BT TRONE DOWD
Bordered by JFK Airport and Jamaica Bay, Springfield Gardens is another one of Southeast Queens middle-class majority black neighborhoods, filled with one and two family homes and a quiet, suburban vibe.
Originally going by the name Spring Field in the mid-17th century when it was first settled upon, the neighborhood was fairly unremarkable. While it held the natural beauty many would come to expect when exploring Southeast Queens, with its rich greenery, streams, and land ready for farming, it was scarcely used for decades, occasionally supplying other parts of the borough and city with goods. During the Revolutionary War, Springfield Gardens farmers supplied the British with wood and other supplies.
It wasn’t until the 20th century that a new eye was turned to Springfield. In 1906, the Springfield Gardens development which would bring affordable housing to the mostly inactive area was completed. The development would be just the start of the neighborhood now known as Springfield Gardens, as a both a post office and a station built to be a part of the Long Island Rail Road would be enacted near the new housing.
As expected, with the new post office and nearby rail allowing residents to commute to work, people flocked to the neighborhood. New residents were made up of people leaving the crowded sections of Brooklyn and Manhattan in particular. Springfield Gardens quickly became a thriving neighborhood for middle-class families.
Although the neighborhood saw a great boom in the 1920’s and 1930’s, there was a major shortcoming that affected residents at the time and still affect them today; The lack of a proper systems in place to stave off the large amount of water that come along during storms. The Brookville section of Springfield Gardens, with its relatively low elevation, has had problems with flooding on a regular basis for decades, being called a disaster zone on a federal and state level on more than one occasion. Over the years, there had been half measures taken by city agencies to come up with a solution to the longstanding problem. But it wasn’t until the Bloomberg administration in 2003 that a long term fix was put forward with the help of the Department of Environmental Protection. It is still an issue today, however, the push to solve the problem continues. The Queens Tribune reported last May that Mayor Bill de Blasio would put $1.3 billion behind project curtailing the flooding issue in Springfield Gardens.
Springfield Gardens just last year, took a huge step forward on the front of cutting harmful emissions on behalf of the entire city. The Queens Tribune sister paper, the Press of Southeast Queens reported last September that a three story building located in Springfield Gardens JFK Airport Park is actually home to the largest solar energy supplier in the entire borough. In a partnership between Con Edison, real estate developers, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Solar investors and Bloomberg LP, the 5,500 solar panels hoisted on top of the facility power two Bloomberg buildings in Manhattan, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 1.1 million pounds a year.