The Bunker family's TV address was 704 Hauser Street, supposedly in Corona. Unfortunately, Hauser Street does not exist. The facade of the house shown at the show opening is an actual home in Glendale. But there's one more contender to consider.
The overhead images that run at the end of the program could easily be mistaken for the Queens neighborhoods of Corona, Glendale, Middle Village, or Ridgewood. The facade of the house shown is actually 89-70 Cooper Avenue, Glendale, NY. It's a sliver of far eastern Glendale that is just off Woodhaven Boulevard, close to Forest Hills, Middle Village, and Rego Park, and across the street from St. John's Cemetery. (See for comparison the images at website Bridge and Tunnel Club.) Some online maps place the address in Rego Park, but that's not how most see it.
The TV producers -- headed by Norman Lear -- at the time of the show (1971 premiere) had Corona in mind, a neighborhood where African-Americans were moving to the neighborhood, and many white families were leaving. The theme of "white flight" was an undercurrent of the show, even if in TV land the Bunker's next-door neighbors the Jeffersons, actually move on up to a luxury high-rise on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
That's the standard story you hear about the setting of All in the Family: Glendale for the imagery, Corona for the plot. But then in 2007 I got an email from an About.com reader who claimed to have known the actual family that inspired All in the Family in Jackson Heights. I have been unable to confirm the veracity of the claim, but it boils down to this (last names removed):
"All In The Family" was taken from the real life adventures of the ***** family who lived in Jackson Heights, Queens during the forties, fifties, and sixties.Let's see. 84th Street and 31st Avenue. That would put Archie within walking distance of Pio Pio today and a longer walk to Little India.
Archie was Mickey (Michael) *****, Edith was 'Bea' (Beatrice) *****, Gloria was Linda *****, and "Meathead" was Steve ***** who moved out after three years of Archie and the rest of the family. They all lived on 84th Street and 31st Avenue, Jackson Heights.
The whole idea -- as a series -- was first suggested by Bea's sister; M*** Hauser (from which "704 Hauser Street" was later derived) whose abortive attempts at becoming a famous opera singer had, nevertheless, put her in touch with the 'right' TV producers.
Suffice to say, Archie would have had a hard time recognizing his neighbors in 2008, though like him, many are blue-collar. There's a sizable middle-class population in Jackson Heights, and it's a melting pot of immigrants from Latin America and Asia.
What about 89-70 Cooper Avenue in Glendale? Archie might even have trouble recognizing even Glendale, especially its Connecticut-style upscale mall Atlas Park.
What are your thoughts about All in the Family? Can anyone help delve more into the show's origins?
A Few More Tidbits About All in the Family and Queens
- Carroll O'Connor, who portrayed Archie Bunker, grew up in Forest Hills.
- According to real estate website Zillow, the semiattached house at 89-70 Cooper Avenue in Glendale has a "zestimate" (its supposed "market price") of $565,000 as of January 2008.