I got curious about Newtown Road, which runs through my neighborhood in Astoria, Queens (home of no Amazon headquarters, yay!!). Newtown is an odd street, in that it cuts diagonally through almost all of Astoria, a neighborhood otherwise situated in a careful street-and-avenue grid. So I did some digging.
Turns out back in the 19th Century, before the boroughs were incorporated into New York City, Queens west of Flushing essentially consisted of two townships. Long Island City ran along the eastern shore of the East
As to why it runs diagonally, basically that’s because it was one of the first major streets in the area. Most of the grid was laid down afterward, and while other thoroughfares like Queens and Astoria Boulevards were built up into highways, Newtown remained a simple street, just out of step with its neighbors.
In the course of my
Header image: Public domain, via New York Public Library