It’s October 4, 2011, a routine Tuesday for the construction workers clearing a vacant lot in the Elmhurst district of Queens, New York. The back-hoe operator hits something solid. It sounds like iron, probably a pipe. But as the driver raises the arm of his machine, this humdrum Tuesday is transformed into a horribly memorable day.
Going back in time, the Queens neighborhood of Elmhurst was originally a village called Middenburgh established by Dutch settlers in 1652. Middenburgh was a suburb of New Amsterdam as the settlement was then called. But the British came along in 1664 and renamed the Middenburgh district New Town, which in time became Newtown.
One contribution that Newtown made to America was an apple, the Newtown Pippin. The fruit is said to have grown from a random seedling sometime around 1700 on land owned by an Englishman called Gershom Moore. In its day it was highly popular, although the apple is now grown only in limited quantities.