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Queens; A History Of Its Own

By Aaron Miller

Queens County, New York is arguably most famous for its ethnic diversity, and yet for all the diversity it’s often viewed as a bedroom community to a much more prestigious Manhattan Island. But the great Borough of Queens does feature world-class amenities all its own. Take Astoria’s Kaufmann Studios, for example. It was really the birthplace of the motion picture industry, and vigorously active until production migrated to the cheap land of California.

The neighborhood now known as Astoria was originally a village called Hallet’s Cove after its first landowner, but was renamed in a vain bid to secure the financial support of one of the wealthiest men in all America at the time, John Jacob Astor.

Five hundred of the requested two thousand dollars was invested, but the name stayed despite a bitter battle over it. Ironically, though he could see the Long Island village named in his honor from his summer house in Manhattan, he never in fact set foot in Astoria.

The next notable moment in Astoria history is the establishment of the Steinway & Sons piano company, which lead to the founding of Steinway Village nearby for its workers. All adjacent settlements were incorporated into Long Island City, an independent municipality until its own incorporation into the wider City of New York in 1898.

Astoria is also famous as one of the very earliest centers of American filmmaking, a heritage preserved today by local landmarks like the American Museum of the Moving Image as well as Kaufmann Studios, a full-fledged production facility for film and television.

“Nabes” like Astoria can be taken as a whole microcosm in themselves, and therefore epitomize the city even though they form only a part of it. Thus the whole is reflected in each part, or to put it another way the whole reflects each part.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Miller, Aaron "Queens; A History Of Its Own." Queens; A History Of Its Own. 7 Jul. 2010. 24 Sep 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Miller, A (2010, July 7). Queens; A History Of Its Own. Retrieved September 24, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Miller, Aaron "Queens; A History Of Its Own"

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