The Legacy of Addisleigh Park

The historic enclave in the predominantly black St. Albans area of Queens, N.Y., was home to numerous black musical and sports greats starting in the 1940s, at a time when affluent African Americans had few housing options.

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  • A Street View of Addisleigh Park

    Addisleigh Park was where New York’s black elite went in the late 1940s and 1950s when they wanted to move from a Harlem apartment to a real house. This enclave in mostly black St. Albans, Queens, was renowned for its celebrity residents and Tudor-style homes.

    Captions by Joel Dreyfuss

  • Lena Horne's Home

    The legendary Horne lived in Addisleigh Park for a number of years when her career was on hold because of her outspoken support for civil rights. She persevered and found a second wind that lifted her to iconic status.

  • Count Basie's House

    His most famous nickname after his royal title was “the Kid From Red Bank,” but Basie spent more time at his Addisleigh Park home than at his native New Jersey Shore.

  • Billie and Basie

    Billie Holiday and Count Basie were partners in the studio and neighbors in Addisleigh Park in 1957.

  • Home of Ella Fitzgerald

    Ella Fitzgerald reigned for years as the queen of jazz singers, crowned again and again by critics and fans in a career that spanned five decades. For many of those years, her home was this house on Murdock Avenue.

  • Sarah, Pearl and Ella

    Addisleigh Park resident Ella Fitzgerald (far right) rehearsed for a 1979 TV special with Sarah Vaughan and Pearl Bailey. The photo was taken by master bassist Milt Hinton, also an avid photographer.

  • King of the Honk

    Illinois Jacquet’s muscular tenor sax solos, complete with melodic honks, influenced the R&B saxophone styles that followed jazz in the 1950s. Jacquet often visited the home of his Addisleigh Park neighbor Dr. William McKinney to listen to his extensive jazz collection.

  • Milt Hinton at Home

    From left: Bassist Milt Hinton; his mom, Hilda Downs; and boyhood friend Ed Burke outside the Hintons’ classic English Tudor in Addisleigh Park in 1966.

  • Jackie Robinson

    Jackie Robinson

    The first black player in major-league baseball worked the base paths at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y., starting in 1948. It was an easy commute to his home in the neighboring borough of Queens and the exclusive enclave he and his family shared with other black celebrities.

  • James Brown's Home

    He called himself “the Godfather of Soul,” but residents of Addisleigh Park knew the extraordinary James Brown as a neighbor.

  • Poolside Celebration

    Neighbors and children flocked to Count Basie’s backyard swimming pool to celebrate Freedom Day (Juneteenth) in the summer of 1961.

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