Ozone Park, NY is a neighborhood located in the southwestern section of the borough of Queens, in New York City, New York, United States. It borders Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Howard Beach, and City Line, Brooklyn. Different parts of the neighborhood are covered by Queens Community Board 9 and 10. The neighborhood is located in the fifth congressional district, and is represented by Democrat Gregory Meeks.
The northern border is Atlantic Avenue; the southern border is South Conduit Avenue, and the eastern border is 108th Street. The western border is the county line with Brooklyn (mostly along Ruby and Drew Streets). It is the home of the Aqueduct Racetrack, a popular spot for Thoroughbred racing. The neighborhood is known for its large Italian-American population.
The current ground level of Ozone Park is about four feet higher than the original ground level.[original research?] Initially the avenues and cross streets were raised above ground level and then all of the basements were set on ground level and the land was back filled around the houses. The older houses that were at the original ground level now appear “sunken”; these can be observed on the south side of Sutter Avenue between 83rd and 85th streets.
An area now part of Ozone Park that pre-dated that community was called “Centreville”. It was founded in the 1840s and was centered around Centreville Street and the Centreville Community Church. Part of Ozone Park is still called “Centreville”. The church merged with the United Methodist Church of Ozone Park in 1957 and a new church, the Community Methodist Church of Ozone Park, was built at the Southeast corner of Sutter Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard. It was completed for Christmas 1958. The old church and the property that surrounded it were sold to Aqueduct Racetrack and the old, historic church was torn down in mid-1959. The lot is still vacant as of 2013.
During the 1870s, an economic depression caused residents of New York City to look for better housing opportunities in the suburbs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, where housing would be cheaper. Two partners, Benjamin W. Hitchcock and Charles C. Denton, first began carving farmland into building lots. They were able to do this because of their wealth and substantial capital. Housing was first developed in the area after the Long Island Rail Roadbegan service through the area in 1880 as part of its route from Long Island City to Howard Beach. Ozone Park was created and settled in 1882.
Before the turn of the 20th century, there was an attempt[who?] to develop up to nine neighborhoods with the “park” title. Ozone Park was the only one of these neighborhoods that continues to exist, mostly because of the daily service at the now-defunct Ozone Park station on the Long Island Rail Road. The name persisted because of the many commuters[who?] who passed through the Ozone Park station and referred to it as an important landmark. The railroad station was also responsible for the increasing development of the neighborhood because the access to the railroad allowed people to get into the city easily, increasing its popularity among families looking to move into a suburb.
The final improvement to the local transit system was the Fulton Street Elevated train line at Liberty Avenue in 1914. In addition to this railroad station came the nickel fare, which was another major factor in the development of Ozone Park. The nickel fare gave residents the ability to travel anywhere along the railroad line for a set price of 5¢. This new fare was considered to be the “single most effective stimulus to home building”[this quote needs a citation] in the Ozone Park area because the real estate developers began buying up all the lots on either side of Liberty Avenue in hopes the new station would attract more people to want to live in Ozone Park.