The Ancestral Home of the Matinecock and Shinnecock People

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Queens, with a population of more than 2 million, has a rich musical heritage. Among the various artists who lived here at one time or another are Louis Armstrong, Bix Baederbecke, Harry Belafonte, Perry Como, Michael Cooney, Al Cooper, Rev. Gary Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Art Garfunkle, Dizzy Gillespie, Arlo Guthrie, Woody Guthrie, Judy Holliday, Kid & Play, the Kossoy Sisters, Darryl McDaniels, Ethel Merman, Jason Mizell, Phil Ochs, Tito Puente, Chita Rivera, Joseph Simmons, Russell Simmons, Paul Simon, and Rudy Vallee. James Bland, the first commercially successful African-American songwriter, was born and grew up in Queens, and it was here that he wrote Carry Me Back to Old Virginny and Oh Them Golden Slippers.

Along with the Borough of Brooklyn and the Borough of Richmond (Staten Island), Queens became part of the City of New York on January 1, 1898. Prior to that date, the city comprised only Manhattan and parts of the Bronx. The remainder of what is now the Borough of the Bronx also joined the City of New York on January 1, 1898.

During the past 40 or more years, Queens has seen enormous growth, mostly through immigration. Once unfairly stereotyped as "Archie Bunker land," Queens now has one of the most diverse populations of anywhere in North America. Many of the newcomers in the 1960s were from Cuba, and they were quickly joined by immigrants from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. By the 1970s, Queens saw the beginning of vast immigration from China, Korea, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In the 1980s, many Irish, Iranian, Afghani, Israeli, Arab, Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Portuguese, and West African immigrants came to Queens. The 1990s saw an influx of immigrants from Romania and other countries of Eastern Europe. Most recently, many immigrants from Mexico and from the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union have come to Queens.

If you get the chance, please do some exploring. Walk the streets, ride the buses and trains (especially the No. 7 Flushing Line), visit the shops and restaurants, and spend some time in the parks. In particular, we invite you to enjoy Jackson Heights, the neighborhood where the Renaissance Charter School is located, and the adjoining neighborhoods of Woodside, East Elmhurst, Corona, and Elmhurst. You'll like what you find.


School address: 35-59 81st Street. That's between 35th & 37th Avenues. (There is no 36th Avenue in this part of Queens.)

US Post Office: ZIP Code 11372. On 37th Avenue between 78th & 79th Streets.

Queensborough Public Library: Jackson Heights branch is on 81st Street between 35th & 37th Avenues, next door to the Renaissance Charter School.

Pharmacies: The closest is Rite Aid on the corner of 83rd Street & 37th Avenue. There are a Duane Reade and an Eckerd on 82nd Street between 37th & Roosevelt Avenues.

Banks (with ATMs): The closest is the North Fork Bank on the corner of 82nd Street & 37th Avenue. There is a Chase Bank on 82nd Street near 37th Avenue. There are several other banks along 37th Avenue between the school and 74th Street.

Medical services: Western Queens Health Associates has a walk-in center at 82-11 37th Avenue, between 82nd & 83rd Street. In an emergency, Elmhurst Hospital at 79-01 Broadway has an ER. There are numerous dentists and opticians along 37th Avenue.

Parking garage: There is a commercial parking garage on 82nd Street just north of 37th Avenue. If you are driving along 82nd Street (one way) the entrance will be on your left just before you reach 37th Avenue.

Car services in the Jackson Heights area: Phone: 718-591-1111, 718-672-2222, 718-424-4444, 718-424-9300, or 718-446-8700.

Subway (elevated railway) station: 82nd Street & Roosevelt Avenue (No. 7 Flushing Line local).

NYC public transit information: Phone: 718-330-1234. Website: www.mta.nyc.ny.us/nyct/

Other NYC municipal information: Phone: 311.

Emergencies: For ambulance, police, fire department, etc.: Phone: 911.

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