Summer approaches, so here’s what Jack Eichenbaum will be up to

Our Teaching Artist Jack Eichenbaum–the official Queens Borough Historian–isn’t going to just r elax this summer – but show off our city. His agenda includes advising the Borough President, convening people and organizations concerned with Queens history, promoting Queens’ history-related attractions and changing cultures, and introducing the concept of “digital history.”

Jack is a Queens native who holds a Ph.D. in urban geography.  His career began as a data collector and evaluator in the Property Division of the NYC Department of Finance, where he honed his observation skills. His expertise lies particularly in historical urban geography, migration, ethnicity and technological change.  He continually updates his familiarity with NYC by walking and leading walking tours in all five boroughs. He also teaches Geography of NYC annually at Hunter College (CUNY). In 2010, he was appointed Queens Borough Historian, where his agenda includes: convening people and organizations concerned with Queens history, education, promoting Queens history-related attractions and changing cultures.

How do you plan to spend this summer?

Relaxing for two weeks in Massachusetts,  leading walking tours in New York City, some writing, some Flushing community activity.

What makes Flushing Town Hall exciting to visit in the summer? 

It is ALWAYS exciting. Great programs, galleries and great people who make it happen.

For parents considering what to do with their children this summer, what advice about arts and cultural programming can you offer?

They need to nurture this with their kids.”School” cannot be relied on for providing enough.

What are you looking forward to in the next school year

Education is not confined to the “school year.” Good educators are educating in all their interactions!

Below, you can check out more about the walks ahead:

Forest Hills to Corona    Weds.  June 14  6-8 PM                                                                              

Dominicans, Ecuadorians and Mexicans compete for commercial space in Corona! We end near a choice of latino cuisine . South Americans surround the venerable Little Italy in Corona Heights! Bukharan Jews succeed Russian Jews in Rego Park! Topography stratifies social class! This walk is high in fine-grained diversity. How did it all happen? Meet in front of Ridgewood Savings Bank (Queens Blvd/108 St) E,F,M,R to 71 Ave/Continental Ave.  Fee $20 payable at start of tour. Maximum of 30 participants. Please register/query at

Use of Space  in Western Queens   Weds.  June 21  6-8 PM                                                                                

During the first third of the 20th century, Western Queens nurtured developments where traditional open space/building area relationships were altered to create new urban architecture. The Sunnyside Gardens and the Jackson Heights Historic Districts anchor the route which also includes Phipps Gardens, Matthews Flats, Metropolitan Life apartments, and early truck-oriented industrial buildings. Meet under the Sunnyside sign on 46 St south of the El. (46 St station on #7 local)  End in Jackson Heights where Mexican, South Asian, South American and Himalayan cuisines abound.  Fee $20 payable at start of tour. Maximum of 30 participants. Please register/query at

Religion in North Flushing    Weds.  June 28  6-8 PM                                                                                      

Flushing is the site of North America’s first proclamation of religious freedom: the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657 and the oldest extant house of worship in New York State: the Quaker Meeting House of 1694. The area is now the site of many new churches, temples, and mosques due to both a surge in the needs of contemporary immigrants and the availability of sizable plots of land in once-elite residential areas. We’ll discuss the ecological and economic problems engendered by the new churches as well as the uncertain status of historic religious institutions(A similar tour in South Flushing is also offered periodically.)  Begins in front of St. George Episcopal Church (Main St/39 Ave)  #7 to Main St. and end in Flushing’s Asian food mecca where you can also join a potluck dinner/discussion at the Quaker Meeting House.  Fee $20 payable at start of tour. Maximum of 30 participants. Please register/query at

Where Does Harlem Begin?  (Nieuw Haarlem)     Weds.  July 5  6-8 PM                                                                                                      

In what is a most remarkable transition from wealth to poverty, the grand apartments on the Upper East Side of Manhattan yield to the tenements and projects of East Harlem in just a few city blocks. The slope where this transition occurs actually stretches from the Hudson River to the East River and historically, has always marked a change in land use. The Dutch colonists in Nieuw Nederland began this process when they established the agricultural community of Nieuw Haarlem in the Harlem Valley in 1658.  Meet NE corner 86 St/Lexington Ave. (#4,5,6 to 86 St.) End near the Columbia University campus with a choice of moderately priced eats.

Crossing Newtown Creek:  LIC  to Greenpoint   Weds.   July 12  6-8 PM

Meet outside the east exit of  the E,  M  train station at  Court Square  (23 St/44 Dr.) in Long Island City.  (#7 and G trains connect here as well.) Walk through  a nexus of contemporary artists’ activity in converted industrial buildings.  Follow newly gentrified Jackson Ave. and and cross the Pulaski Bridge connecting Long Island City to Brooklyn. See remnants of the intense and largely unregulated industrial development that thrived along Newtown Creek during the late nineteenth century before the consolidation of  Greater NYC and infrastructure improvements rendered it obsolete.  View the striking NYC DEP Wastewater Improvement Plant (“Digester Eggs”) and visit its adjacent Nature Trail in Greenpoint. Meander through partially gentrified working class blocks and end in a concentration of Polish food (among other cuisines.)

Coming Attractions,  July -August:

The NEW Rockaway Beach,  Astoria,  South Richmond Hill, and MORE. Watch this website for scheduling or join my mailing list    to be among the first to know.


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