Queens in 1900 was a study in diversity, with heavy industrialization in the west and
agricultural communities in the east. Farmland had grown more expensive as open land
grew more scarce. Working class communities grew rapidly as the developing train system made commuting practical, and urbanization increased.

In 1900, Queens was the center for horticulture in NY. Enormous nurseries provided flowers, fruit trees and other plants to the communities in all the boroughs, and across the U.S. Queens also was home to the Jamaica Market, which served as a terminus for Long Island farm goods.

Near the Boulevard Gardens Housing in Queens, Chinese farmers grew produce for Chinese restaurants around New York. The New York City Chinese population in 1900 was estimated at between eight and ten thousand, mostly in Manhattan.