Flashback: A Visual History Of Queens

<p>In 1929, the opening of this paved road was grand enough to warrant a celebration, as shown in the photograph. This patriotically decorated machine is a true steamroller (powered by a steam engine, at center)—and operated with Queens class by a Queens public works commissioner J. J. Halloran, who wears a three-piece suit and a tie.</p>

<p>The Rockaway boardwalk continued to be popular in the early part of the twentieth century. Seen here in 1900 is an establishment called “Ye Olde Mill”—perhaps built to give visitors a sense of “old Queens,” which had experienced significant changes in the past decade.</p>

<p>Fire fighters with Maspeth Steamer Engine No. 4. Despite bitter resistance, in 1898 once the boroughs were unified as part of New York City, fire department volunteers were replaced by professionals after insurance companies lobbied the governor. Seen here in 1908, this steam pumper is representative of the types of equipment available in the era to fight blazes across the city. As the internal combustion engine gained sway in the next decade, horses and steam would give way to motorized fire engines and equipment.</p>

<p>Although the Queensboro Bridge lacks something of the charm of the Brooklyn Bridge spanning the same river just a few miles to the south, its construction ended the isolation of Queens from Manhattan. The bridge remains the only overland crossing directly between the two boroughs. As evidence of the backseat Queens takes to “the City,” New Yorkers today commonly refer to the bridge as the “59th Street Bridge” for the Manhattan street the bridge connects to, despite the bridge’s official name.</p>

<p>Inside at the Deer’s Head diner in 1938, the long counter with round stools, tile work, and stainless steel trim completes the look, a design that still dominates at most diners in New York today.</p>

<p>Librarians are seen preparing books for the stacks in 1910. The Queens Borough Public Library is one of the largest in the United States and is separate from the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library. The library was consolidated in 1901 by New York City, which combined the various libraries from the towns and villages that existed in Queens County prior to its incorporation as a borough of New York City. </p>

<p>The World’s Fair was served by all three subway companies in New York. In the background is the World’s Fair Station (now Mets-Willets Point), which had Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit and IRT train service. There was also service from the World’s Fair Railroad station, an extension of the Queens Boulevard Independent Subway Line.</p>