Briarwood, Queens, New York City
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Briarwood is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. It is located northwest of Jamaica and roughly bounded by Queens Boulevard, Parsons Boulevard, Union Turnpike, and Hillside Avenue. It is serviced by the IND Queens Boulevard Line of the New York City Subway at the Van Wyck Boulevard station (E F).
Briarwood is mainly a residential neighborhood. Once primarily a way station for Jewish families on their way to the suburbs, Briarwood is now a very diverse community with many Jewish, Greek, Hispanic, African American,Albanian,and South American residents. It now has a distinguishable and fast-growing Asian American community as well. Economic activity is mostly confined to small restaurants, delis, markets, and other small businesses.
The neighborhood is named for the Briarwood Land Company, headed by Herbert O'Brien, which built housing there beginning in 1905. However, the company quickly went bankrupt and the area was largely empty until the 1920s. The New York Life Insurance Company and the United Nations constructed housing in the 1940s; United States diplomat Ralph Bunche and feminist writer Betty Friedan have lived there.
The lack of major landmarks in the neighborhood coupled with its small size have caused Briarwood to remain relatively unknown; many lifetime-residents of Queens have never heard of it, and the local ZIP Code 11435 is actually designated as Jamaica. Parkway Village, a garden apartment complex initially built for United Nations employees is also in Briarwood and, in years past, lent the area a very international flavor with families from all over the world living there and attending the local public schools.
Briarwood is home to the Catholic Archbishop Molloy High School. One of the school's more famous alumni is actor David Caruso, who is currently featured on the series CSI Miami. The school is named in honor of Archbishop Thomas Molloy. It has about 1,550 students.
Also located in Briarwood is Robert A. Van Wyck M.S. 217Q, a middle school of 1,300 students in grades 6-8. The school was established in 1955 and was named after the first mayor of the Greater City of New York, Robert A. Van Wyck, a Tammany Hall lawyer.
In the Briarwood-Van Wyck subway station hang many paintings done by the students of Archbishop Molloy High School, M.S. 217Q, and P.S.117Q. They are titled, "Beautifying Briarwood".
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