Hollis, Queens

From Academic Kids

Hollis is a community within the Southeastern section of the Queens borough of New York City. A predominantly African-American community, the boundaries are considered to be the Rockaway branch of the Long Island Rail Road to the west, Jamaica Avenue to the north, Francis Lewis Boulevard to the east and Murdock Avenue to the south. However, much of this area is considered to be within the Saint Albans postal district.

It was originally settled by the Dutch homesteaders in the 17th Century. It was also a site for part of the Battle of Long Island during the American Revolutionary War when Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Woodhull was captured at a tavern on what is now Jamaica Avenue. Woodhull Avenue in Hollis is named for him.

The area remained rural until 1885, when developers turned 136 acres (558,000 m²) into houses, and the area is still developed primarily with single family houses. In 1898, it became a part of New York City with the rest of the borough of Queens. Since the end of World War II, the neighborhood has been settled primarily by African-American middle class families.

Since the rise of hip-hop, the neighborhood has been a hotbed of rap talent, sparked primarily by the fact that hip-hop producer and icon Russell Simmons is from this community. Among the rap acts this area has spawned are Run DMC (of which Rev. Run is Russell Simmons' brother), LL Cool J, Young MC (the first Grammy winner for any hip-hop recording) and Ja Rule.

Other famous people from this neighborhood include former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, US Secretary of State Colin Powell and civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton.

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