If it weren't for the man-made boundaries, Bayside, situated on the northeastern edge of Queens, could be considered a Long Island town. Its manicured lawns; sometimes tasteful, sometimes gaudy home design; and the profusion of white kids going for the gangsta-hard thing would feel at home in the Five Towns (a grouping of Nassau County towns from Cedarhurst to Woodmere).
Fittingly: hop in the car and head east on Northern Boulevard from Bell Boulevard, and in less than five minutes, you're out of the city. Just like other suburban towns Bayside even has its own Inspiration Point in the romantic parking lot near Fort Totten. This little neighborhood has more than enough prime green space and opportunities for leisure activity, and more than a few nightlife options (though some are, admittedly, cornier than others). Bayside is also home to the one of the densest populations of city cops, firefighters, and service workers, and that helps it retain its "everybody knows everybody" feel—an increasing rarity in this city of strangers. With its consistently high-performing schools and low-crime streets, Bayside is rightfully felt by residents to be a great place to raise a family, suburb-style, without leaving the city.
From Farmland to Film Stars
Bayside's history dates back to 2000 B.C., when the Matinecock Native American tribe first settled there. In the late 17th century, the area was settled by English colonists. By the middle of the 18th century, early settlers left their homes in Flushing and developed a farming community, Bay Side. During the Revolutionary War, the Bayside-Little Neck area suffered from raids by sailors working on whale boats from the Connecticut shores. In one of the raids, the Talman house was attacked and the miller was killed. In the 19th century Bayside was still mostly farmland. By the middle of the 20th century urban sprawl, with the help of better roads, suburbanized it. During the 1920s, many actors and actresses, such as Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson, lived in Bayside. It was known as the "it" spot, outside of the city. These wealthy residents had large waterfront estates and mansions, many of which still exist today.
The boundaries of Bayside are well-defined, the western boundary is Francis Lewis Boulevard and runs eastward to 223rd Street to the east. The southern boundary is the Grand Central Parkway and the northern boundary is Little Neck Bay.
Bayside is definitely car country since the subways don't reach out that far, but the Long Island Rail Road operates the Bayside Station, which will let you off just steps from Bell Boulevard and some of the area's better shopping, eating and drinking options. Many MTA buses also provide service to Bayside.