Broad Channel is a quirky neighborhood, maybe the most unusual in all of Queens or even New York City. It's out in the middle of Jamaica Bay, surrounded by water on all sides, connected to the rest of Queen by two bridge and one subway. It is the only inhabited island in the bay with a population of about 3,000. Broad Channel is actually within the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, part of Gateway National Recreation Area, part of the U.S. parks system.
The low-lying island is prone to flooding in extreme weather. The land area is only about 20 blocks from north to south, and 4 blocks from east to west. Artificial canals separate dead-end residential streets. There is no natural gas line to the neighborhood, and residents use costlier propane to heat their homes.
Boundaries of Broad Channel
Water. Everywhere you look is water, and that is the true boundary of Broad Channel. To get anywhere by car, you need to take a bridge. To the north, the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge connects to Howard Beach. To the south the Cross Bay Bridge leads to the Rockaways peninsula. In such a water-centered community, it is no surprise that many residents cherish their boats.
The A subway line stops in Broad Channel. The QM 16 and QM 17 buses don't stop in Broad Channel, but there are connection in Howard Beach that run express all the way to Manhattan. The Q52 and Q53 buses are local from the Rockaways north along Woodhaven Boulevard. The neighborhood is fairly convenient to the Belt Parkway and JFK Airport. Generally, if you're in a hurry to get places (dry places), then you're not living in Broad Channel.
Parks and the Great Outdoors
Broad Channel is in Jamaica Bay, one of New York City's greatest natural treasures. Used and abused for decades, the bay has seen some improvements in water quality and aquatic life, and at the same time, experienced some setbacks.
Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department
The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) does not a firehouse on the island, but the community has a volunteer fire company, a nonprofit organization that works with local FDNY units. The Broad Channel volunteer fire department is one of only 9 volunteer firehouses in the city of New York. It was organized in 1905.