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Bayside historian pens book

Uncover Bayside's historical origins with a new book from the "Images of America" series.

Celebrating the history of American neighborhoods, towns and cities through archival photos, Arcadia Publishing introduced its newest addition, focusing on the northeast Queens neighborhood.

"'Bayside'" shows that while the area has a colorful and interesting past, it continues to be a wonderful place in which to live, work and raise a family," said Alison McKay, author of "Bayside" and the archivist at the Bayside Historical Society.

With a master's in art history and library science from Queens College, McKay said she hoped the book would shed light on Bayside's unique history and "evoke cherished memories" for longtime residents.

The series is also meant to distinguish the town's past and see how the community has developed into its present state.

With hundreds of photos of community leaders, residents, parks and other points of interest, "Bayside" paints a picture of a rural town long gone.

According to "Bayside," the community that is now a bustling neighborhood in Queens was once known as a quiet, scenic farmland area.

"Bayside" provides a simple history behind each photo and the time period in which it was taken.

The information in the pictorial also shares lesser known facts meant to enlighten visitors and natives alike.

A popular area in Bayside today and in the past is Bell Boulevard, which stretches from 73rd Avenue to Cross Bay Parkway.

The book stated that the boulevard, named after wealthy shipping merchant Abraham Bell, once divided the Bell family's 245 acres of land that was purchased in 1824, separating the upper and lower farms.

Back in 1914, the town even held a festival on Sept. 26 called Bayside Day to promote the business community. Over 3,000 residents attended the five community parades, participated in various contests and feasted at the barbecues open to the public.

Though today Little Neck is its own area in Queens, Little Neck Bay was included in Bayside and was known for the large estates that lined its shore.

Bayside was not only home to farmers, but many influential individuals, such as theater critic Alfred J. Cohen and artist Rolf Armstrong.

"Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America's people and places," said Sara Bodkin, an Arcadia Publishing marketing assistant.

For the full history on Bayside's transformation the book can be purchased starting Aug. 4 at local book retailers, online and through Arcadia Publishing at 888-313-2665.

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