Quaker Meeting House

Location:137-16 Northern Boulevard Flushing, New York 11354

Phone: 718-261-9832


The Old Quaker Meeting House, established in 1694, is the oldest house of worship in New York . In the years following its inception,  its members worked hard to bring social equality to the state. Believing strongly that all men and women are equal under the eyes of God, the members of the Meeting House  condemned slavery in the 1700s, participated in the Underground Railroad efforts during the 1800s,  and supported the  civil rights movement of the 1900s.  They also provided equal educational opportunities; a  free school was established  by The Flushing Female Association in 1814 to accommodate the educational needs of economically and socially disadvantaged children. Located on Liberty Street, the school flourished until 1862, when it was rented by the District School Board and made available to African American students only.

In addition to promoting social equality, members of the Meeting House were and still are advocates of peace .  In the past, they spoke out against those who  accepted military service during the Revolutionary War, protested against conscription in the times of World War II, and attended peace rallies in Washington D.C  as America waged war with Vietnam in the 1970s. In recent times, members have passed out fliers with information about alternatives to military service.  During meetings, peace is also sometimes discussed;  throughout several meetings in 2009 the Quaker Meeting House held ongoing discussions revolving around Catherine Whitmire’s Practicing Peace: A Devotional Walk Through the Quaker Tradition, which combines detailed stories of successful nonviolent movements with quotes from over 350 years of Quaker teachings on peace.  Discussions like these are a testament to the Quaker Meeting House’s  continued dedication to promoting nonviolence within the community.

Today,  the Quaker Meeting House has  fewer than 40 members. In accordance with Quaker beliefs, membership is not limited to any specific backgrounds; all are welcome to attend  its weekly meetings, as evidenced by  a big sign near the house welcoming passers-by  in English, Chinese, and Spanish.  As it stands, the Quaker Meeting House will continue to serve the community and  stand as a monument to Flushing’s  eventful past and as a symbol of continued hope for world peace.

Karim Abdelrazek


Directly across the Old Quaker Meeting House lies a small field containing the gravestones of  past Quakers.  Because no headstones were used before 1820  and several headstones contain little information,  the identities of all who are buried are uncertain. However, there are many other Quakers who have been identified, including prominent ones. Among the dozens buried are John Bowne, creator of the Meeting House,  William Burling, an abolitionist, and John Murray, Jr., founder of the Free School Society and other organizations aimed at bettering the lives of the less fortunate.


The Quaker Meeting House itself is  a simple wooden structure, reminiscent of old  ecclesiastical architecture rarely found in today’s houses of worship. It was built on a frame of oak timbers, and houses dark floorboards as well as old benches.   Although  the house of worship has been a part of Flushing’s history for over 315 years,  it has remained structurally sound. However, it has required extensive restoration work in order to maintain a strong exterior; last April, the House underwent $660,000 in exterior restoration work, which included  a new roof, new windows, and a restored porch.

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