This weekend, Queens Library wants you to enjoy a special family performance by Queens Theatre; learn about Chinese folk songs and culture with musician Yixuan Pang; join us for a film screening and discussion with filmmaker Elliot Storey; celebrate the amazing work of manga artists; see the last film in the Hobbit trilogy; and learn more ...
Queens Library's Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center proudly presents “America is a Dream… A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Please join us to learn about the struggle for civil rights and enjoy this all-day blend of speakers, film, dramatic presentation and live music on Saturday, April 4, ...
Queens Library, Brooklyn Public Library and the New York Public Library have come together to let Mayor De Blasio and the New York City Council know that NYC’s librariesneed more funding to stay open more hours and address our capital needs.
Many bands will enter but only one will be chosen as the winner of the first ever Teen Battle of the Bands. Come and watch local teen bands battle. Join us at the Flushing branch on April 7, 5-7 PM. For FREE tickets and more information, click here.
The search is on! Borough President Melinda Katz, Queens College and Queens Library are partnering together to find the next Queens Poet Laureate, who will be charged with promoting a love of poetry and literacy throughout our borough.
Queens Library is happy to join the Poet Laureate partnership for the first time this year, and ...
Are you interested in the NYPD Police Officer Entrance Examination? The NYPD Recruitment Section is offering a free tutorial program at the Central Library for all applicants who are interested in taking the exam.
Police Officer instructors will offer applicants helpful test-taking skills and strategies so you can achieve your ...
The earliest known inhabitants of Flushing were the Matinecock Indians, one of thirteen tribes on Long Island. The first Europeans to settle Flushing were the Dutch, who arrived in 1628, when Flushing was part of New Netherlands. The Dutch governor, William Kieft, purchased all the land which would later become Queens County from the Native Americans in 1639, and on October 10, 1645, the town of Flushing itself was founded. Originally named Vlissingen, after the seaport in the Netherlands, it was later anglicized to Flushing when the English took over the colony.
The most important event in the Dutch period of Flushing history was the fight for religious freedom. The Dutch had allowed a group of religious dissidents from New England to settle in Flushing. Quakers made up part of this group. Since the Dutch Reformed Church was the official state religion of New Netherlands, only Dutch Reformed congregations were allowed. The Quakers publicly practiced their faith, however, and the governor, Peter Stuyvesant, cracked down on them. Responding to Stuyvesant’s repressive measures, on December 27, 1657, the members of the town drafted what became known as the Flushing Remonstrance, which proclaimed the right to practice one’s religion without persecution. This was the first declaration of religious freedom in North America and was the foundation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Although Stuyvesant imprisoned John Bowne for permitting Quakers to meet for worship in his house, religious freedom eventually prevailed, after Bowne made a plea before the Dutch West India Company in Amsterdam in 1664. In 1692, Quakers bought land for a meeting house, which was built in 1694-1695. It now stands on Northern Boulevard.
In March of 1664, the Dutch surrendered the colony of New Netherlands to the English. It was renamed New York after the Duke of York, the future James II. New York remained an English colony, except for a brief period of Dutch rule in 1673, until after the Revolutionary War. In 1737 one of the first nurseries in America, the Linnaean Gardens, opened just north of Northern Boulevard. Flushing was occupied by the British throughout the Revolution.
In the early nineteenth century, attracted by the tolerance of the Quakers, a number of African Americans settled in Flushing, among them was Lewis Latimer, an electrical inventor who worked with Thomas Edison. In 1843 a newspaper began publication and the Flushing Institute, a secondary school for boys, opened. Eventually students from the southern United States, Central and South America, and Europe enrolled in the Institute. Direct rail service to New York City began in 1854. After the Civil War, residential development accelerated. From the 1890’s until World War I, the neighborhood expanded to the east and south. With the extension of trolley lines from 1888 to 1899 and the electrification of the Long Island Railroad, Flushing became a commuter suburb. In the 1920’s apartment houses were built, and in 1928 subway service from Manhattan was extended to Flushing. After World War II more apartment buildings were constructed, displacing individual houses.
During the 1960’s many Japanese, Chinese and Koreans settled in Flushing. There was another wave of immigration in the 1980’s, of which 20% were Chinese (mostly from Taiwan), 20% were Korean, and other groups from India, Colombia, Afghanistan, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, the Philippines and El Salvador. Since the mid 1990’s the downtown area, which is centered on Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, has become heavily commercial, with an extensive network of Asian banks and businesses. According to the 2000 census, the number of Chinese and Asian Indians making Flushing as their home has almost doubled from 1990 to 2000.
Flushing had the first library in Queens. It was founded in 1858 as a subscription service and was incorporated on April 17, 1869. Mary Ann Shaw, the principal of an African-American school in Flushing at Washington and Union Streets, helped to establish it as a free circulation library in 1884. In 1905, she donated $1,000 for the purchase of books for the Flushing Library. (One of the reference books purchased with these funds is on display on the lower level). In 1891, the Flushing Library bought a small Baptist church at the intersection of Main Street and Kissena Boulevard. This was the first of four library buildings at this location. In December1901, the Flushing Library joined the Queens Borough Public Library shortly after its formation in January 1901. In 1904, construction started on a new building at Kissena and Main with funds donated by Carnegie. This building opened in 1906, and the Flushing Library was housed there until 1955, when it was torn down and construction started on a larger building, which opened in June 1957. On June 10, 1985, the Adult Learning Center opened in this building. While the present building was under construction from 1996 to1998, the library was located in temporary quarters at 36-41 Main Street.
On June 20, 1998, the present state-of-the-art building at Kissena Boulevard and Main Street opened to the public. The design of the structure won the AIA (American Institute of Architects) 2001 National Honor Award for Architecture and the building was included in the book entitled New Library Buildings of the World. It is a 4-level, 76,000 square foot building. It houses the Flushing branch library, the International Resource Center and an Adult Learning Center. Flushing branch library holds more than 350,000 books, videos, periodicals and other library materials available to the public. 63 computer workstations with Internet access, computerized databases, and other sources of electronic information are available for customers at the Flushing branch library. The building has four meeting rooms, a 223 seat auditorium and exhibit space located on the lower level. More than 1,000 free educational, literary and cultural programs take place every year. The Flushing branch library has the largest children’s room in the Queens Library system. Over 5,000 people use the library every day, and circulation is currently about 200,000 a month. The one millionth customer came through its doors on January 20, 1999, seven months after the opening of the new building. The Flushing Library is thought to be the largest branch library in New York State.
“Flushing” by Vincent Seyfried in The Encyclopedia of New York City.
History of the Town of Flushing, Long Island, New York by Henry D. Waller.
Lighting the Way: The Centennial History of the Queens Borough Public Library 1896-1996 by Jeffrey A. Kroessler.
Olde Flushing by Harriet Lawson
Suggested Reading on Flushing History (available at the Flushing Library)
Flushing in Early Photographs: A Visual Documentary ed. By Allen J. Bozeman.
Flushing in the Civil War Era 1837 to 1865 by Vincent F. Seyfried.
The History of Long Island; From the Discovery and Settlement, to the Present Time by Benjamin F. Thompson.
History of Saint George’s Parish, Flushing, Long Island by J. Carpenter Smith.
History of the Town of Flushing, Long Island, New York by Henry D. Waller.
Long Island: Its Early Days and Development with Illustrations and Maps by Eugene L. Armeruster.
Olde Flushing by Harriet Lawson.
The Quaker Cross: A Story of the Old Bowne House by Corelia Mitchell Parsons.