Hollis, Queens, New York City
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Hollis is a neighborhood within the southeastern section of the New York City borough of Queens. A predominantly African American community, the boundaries are considered to be the Far Rockaway Branch of the Long Island Rail Road to the west, Jamaica Avenue to the north, Francis Lewis Boulevard to the east and Murdock Avenue to the south. However, much of this area is considered to be within the St. Albans postal district.
It was originally settled by the Dutch homesteaders in the 17th century. It was also a site for part of the Battle of Long Island during the American Revolutionary War when Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Woodhull was captured at a tavern on what is now Jamaica Avenue. Woodhull Avenue in Hollis is named for him.
The area remained rural until 1885, when developers turned 136 acres (558,000 m²) into houses, and the area is still developed primarily with single family houses. In 1898, it became a part of New York City with the rest of the borough of Queens. Since the end of World War II, the neighborhood has been settled primarily by African-American middle class families. In recent years, the area has seen a large influx of South Asians and West Indians. The area has a majority of working parents which explains many early childhood schools in Hollis.
Since the rise of hip-hop, the neighborhood has been a hotbed of rap talent, sparked primarily by the fact that hip-hop producer and icon Russell Simmons is from this community, as is his brother Joseph, who along with two other neighborhood residents, formed the rap group Run-D.M.C. (who had a hit with the seasonal song "Christmas in Hollis"). LL Cool J, Young MC (the first Grammy Award-winner for any hip-hop recording) and Ja Rule are also from Hollis.
Other famous people from this neighborhood include former Governor of New York Mario Cuomo, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, ESPN sports personality and Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist Stephen A. Smith, civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton and political humorist Art Buchwald. Hollis is in close proximity to Jamaica.
Long Island Rail Road service is available at the Hollis station, located at 193rd Street and Woodhull Avenue. The station is served exclusively by Hempstead Branch trains.
Hollis is also home to one of New York City's most acclaimed Senior Citizen Care Center located on Woodhull Ave.
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