BY TRONE DOWD
Rego Park would best be characterized as busy. It is the home to one of the richest centers of commerce in the borough as any native of Queens would tell you, and has a prime location, located just seven miles from Manhattan.
One of the most important factors that makes Rego Park so busy is the roads that go through it. The neighborhood has four major arteries surging through it; Woodhaven Boulevard, 63rd Drive, Junction Boulevard and of course, the expansive Queens Boulevard. Along all four of these arteries, the streets are filled to the brim with businesses and cultural resonating with visitors and residents alike.
Rego Park has a massive shopping center split into two different sections. The second part of the mall was completed in March of 2010, consisting of a Costco, a Century 21, a Toys R Us, a Dallas BBQ and more. The Rego Center is also just a few blocks from the Queens Center Mall and the Queens Place Mall.
In addition to being a bustling area of commerce, Rego Park has a number of residential areas. Those areas are known to be fairly laid back, juxtaposed to the very busy roadways near the more shopping driven arteries of Rego Park. It all began years ago, when people started to take notice of how ideal Rego Park is. In the 1920’s, the Real Good construction company stepped in built a community of two family and single family houses. It was from this construction company that the neighborhood got it’s name, taking the first two letters of their two word name [Real Good]. Families who wanted to leave the hustle and bustle and overly crowded borough of Manhattan fled to the newly developed Rego Park due to its previously mentioned convenience.
Many of the families who moved to Rego Park initially were of Italian, German, Irish and Jewish backgrounds, the latter of which still holds true today. As a result, Rego Park hold a number of longstanding and landmark buildings dedicated to the Jewish faith, including the Rego Park Jewish Center and the Chabad of Rego Park.
Queens Boulevard, the 7.2 mile long roadway that extends from the Queensborough Bridge to Jamaica Avenue, for a time was infamous for being the conveyer of tragedy. Dubbed, “The Boulevard of Death” in the 1990’s, a number of fatal crashes took place on the busy road way. More than 20 people were killed and 18 injured somewhere along the road from 1980 to 1984. From 1993 to 2000, an average of 10 people or more were struck and killed by vehicles every year as they crossed the street. At the turn of the millennium, much attention was turned to solving the issue. Increased ticketing and signage was a part of solving the problem with mixed results. From 2003 to 2013, 36 deaths have occurred on Queens Boulevard.
In 2011, new traffic signals were installed to help curb the infamous fatality rate. Coincidentally, there were no fatalities that year. Most recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio made an effort to stop the Boulevard of Death through his Vision Zero initiative.