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Queens’ Very Own Coney Island

In the early 1800’s before the Grand Central Parkway and LaGuardia Airport were built, creeks and swamps made up this terrain.

The coast overlooked what was then known as Frogtown, due to an overpopulation of frogs. Then in the late 1800’s the Steinway Family, of Steinway Piano Fame, bought the property. Charles Steinway’s main intention was to build a factory. Soon afterwards Frogtown became The Bowery Beach Bay. Yet, due to the lousy reputation of the Bowery Manhattan this area was renamed North Beach. Since Steinway wanted to

provide a ‘wholesome retreat’ for his factory workers he arranged a major

cleanup of this area by replacing the muck and mier with spacious picnic lawns

and bath houses. This region became a haven for thousands of working-class

families from Manhattan, Long Island City and Brooklyn.

Due to its increasing popularity, this venue was opened to the general public. It included a huge beer hall, swimming pools, a small zoo, carousels, hot air balloons, movie houses, a ferris wheel and various stage and theater acts that wowed the audiences. Many events also took place like boat races, fireworks, shooting contests, and high wire acts. This area then became known as the Gala Amusement Park, often referred to as “the Coney Island of Queens. As time went on, grand hotels were built to

accommodate the growing clientele.

Then came Prohibition. Not only did the North Shore Development and the Gala Amusement Park go bankrupt both the Flushing and East Rivers became polluted once again. The beaches turned stinky and filthy and swimmers stayed out of the water due to untreated sewage.

In the late 20’s the slimy land gave way to cement landfills to build runways for the Glen Curtiss Airport, after a Long Island aviator. Later the Airport’s name changed to North Beach Airport and eventually to LaGuardia Airport.

And there you have it folks, all the news that’s ‘Fit to Print’.

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