Fresh Meadows is a middle class residential neighborhood located in northeastern Queens. It is surrounded by the neighboring towns of Jamaica Estates, Flushing, Hillcrest, Auburndale, Oakland Gardens, and Bayside. Cunningham Park also borders the neighborhood to the east. Fresh Meadows was formerly named Black Stump during the Colonial era due to the practice of marking the edges of respective property lines with blackened tree stumps. Today, a few tree stumps still remain in some portions of Cunningham Park. Black Stump was also the site of a British base during the Revolutionary War where General Benedict Arnold used to drill his troops; it is now the area of MS 216. In the 1900s Black Stump changed its name to its current name today, Fresh Meadows. It was thought to be a more welcoming name. The name derives from the original Dutch settlers in 1628 who found the area full of meadows and swamps fed by fresh water springs. The name translates to “salt meadow.” Real estate is mostly dominated by Colonial and Tudor styled homes. In 1949, the New York Life Insurance Company purchased much of the land and started the Fresh Meadows Housing Project, which resulted in a complex of a total of 140 buildings across 147 acres of land. The development included two-to three-storey houses, apartment buildings, shopping centers, a cinema, a public library and schools, including PS 26. Initially, it was built to house WWII veterans. It is still operating present-day.
Fresh Meadows is bordered by Cunningham Park, which is one the largest parks in the borough. Cunningham Park is 358 acres of nature trails and sports field. Cunningham Park boasts 20 tennis courts, two soccer fields, 27 ball fields, and two bocce courts. Many locals can be seen playing many different sports from baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, football, bocce, cricket, and volleyball. During the colder months, a tennis bubble is erected on the tennis courts making it accessible even during the cold winter. The famed Big Apple Circus also makes a pit stop at Cunningham Park once a year in the spring as well as some artists such as The New York Philharmonic and The Metropolitan Opera. Fresh Meadows is also located near Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which is the fourth largest park in the whole New York City area. The park includes the Queens Theater, the Queens Zoo, and the Queens Museum of Art, a gigantic ice rink, a golf course, and a skate park. Flushing Meadows- Corona Park is also home to Citi Field Stadium where the MLB baseball team The Mets competes. Additionally, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is where the US Open Tennis Championships are held annually every summer. The park also has a 93-acre man-made lake that has boating and fishing. It is a wonderful park to be enjoyed throughout every season of the year.
Within Fresh Meadows, there is the movie theater AMC Fresh Meadows 7 which recently updated to comfortable full body reclining seats, to enhance one’s moving-going experience. AMC Fresh Meadows 7 is located in Fresh Meadows Shopping Center on 190th Street. The Fresh Meadows Shopping Center houses many large brand shops and department stores and franchise eateries. Parking is free and the complex can get quite crowded during the weekends however. For when the weather is accommodating, Fresh Meadows is also located near the Queens Botanical Garden and the Kissena Park Golf Course both located in Flushing. Furthermore, for a more family friendly outing the New York Hall of Science is also close. It was opened in 1963 and is New York City’s remaining hands-on scientific center with over 400 exhibits.
Fresh Meadows lacks any subway lines but buses QM1 and QM1A are accessible making a commute to Midtown Manhattan about an hour long. The Long Island Expressway, Union Turnpike, and Utopia Parkway are easily accessible however for drivers. Fresh Meadows is a part of the NYC Geographic District #26. District #26 has 39 schools located within the area. Reading and math scores of District #26 are among the highest in New York City. St. Francis Preparatory School, the largest Catholic high school in the United States, is located on Francis Lewis Boulevard. Public school Francis Lewis High School located on Utopia Parkway offers numerous special programs upon admission. The main campus of St. John’s University is also a short drive away. Some former notable residents of Fresh Meadows include actor Paul Newman and actress Natalie Wood.