pond, which has a long history going back to the American Revolution.

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The pond’s namesake is the Conselyea family, descendants of Dutch settlers who owned a gristmill at this pond in the 19th century. The ponds of Brookville Park are part of the much longer Simonson Creek that originates in Elmont, follows the eastern border of Queens, and discharges into Jamaica Bay.

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Twin Ponds, Queens

In preparation for my upcoming lecture at King Manor Museum on April 17, here’s another hidden southeast Queens waterway. Twin Ponds today are hidden behind thick vegetation along a shoulder of the Belt Parkway in the Laurelton neighborhood.

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Prior to 1954 when the parkway was widened, the ponds were a popular ice skating venue, and prior to that they supplied water to the residents of eastern Queens and Brooklyn. Continue reading

Hook Creek, Queens/Nassau

New York is a city of islands but most of Queens’ border with neighboring Nassau County runs on land. On the southeastern extreme of mainland Queens is the neighborhood of Rosedale, which abuts the upscale Five Towns communities. Here, the border takes on water, running through Hook Creek.

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The border crossing here is Hungry Harbor Road, a curiosity in name that’s a block away from the southern end of Francis Lewis Boulevard, the borough’s longest continuous street. Continue reading

Photo of the Week

Historically, it was easy to tell when you were entering or leaving a city. Its borders were indicated by walls and gates for centuries and in more recent times by generous greenbelts that separated one city from another. Between Belmont Park and the Laurelton neighborhood in eastern Queens, the Cross Island Parkway straddles the city line, separating the city from the suburbs of Nassau County.

At a point just south of Linden Boulevard, the parkway has a tight hairpin interchange with Southern State Parkway, and a hidden stream flows beneath the twisting “suicide” curve.

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As often happened, when planners were charting paths for future highways, the easiest routes to map were along existing streams, where property acquisition was much easier to achieve. This week’s photo is from an aerial survey conducted on August 8, 1951. The photo comes from the New York State Archives.

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