Auto Wrecker in Woodhaven, Queens, New York.

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Woodhaven is a diverse and vibrant neighborhood situated in the southwest section of Queens in New York City. Surrounded by Forest Park and neighborhoods like Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, and the Cypress Hills area of Brooklyn, Woodhaven is a community that blends the hustle and bustle of city life with the comfort of suburban living.

The area is home to over 41,000 people and is characterized by its lively urban atmosphere. Residents here tend to own their homes, and the neighborhood streets are lined with a variety of establishments, including bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and public parks, making it a popular place for families and those starting their careers.

Woodhaven has managed to maintain a quaint, small-town vibe, which is a nod to its historical roots dating back to the 18th century when it was a farming town. The neighborhood has been shaped significantly by Jamaica Avenue, an old toll road that attracted wealthy New Yorkers who built summer homes there in the 1800s. The former Union Course Raceway, a horse racing track, is also part of its historical landscape.

Ethnically Rich

The 2010 U.S. Census revealed that Woodhaven had a population of 56,674, marking an increase of 4.7% from 54,149 in 2000. Spread over 853 acres, the neighborhood’s population density stood at 66.4 people per acre, or 42,500 per square mile.

In terms of racial composition, 17.3% of Woodhaven’s residents were White, 6.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 17.4% Asian, with a negligible percentage of Pacific Islanders. Additionally, 2.4% of the population identified as being from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Over half of the population, 53.5%, identified as Hispanic or Latino.

Community Board 9, which includes Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, and Kew Gardens, had a population of 148,465 in 2018, with a notably high average life expectancy of 84.3 years. This exceeds the median life expectancy of 81.2 years across New York City neighborhoods. The demographic composition is diverse, with 22% of the population aged 0-17, 30% between 25 and 44, and 27% between 45 and 64. The proportion of college-aged and elderly residents is comparatively lower, at 17% and 7% respectively.

As of 2017, the median household income in Community Board 9 was $69,916. In 2018, approximately 22% of residents in Woodhaven and Kew Gardens were living in poverty, slightly higher than the Queens average of 19% and the New York City average of 20%. Unemployment in the area stood at 8%, with a rent burden of 55%, indicating a significant number of residents struggling with housing costs. Despite these challenges, Woodhaven and Kew Gardens are considered high-income areas relative to the rest of the city and are not experiencing rapid gentrification.

Woodhaven is known for its ethnic diversity, with a majority Hispanic/Latino population, alongside smaller numbers of African Americans and a growing Asian American community.


In Woodhaven, several bus routes operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) provide service, including the Q11, Q21, Q24, Q52 Select Bus Service (SBS), Q53 SBS, Q56, QM15, and BM5. Additionally, the neighborhood is served by the J and Z trains of the New York City Subway, which run along the Jamaica Line.


Back in 1836, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) used horse-drawn cars along Atlantic Avenue. These cars shared the road with other vehicles and stopped like buses, with people frequently getting on and off even while they were moving. The 1848 LIRR schedule listed stops at Union Course (near the racetrack) and Woodville (further east). After the introduction of electric power, the LIRR built permanent tracks. The Union Course station opened on April 28, 1905. By 1911, the station expanded to accommodate four tracks, and Atlantic Avenue was largely closed to regular traffic. These four tracks divided the area, marking the boundary between Woodhaven and Ozone Park.\

Elevated train service to Williamsburg and Lower Manhattan began in 1918 on the BMT Jamaica Line above Jamaica Avenue. Meanwhile, surface rail service along Atlantic Avenue, including seven stations between Jamaica and Brooklyn, ceased on November 1, 1939. It was replaced in 1942 by underground tracks and a single underground station connecting Jamaica and Brooklyn. With the surface tracks gone, Atlantic Avenue became a continuous road again. The single underground station on this route was the Woodhaven Junction station on the LIRR’s Atlantic Avenue Branch. This station, located at 100th Street, offered services to Jamaica and Brooklyn (Atlantic Terminal) until its closure in 1977. Woodhaven Junction was also popular among beachgoers and commuters, who transferred there for LIRR trains to Rockaway Beach and Far Rockaway. However, this station was discontinued in 1962 when the section of the Rockaway Beach Branch it served was abandoned.

Forest Park

Forest Park, spanning over 500 acres, offers a blend of natural beauty and recreational facilities.

The park’s unique “knob and kettle” landscape, characterized by small rolling hills and an extensive cover of 165 acres of trees, presents a picturesque rural setting. In the eastern part of the park, nature enthusiasts often find themselves on hiking trails and bridle paths, immersing in the park’s greenery. For a different perspective, visitors can rent horses from a nearby stable to traverse these paths.

As you move to the western side, Forest Park shifts its focus to sports and recreation. Here, you’ll find facilities for softball, baseball, tennis, bocce, handball, and even golf. The park’s golf course, covering 110 acres with a par 67, is designed in the style of Scottish links and is known for its challenging gameplay.

Music lovers are also drawn to this area of the park, especially for the George Seuffert, Sr. Bandshell. This venue, with a capacity of 2,800, hosts free concerts during the warmer months, adding a cultural touch to the park’s offerings.

For those keen on learning about the park’s geological features, plant life, or wildlife, attending an Urban Park Rangers event is a great way to get acquainted. Alternatively, visitors can simply bring a blanket or a baseball mitt and enjoy the park at their leisure, whether it’s for a relaxing day out or engaging in sports.

Public Schools

The public schools in the area are:

– PS 60 Woodhaven
– PS 97 Forest Park
– PS 254 Rosa Parks
– New York City Academy for Discovery

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