Friday, July 24, 2009

When beer gardens ruled Queens

From the Queens Courier:

The earliest beer gardens were in lower Manhattan...but as German immigrants moved to Queens, there was no way they were leaving their beloved gardens behind.

Proprietors of beer gardens welcomed the newfound space in Queens by including old-world elements like picnic grounds and dance floors that had not fit in their cramped Manhattan quarters. Some, on the water, featured swimming and clam bakes.

Beer gardens sprouted across Queens in neighborhoods like Glendale, Ridgewood, Maspeth, College Point and Jamaica. They had names like Richter’s Cypress Hills Park – now home to a stretch of the Jackie Robinson Parkway – Joseph Witzel’s Point View Island – today a sewage treatment plant – and North Beach, the site of LaGuardia Airport.


georgetheatheist said...

A lady in the video mentions that there was a beer garden in North Beach but she had always "mistakenly" thought of it as being at the end of Steinway Street. I definitely remember a beer garden at the end of Steinway Street, near the Steinway Piano factory. Can I get an Amen to that fellow readers?

Also, I remember a beer garden at the corner of 32nd Street and 31st Avenue in Astoria as well. Anybody recall this?

Of course, one of the greatest beer gardens (before my time) was at the corner of Steinway Street and Broadway.

Besides the WWI anti-German hysteria, my guess is that the movies and Prohibition also contributed to the killing-off of the vast majority of beer gardens. So why this Renaissance in these suds palaces all of a sudden?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Beer gardens traditionally catered to a very different clientele. It is very common to have families go to beer gardens and have frankfurters and sausages. This is very different from a more rowdy bar scene.

Anonymous said...

There was a beer garden at the end of Steinway Street - the Astoria Casino, but she was talking about North Beach.

BTW, the room was a bit empty because the paper that pubished that story also listed the talk at the wrong location - Bohemanian Hall were about 30 people showed up - and other paper listed the story without little details like day and time.