Jackson Heights

was farmland when the Queensboro Bridge opened in 1908, connecting Manhattan to Queens. This prompting entrepreneur Edward A. MacDougall to buy as many farms as possible along the planned route of the number 7 subway. MacDougall's Queensboro Corporation developed Jackson Heights, creating unique and popular garden co-ops and private homes, which were inspired by Britain's Garden City movement.

Garden Apartments

In 1917 the Queensboro Corporation built its first major apartment complex, naming it the Garden Apartments (thus coining the term "garden apartment").

MacDougall later declared "the essentials of good planning of multiple-family houses to be few and comparatively simple:

  1. Comprehensive [full block] development.

  2. Maximum of sunlight and ventilation...with an interior garden, the interior garden taking the entire length of the block.

  3. Buildings are set back from the lot lines in order to provide distance between buildings and an opportunity for lawns and planting in the front of the houses.

  4. The erection of detached or free-standing apartment buildings, which gives an opportunity for many corner rooms and consequent corner ventilation in most of the apartments.

  5. The silhouette produced through a picturesque arrangement of roofs and dormers, towers and other features adds a great deal to the attractiveness of the new type of apartment."

MacDougall wanted Jackson Heights to be a city within the city, a cohesive people-oriented community. He donated land for churches, carefully planned the main commercial district along 82nd Street and 37th Avenue, and built tennis courts and a golf course.

Towards the end of this era, "The Sherwood" was built as a rental apartment building in 1939. The Sherwood's original real estate brochure highlighted the amenities of the building and the neighborhood. Later, The Sherwood was converted to a co-op apartment building and re-named "Colonial Court" in the 1980's. In 2021, the building changed its name again - to the original.

Source: Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architecture & Fine Arts Library, The Sherwood, 35-36 76 Street - The New York real estate brochure collection

Jackson Heights has a century-long history as a vibrant neighborhood that continues to be made with each new generation. For more on the history, or to find out what is happening around Jackson Heights or to get involved please visit the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, a non-profit devoted to promoting the well-being and quality of life in this neighborhood