The next time you have unfortunately booked yourself a flight out of LaGuardia Airport—the 14th worst airport on the planet Earth—check out this little known artifact while killing time before your delayed flight finally takes off/gets canceled: the Giant Rock, Queens's own roadside attraction.
Located across the street from the airport—happily nestled between two hotels—The Ditmars Boulevard/Crowne Plaza Pet Rock is a 1,000+ ton boulder that was brought to the area by an ice sheet around 12,000 years ago. If there were a NYC-version of the seven wonders of the world, this rock would make the list.
The plaque next to the rock reads:
This 1000-Ton boulder was brought to its present location (probably from southern Westchester) by an ice sheet about 10,000 or 12,000 years ago. Although the boulder is impressive, it is only a small part of the ice sheet’s load. Long Island is built almost entirely of materials (boulders, sand, gravel, and clay) that were brought here by ice.
The rock is granite pegmatite. It contains pinkish white crystals of potassium feldspur up to two feet long, and smaller grains of the minerals quartz, biotite, muscovite, tourmaline, and garnet. The black tourmaline and the clear quartz are intimately intergrown on the northwestern face of the rock.
The pegmatite closely resembles the numerous “young” granites that intrude the metamorphic rocks of the Manhattan prong between Long Island Sound and Putnam County. In Westchester County the granites of this kind were originally formed between 335 and 260 million years ago, during the waning stages of the growth of the Appalachian Mountain system.
One longtime resident of the area wrote of the rock, "Neighborhoods change, old folks pass away, kids grow up and leave and new folks come in. But, the Big Rock remained just that, The Big Rock, solid and stable. Those of us who grew up and played there will always refer to it as just that."
Actually... it's official name is The Giant Rock. Last October it was re-christened "after a misunderstanding between residents and hotel employees," according to the Jackson Heights Post, "The issue emerged a number of years ago when employees of the two hotels had a competition to name it. The name that won was Pet Rock." The Corona-East Elmhurst Historic Preservation Society alerted the hotels that the rock already had a name, The Giant Rock.
The paper also reported that developers have attempted to remove the rock in the past, but have so far been prevented in doing so.