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Like many other parts of Queens, the neighborhood of Floral Park was initially developed in the 1870’s, before which it was largely made up of small towns and farms. Development came with the building of the Long Island Railroad, which still runs directly through the neighborhood of Floral Park.
The neighborhood got its name from its most famous resident, John Lewis Childs, a horticulturist and seed seller, whose investments in the land were the main reason the town had any success. He later served as the president of Nassau County, and is credited with naming the town of Floral Park.
Floral Park is a largely middle-class suburb in the New York City borough of Queens. It is known for its Cape Cod style homes and community atmosphere. The houses were built mostly following WWII as homes for returning soldiers and their families during the baby boom. To this day, the percentage of veterans in Floral Park is higher than most other areas of New York City, with veterans making up about 11% of the population in the neighborhood.
Perhaps the most iconic site in the town of Floral Park is Belmont Park, which is home to one of the three major horse races that decide the annual winner. The Belmont grandstand that stands today was built in 1968 to increase viewing capacity to 100,000 people, and made it a center for horse racing activity on the east coast of the United States.
If horse racing is your thing and you can’t stand the idea of being in the proximity of Belmont Park without taking in a race, you have two options. Horse racing at Belmont is organized in two annual “meetings”, the spring meeting and the fall meeting. The spring meeting takes place between the second Wednesday in May and the fourth Sunday in July, and the fall meetings takes place between the Friday after labor day and the fourth Sunday in October.
Parks for Children
The town of Floral Park is largely residential, but if you’re traveling with children, this may be just the place to bring them if you’re in need of a quiet day with plenty of opportunities to blow off some steam. The neighborhood is home to a number of well groomed parks with masterly cultivated flower beds in John Lewis Childs’ honor.
Alley Pond Park and the green space behind Belmont Park are great places for the kids to run around and blow off some steam after a few days of structured sightseeing in Manhattan. Both have small ponds that are good for a leisurely stroll, and both locations are popular among locals for picnics and lawn games when the weather is nice.
Getting There & Around
The borough of Queens is located east of the island of Manhattan, accessible via the Queensboro Bridge by car or a combination of the New York City subway and the Long Island Railroad. The New York City subway only runs to west central Queens, so the easiest and most convenient way to arrive at Floral Park is to take the E, J, or Z line to Sutphin Blvd. and transfer to the Hemstead line of the Long Island railroad at the neighboring Jamaica train station. The two stations are right next door and clearly marked with signs to make transfers as easy as possible. Once you transfer, the Floral Park stop is only five stops away.
For closer access to Belmont Park, get off the train one stop closer at Bellrose.