Kew Gardens is a small, charming neighborhood of curving streets in the center of Queens. It is similar in many ways to larger and more expensive Forest Hills. It’s diverse and middle class. There are many garden apartment buildings and co-ops, some single- and multi-family houses, and a Long Island Railroad station. The neighborhood is densely populated, yet green and airy, with tree-lined streets and access to adjoining Forest Park. Kew Gardens is where all the major points of Queens seem to intersect. It meets Forest Hills to the north along Union Turnpike. To the east is Briarwood, just across the Van Wyck Parkway. To the south of Maple Grove Cemetery and 85th Avenue is the much larger Richmond Hill.
Kew Garden’s tiny downtown around the trains station can disappoint if you crave many types of restaurants, but Queens Boulevard and Forest Hills are close enough. What makes the downtown is the local independent movie theater Kew Gardens Cinemas.
Queens Borough Hall is also in Kew Gardens, on Queens Boulevard.
Forest Park is Kew Garden’s backyard. This large 538-acre urban park offers sports fields, a running track, summer concerts, hiking and horse riding trails, and a city golf course.
Maple Grove Cemetery is another green space quietly open to the public. The leafy cemetery draws walkers, and the Friends of Maple Cemetery host events on its grounds throughout the year.
The neighborhood has easy access to the Van Wyck Parkway and the Jackie Robinson Parkway. It’s between JFK Airport and LGA Airport, just minutes away
The neighborhood was developed in the early 20th century and named for the Kew Gardens botanical gardens outside of London. The opening of the subway line along Queens Boulevard in 1936 spurred the construction of large apartment and co-op buildings.
Kew Gardens remains a densely populated residential community, but Kew Gardens is increasingly becoming an upper-class residential area, with a mix of one-family homes above the million-dollar range, complex apartments, co-ops and others converted and on the way or being converted as condominiums.
A major five-star hotel is under development on 82nd Avenue, reflecting a modernization of the area. However, it is filled mainly with apartment buildings between four and ten stories high; while many are rentals, some are Housing cooperatives (co-ops). Although there are no New York City Housing Authority complexes in Kew Gardens, Mitchell-Lama buildings provide stabilized rental prices for families or individuals who may need help paying rent. On 83rd Avenue there is a 32-story Mitchell-Lama building.
Along the borders of Richmond Hill, Briarwood, and Jamaica, smaller attached houses exist. Many of these are two or three family homes. Expensive single family homes are located around the Forest Park area.
Due to constant development, however, many owners are selling out their detached homes to developers who teardown and convert them into apartment housing. This has brought demographic change.